My Dog Killed A Groundhog Should I Be Worried?

My Dog Killed and Ate A Groundhog: is it Normal?

My Dog Killed A Groundhog and Also Ate some of it; Is this something problematic and to worry about?

I don’t want to threaten you but your dog killing a groundhog can be harmful to your dog as well. The groundhog may carry ticks, fleas, Lyme disease, plague, tularemia, rabies, etc. Therefore, you need to take extra efforts to understand the situation and act accordingly. 

Why do dogs kill groundhogs? is it Natural instinct?

Dogs kill groundhogs due to their instinct coming from their ancestors. This is also known as prey drive. It is triggered by the movement of the prey. This behaviour consists of discovering the prey, chasing it, jumping on it, and grabbing and dragging the prey until killed. Finally, carry it to a safe place and eat it. 

My Dog Killed A Groundhog Should I Be Worried?

My Dog Ate Groundhog What Should I Do?

The first and foremost thing is to remove the remaining groundhog from the reach of your canine. Moreover, take him away and do not let him go towards the remains. 

If your canine has done all his essential vaccines, you should take a sigh of relief because the chances of rabies become low. However, if he had missed any vaccine, take your canine to the vet immediately. 

If your canine has been injured because of the groundhog, immediately wash the injury with rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide. Moreover, dig a hole and bury the dead guardian. However, make sure that the hole is deep enough so that your dog cannot dig it up again. 

diseases that groundhogs carry

Here are the diseases/problems that a groundhog may carry-


Tularemia is an infectious disease. This is mainly caused by bacteria.

According to vcahospital, this is a rare infection and canines are less prone to this infection than other animals. 


  • Poor appetite
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Lethargy
  • Mild fever
  • Draining abscesses
  • Enlarged lymph nodes
  • Uveitis

Ticks and fleas

Groundhogs have dirt on their body. This dirt attracts licks and fleas. Therefore, while your dog is fighting with a groundhog, ticks and fleas may jump on your dog’s body.

These parasites can lead to itching in your canine’s body. Additionally, it can also develop infections and rashes. 


  • Signs of flea dirt
  • Red spots on the skin
  • Bumps
  • Rashes
  • Spotting ticks in your house

Lyme and Powassan disease

Ticks are the transmitters of lyme and powassan disease. This is a tick-borne disease and at present there are newer diseases coming out.

Powassan virus causes Powassan encephalitis which is also a viral infection due to ticks. Therefore, it is important to look for the symptoms of this disease as it can also affect humans as well. 


  • Skin rashes ( Erythema migrans)
  • Bull’s eye pattern rashes
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Weakness
  • Joint pain


This is one of the most common diseases a groundhog may carry. In order to get infected, your canine needs to come in contact with the animal’s saliva. If your dog killed a groundhog and he was bitten in return, it is possible that your dog is infected with rabies. 


  • Headache
  • Muscle spasm
  • Mental confusion
  • Paralysis
  • Fever
  • Excess salivation


Groundhogs carry plague bacteria known as Yersinia pestis. If your canine had a combat with a groundhog, it is possible that he is infected with plague. Moreover, if your dog has killed the groundhog, he might have eaten it. Therefore, this makes the plague possibility even more. 


  • Lethargy
  • Fever
  • Inflammation of the lymph nodes
  • Pus along the jaw
  • Cough
  • Lesions in the mouth

What to Do If Your Dog Gets Bit by Groundhog?

The best thing is to take your dog to the vet immediately. However, before this, you can apply to rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide to the wound. Taking the dog to the vet is especially important if your dog starts showing flu-like symptoms. 

Groundhogs can give fatal bites as they are dangerous for humans and animals as well. Moreover, they also carry a lot of viruses that can cause various diseases in canines. 

After developing flu-like symptoms, your dog may show some serious symptoms and start to hallucinate. Moreover, he can also experience delirium and insomnia. 

If you leave the wound untreated, the infection may be deadly for your pooch. 

What do groundhog bite marks look like?

A groundhog’s bite can do a lot of damage because it has 4 incisor teeth. In fact, they are 1.5mm in length.

Moreover, the bite can give a deep wound. This means that the bite can damage the skin deeply. 

How to Keep Groundhogs Away From Your Dog

Epsom salt

Groundhogs dig holes in the ground and live there. Place Epsom salt on the entry and exit of holes to prevent it from coming inside your house. 


Ammonia is a good way to discourage groundhogs. Sprinkle ammonia around your yard. You can also make ammonia at home. Just take 2 tablespoons of detergent and mix ¼ cup of water and 2 cups of ammonia in it.

Catching traps

There are various catching traps available in the market. Moreover, you can use sweetcorn, carrot, etc as baits for groundhogs. 

Garlic and pepper

Garlic and pepper are good options to shoo away the groundhogs. You can spray them around the hole and garden. 

Castor oil

One of the best ways is to pour castor oil into the groundhog’s hole. This will destroy its home. 

What breeds of dogs are more likely to kill groundhogs?

Some breeds are more prone to other animals instinctively. Here are a few of those breeds that are more likely to kill groundhogs. 

Staffordshire bull terrier

This breed is very active and has a lot of energy. If this breed is not trained properly, it can end up being highly aggressive and can even kill other small animals around like groundhogs. The high energy level is also responsible for the aggression Staffordshire bull terrier shows. Therefore, it is highly important to exercise this breed regularly. 

Pitbull terrier

Pitbull terrier was originally created for bull-baiting. At present, it is considered an ill practice and is banned in many countries around the world. 

Due to this purpose, Pitbull terriers are very aggressive. They can even kill other pets and animals around them. 


Rottweilers are used as police dogs or guard dogs. Their aggression depends on the treatment and training they get from their owners. Moreover, rottweilers are mostly trained to be guard dogs. Therefore, they are usually aggressive towards other animals. 

Final words

Groundhogs are a big problem in many many countries. Due to them, even pet dogs are getting aggressive and end up killing them. This has the potential to cause severe health issues to the canine. Therefore, it is important to eliminate this problem as soon as possible. 

I hope you enjoyed the article. I will be back soon with more interesting and informative pieces of writing. Till then, stay connected. Thank you.

Frequently asked questions

What do you do if your dog gets a groundhog bite?

If a groundhog bites your canine, the first thing is to wash and disinfect the wound. Afterwards, wrap the area and take your canine to the vet. It is not possible for you to tell if the stray groundhog has rabies or not. Therefore, it is essential to vaccinate your canine (if your canine is not vaccinated) after any groundhog bite.

Will a groundhog fight a dog?

Groundhogs usually avoid fighting with animals bigger than them. However, if the dog is fast enough to catch it, the groundhog may stand up for itself. In this scenario, the groundhog can even bite the dog majorly with its 4 incisor teeth.

What time of day are groundhogs most active?

Groundhogs are diurnal by nature. They are mostly active during the day in spring to fall. They do most of their activities like searching for food in the early morning and early evening. Afterwards, they go back to their burrows.

How can you tell if a groundhog has rabies?

If you have a groundhog as a pet or you take care of a stray groundhog, you must know the common symptoms of rabies in them. Some signs that ensure a groundhog carrying rabies include walking in circles, appearing disoriented, and falling over again and again.

How long does it take for rabies to show in dogs?

It usually takes 3-5 days for rabies to show in dogs. Most of the signs are evident to anyone. Rabies can cause damage to the brain and is very risky for a canine. Therefore, it is better to vaccinate your dog with anti-rabies vaccination to avoid any such situation.