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Help, My Puppy Ate Rabbit Poop! 5 Risks + 7 Tips (2023)

Puppy Eating Rabbit Poop

Dog parents often play the game “What’s that?” with their pups.

It’s when you try to know what your pooch has in their mouth.

And this time, your puppy ate rabbit poop…

But before you get more worried, let me help you deal with it.

Continue reading to find out:

  • 5 alarming risks when your puppy eats rabbit poop.
  • If rabbit poop is bad for unvaccinated and vaccinated puppies.
  • 7 life-changing tips to follow when your pooch consumes bunny droppings.
  • And many more…

Is rabbit poop bad for unvaccinated puppies?

Rabbit poop is bad for unvaccinated puppies. In general, consuming bunny feces is a risk for any young canine.

And to be clear, there are 2 types of vaccines for dogs:

Core vaccines

These are mandatory shots that are vital to your puppy’s health.

A great example of this is the DAPP vaccine, which stands for:

  1. Distemper.
  2. Adenovirus.
  3. Parainfluenza.
  4. Parvo.

However, they don’t cover the health dangers of eating rabbit poop. 

So having these core vaccines won’t affect your puppy’s bodily response to bunny droppings.

Non-core vaccines

It depends on whether the vet recommends these optional shots.

In the end, it’s up to you whether you’ll comply with their advice.

And some examples of non-core vaccines are:

  • Lyme.
  • Bordetella (against kennel cough).

But they don’t contribute on preventing the risks of eating rabbit poop.

Except for 1 non-core vaccine that might help, which is the:

Leptospirosis vaccine

According to PetMD:

Your puppy needs to get this at ages10 to 12 weeks. 

Another option is in their 14th to 16th week.

After that, they’re due for a yearly shot of it. 

Reading tip: Vaccination for Dogs: 7 Most Essential vaccination for dogs

Is rabbit poop bad for vaccinated puppies?

Rabbit poop is bad, even for vaccinated puppies. As I mentioned, eating bunny droppings poses health dangers for all canines. Moreover, vaccinations against diseases don’t guarantee pure immunity. They only lessen your puppy’s chances of getting sick from illnesses. 

Puppy eating rabbit poop: 5 potential risks

#1: Giardiasis

Puppy Eating Rabbit Poop May Cause Giardiasis

This is an intestinal infection your puppy can get from rabbit poop.

Moreover, it’s more commonly known as “Traveler’s Diarrhea.”

And according to VCA Hospitals, a 1-celled parasite called giardia causes it. 

So when your puppy eats tainted rabbit poop with the parasite…

They’ll experience the following symptoms:

  • Vomiting.
  • Weight loss.
  • Foul-smelling diarrhea.

However, most cases of giardiasis in dogs are asymptomatic.

That means you won’t observe any signs of the infection.

And your only hope of catching the disease is by coincidence.

For example, your pooch is up for a routine stool analysis in the laboratory…

That way, the vet can detect the parasite in your pup’s GI tract.

Warning: Research says giardiasis from rabbits is zoonotic. Or transmissible from 1 species to another. So when a rabbit or your pup has giardia, you’re also at risk of getting it.   

#2: Campylobacteriosis

Your puppy can also get bacteria from rabbit poop.

And an example of that is the disease-causing campylobacter.

Although certain variants of this bacteria are harmless…

These 2 will threaten your puppy’s health:

  • Campylobacter jejuni.
  • Campylobacter upsaliensis.

Vets say:

If your puppy eats rabbit poop contaminated with those strains…

The bacteria attach to the lining of their intestines.

Then, campylobacter releases a harmful toxin in your pup’s body.

That leads to a bacterial infection called campylobacteriosis.

And the signs of this infection are:

  • Fever.
  • Vomiting.
  • Lethargy.
  • Lack of appetite.
  • Diarrhea (watery or bloody).

Warning: Together, vomiting and diarrhea are dangerous. Because they cause dehydration, which is fatal to your dog’s health.

#3: E. coli

This is a widely recognized bacteria…

Because Escherichia Coli causes 300 million illnesses per year.

Moreover, reports from CDC say 200,000 cases lead to death.

And that prevalence is due to E. coli being present almost everywhere…

Even in rabbit poop…

That’s why it’s dangerous when your pup eats a contaminated one.

Then, PetMD tells us that it could lead to colibacillosis in dogs.

And the infection would show through the following signs:

  • Vomiting.
  • Lethargy.
  • Depression.
  • Dehydration.
  • Rapid heart rate.
  • Watery diarrhea.
  • Lameness when moving.
  • Low body temperature (evident through cold skin).
  • Bluish membranes (gums, nostrils, lips, ears, and anus).

Warning: This is yet another zoonotic disease. That means if your puppy has it, they can pass it to you. In this news report, wild rabbits infected 12 people, mostly kids, with E. coli.

You might also want to know: Why Is My Puppy So Lazy (Today)? 7 Alarming Reasons + 3 Tips

#4: Salmonella

Doctors tell us this bacteria’s mode of transmission is ingestion.

As it clings to feces or food.

So if salmonella contaminates rabbit poop…

Then, your puppy eats it…

Poor Fido can get  salmonellosis

And CDC says this bacterial infection makes them experience these symptoms:

  • Fever.
  • Vomiting.
  • Getting easily tired.
  • Diarrhea (with mucus or blood).

#5: Leptospirosis

As you learned, your puppy can get vaccinated against this.

But that doesn’t guarantee 100% immunity from leptospirosis.

Moreover, the bacteria that causes it is called leptospira.

And unlike the previous ones, it’s not normally present in rabbit poop.

Instead, it hangs in rabbit urine.

So when the droppings are mixed with the contaminated bunny pee…

Your puppy can still get leptospirosis.

From which they’ll start showing these signs:

  • Fever.
  • Vomiting.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Depression.
  • Abdominal pain.
  • Lack of appetite.
  • Severe weakness.
  • Stiffness or walking slowly due to muscle pain.

Warning: CDC says younger animals experience more serious symptoms of leptospirosis.

Continue reading: How do dogs get Leptospirosis? 7 Causes and How to prevent?

Puppy eating rabbit poop: 7 vital tips

#1: Watch them close whenever they’re outside

Watch Them Close When They're Outside

Puppies are naturally curious.

They’ll wander around, smell anything, and eat everything they can.

Not only does that put them at risk of eating rabbit poop…

It also increases exposure to dangers like:

  • Accidents.
  • Eating toxic or poisonous plants.
  • Inhaling tiny sharp objects into their nasal passages.

With that, always supervise your puppy when they’re outside.

So whatever harmful thing catches their attention…

You can stop them from pursuing it.

#2: Distract them with play

Although tip #1 is just as effective…

Let’s level it up a little.

Because simply supervising your puppy might be a bit relaxing sometimes…

But other times, it gets a bit boring.

And that feeling’s not limited to you.

Your puppy can also feel bored while you let them wander under your eyes.

With that, distract Fido with games like:

  • Fetch.
  • Frisbee.
  • Tug-of-war.
  • Hide-and-seek.

Since your puppy is busy having fun…

They won’t think of eating the nearest rabbit poop anymore.

#3: Train them to leave rabbit poop alone

Puppies can be stubborn…

Some won’t care if they’re under your watch….

Because they’ll still rush to the nearest rabbit poop.

Then, others even sneak behind your back.

When that happens, you need to tell your pup to leave it. 

So watch this video on how to train your dog to follow that command:

#4: Don’t let them get bored

AKC says dogs experience boredom too.

But it’s more seen in puppies.

That’s because young canines are more energetic and curious…

With that, they need something to do throughout the day.

Otherwise, they’ll make their own fun, like eating rabbit poop.

To avoid that, you must provide these 2 kinds of stimulation for your puppy:

#1: Physical stimulation

This comes in the form of exercise. 

And AKC states that the amount needed depends on your puppy’s:

  • Size.
  • Breed.
  • Health.

But generally, 3-month-old puppies need at least 30 minutes of daily exercise.

When they turn 4 months of age, you can increase that to 40 minutes daily.

And as they enter adulthood in their first year…

They can handle at least 1 hour of exercise. 

Pro tip: Say that your pup is 3 months old. With that, they’ll need 30 minutes of exercise. But to avoid tiring them too much, exercise them twice daily for 15 minutes each.  

#2: Mental stimulation

Your pup’s developing brain needs exercise too.

It’s called mental stimulation.

And they must have at least 20 minutes of it per day.

“How can I stimulate them mentally?”

Simply engage them in healthy activities that let them:

  • Lick. 
  • Sniff.
  • Chew.
  • Explore.

When my pooch was still a puppy, I achieved this by using an interactive toy.

#5: Use taste-deterrents

For you, rabbit poop is yucky.

But for some puppies, it’s a delicacy.

And you must stop them from thinking that way.

You can do that by using taste-deterrents.

These discourage dogs from chewing using their bitter or sour taste.

The only downside is:

You need to sprint ahead of your puppy to spray the rabbit poop with the deterrent.

And once your pup smells, then taste the droppings…

Fido will leave them alone.

Plus, your puppy will begin to link the taste with every rabbit poop they see.  

And if you do this for every bunny feces around…

Your puppy will no longer attempt to go near any rabbit droppings again.

#6: Improve their diet

Sometimes, puppies eat anything they can because of hunger.

So if your pup eats rabbit poop…

You must assess their current diet and eating habits. Issues with those could be:

  • Giving them low-quality dog food.
  • Improper feeding time and frequency.
  • Lack of proper nutrients in their meals.

With that, I suggest the following to work on those problems:

  • Buy the highest quality dog food you can afford.
  • Include fruits and vegetables in your puppy’s diet.
  • Give them multivitamin supplements (under the vet’s advice).
  • Feed them fiber-rich food (makes them full and maintains a healthy gut). 

#7: Consult a vet

You must also loop in your puppy’s vet on this issue.

They might recommend the same things I already mentioned…

But they can further give professional advice. 

Which will work for your pup’s exact needs.

For example, they can help you choose the best dog food for Fido. 

As sometimes, there are kibbles made for specific dog breeds and ages.

Moreover, engaging with rabbit poop can be a behavioral issue in your pup.

With that, the doctor can suggest a behaviorist to help you curb the matter.