My dog attacked a possum, what should I do now? Instead of panicking, you should move away, check your dog, and call the vet.
While it’s unfortunate that your dog hurt a possum, it’s still important to ensure that your pet is safe. It’s because possums are carriers of various transmissible diseases like coccidiosis and tuberculosis.
Below, I outlined the steps you can take and other information you should know. This is for both you and your dog’s safety.
What to do if your dog attacked a possum?
A dog attacking a possum can be a scary situation. Here’s what you need to do to stay safe:
Step 1. Move away from the possum
The very first thing you should do is bring your dog as far away as possible from the possum. Never try to scare away or engage with the possum as this will only trigger more harm.
Also, don’t try to check the possum after the attack. Playing dead is one of the skills of this animal and it may put you in harm’s way if you go near.
Leash your dog as fast as possible and walk away from the scene. You can also carry your dog if it’s small enough.
If the possum tries to follow you, keep running with your dog. Possums aren’t fast sprinters, so it’s easy to outrun them.
Step 2. Try to assess who started the fight
Once you’re in a safe place, try to recall what happened when you saw your dog in a fight with a possum. Ask yourself, who started it?
This question may sound stupid, but the answer will tell you a lot about how serious the situation is.
If your dog started the fight, you shouldn’t worry too much. Dogs can be predatory at times and a possum just became its target.
However, if it’s the possum who made the first strike, you have to act fast. It’s possible that the animal is rabid and your dog might be at serious risk.
Step 3. Check your dog
Next, check your dog for wounds and injuries. If there are bite marks or any open wounds, you should call the veterinarian right away.
If your dog seems unscathed, there might be no need to go to the vet. Still, many pet owners prefer to err on the side of caution by having their dogs checked nonetheless.
Step 4. Call your dog’s veterinarian
Lastly, call your dog’s veterinarian and describe what happened. This will allow the vet to prepare as you drive your dog to the clinic.
Aside from that, the vet can provide first-aid steps in case your dog has a large wound. Still, the veterinarian will always ask you to bring the pooch in for an in-depth examination.
Depending on your dog’s vaccination schedule, it may be given a rabies booster shot. This is especially important if you suspect that the possum is rabid.
If the possum encounters are becoming frequent in your neighborhood, you can report them to your local animal control department. They can do something to help prevent possums from entering yards.
How to keep your dog safe from possums
It’s important to prevent your dog from having another brush with an opossum. For that, you can do the following steps:
1. Keep your dog indoors at night.
Possums are nocturnal beings, so it’s always best to keep your dog indoors to prevent another encounter.
Make sure that your doors and windows are locked. You should also check potential entryways where a possum may sneak in.
If you have an outdoor dog, keeping it away from possums can be challenging. In this case, you can use repellents like the point I discussed below.
2. Always leash your dog when walking at night.
If you’re walking your dog at night or taking it for a potty break, always keep the pooch leashed. This way, the doggo won’t pursue a possum nearby.
This will also make it easier for you to get your pet away from a possum in case it charges in your direction. It’s also ideal to use a harness on your dog, so you can lift them up in case there’s a possum nearby.
3. Remove possum attractants to your yard.
Possums are opportunistic scavengers who will go back to your yard to hunt for food. In some cases, this animal can also feed on leftover dog food in your outdoor dog’s bowl.
To prevent this, you should wash your dog’s bowl and remove the leftovers. You should also cover your garbage bins to discourage feral dumpster divers.
4. Use scent repellents.
An effective way to keep possums away from your dog and property is to repel them with scents. These marsupials detest the smell of mothballs and ammonia.
You can place these around your yard to deter possums. Still, make sure that your dog is indoors, so it won’t try to eat these repellents.
5. Hire a professional.
In case possums are getting out of control in your area, you can call a professional animal control service. They can set up traps, deterrents, and barriers so these critters won’t bother you and your dog anymore.
Can my dog get sick from direct contact with a possum?
Direct contact with a possum can potentially transmit diseases to your dog. Possums are carriers of diseases like coccidiosis, leptospirosis, tuberculosis, Chagas, spotted fever, and more.
Take note that these illnesses are transmissible both to canines and humans. This is why you should observe extra caution if your place is notorious for possums.
Should I be worried if my dog bit a possum?
While rare, your dog can get sick if it bits a possum. This is due to the slew of bacteria and viruses that the critter may have.
If you’re worried, you can always consult the veterinarian. Your dog may receive booster shots, depending on the vet’s findings.
Can my dog get rabies from biting a possum?
Technically, it’s possible for a dog to contract rabies from possums, since the latter is a feasible carrier of the virus. Still, such cases are rare since most domesticated dogs are vaccinated against the deadly disease.
Overall, there’s a slim chance that dogs will get rabies from possums. If you’re paranoid, the vet is always the best person to consult.
Do possums spray dogs?
Unlike skunks, possums don’t have the ability to spray when they are threatened. The foul smell they emit will only get to your dog if the pooch got in physical contact with the critter.
So if your dog came home smelling like a decaying corpse, it likely had a close encounter with a possum. I suggest checking the canine for potential injuries or bites.
How do you get a possum smell out of a dog?
A possum smell is reminiscent of that of rotting meat. It’s pungent for a reason: to drive away predators in the wild.
If it got into your dog, you can use a mixture of dishwashing soap, baking soda, and hydrogen peroxide. This solution can effectively neutralize the foul smell.
You can also use your dog’s regular shampoo, but let it soak on the canine’s coat for about 10 to 15 minutes. This is to wash away as much smell as possible.
After that, rinse your dog’s coat thoroughly. If there’s still a foul smell, repeat washing until you’re satisfied with the result.
However, if the possum smell still lingers on your dog’s coat, you should bring your pet to a professional groomer. This expert has special solutions that can help remove the stinky odor.
My dog attacked a possum, what should I do? First, secure yourself and your canine away from the possum before calling the vet.
After the encounter, you should observe preventive measures, so your dog won’t have another brush with a possum. This is important as the critters are carriers of harmful diseases.
Dave Bryan is an experienced editor with a passion for animals and writing. With a degree in journalism and years of experience in the publishing industry, he has honed his skills in crafting engaging content that informs and entertains readers. As an editor at Petcosset, Dave brings his expertise to ensure that the content produced is accurate, informative, and compelling. He has a keen eye for detail and is committed to maintaining high editorial standards. Dave is also a dedicated pet owner and loves spending time with his furry companions.