Do dogs keep rats away?

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Rats often fall prey to dogs - while running around neighborhoods, one of the household pets will get hold of it and usually rip it to shreds. You might think this would be a good thing at first, but when you delve a little further into what might happen, and does happen, you might think twice about letting your furry friends loose at that rodent in your home.



There are no fewer than SIX diseases that rat can pass to dogs, most of which could prove deadly if not diagnosed and treated in time. Even those that might not prove to be fatal could cause long-term damage and pain for your dog, and we are sure that this is something you will want to avoid. Thatís why we would NEVER recommend using your dog (or any dog) to catch rats. The cons seriously outweigh the pros.

A disease that might be referred to as ďleptoĒ, leptospirosis is a disease transmitted from rats to dogs. The rats will pee everywhere it runs, and this pee can contaminate water that your dog might drink. Your dog might actually investigate the pee, having a little lick for itself. The dog then has the bacteria that causes leptospirosis in its body, and it won't be long before it starts to manifest itself in the dogís kidneys. Initial symptoms might include things such as muscle pain and a fever, and also things that you might not be able to monitor too - depression, tiredness / lethargy, and a loss of appetite. Some pet owners might take a little while to first notice these symptoms, and then take their dog to the vet. In that time, the bacteria will be doing its damage and causing the dog pain.

Rat bite fever is another disease that a rat can pass onto your dog, and this one usually happens when the dog actually comes into contact with the infected rodent. As the name would suggest, it is usually passed on through actual physical contact - something like a scratch or a bite. Dead rodents can also pass on this disease, as can infected matter from urine or feces.

This is a disease that will require treatment with antibiotics, and if not treated, it can also be passed from dogs to humans too.

There are three types of plague that rats can spread, although the chances of you coming across an infected rat is incredibly rare these days. Thankfully too, the introduction of modern medicine eradicating diseases that once took over the world. Septicemic plague, pneumonic plague, and bubonic plague are three diseases that rats can [rarely] pass onto dogs, but roundworms, tularemia (also known as rabbit fever), and toxoplasmosis are pretty common. These disease can be spread when dogs attack rats, and then eat / ingest some of the infected rat material, through drinking water that has been infected / contaminated with rat urine or feces and other biological matter, and even just by sharing food. The latter is in the case of things such as roundworm.

Now that you know about some of these diseases that are quite easily passed from rat to dog, would you really want to put your dog in the firing line? Letís take a peek at a few other things while weíre on the subject too. Things like dogs getting their noses, mouths, or paws stuck in rat traps, or dogs that have accidentally become poisoned from eating poisoned food that has been left out for the rats. These are things that commonly happen. Itís just another thing to add to the mounting list of reasons why you shouldn't let your dog come anywhere close to a rat, let alone use your dog to try and capture / trap / get rid of them.

Give your pooch a break - the cons outweigh the pros. If you have a dog, and you think you may have rats, get in touch for some free advice, or make the necessary precautions to ensure ALL of your household is safe.

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If you have any questions or comments, e-mail me at david@attic-rat.com