15 Facts About Rabies Every Dog Owner Should Know


Rabies is a serious threat to dogs, but knowledge is our best defense. While rabies isn’t a widespread threat in developed countries thanks to extensive vaccination programs, it remains a serious concern due to its near-fatal nature. Each year in the U.S., around 400–500 cases of rabies in domestic pets like dogs, cats, and ferrets are reported. This guide contains 15 necessary facts about rabies in dogs, covering symptoms, causes, and prevention. Equip yourself to keep your furry friend safe and healthy!

Beyond the Bite


While bites are the most common way rabies spreads, the virus is present in saliva. Therefore, a lick on an open wound (like a scratch or sore) can also transmit the disease.

Not Just Foaming


Excessive drooling is a well-known symptom of rabies, but it’s not the only one. Rabid dogs can also exhibit unusual shyness or become inexplicably aggressive. This is because the virus attacks the nervous system, affecting their behavior.

Water Woes


Hydrophobia, the fear of water, is a classic sign of rabies. However, some dogs may show difficulty swallowing water due to throat paralysis caused by the virus.

Behavioral and Personality Changes

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Playful pups who suddenly become withdrawn, lethargic, or irritable could be showing signs of rabies. Ensure you don’t ignore such dramatic changes in your pet’s behavior.

The Nervous System Under Attack

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If you’ve noticed your dog experiencing convulsions, it’s important to be aware that rabies can disrupt the nervous system, leading to abnormal electrical activity in the brain and causing seizures.


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Disorientation and difficulty coordinating movement are worrying signs of rabies. A dog that seems lost in its own home stumbles frequently or has trouble getting around familiar obstacles might be suffering from the effects of the virus.

Bizarre Symptoms

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Rabies can manifest in incredibly strange ways, including the compulsive eating disorder known as pica. Pica causes your pet to consume non-food items like rocks or dirt. This is due to the way the virus disrupts the dog’s standard behavior patterns.

Vaccinate is The Best Defense


Regular rabies vaccinations are the single most effective way to prevent your pet friend from contracting the disease. Talk to your veterinarian about an effective and convenient vaccination schedule for your pup.

Maintaining Protection

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Don’t skip booster shots! The initial vaccination provides some protection, but booster shots are indispensable to maintaining long-term immunity against rabies.

Vaccination Might Be Mandatory


In many areas, rabies vaccination for dogs is mandatory by law. Check with your local animal control department or veterinarian to ensure your dog is not behind on their vaccinations to comply with regulations and protect your pet.

Keep Your Dog on a Leash

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Wild animals, especially raccoons, bats, and foxes, are common carriers of rabies. Keep your dog leashed and supervised during walks, especially in areas frequented by wildlife.

Immediate Action 


If you suspect your dog has been exposed to rabies through a bite or contact with a wild animal, rush them to a veterinarian. Early intervention can be life-saving, but delay can be fatal.

No Human-to-Dog Transmission


Rabies cannot be transmitted directly from humans to dogs. The virus is present in the saliva of infected mammals, so humans cannot spread it to their pets through casual contact.

A Global Threat 


Rabies is a disease that exists worldwide. If you travel with your dog, be sure they are up-to-date on their vaccinations and research any rabies risks in the area you’ll be visiting.

Protecting Your Community


By preventing rabies in dogs, you’re not just protecting your furry friend; you’re also protecting yourself and your community. Rabies, being a zoonotic disease, can jump from animals to humans. Hence, vaccinating your dog can help prevent the spread of the virus, keeping everyone safe in the end.


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