What do I do if my dog has a baby bunny? Here’s What to Expect

What If Your Dog Catches A Rabbit?

I’ve often wondered what we should do, on those rare occasions when your dog actually catches wildlife — but doesn’t hurt or kill it.

Here’s what I learned you should do when it’s a rabbit:

According to Nancy Campbell, a registered Veterinary Technician: You should just leave it!

If you or your dog happens to touch one of the baby bunnies, it’s okay.

Other good advice from Messenger Woods, a Wildlife Care & Education Center:

Rarely. It’s best to leave rabbits in their natural environment, and let nature play its course.

In our case, most recently, it was those newborn baby bunnies that began to wreak havoc in the back yard and my dog took a keen interest!…

Why Do Dogs Kill Baby Rabbits?

Not all dogs have the urge to kill bunnies, but many dog breeds have a strong hunting instinct. A canine’s hunting behavior stems from its time in the wild when dogs needed to hunt and catch their prey to survive. Small mammals, like mice and baby rabbits, which are slower and more vulnerable than larger rabbits, are easy for dogs to kill and eat.

Even though the US National Library of Medicine suggests that dogs were likely the first pet to become domesticated, humans would historically use dogs to sniff out rabbits and displace them from their burrows to control the pest population.

Rabbit hunting is difficult without canine help. They’re small, fast, and hard to catch. Rabbits also live in burrows that go deep into the ground. Humans can’t reach them, but small dogs can – which is why terriers and other small breeds have always been preferred for rabbit hunting.

While pet dogs are now less likely to hunt baby rabbits for food, some dog owners encourage them to pursue bunnies for sport, which means some breeds have retained their hunting instincts. Farmers still use certain dog breeds, like Terriers, Lurchers, and Pointers, for pest control to protect their crops.

If your dog kills a baby rabbit, it’s because its hunting instinct is strong and it’s merely giving in to its natural behavior. While unpleasant and relatively uncommon in pets, it’s quite normal for dogs to eat baby rabbits.

Is touching a baby bunny bad?

And don’t panic if you or your child touches the bunnies. It’s a myth that a mother rabbit (and many other wildlife mamas) will reject their babies if they have a human scent on them. Just cover the nest and don’t touch the babies again; handling the little ones can cause injury and stress.

Baby Bunny Screaming After Being Rescue from Hungry Dogs || Heartsome

If your cat or dog has brought a baby bunny in, look for wounds. If you see blood and you can’t find the nest, only then take in in. Put it in a box with something soft and then please call a “licensed” wildlife rehab facility.