Can possums hurt dogs?

Answered by John Hunt

Possums can indeed pose a risk to dogs. While they may appear cute and harmless, possums can become aggressive when they feel threatened or cornered. If a dog gets too close to a possum, there is a possibility that the possum may scratch or bite the dog in self-defense.

One of the primary concerns with possums and dogs is the potential for disease transmission. Possums are known carriers of various diseases, including leptospirosis, tuberculosis, and various parasites. If a dog comes into contact with a possum and gets bitten or ingests possum feces, there is a risk of contracting these diseases.

It’s worth noting that the risk of disease transmission from possums to dogs is relatively low, and most dogs are unlikely to get sick from a brief encounter with a possum. However, it’s still important to take precautions and avoid close contact between dogs and possums.

Possums are generally smaller than most dogs, and they prefer to avoid confrontation whenever possible. They will typically try to flee or play dead to deter potential threats. However, if a dog persists in chasing or engaging with a possum, there is a higher likelihood of an aggressive response from the possum.

To protect your dog from potential harm, it’s best to keep them away from possums. If you spot a possum in your yard or during a walk, it’s advisable to keep your dog on a leash and maintain a safe distance. Additionally, ensure that your yard is secure and free from any potential entry points for possums, such as gaps in fences or open trash cans.

If your dog does come into contact with a possum and sustains any injuries, it’s essential to seek veterinary attention. Even minor scratches or bites can become infected, and your vet can determine the appropriate course of treatment, including cleaning the wound and providing any necessary vaccinations.

Possums can be dangerous to dogs, primarily through the risk of scratches, bites, and potential disease transmission. While the likelihood of an encounter with a possum causing harm to your dog is relatively low, it’s still important to take precautions and prevent close contact between the two species. By being aware of the potential risks and taking appropriate measures, you can help keep your dog safe from possum-related hazards.