Seeing a wild animal bite your dog is already scary enough for many owners. But if that wild animal is a rat or a raccoon, it can be more problematic.
Raccoons are the primary source of rabies in the USA, making them extremely dangerous for your dog.
Raccoons are omnivorous animals native to North America. They are nocturnal creatures and weigh around 20kg (44lb). Today, you can also find raccoons in parts of Europe and Japan. Raccoons are considered pests in suburban areas around the USA and other countries.
Thanks to their adaptability, you can find raccoons almost anywhere in the US. It’s when they come in contact with humans that things can get ugly. Most dogs are territorial and will try to attack or defend.
If your dog attacks a raccoon, the raccoon will fight back. If that happens, this is the guide for you.
Why Are Raccoons a Danger to Your Dogs?
Raccoons are wild animals that carry many diseases. Not only do they often have rabies, but some raccoons can be aggressive.
Their sharp teeth and claws can injure your dog. Most healthy raccoons won’t attack a dog.
However, many dogs will chase the raccoon and corner it. A cornered raccoon or any other wild animal will fight back, and as a response, the dog will fight too.
If your dog fights a raccoon, this is what you must do:
- Before stopping the fight, find thick gloves, coats, and cover yourself as much as possible. Protecting yourself can be the difference between a few bruises and having to get a rabies shot.
- Pick up any large object that you can find. It can be a shovel, a tree branch, or anything sturdy enough.
- Use the object to push the raccoon away. Remember that it is more important to move the raccoon away than to hurt it.
Note: Do not try to pick up your dog during the fight. Dogs in fight mode are dangerous to their owners as their brains cannot simultaneously process two different thoughts. If you try to pull them away, they will sense an attack from behind and try to bite you.
Focus on the raccoon during the fight. If you try to pull your dog away, it could lead to the raccoon taking advantage of it and attacking the dog.
Diseases Raccoons Carry
Raccoons and other wild animals are susceptible to many diseases, parasites, and other pathogens.
This is a common bacterial disease that can spread through urine contamination of the water. Leptospirosis attacks the circulation system, kidneys, and liver. It is a hazardous disease that can be fatal in some cases.
Leptospirosis can infect humans, dogs, cats, and other animals. There can be no symptoms until it is already too late. Once the high fever starts, the disease has already spread through the body.
One of the most known diseases globally, rabies is fatal in most cases. Raccoons often carry the disease and are considered the number one carrier in the United States.
Rabies attacks the nervous systems of humans and dogs, as well as other animals. Once in the brain, the virus will spread quickly, and there won’t be a way to stop it. To this day, only fourteen people in the world have survived post-symptoms rabies.
Rabies symptoms include paralysis of the jaws and mouth, which causes the infamous foaming. Rabies can also produce disorientation, loss of appetite, seizures, and sudden death.
Canine distemper is the most common disease found on raccoons and can be lethal for unvaccinated dogs. Raccoons do not usually show any symptoms, and it can be indistinguishable from rabies.
Common symptoms include high fever, pus-like discharges from the eyes, lethargy, and vomiting. It can be lethal for most dogs, but puppies are most susceptible to it. Therefore, you should vaccinate your dogs against the disease.
Toxoplasmosis can be fatal for humans and animals with compromised immune systems. Healthy dogs can survive the disease without a problem, but puppies and older dogs need treatment.
The symptoms of dogs can include fever, diarrhea, muscle weakness, paralysis, and eye inflammation.
What to Do if Your Dog Gets Bitten by a Raccoon?
If you were part of the fight, then check yourself for any possible wounds. It is imperative to pay attention to yourself first.
After checking yourself, then proceed to follow the next steps:
- Check your dog for any signs of wounds.
- If your dog is clear, then proceed to quarantine your dog for at least two hours. Doing this will ensure that rabies in the air won’t affect anyone else.
- After two hours, check on your dog again. If there are zero signs of aggression or anything else, then you can let your dog out.
- If you notice wounds, then take your dog to a veterinarian right away. You should take yourself to the ER right away if you notice any cuts or bites on you.
Rabies is a dangerous disease, and if you realize you have symptoms, it is probably too late to act.
Who Should You Contact?
Veterinarians have training for this sort of situation. Therefore, you should contact yours as soon as you notice a wound on your dog after a fight.
If you do not see an injury, you can still consult with your veterinarian as a precaution.
Raccoon attacks are not common, and attacks on dogs are even less so. If you witness the fight and want to stop it, remember to focus on the raccoon.
Avoid getting closer by using a large object like a shovel, and wear thick clothes to protect yourself.
Once the fight is over, make sure you and your dog are okay by checking for any potential wounds. Raccoons can transmit many different diseases, including rabies. Make sure you are both clear and quarantine your dog just in case.
If you or your dog have any kind of wound because of the attack, go straight to a specialist to get it treated. Rabies is a dangerous disease that can be fatal if not treated soon.