Did my dog kill something?

(26 Posts)
permana Sun 05-Apr-20 22:33:03

Ok, so last night I was walking my dog off-lead near where I live. It was dark as I'm trying to avoid people, and the green areas near me a quite popular now because of lockdown.
When I arrived home, and put the lights on my dog had red fresh blood around her muzzle. I am going to assume it was blood because that's what it looked like, and there isn't any other rational explanation that I can think of.
I checked she wasn't hurt/bleeding (which she wasn't) and washed it off.

I'm a bit in shock to be honest, I walk her off lead in a very large rural area (no livestock or domestic animals) and she does disappear into the undergrowth and runs around chasing the millions of rabbits and squirrels.

On a couple of occasions she has caught a young rabbit, mostly by coming across them, as she's not quick enough to catch one normally, she will happily hand over the catch, she loses interest once the animal is not running.

But did she catch and kill a rabbit last night?
(I'm going to assume a rabbit as my dog is a bit of a wimp and is very scared of my cat etc)
Is it possible to kill and start eating a rabbit etc and not get any other blood on herself other than her muzzle (my dog is bright white and quite fluffy) - I would have thought her paws/front legs might have got splashed of blood on them?

I know it's entirely possible, but how probable is it? She's a mixed breed dog, small size, and as I said really interested in chasing small animals, but I've never seen her kill anything before. She wasn't out of my sight for long (she wears a flashing collar in the dark).

I kept her on a lead on tonight's walk. Should I muzzle her on off-lead walks from now on? Will she have the taste for blood?

She's been acting as normal today, but I'm really freaked out by it!

OP’s posts: |
Shambolical1 Mon 06-Apr-20 01:33:57

Dogs are predators, some will kill things. It's a hard-wired instinct in some breeds to chase and kill, some types more so than others. Sounds like yours might have terrier in the mix somewhere as she's so interested in small furry things.

As to what she might have caught - could be anything small(ish) and furry. Mouse/shrew/rat/rabbit/hedgehog/vole/mole/fledgling pigeon? Duck? Any ponds nearby? You should be aware, though, that some shrews and voles are protected species (and hedgehogs have a hard enough time of it already).

Did you hear any rushing about or excited barking? That's probably the best guide. Blood is strange, a little goes a very long way. It's unlikely there would be any 'splashing'.

The 'taste for blood' is a myth, she won't be any different. She's not vicious or nasty, just behaving instinctively in the presence of something which triggers the instinct.

You can get bells - falconry bells are good - to attach to her collar or harness to give the wildlife a head start.

If you intend to muzzle her you should get a properly fitted basket type, not one of the soft fabric ones which are meant for short-term wear at the vets or groomers. A determined dog can still catch and kill wearing a muzzle.

Yokohamajojo Mon 06-Apr-20 08:57:19

It could be that she just tore her lip on some brambles?

Booboostwo Mon 06-Apr-20 09:02:59

She probably injured herself and bled a bit.

The ‘taste for blood’ stuff is utterly ridiculous. She has not turned into a vampire. Dogs are hunters, some have a stronger hunting instinct than others.

permana Mon 06-Apr-20 11:04:11

I don't think the taste for blood is ridiculous, although the phrasing is a little crude. But thanks.

OP’s posts: |
happygardening Mon 06-Apr-20 11:04:53

My dog has a very low prey drive I could (but dont) walk through a field of sheep and he wouldn't do anything. But if but pure luck and it would be luck because he doesn't have any hunting instinct in him at all, he comes across a half dead myxy rabbit, he wouldn't bother with a healthy one, he would kill it and run around with it in his mouth around full of joy at what he's done it. It's what dogs do. Your dog already chases animals its inevitable that either by luck of judgement she will catch and kill something.
This is going to upset some but I come form a farming background rabbits are vermin, they do considerable damage to land/crops/wild flowers/grasses, grey squirrels have wiped out the red squirrel population in the UK they are rats with fluffy tails so frankly I don't think dogs killing a few is a great loss.

permana Mon 06-Apr-20 11:06:05

I've actually worked out what it was, dog was not injured and she didn't kill anything, so I'm in the clear!
I'm going to buy some falconers bells though, thanks for that great suggestion Sham

OP’s posts: |


happygardening Mon 06-Apr-20 11:06:21

Sorry the English population of red squirrels not the UK population red squirrels are regularly seen in Scotland.

mrsjoyfulprizeforraffiawork Mon 06-Apr-20 13:30:27

My current dog (Staffie X) tries to catch small rodents and has got hold of two rats though not known how to kill them, so I got her to let them go. My previous dog (a sort of Greek sheepdog), was very adept at catching mice and eating them. However, current dog (the staffie) has often turned up covered in blood and it has always come from bramble tears/thorns on her head (she always seems to hit a medium sized blood vessel and looks very gory).

LochJessMonster Mon 06-Apr-20 14:14:21

Well what was it then?

HappyHammy Mon 06-Apr-20 14:15:53

Govt guidelines ask for dogs to be taken out on leads now.

Funf Mon 06-Apr-20 17:39:17

What breed is it?
Its perfectly natural for some dogs to catch and kill vermin small animals etc its in the breed and can be difficult to stop if off the lead.
This was all explained to use when we got ours as its breed used for working so to be expected

tilder Mon 06-Apr-20 17:43:24

What @HappyHammy said.

Sorry. I know it's not ideal. Not a lot is at the moment.

TheCumbrian Mon 06-Apr-20 17:46:19

Sorry the English population of red squirrels not the UK population red squirrels are regularly seen in Scotland

and the North of England. Plenty of them in Cumbria and the North East.

It's nesting season though OP so your dog shouldn't really be off a lead rummaging around in the undergrowth anyway.

permana Mon 06-Apr-20 22:32:35

It's the dogs on-lead only when there is other people around?
I take the point about nesting season, so she's on the lead for now - I'll have to change my walk to a run to burn off her energy though.

OP’s posts: |
steppemum Mon 06-Apr-20 22:36:50

I've actually worked out what it was, dog was not injured and she didn't kill anything, so I'm in the clear!

so what was it?

StillMedusa Tue 07-Apr-20 00:21:57

Mine hunts mice and shrews every day on our daily walk...never kills them though.. she snuffles them out of the grass (countryside) and then pats them.. yesterday she had one sat on her paw, so I removed it. held it for a few minutes til she wandered off and then popped it back down where it scuttled off!

DangerCat01 Tue 07-Apr-20 00:29:20

What was it? I’m dying to know.

OneHanded Tue 07-Apr-20 01:53:07

Our now fourteen year old has in her time caught a local farmers chicken (the son later said it made a delicious roast), a baby deer eaten down to the last hoof (then thrown up, eaten again, and so on), and god knows how many pigeons/pheasants/rabbits/etc... it happens!

Booboostwo Tue 07-Apr-20 06:23:11

Ok then, since she has a taste for blood now what else has she attacked? When do you foresee her moving up to humans, whose blood is, as we all know, particularly tasty?

Catsrus Tue 07-Apr-20 07:55:12

@HappyHammy that is not true, dogs do not have to be on leads. Here is the govt advice to dog owners - worth bookmarking the page in case anything changes https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-for-people-with-animals#dogs

IamHyouweegobshite Tue 07-Apr-20 08:05:42

As a dog owner I find this entitlement of letting dogs off lead a bit much, you have said he has gone for rabbits before, you couldn't keep an eye on him as it was dark. I actually find this incredibly irresponsible.

Are dogs allowed to be off leads at the moment? Why would you let your dog off lead in the dark? Anything could happen and it's clearly much more difficult to keep an eye on the dog when you can't even see it.

bullyingadvice2017 Tue 07-Apr-20 08:17:55

If the dogs off lead enough to maybe have killed something then there's no way you are watching where it's shitting.

I walk my dog off lead Most of the time. I have a big spotlight torch strapped to me at night then I can keep an eye on him. Lots of clip on lights on dog so I can see where he is too.

Pisses me off when I see other dog walkers in the dark clearly with no torch. They most probably don't have any poo bags either.

Scrowy Tue 07-Apr-20 12:12:46

Our now fourteen year old has in her time caught a local farmers chicken (the son later said it made a delicious roast), a baby deer eaten down to the last hoof (then thrown up, eaten again, and so on), and god knows how many pigeons/pheasants/rabbits/etc... it happens!

Do people really wonder why farmers get worried about having dog walkers with this kind of attitude on their land?

It doesn't 'happen' if you keep your dog on a lead around livestock and wildlife. confused

okiedokieme Tue 07-Apr-20 12:44:03

If they pick up a sharp stick it can cause bleeding. Mine doesn't kill (he's had opportunity and chooses to stare fascinated by the creature) but regularly picks up self inflicted injuries - nobody told him sticks are dangerous

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