So you were doing laundry in your bathroom while your dog was having a gala time in the backyard. And all of a sudden, you saw your dog get hold of a squirrel and eat it!
It is pretty natural to get disturbed by this sight. You must be concerned whether dogs can eat squirrels or not.
Do not worry. Your search for the perfect guide ends here! This article will resolve your queries regarding whether squirrels are safe for your dog’s consumption or not. Read on!
What Is The Nutritional Value Of Squirrel Meat?
If appropriately cooked by removing bones and avoiding spices, squirrel meat is a nutritious meal for dogs.
However, dogs tend to kill and eat squirrels. Regardless of this fact, the following chart depicts the nutritional value of a single serving of squirrel meat (approx 100g):
|Calories Per Serving||120|
|% Daily Values|
|Total Fat 3.21g||4%|
|Saturated Fat 0.38g||2%|
|Trans Fat –|
|Polyunsaturated Fat 0.94g|
|Monounsaturated Fat 1.18g|
|Total Carbohydrate 0g||0%|
|Dietary Fiber 0g||0%|
Are Squirrels Safe For Dog’s Consumption?
Yes, dogs can eat squirrels. Unless the squirrel was poisonous, rotten, or dead for a long time, it is edible for dogs.
Wild dogs have been eating squirrels since their inception. However, domestic dogs are less resilient as compared to their wild counterparts. Pet dogs often end up contracting some form of minor or severe infection after eating squirrels.
You can go through this chat on a public dog forum where dog owners discuss their dogs eating squirrels.
What Diseases Can Your Dog Contract By Consuming Squirrels?
Eating squirrels can prove to be torture for dogs given the severity of diseases that come along with it:
Grey squirrels are known to carry Lyme disease. It is caused by bacteria carried by the bite of a deer tick.
Signs of Lyme disease in dogs are as follows:
Joint swelling and stiffness
Loss of appetite
Death in some cases
Author’s Note: Dogs cannot get Lyme disease from eating squirrels. However, it can be caused when a tick bites your pooch present on the squirrel.
When your furry friend chases and kills a squirrel in your backyard, that squirrel might discharge urine infected with leptospira.
Although quite rare, a leptospirosis infection in dogs can cause:
Death in worst cases
Tapeworm and Roundworm
American squirrels are more affected by roundworms and tapeworms than their British counterparts. This disease can spread to your dog from eating an infected squirrel.
Most of the dogs live with a roundworm infestation throughout their lives without showing any symptoms. However, some dogs can suffer from severe roundworm infection with the following symptoms:
Coccidiosis is a kind of gastrointestinal infection that is observed in dogs due to coccidia protozoa.
Coccidia does not adversely affect a healthy dog, but it can mature in his intestinal linings.
Coccidiosis in dogs can lead to the following chronic conditions:
Stomach pain (often observed in puppies and older dogs)
Can Eating a Dead Squirrel Kill Your Dog?
Well,there is a little need to worry about when your dog eats a dead squirrel. Nevertheless, consumption of dead squirrels is rarely fatal to dogs.
However, we would still share a worst-case scenario. In some rare cases, consuming a dead roadside squirrel can threaten your dog’s life.
In underdeveloped or developing regions, your dog is more likely to eat up a highly poisoned squirrel. It is because in these areas, the gardeners generally use high-grade poison to ward off squirrels from their gardens. And in such cases, your dog might not survive due to the severe harm caused by the poison.
Should You Be Worried If Your Dog Ate a Dead Squirrel?
Yes, absolutely. If your dog has eaten a dead squirrel, you must rush to your neighbors. You need to immediately ask them whether they had put out rodent poisoning in their backyard or lawn.
Rodenticides are toxic chemicals that are often ingested by creatures such as squirrels and mice. These chemicals disrupt the squirrel’s circulatory and nervous systems, thereby killing them within hours.
You need to go to your vet right away if you find out that your dog has consumed a squirrel killed by such poison. Medium and larger dog breeds often recover soon after fatigue and diarrhea if they eat a poisoned squirrel.
However, smaller dogs require urgent medical conditions as they would have to get treatment for respiratory problems and dehydration. Signs of possible squirrel poisoning in dogs are as follows:
Severe panting and other lung-related problems
Q. Can eating a dead squirrel give rabies to your dog?
No, your dog cannot contract rabies from eating a dead squirrel. There are hardly any cases to substantiate this claim.
Q. Can you give cooked squirrel meat to your dog?
Yes, well-cooked squirrel meat is very beneficial for your dog. Cooking squirrel meat also kills most of the toxins present in the flesh.
Go through this Reddit thread to know more about owners feeding squirrels to their dogs. You can even make a delicious stew with squirrel meat. Just make to remove bones from the squirrel’s body as they can impale your pup’s intestines.
Dogs find squirrel meat very appetizing and it is full of nutritious supplements. However, this does not mean that it should not be a replacement for your dog’s regular meal plan.
Squirrels often visit multiple places and eat different things. No one would want their dog to suffer from squirrel poisoning. So, you must call an emergency hotline if your dog has consumed a roadside squirrel.
So, the bottom line is: dogs can eat squirrels, but they should not. The aforementioned health hazards and severe diseases might be enough to assure you that.
We genuinely feel that this article has helped you decide whether your dog can eat squirrels or not.
Have you got any further doubts, suggestions, or opinions? Please feel free to reach out to us in the comment section below!
Dr. Aram Baker has been with Santa Clarita Animal Hospital since 1995 and his special interests include behaviour medicine and dermatology. He graduated from the Cleveland Humanities Magnet Program in Reseda, CA and attended California State University at Northridge where he received a Bachelor’s degree in biology. He went on to pursue his Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine at the University of California at Davis. He also spent time in the zoological medicine department at U.C. Davis during his Junior and Senior years. He is dedicated to caring for all pets big or small, young or old with compassion, patience, kindness, and love.