Last Updated on December, 2023
Ever had your dog tangle with a possum?
It happens, and when it does, you’ll want to be prepared.
In this article, we’ll break down the steps to take when your dog crosses paths with a possum – from keeping your furry friend safe and cleaning them up, to handling the possum and understanding the risks. We’ll even dive into why dogs have a knack for possum encounters and how to prevent them.
So, if you’re in the midst of a canine-possum showdown or just curious about the scenario, read on for the lowdown on what to do when your dog gets opossum-obsessed.
Steps to take when your dog encounters a possum, including examining for injuries and properly disposing of the possum’s body.
Diseases that dogs can contract from possums, such as Chagas Disease and Toxoplasmosis, and the importance of keeping vaccinations up-to-date.
Reasons why dogs may kill possums, including natural instincts and boredom, and how to prevent this behavior through training and proper supervision.
Table of Contents
- What to Do When Your Dog Kills a Possum?
- How Do Possums Respond to Threats or Perceived Danger?
- How Does a Possum Bite Look on a Dog’s Body?
- Symptoms of a Severe Possum Attack on Dogs
- What are the Diseases Dogs Get from Possums?
- Do Dogs Get Rabies From Possums?
- How to Ensure the Safety of a Pet Owner?
- Tips to Get Possum Smell Out of Your Dog
- Why Do Dogs Kill Possums?
- How to Stop Dogs From Killing Possums?
What to Do When Your Dog Kills a Possum?
How Do Possums Respond to Threats or Perceived Danger?
Possums are usually docile animals and non-aggressive.
They try to avoid confrontations, but if cornered or feel threatened, they hiss and use their sharp teeth and claws when under a dog attack.
Unlike a baby possum, most adult possums can survive a dog attack.
The most interesting fact about possums is they have a defense mechanism called ‘playing possum,’ as in, they play dead when there is a danger.
They can carry on this act for up to four hours until the dog loses interest in attacking them.
How Does a Possum Bite Look on a Dog’s Body?
Possums have six incisor teeth: two on the lower jaw and four on the upper jaw. If your dog attacked a possum, a noticeable bite mark can be visible, as possums have sharp teeth that are 4.5-7mm wide. Yet, finding bite marks on the canines with thick coats is impossible. This is why meeting your vet is crucial.
Symptoms of a Severe Possum Attack on Dogs
What are the Diseases Dogs Get from Possums?
When your dog goes through a possum attack, disease transmission is possible. Possums carry diseases; your dog will likely contract them if a possum bites him or if the dog ingests dead animals. Keep on reading to find out the conditions your dog gets from possums.
This disease is caused by a parasite called Trypanosoma cruzi, a one-celled parasite.
The symptoms include:
In severe conditions, dogs show symptoms like:
Leptospirosis is a bacterial condition. This is fatal to dogs since it damages the dog’s vital organs. At the same time, Lepto is zoonotic, which means it can pass from dogs to humans. So, pet owners should be careful of this condition as well.
The symptoms of this condition include:
Trichomoniasis is caused by roundworms. You can identify this condition through cysts on the muscles.
The symptoms are:
The possibility of a dog getting TB from a possum is extremely rare, but there is a slight chance.
Tuberculosis symptoms involve:
Coccidiosis is an intestinal tract infection caused by a parasite called coccidia.
The symptoms of coccidiosis are:
The fleas cause Murine Typhus on possums, and there is a chance of dogs contracting it.
The symptoms of this disease include:
Tularemia disease is a bacterial infection.
The symptoms are:
EPM is a parasitic neurological disease caused by ingesting possums’ fecal matter. The
symptoms of this disease involve:
Toxoplasmosis is also a zoonotic parasitic infection, like other diseases.
The symptoms include:
Keeping your dog’s vaccinations up-to-date is crucial to minimize the risks of contracting these diseases.
Do Dogs Get Rabies From Possums?
The main concern of a dog owner when a dog kills a possum is rabies!
The chance of a dog contracting rabies is more or less slight. Most of the time, possums do not carry rabies.
The reason is possums have a very low body temperature of 94 to 97 degrees, unlike other mammals.
Hence, the rabies virus cannot survive and thrive in such a low body temperature.
If you suspect your dog killed a possum with rabies, take a trip to the vet immediately. Also, examine closely for rabies symptoms like changes in average body temperature, drooling, aggression, and abnormal behavior.
At the same time, if your dog has had the rabies vaccine, there is a very slight possibility for it to contract rabies. So make sure your dogs get the rabies booster shots on time.
How to Ensure the Safety of a Pet Owner?
The safety of pet owners is crucial when a dog kills a possum. Possums are wild animals that carry parasites and diseases. Make sure you wear gloves when you check your pooch. Contact Wild Animal Control if you are unsure whether the possum is dead or playing possum.
Wear Gloves and a face mask when you dispose of the body, and clean possum poop to avoid contacting your skin.
Tips to Get Possum Smell Out of Your Dog
Possums have a strong smell as they are wild creatures and linger in the trees. More than washing your dog is required to get rid of this smell. Below are some small tips to get the smell off of your dog.
Why Do Dogs Kill Possums?
I understand how frustrated and guilty you feel when your dog kills other wildlife, especially
possums. It is paramount to understand the reasons when dealing with a dog killing a possum. Keep on reading to find out why a dog would kill possums!
- Natural Instinct
Many dogs inherit natural predatory instincts as they come from wolf ancestors. This is more common in certain breeds, like Afghan hounds. Their hunting instincts compel them to hunt small animals, including possums, as their prey drive is high.
Dogs easily get distracted by the movements of small animals as their innate prey drive is high. They are naturally curious and tend to chase wild animals.
- Protection and territory
As mentioned earlier, dogs are protective over territory as a dog’s prey drive is high. They see possums as a threat because of their territorial dominance. The dog develops a strong desire to chase and kill local wildlife.
Believe it or not, dogs do kill out of boredom! If your dog lacks stimulation, exercise, entertainment, and interaction, it kills more animals. Your dog will stop this behavior if he is treated properly.
How to Stop Dogs From Killing Possums?
Other guides and tools you might need when training your dog:
I am sure I will not panic the next time I see my dog trying to attack a possum. I know exactly what I should do.
The next time you have to deal with a dog killing possums, be sure you take these tips and precautions into consideration!
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