“My Dog Kills Possums!”: What You Should Do to Stop the Attacks!

If your dog kills possums and you’re not sure how to handle it, this article is for you. We’ll go through all the steps you need to take to stop these attacks from happening.

We’re going to explain why dogs target possums and provide effective strategies to help curb this behavior. If your dog was bitten by a possum, we’ll tell you exactly what symptoms to watch out for. We’ll also discuss potential risks including rabies after your dog has killed a possum. And if your dog has harmed a baby possum, we’ll help you with what to do next.

Finally, we’ll answer if a possum can actually survive a dog attack. So, if you’re wrestling with a dog who just can’t seem to leave these critters of the night alone, continue reading below for our article “‘My Dog Kills Possums!’: What You Should Do to Stop the Attacks!”

My Dog Kills Possums: How to Stop Them

My Dog Kills Possums

To stop your dog from killing possums, you need to use teach them commands such as “stay” or “leave it” while also providing plenty of exercise and distractions. Proper supervision, secure fencing, and deterrents can also play a significant role in managing this problem.

Understanding the Behavior

Firstly, you should understand that your dog killing possums is a natural instinct. Dogs are descendants of wolves, and their instinct to hunt can be very strong, especially in certain breeds. While it may be distressing to see your dog attack a possum, it’s important to understand that this behavior doesn’t make your dog bad or aggressive. It’s simply a part of their natural instinctual behavior.

Training Your Dog

The best way to prevent your dog from chasing and killing possums is through proper training. Train your dog to understand and obey commands like “leave it,” “drop it,” or “stay.” Start with simple obedience training in a distraction-free environment, and gradually introduce distractions like the presence of small animals. Reward your dog for obeying these commands to encourage positive behavior.

My Dog Attacked a Possum, What Should I Do?

If your dog has attacked a possum, first ensure your dog’s safety. Check for injuries and consult a vet if necessary, as possums can carry diseases. Avoid touching the possum directly, and contact local wildlife services for assistance if the possum is injured. It’s also important to reinforce training, ensuring your dog knows that attacking wildlife isn’t acceptable.

Provide Distractions

Another effective method is to provide your dog with distractions. This could be in the form of toys or games that can divert their attention from the possum. Engage them in activities that help them use their energy in a constructive way.

Secure Your Yard

Lastly, securing your yard can help keep possums out. Install a secure fence that possums can’t easily climb. You can also use deterrents, like motion-sensing lights or sprinklers, to discourage possums from entering your yard.

These steps will get your dog to stop killing possums, but it’s important to remember that the underlying behavioral issues (prey drive, overexcitement, territorial dominance, etc.) that were causing all of this to begin with will still be present. And until you address those, any positive changes you see are only going to be temporary.

“Well, how do I make these changes last?”

By getting your dog to truly choose to follow your direction, that’s how. I tried many times to write out how you can do that before deciding it made more sense to just link you to the free video series that explains it better than I’d ever be able to.

The series is by a man named Dan who is one of the world’s leading dog obedience trainers. In it, he teaches you how to put an end to things like when your dog kills possums and all other misbehavior using his fast and easy-to-follow methods.

In the first video, Dan will reveal to you why the two most common methods of dog training only doom you to failure. You can watch the video now by clicking here. Follow the proven system he’ll show you in his series and you’ll never have to spend another second worrying about your dog killing possums ever again!

Dog Bit by Possum Symptoms

Dog Bit by Possum Symptoms

If your dog was bit by a possum, common symptoms may include noticeable wounds, swelling, and signs of pain. They might also become lethargic, lose appetite, or exhibit unusual behavior. In severe cases, they could show signs of infection or diseases that possums can carry.

Let’s delve deeper into these symptoms:

  1. Noticeable Wounds: The most immediate sign that your dog has been bitten by a possum is a physical wound. This could range from minor scratches to more serious puncture wounds. These wounds can be painful and may bleed. Check your dog carefully if you suspect they’ve had an encounter with a possum.
  2. Swelling: After a bite, the surrounding area may become swollen. This is a natural response to injury as the body tries to protect itself and start the healing process. Swelling should be monitored closely as it can also be a sign of infection.
  3. Signs of Pain: Your dog may exhibit signs of pain, such as limping or favoring a certain side, being unusually quiet, or showing reluctance to be touched. Some dogs may whimper or groan, especially when the bitten area is touched or moved.
  4. Lethargy and Loss of Appetite: If your dog is feeling unwell following a possum bite, they may become lethargic and show reduced interest in food. These signs should not be ignored as they can indicate that your dog is in distress or that an infection might be setting in.
  5. Unusual Behavior: Changes in behavior are often an indicator that something is amiss. If your dog becomes unusually aggressive, anxious, or appears confused, it’s possible they are reacting to the stress of the incident or the discomfort from the bite.
  6. Signs of Infection or Disease: Possums can carry diseases that can be transmitted to dogs through a bite. If your dog exhibits symptoms such as fever, vomiting, diarrhea, or appears ill in any way, it is essential to get them to a vet immediately.

If your dog exhibits any of these symptoms after a suspected encounter with a possum, it’s important to seek veterinary care immediately. Early treatment can prevent complications and ensure your dog’s swift recovery.

Why Do Dogs Kill Possums?

Dogs kill possums often due to their natural predatory instincts, curiosity, or as a protective measure. Breeds with strong hunting backgrounds may be particularly prone to this behavior. It’s important to manage this tendency to safeguard both your dog and local wildlife.

Natural Predatory Instincts

Dogs, especially certain breeds, have a strong instinct to chase and catch small animals, a behavior inherited from their wolf ancestors. This predatory drive can trigger a dog to chase after, catch, and often kill possums. This instinct is more pronounced in certain hunting breeds, such as terriers and hounds, but can be present to some extent in any dog.

Curiosity or Play

Dogs are naturally curious animals and are attracted to movement. They love chasing birds and chasing squirrels, so it’s no surprise that the scurrying of a possum would pique a dog’s interest and instigate a chase. But what begins as a seemingly harmless game of chase could potentially escalate to a fatal encounter if the dog catches the possum.

Protection and Territory

Dogs can be protective of their territory and their family. If a possum enters their territory, dogs may perceive them as a threat and attack. They instinctively defend their space, which can unfortunately result in the possum’s death. To avoid this, bring your dog inside at night the moment you hear them barking at possums or other things.

Boredom or Lack of Stimulation

Dogs that are not provided with adequate mental and physical stimulation may resort to chasing and killing a possum as a form of entertainment. Regular exercise, mental stimulation, and interaction can help reduce the likelihood of this occurring.

Understanding why dogs kill possums is essential to managing this behavior. Training, providing sufficient mental and physical stimulation, and securing your yard can help deter this instinctive but potentially harmful behavior. Once you’ve done, learn how to stop the behavior by going back to the first section of this article.

My Dog Killed a Possum, Will He Get Rabies?

While possums can theoretically carry rabies, they are highly resistant to the virus and it is extremely rare for a dog to get rabies from a possum. However, a dog could be exposed to other diseases or parasites if they eat or kill a possum, so it’s important to monitor your dog for symptoms and consult a vet if needed.

Here’s more information on this subject:

  1. Rabies Resistance: Possums, due to their lower body temperature and strong immune system, are less susceptible to rabies than other mammals. This doesn’t mean it’s impossible for them to carry the virus, but the chances are highly unlikely. However, if your dog is not vaccinated against rabies and has an encounter with a possum, it’s always safest to consult with a veterinarian.
  2. Other Diseases and Parasites: While the risk of rabies from possums is minimal, these animals can carry other diseases and parasites that can pose risks to dogs. These include leptospirosis, tuberculosis, fleas, and ticks. If your dog has killed a possum, it’s crucial to monitor them for signs of illness, such as fever, lethargy, loss of appetite, or changes in behavior.
  3. Veterinary Care: If your dog killed a possum, especially if they have ingested any part of it, it’s advisable to seek veterinary care. Your vet can examine your dog for injuries, administer any necessary tests or treatments, and advise you on signs of potential illness to look out for.
  4. Preventive Measures: The best way to keep your dog safe is through preventive measures. Ensure your dog’s vaccinations are up to date, especially for rabies. Also, supervise your dog when they’re outside, especially at night when possums are most active, to prevent encounters with wildlife.

Remember, while the risk of your dog contracting rabies from a possum is very low, other health risks can occur from such encounters. If your dog killed a possum, it’s best to consult with your vet to ensure your pet’s health and safety. Ensure it doesn’t happen again by training commands that will prevent it, which we explain in the first section.

My Dog Ate a Possum

If your dog ate a possum, you should monitor them for signs of illness, as possums can carry parasites and diseases. It’s best to consult a veterinarian to assess any potential risks. Keeping your dog’s vaccinations up to date is crucial in such situations.

Should I Be Worried?

Yes, you should be concerned if your dog ate a possum. Possums, like many wild animals, can carry parasites and diseases such as leptospirosis or tularemia, which can be transmitted to your dog. Additionally, the possum may have consumed poisons or toxins which could affect your pet. Eating a possum may also cause gastrointestinal issues in your dog, such as vomiting or diarrhea.

What Do I Do?

If your dog has eaten a possum, here are the steps you should follow:

  1. Contact your vet. Describe the situation and follow their advice.
  2. Monitor your dog for any signs of illness.
  3. Keep a record of your dog’s vaccination history. This information will be useful to your vet.

Preventive Measures

To prevent your dog from eating possums in the future, supervise them when they’re outdoors, especially during the night when possums are most active. Keep your yard clean to avoid attracting possums and other wildlife. Training your dog to respond to recall commands can also help in managing such situations. We went over this more in the first section.

In conclusion, if your dog ate a possum, it’s essential to contact a veterinarian. Monitoring your dog for any signs of illness and taking preventive measures can help keep your dog safe and healthy.

My Dog Killed a Baby Possum

If your dog killed a baby possum, it’s important to remove your dog from the situation and avoid letting them ingest the possum. Although baby possums have a low risk of carrying diseases, it’s always a good idea to consult with your veterinarian to ensure your dog’s health and safety.

Let’s discuss this in more depth:

  1. Handling the Situation: If your dog kills a baby possum, the first thing to do is to remove your dog from the area and ensure they haven’t ingested any part of the possum. Use gloves if you need to remove the possum from your yard, as handling wildlife can pose a risk of disease transmission.
  2. Low Disease Risk: Possums, including baby ones, are generally low-risk animals when it comes to transmitting diseases to dogs. They have a low body temperature that makes them less susceptible to diseases such as rabies. However, there’s still a risk of other diseases or parasites.
  3. Veterinary Care: Even with the low risk, it’s advisable to consult with your veterinarian. They can provide guidance on what symptoms to watch out for, such as changes in behavior, loss of appetite, or signs of illness.
  4. Prevention: To prevent this from happening in the future, it’s a good idea to supervise your dog while they’re outdoors, especially during dusk and dawn when possums are most active. Also, keep your yard clean and free from food waste to discourage possums from visiting. Finally, train your dog on commands, which we explained in the first section.

While it can be distressing if your dog kills a baby possum, the risk to your dog’s health is generally low. Always consult with your vet to ensure your pet’s health and safety.

Can a Possum Survive a Dog Attack?

Yes, a possum can potentially survive a dog attack due to its unique defense mechanisms such as “playing possum,” or pretending to be dead, which can discourage predators. However, the survival of a possum greatly depends on the severity of the attack.

Playing Possum: A Defense Mechanism

Possums have a unique defense mechanism called “playing possum,” where they mimic the appearance and smell of a sick or dead animal when threatened. This act can last for hours, leading predators like dogs to lose interest. Once the danger is gone, the possum revives itself and moves away. However, this tactic is not foolproof, and a persistent or aggressive dog might still inflict harm.

Severity of the Attack

The survival of a possum after a dog attack greatly depends on the severity of the attack. Minor injuries might not impact the possum significantly, but severe injuries can be life-threatening. Internal injuries, broken bones, or deep wounds could result in the possum’s death.

Seeking Veterinary Help for Injured Possums

If you find an injured possum after a dog attack, it’s important to seek help from a wildlife rescue organization or a local vet who deals with wildlife. They can provide the necessary medical attention and rehabilitation for the possum. It’s important not to attempt to treat the possum yourself, as possums are wild animals and can react unpredictably when scared or in pain.

Preventing Future Attacks

To prevent future attacks, keep your dog supervised while outdoors, especially at night when possums are most active. Training your dog to ignore wildlife and using fences or other barriers can also help to protect local wildlife, including possums. We discussed this more in the first section of this article.

In conclusion, while a possum has unique defense mechanisms, its survival from a dog attack depends largely on the severity of the attack. If you come across an injured possum, it’s important to seek professional help and take measures to prevent future incidents.

I’m sure you’re ready to quit worrying about your dog killing a possum, so I’ll let you get started on things now. Good luck, and thanks for reading our article “‘My Dog Kills Possums!’: What You Should Do to Stop the Attacks!”

The Author

KB Williams

KB Williams

Hey there! I'm a dog behavior expert and lover of travel. Since 2016, I've been sharing my knowledge of dog training and behavior while exploring the Pacific Northwest with my two rescues.