What to Do if a Raccoon Bites Your Dog

If your dog was recently bitten by a raccoon, there are a few signs you should look out for.

Signs Your Dog Was Bitten by a Raccoon

  • Swelling, redness, or tenderness around the bite area. Raccoon bites can become inflamed quickly, even if the skin wasn’t broken.
  • Limping or reluctance to walk. A raccoon’s sharp teeth can cause damage to tendons, muscles, and joints.
  • Draining wound or pus. Raccoons carry bacteria in their saliva that can cause infections.
  • Lethargy or loss of appetite. If your dog seems unusually tired or isn’t interested in food after a raccoon bite, it could signal the onset of disease.

Risks of Raccoon Bites and Raccoon-Borne Diseases

If a raccoon bites your dog, there are some risks and diseases to be aware of.  They include: 


The biggest concern is rabies, a deadly virus that attacks the central nervous system. Raccoons are common carriers of rabies, so any raccoon bite should be considered a possible rabies exposure. Rabies is transmitted through infected saliva into an open wound or mucous membrane (like the eyes or mouth).

Without treatment, rabies is fatal once symptoms appear. The good news is rabies can be prevented if treatment is started promptly after exposure. Seek vet care immediately for your dog they will need to be quarantined for 10 days and receive a rabies booster shot.

Other Diseases

Other diseases transmitted by raccoon bites include:

  • Leptospirosis: A bacterial infection that can cause kidney and liver damage. Treatment includes antibiotics.
  • Tularemia: A rare bacterial disease that causes skin ulcers, swollen lymph nodes, and fever. Also treated with antibiotics.
  • Salmonella: A common bacteria that can cause diarrhea, abdominal pain, and fever in dogs. Usually self-limiting but may require fluids and antibiotics for severe cases.
  • Roundworms: Raccoons often carry a roundworm parasite called Baylisascaris procyonis that can infect dogs and cause serious illness. De-worming medication may be recommended after a raccoon bite.


First Aid for Raccoon Bites on Dogs

Here are the steps you should take right away:

1. Clean the Wound

As soon as possible, wash the bite wound thoroughly with soap and water. Gently flush the area to remove any dirt, saliva, or other contaminants. Apply an antibiotic ointment and cover the wound with a sterile bandage or gauze pad.

2. Monitor for Infection

Check the bite daily for signs of infection like swelling, redness, pain, or pus. If you notice these, see your vet right away for medication. They may prescribe a round of antibiotics to prevent infection just to be safe.

3. Get Rabies Prevention

Because raccoons can carry rabies, it’s critical your dog receives rabies prevention after any raccoon bite. Your vet will give your dog a rabies booster shot or may start a new round of vaccinations depending on their last dose.

4. Seek Medical Care

Even if the bite seems minor, take your dog to the vet to be examined within 24 hours. The vet can properly clean and dress the wound, check for any nerve or tissue damage, and determine if your dog needs antibiotics, pain medication, or other treatment.

5. Prevent Future Incidents

To avoid another raccoon encounter, remove food sources from your yard that may be attracting raccoons like unsecured trash, compost, pet food, etc. You should also install motion-activated lights, sprinklers or noisemakers to deter raccoons.

Getting Veterinary Care After a Raccoon Bite

If a raccoon bites your dog, it’s critical to get veterinary care right away. Raccoons can transmit serious diseases and infections to dogs, even from a small bite or scratch.

Seek medical help immediately

As soon as possible after the incident, take your dog to the vet or an emergency animal hospital. The vet will thoroughly clean and treat the wound to prevent infection. They may also administer antibiotics as a precaution.

Watch for symptoms

For the next few weeks, closely monitor your dog for any symptoms related to diseases raccoons can carry like:

Rabies, Aggression, excessive drooling, paralysis Fever, vomiting, diarrhea, etc.

Take your dog to the vet right away if any symptoms appear. Early diagnosis and treatment of these diseases is critical.

Follow-up care

Your vet may want to see your dog again for follow-up appointments to check on the wound and ensure no infections have developed.

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How to Prevent Future Raccoon Attacks on Your Dog

Once a raccoon has attacked your dog, it’s important to take steps to prevent future incidents and keep your pup safe. Raccoons can be aggressive in defending their territory or food sources, so here are some tips to avoid confrontations:

Supervise your dog in the yard. Don’t leave your dog unattended in the yard, especially at night. Always supervise them while they’re outside to avoid direct confrontation with wildlife. Your presence can also deter raccoons and other animals from approaching your dog.

By taking proactive measures to secure food sources, block shelter, and supervise your dog, you can avoid dangerous encounters with raccoons in the future.


Raccoon bites on dogs can be scary, but with prompt veterinary care and close follow-up, the risks can be well-managed. Call your vet right away for guidance and get your dog checked out as soon as possible after an encounter.

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