Animals & Bones

Can Dogs Eat Squirrels?

Can Dogs Eat Squirrels? Get detailed answers and FAQs, information on good and bad ingredients for dogs, recipes and alternative food options.

Key Takeaways

  • Dogs can eat squirrels, but it is generally not recommended.
  • Squirrels may carry diseases or parasites that can be harmful to dogs.
  • Consuming squirrels can lead to choking hazards due to bones and other indigestible parts.
  • Hunting or consuming squirrels can trigger predatory instincts in dogs.
  • Squirrel meat may lack essential nutrients for a balanced dog diet.
  • It’s important to consult with a veterinarian before introducing any unusual or wild food sources.
  • If a dog consumes a squirrel, monitor them closely for any signs of illness or digestive issues.
  • Properly dispose of any squirrel remains to prevent further ingestion or disease transmission.
  • Provide a well-balanced, commercially prepared dog food for optimal canine nutrition.
  • Focus on engaging your dog in safe and appropriate activities to satisfy their natural instincts.


Can dogs eat squirrels? The answer is yes, dogs can eat squirrels, but there are important considerations to keep in mind. This article explores the potential risks, benefits, and guidelines to ensure the safety of your dog. It delves into the nutritional value of squirrels, potential health hazards, and offers advice on proper supervision and training. By reading on, you will gain valuable insights on whether allowing your dog to eat squirrels is suitable for their overall well-being and how to approach this dietary choice responsibly.

Can Dogs Eat Squirrels?

1. Potential Risks of Dogs Eating Squirrels

Dogs are known to be predators by nature, but it’s important to understand the potential risks associated with allowing them to eat squirrels. First and foremost, squirrels can carry various parasites, such as fleas, ticks, and worms, which can be transferred to your dog upon ingestion. These parasites can cause a range of health issues, including skin irritations, Lyme disease, and gastrointestinal problems.

2. Choking Hazards and Injuries

Squirrels have small bones and sharp claws that can pose choking hazards or cause injuries to your dog’s throat, mouth, or digestive tract. Chewing on squirrels may result in bone splinters getting lodged in your dog’s throat or piercing their intestines. Additionally, squirrels are fast and agile, and they may scratch or bite your dog when cornered or in defense. This can lead to painful wounds or infections that require veterinary attention.

3. Zoonotic Diseases

Another concern when dogs consume squirrels is the potential transmission of zoonotic diseases. Some examples include leptospirosis and rabies, which can be found in the blood or tissues of infected squirrels. Dogs that eat infected squirrels can become carriers themselves and may pass these diseases on to other animals or even humans through bites or scratches. Vaccinating your dog and preventing their access to wild game can help minimize the risk of zoonotic diseases.

4. Toxicity in Squirrels

Squirrels may consume various plants, fungi, or even rat poison, which can be toxic to dogs if ingested. Dogs that consume poisoned squirrels may experience symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, seizures, or even organ failure. It is crucial to supervise your dog closely when they have access to outdoor spaces where squirrels are present to prevent them from ingesting potentially toxic substances.

5. Nutritional Imbalance and Unbalanced Diet

While squirrels are a source of animal protein, it’s important to note that dogs require a balanced diet to meet all their nutritional needs. Relying solely on squirrels as a food source can lead to a nutritional imbalance, causing deficiencies in important nutrients. A well-balanced diet specifically formulated for dogs is essential in providing the necessary vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients for their overall health and well-being.

6. Prevention and Safe Alternatives

To prevent dogs from eating squirrels, it is advisable to keep them on a leash or within a fenced area when outdoors. Regular veterinary check-ups, including parasite prevention treatments, are essential to ensure your dog stays healthy. Additionally, providing your dog with appropriate chew toys, engaging in regular exercise, and offering a well-balanced dog food are safe alternatives to satiate their hunting instincts and nutritional requirements.

Recipes and Alternatives to squirrels for dogs

Dogs should not eat squirrels, as it is not safe for them to consume wild game. However, there are plenty of alternative foods that are healthy and suitable for dogs. Here are some examples:

  • Homemade dog food using lean meats such as chicken, turkey, or beef
  • Raw or cooked vegetables like carrots, green beans, and sweet potatoes
  • Plain cooked brown rice or quinoa
  • Cottage cheese or plain yogurt
  • Small amounts of fruits like apples, bananas, or blueberries

Can Dogs Eat Squirrels – FAQ

1. Is it safe for dogs to eat squirrels?

While dogs are natural hunters, it is generally advised to prevent them from eating squirrels. Consumption of squirrels can pose several risks to your dog’s health.

2. What are the potential dangers of dogs eating squirrels?

There are several potential dangers associated with dogs eating squirrels:

  • Disease transmission: Squirrels can carry various diseases such as rabies, leptospirosis, parasites, and ticks. If a dog consumes an infected squirrel, it can be exposed to these health risks.
  • Injury: Hunting squirrels can lead to physical altercations, and both the dog and squirrel can get injured. Squirrels have sharp claws and teeth, which can cause harm to your dog’s mouth, eyes, or other vulnerable areas.
  • Choking hazards: Squirrels have small bones that may splinter or get stuck in your dog’s throat, leading to choking or internal injuries.
  • Toxicity: Squirrels might ingest poisonous substances like pesticides or plants, which can be harmful to your dog if consumed.
  • Imbalance in diet: Squirrels alone do not provide a complete and balanced diet for dogs. Feeding dogs a diet primarily consisting of squirrel meat can lead to nutritional deficiencies.

3. What should I do if my dog catches and eats a squirrel?

If your dog catches and eats a squirrel, it is recommended to:

  • Monitor for symptoms: Watch for any signs of illness, unusual behavior, or digestive issues in your dog. If you notice anything concerning, consult your veterinarian.
  • Contact your vet: Reach out to your veterinarian to discuss the situation and follow their advice based on your dog’s individual health circumstances.
  • Update vaccinations: Ensure your dog’s vaccinations, especially rabies, are up to date.
  • Prevent future incidents: Take steps to minimize the chances of your dog catching squirrels in the future. This may involve using a leash, training recall commands, or avoiding areas with high squirrel populations.

4. Are there any alternatives to feeding dogs squirrels?

Absolutely! There are many safe and healthy alternatives to feeding squirrels to your dog:

  • Commercial dog food: Stick to high-quality commercially available dog food that meets your pet’s nutritional needs.
  • Raw or cooked meat: If you wish to offer your dog meat, consult your vet and choose lean, boneless meats specially prepared for dogs.
  • Dog-safe fruits and vegetables: Certain fruits and veggies like apples, carrots, and blueberries can be given as healthy treats.
  • Specialized dog treats: Explore a wide range of treats made specifically for dogs, which are free from harmful ingredients.

5. Can dogs still chase squirrels for fun without eating them?

Yes, many dogs naturally enjoy chasing squirrels as a form of entertainment. However, it’s important to supervise these interactions to prevent any harm to either the dog or the squirrel. Always prioritize the safety of both animals during play or any encounters.


While dogs are natural hunters and may have the instinct to chase and catch squirrels, it is generally not safe or recommended for them to eat squirrels. Squirrels can carry diseases and parasites that can be harmful to dogs. Additionally, squirrels may have consumed toxic substances, such as pesticides or fungi, that can be transferred to the dog if eaten.

It is important to keep your dog on a balanced and appropriate diet that provides all the necessary nutrients. If you suspect that your dog has consumed a squirrel or any other potentially harmful substance, it is best to consult a veterinarian for guidance. Prevention and responsible pet ownership are key in ensuring the health and well-being of your furry friend.

📚 Sources: