Dogs And Possums: [Age Old Combatants]

Dogs And Possums

Most canine breeds are not fond of wild animals, including possums. This is especially true for dog breeds, such as the dachshund, chihuahua, and poodle, because they tend to instigate.

These breeds will do whatever is necessary to try to start a fight with larger breeds and other animals. They will do this even though they are not large enough to defend themselves.

Large breeds tend to have more control, especially when they have undergone extensive canine training. What should you expect your dog to do if he/she sees a possum in the backyard? Find the answer to this question and much more in the article below.

Possum In Backyard Dog


If you reside in the United States and have a dog, the odds of it encountering an opossum is very high. The possum dates back to the early colonial era. The English colonists were the first American settlers to observe the opossum.

However, evidence shows Native Americans were already consuming possums prior to the arrival of the early English colonists.

The first English colonist to write about the opossum was William Strachey. The author mentioned possum in his poem “What’s Mo’ Temptin’ to de Palate?” In the poem, Strachey described cooked possum as “soul food.”

[Related Article: Can You Eat Possum: [Complete Guide]

My Dog Had A Possum In His Mouth

Possums, also referred to as opossums, are born partially developed. This type of mammal is known as a “marsupial.” There are various types of marsupials – Tasmanian devil, koala, thylacine, sugar glider, and wombat – but the opossum is the only one that can be found in the United States.

Marsupials are similar to the kangaroo, as they carry their young around in their pouches. This is very important for marsupials because they are only partially developed at birth.

Like many wild animals, the opossums have sharp molars with pointed tips. This allows the animals to chew through tough food like blossoms, fruits, and leaves.

There are approximately 103 possum species, which are divided into 19 genera (plural for genus). But, only one of these species, the brushtail, has teeth that are not super-sharp.

When dogs see another animal, they’re likely going to revert to their natural instincts. This means that they may attack the animal in question. So, what should you do if your dog shows up with a possum in his mouth?

First, you’ll want to inspect your dog carefully to make sure he wasn’t bitten. You’ll want to look in the dog’s mouth, on his snout, and around his body. This can be difficult if your dog has a thick coat. If you don’t notice anything out of the ordinary, you should brush your dog’s teeth using pet toothpaste.

If the opossum had fleas, there is a risk that your dog is going to develop tapeworms. You’ll want to keep an eye on this. If you suspect something is wrong, you should take your dog to the vet immediately.

Since possums have a lower body temperature, they’re far less likely to have rabies. However, they can carry other diseases so you’ll have to be careful about that.

My Dog Attacked A Possum What Should I Do

You never know what your dog is going to do when you’re not watching. If you have opossums on your property, there is a risk that you’re going to experience a wildlife showdown.

There might be a fight and your dog could get bitten during the scuffle. When this happens, you’ll want to act quickly. Carefully examine your dog to make sure that everything is okay.

If the dog has been bitten or injured, you’ll want to take him to the veterinarian as quickly as possible. Your vet will be able to treat the wound and give your dog antibiotics and pain killers as necessary.

Furthermore, they’ll be able to check your dog for diseases. You may also want to report the incident to your local wildlife agency. An opossum bite could lead to a nasty wound and infection so you’ll want to get that checked out as soon as possible.

If the animal is dead, you should try to take it with you to the vet. The doctor may want to send the animal in for testing so they can make sure that it was free of disease. They’ll likely want to give your dog a rabies shot too.

My Dog Ate A Possum

If your dog eats an opossum, you’ll want to be very careful. This is far more common than you might imagine. While these animals aren’t aggressive, they can still be problematic for pets and their owners.

One of the biggest concerns is the fact that opossums can carry an array of diseases including leptospirosis. This disease and others can be passed to humans and animals. If you don’t treat the problem quickly, it could be fatal. It’ll cause kidney damage, liver failure, respiratory issues, and more.

If you or your dog has been bitten by an opossum, you’ll want to get tested for leprosy. Remember that the symptoms will be similar to those of the flu. If your dog brings a dead opossum to your dog, you’ll want to get him tested too.

These animals may carry leprosy, tuberculosis, spotted fever, relapsing fever, and more diseases. Whether your dog is bitten or he bites the opossum, there are grave risks involved.

Take your dog to your vet and have him tested as soon as possible. The good news is that your dog would have to eat the animal to contract the disease so it may not be the end of the world. Still, it is better to be safe than sorry.


In most cases, opossums are not going to be aggressive. They look mean and their hiss is enough to scare anyone. Nevertheless, these animals are likely not going to attack your dog. As long as your dog doesn’t get too close, it should be okay.

It is best to keep your dog away from these animals. In the word case scenarios, your dog will kill the opossum and it’ll catch a dangerous disease. Alternatively, the dog may be bitten and this too could cause it to contract a nasty disease. Keeping opossums out of your yard is the best solution.

Brian Koller

Growing up on a farm in eastern PA, I’ve grown fond of wildlife and the woods and learning about the critters and firewood and everything else in-between. I made this site to share my experiences and knowledge.

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