Dog Killed Rabbit (All You Need to Know)

While most dogs are adorable pets, they still have a wild side. Dogs are animals that have the instincts of a predator. Although not dominant, most breeds have that instinct triggered by others. Thus, it can happen that your pet would go out to hunt.

So, your dog killed a rabbit. As always, remember that your dog has a prey drive that can be unsafe for other animals around. Still, don’t punish your dog for doing that since it’s in its instinct to kill the bunny. Rabbits are typical prey for dogs. Thus, it’s not a good thing to punish them for such.

Dogs come from a long line of predators. Thus, they urge to hunt every time those instincts kicked in. Unlike cats, dogs are easy to train to prevent such unwanted incidents.

In this article, we’ll cover the frequent questions regarding the matter. This way, you’ll understand how to deal with your dog in this aspect.

Without further ado, let’s get into it!

Is it normal for a dog to kill a bunny?

It’s not a surprise for a dog to kill a bunny. However, if your dog isn’t an active type, it may not be typical.

Almost all dogs have a hunting instinct. Such an instinct makes them pounce and even run every time they see potential prey.

Of course, when it comes to hunting and eating rabbits, the wild ones are likely more capable. Further, they are likely to eat these prey animals after hunting.

The reason is that wild dogs hunt for their meals and to survive. Thus, when these animals see rabbits, they would have that killing intent.

On the other hand, domestic dogs still have the urge to hunt. Thus, they would likely move around and stalk a rabbit if they see one moving nearby.

However, they won’t have that killing intent just like their wild counterparts. Their aggressiveness is most likely more on playing, although they may get a kill only by doing so.

The main difference is that pet dogs won’t likely kill for the sake of eating. They would do so for the sake of playing instead.

Thus, these pets will likely leave if the prey animal dies.

Can killing a rabbit trigger aggressivity in your dog?

As I said, domestic dogs may hunt for the sake of playing. If your dog kills a rabbit from the hunting game, it’s less likely to happen that it will be more aggressive.

In general, any domestic dog that chases and kills a rabbit didn’t do it intentionally. It’s more of a game for these dogs than a real hunt.

For this reason, you don’t need to worry about your pet becoming more aggressive.

Still, you have to deal with that playful attitude. The last thing you’ll want is for your dog to bring in more dead animals just because it wants to play.

Can my dog get sick from killing a rabbit?

Although rabbits don’t pose any threat to dogs, they may carry bacteria that can hurt your pet if eaten.

Rabbits are prey animals by nature. Thus, they won’t tend to fight back if harassed by dogs.

Still, they are animals who roam around on the grounds. Thus, they aren’t clean, and they may carry bacteria that can transfer to dogs.

For instance, your dog can get sick of Tularemia. It’s a bacterial disease caused by Francisella tularensis. Such a condition is also known as rabbit fever.

While it’s not a common disease for dogs, your pet can get exposed to it if they kill or eat an infected rabbit.

As always, if your dog killed a rabbit, it would be best to take it to the vet and have it checked. This way, you can ensure your pet is safe from such kinds of bacteria.

dog and rabbit

Can a dog get rabies from killing a rabbit?

It’s not likely that a dog would get rabies from killing a rabbit. Bunnies and rabbits have a low risk of contracting rabies than other animals.

For this reason, the chances for dogs to get rabies would be from other animals. Among these are cats, ferrets, skunks, raccoons, and even other dogs.

If your dog killed a rabbit, there’s little to no possibility of your dog contracting rabies.

Nevertheless, it’s not reason enough not to take your pet to the vet even after killing a rabbit.

What happens if my dog eats a dead rabbit?

If your dog eats a dead rabbit, it becomes at risk of many health problems or issues.

Thus, if you see your dog eating a dead rabbit, your immediate action should be to call a vet for assistance.

Your vet will give you instructions on what you should do next and observe your dog.

If your dog eats a dead rabbit, it may cause some health complications with severe symptoms. Thus, your vet will ask you to observe your pet and look for signs.

Among the symptoms to look for in your dog are the following:

  • Vomiting
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Diarrhea

For this reason, keep your pet under your observation and see if it would exhibit any signs of complications.

Will a dog attack a rabbit?

A dog’s tendency to attack a rabbit depends on many factors. Among these are its breed, size, training, and behavior.

Some breeds are way more aggressive than the others. Thus, if your dog is more of a hunter, it will likely attack a rabbit. However, if it’s a lap dog, it may just sniff a rabbit if it sees one.

Another factor would be the size. If your dog is big, it may run and hunt a rabbit if it sees one. Still, the size isn’t a significant factor since it will depend on the dog’s attitude.

Some dogs are more playful than others. Thus, if your dog is on the naughty side, chances are it will run for a rabbit if it sees one.

It will also depend on how much training the dog receives. If the dog isn’t used to other animals, the instincts to hunt is more likely to kick in.

How do I get my dog to stop attacking rabbits?

If your dog continues to attack rabbits, you need to do something about it. The best way to stop your dog is by training.

You can consider following these steps to stop your pet from hunting and attacking any rabbit it will see.

Use a toy rabbit for training.

The first thing you’ll want in training is not to risk the life of another rabbit. Thus, you should use a toy rabbit for your practice.

Place the rabbit at a distance.

Have your dog on a leash and put it in the same place as the toy rabbit. Give your pet a sufficient distance to make it ignore the rabbit. As soon as your pet ignores the toy, reward it.

Move the toy a little closer.

As you take a step close, reward him for taking no notice. Watch the dog’s body language and prepare for subtle clues indicating any hunting drive toward the rabbit. Command your pet to look at you and give a reward if it does.

Teach your pet to focus on you.

Keep the same distance from the rabbit as you step on a new spot. Afterward, get your pet’s attention again, reward him, and then step away from the rabbit.

Every time you do so, give your pet lots of praise. This way, you’re making your pet focus on you instead of the rabbit.

Build tolerance on your pet.

Eventually, your pet will learn to tolerate being close to the rabbit without pouncing on it. Still, even though your dog knows to do so, it’s not a good idea for you to leave your pet alone with a rabbit.


While we know our dogs as adorable and playful pets, they still have a wild side in them. Thus, it shouldn’t come as a surprise if you see your dog killed a rabbit.

It’s not something to worry about, though. While your pet may kill a rabbit, it’s not its intention, and so punishing dogs for doing so is unnecessary.

The best thing you can do is to prevent it from happening again by training your pet to ignore rabbits or any other animals around.


Image credits – Canva

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