Now, to answer the question Can a possum hurt a dog?, let’s take a look at possums, how they are dangerous for dogs and what to do if your dog ever happens to come in contact with a possum. Keep reading!
Possums are gentle, docile dogs that do everything possible to avoid confrontations. They would even run away from an approaching dog to avoid any confrontational encounter with the dog. For this reason, they prefer to stay away from homes and public places, instead they stay in the wild to enjoy their own space.
How then would a dog get in contact with a possum since they are usually out in the wild? Leftover foods left in the backyard, fruits grown in the gardens and fleas are invitations for possums. They enjoy eating fruits and grains so they would risk a potential confrontation just to get the food and fruits.
Can A Possum Hurt A Dog?
Simply put, yes, a possum can hurt a dog. As we earlier mentioned, Possums are not confrontational and are very unlikely to attack a dog. As a defense technique, possums are likely to run away from dogs to avoid confrontations or play dead in more dangerous situations, just to save their lives.
However, in some cases, a possum might decide to attack to defend itself from a dog and in the process of the fight, the dog can get hurt.
Although possums are not confrontational, they might act in defense when a dog approaches them and decide to attack the dog. Despite their size, possums have an intimidating look with their long, sharp claws and sharp razor teeth. If your dog gets in close contact with a possum, he will likely get scratched or bitten by the possum.
Possums carry a number of diseases and illnesses which when transmitted to your dog, can be very fatal. It is important to note that your dog doesn’t have to get close a possum to get infected.
If your dog comes in contact with possum urine or poop, he can very well get infected with these diseases. A dead possum still carries these diseases so it is not also safe for your dog to eat a dead possum.
In the following section, we will be discussing some of the diseases possums carry, which can be potentially fatal to dog.
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Diseases Possums Carry That Are Fatal To Dogs
Whether it is the dog that bites the possum or the possum bites the dog, there is a chance that the dog can get infected by the diseases that possums carry. These diseases can be fatal to dogs. Here are some:
It is rare for possums to carry rabies or get your dog infected with rabies but it is not impossible. However, the chances of your do getting infected with rabies from biting a possum or being bitten by a possum, are quite slim.
Trypanosoma cruzi are responsible for this disease. They are one-celled parasites, invisible to human eyes but are carried around by possums. Your dog can get infected with the Chagas disease from close contact with a possum.
One of the many diseases Possums carry is Tuberculosis. If your dog bites a possum or gets bitten by a possum, he is at a risk of getting infected with tuberculosis. This is usually accompanied with symptoms like loss of appetite, harsh coughing and high temperature.
This disease is usually cause by a type of worm known as nematode. Possums mostly pick up Trichomoniasis from the wild and can get your dog infected. Trichomoniasis cause cysts in the muscle tissues of dogs.
Fleas And Ticks
Like Trichomoniasis, possums pick up fleas from being out in the wild and can pass them on to your dog when they come in close contact. Luckily, possums eat ticks, as much as 5,000 ticks in the space of 3 months, so you do not have to worry about ticks when possums are around.
Leptospirosis is one of the diseases possums carry that can be very fatal to dogs. It is a bacterial disease that can damage dogs’ organs if they get infected with it. This disease in dogs is usually accompanied by symptoms like high temperature, jaundice and muscle cramps.
Coccidiosis is qa parasite that lives in the intestinal walls of dog when they get infected with it. Although dogs might not show any symptoms even if they have been infected with Coccidiosis, this disease is very dangerous to dog, more so to young puppies.
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What To Do If My Dog Comes In Contact With A Possum
If your dog comes in close contact with a possum, there are three important steps you must take, in this order:
- Do not try to scare the possum away as this may spook the possum and result in more defense attacks. Pay more attention on getting yourself and your dog away from the possum as soon as possible. If your dog has gone through obedience training, you can use cues and commands to get him away from the possum and over to you. Once you have your dog by your side, put a leash on him and take him away.
- Observe your dog; run a thorough check on him for scratches and possum bite marks around his body. If you come across any scratch or bite marks, you might need to contact your vet doctor immediately to get your dog checked.
- If you found any possum bite marks on your dog, avoid wasting any time. Although it is rare, the possum might have been carrying rabies. This is why your dog needs immediate medical attention. Immediately contact your veterinary doctor in order to manage the situation and prevent it from worsening. Your vet will clean up the bite wounds and scratches, and then administer antibiotics to help your dog heal faster.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can A Possum Injure A Dog?
Except it is attacked, a Possum will not attack your dog nor injure him. Possums are not aggressive animals. They are docile and would rather avoid confrontations.
However, if the dog comes in close contact with a possum and the possum feels threatened, your dog is not likely to get away without a scratch or bite injury while the possum is trying to defend itself.
What Happens If My Dog Gets Close To A Possum?
Possums are not confrontational but if your dog happens to get close to a possum, he might end up with a possum bite. The major concern about your dog getting a possum bite is that your dog would be at a risk of infection.
If the bite wound is left untreated, it can continue to harbor dirt and bacteria, increasing the risk of infection and other health issues like diarrhea, vomiting and fever.
You cannot say for sure that your dog will not come in contact with a possum. You must understand that your dog does not even have to be in direct contact with a possum to get infected with some of these diseases. If a possum gets into your yard or garden, he may pee or poop in the yard and get the place infected.
When your dog comes into the yard, he is at a risk of infection if he comes in contact with the urine or feces of the possum. To be safe, it is important to get your dog fully vaccinated to protect him from getting infected with these dangerous diseases.
You might also need to contact pet control to keep possums away from your yard as your dog isn’t the only one at a risk of getting infected. These diseases can also be transmitted from possums to humans.