Nothing sets my dog off quite like seeing a squirrel.

Honestly, it's cute to see her ears perk up and her pupils dilate as she rears up on her back legs. I always have her on a leash when we walk outside, so I'm not sure if she would "play" with a squirrel or actually, shall we say, hunt it down.


Either way, it's not a good idea to let your dogs or cats come into contact with a squirrel if you can avoid it, because a squirrel can hurt or even kill your beloved pet.

If you're thinking rabies, you can set that worry mostly aside, especially if your animal is vaccinated against it. If you are following Texas law, you had your pet vaccinated after four months old. And it's much more rare (but not impossible) for squirrels to carry rabies than other types of wildlife like skunks or raccoons.

When "played" with, or hunted, a squirrel will of course attempt to defend itself. If your pet does come into contact with a squirrel look for bites and scratches and attend to them immediately, as they could become infected.

The most dangerous result that could occur from squirrel contact is a Leptospirosis infection, which even humans can catch. For us, it's flu-like, but for our pets, it can cause deadly kidney failure. Leptospirosis is spread through the urine of the infected animal, which could easily be ingested by your attacking animal.

Because Lepto is spread through urine, it's also important to monitor your yard for wildlife activity that could cause indirect contact. Bird baths and ponds could be a disease vector to your pets if you allow them to play outside and drink from them. If you have a yard full of squirrels, you may want to reconsider any standing water. You may also want to have them humanely removed, as even contact with Lepto-infected soil can harm your pet.

Remember: it's always a good idea to monitor your pet's outdoor activity when you can. From "killer" squirrels to the even more killer Texas sun in summertime, it's good to know when it's time for them to come inside.

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