While it's common knowledge that you should never let your dog hang out with a wild animal, sometimes your dog can catch certain diseases just from being in the same areas as a fox. The most common conditions that foxes can spread to your dog include toxocariasis, mange, and infections from their bites.
Toxocariasis, otherwise known as roundworm, can spread to your dog if he ingests or comes too close to fox feces. Mange, a lower risk, comes from direct contact with foxes - because of this, it's important to keep an eye on your pup at all times and ensure he's not coming into direct contact with foxes. An even more valid reason for this is to stop any possibility of fox bites. If your dog is bitten by a fox, it's generally treatable, but he could be subject to infection or rabies.
If you want to know more about foxes, what they can spread to your dog, how to combat them, and which signs to look for if you think your dog has been exposed to a fox, read on!
Signs Your Dog May Have Contracted Something From a Fox
For example, one of the most common conditions he can come down with contracted from a fox is toxocariasis. This is typically called roundworm and your dog can catch it from ingesting an infected fox's feces. The worms that are in the infected fox produce eggs which are then released in the feces of the infected animal, contaminating it and the soil it sits on.
The easiest way to tell if your dog has this is to take a closer look at his vomit or stool - do you see spaghetti-type worms in it? We know, it's gross, but it's vital for your dog's health to take note. He also may have signs like a dull hair coat, loss of appetite, weight loss, gagging, vomiting, stunted growth, anemia, abdominal obstruction, a distended abdomen, pneumonia, and weakness.
Your dog can also contract mange from foxes, though this risk is a bit lower as it does require direct contact with a fox (typically less likely if you're keeping an eye on your dog). However, it's still possible. If your dog is exhibiting symptoms like itching, scratching, rashes, scabs, lack of appetite, fever, and balding in certain areas, mange could be the culprit!
Another possibility is catching infections from fox bites. If you think your pup may have had direct contact with a fox, check him for scratches, bite marks, and bleeding areas. Your pup might be infected if he's feverish, the bitten area is red, pussy, itchy, or scabbing over. Make sure you take your dog to the dog-tor if you notice any of these symptoms!
- Raspy panting
- Back hair on edge
- Exposed teeth
- Abdominal Pain
- Distended Belly
- Abdominal Obstruction or Rupture
- Visible Worms in Dog's Stool or Vomit
- Rash or Pussing Wound
- Stunted Growth
- Lack of Appetite and Weight Loss
- Dull Coat
- Scabbing, Sores and Bald Spots
Historic Causes of Dogs Catching Things from Foxes
Another reason your dog might catch something from a fox is close contact. You probably watch your dog like a hawk, but it's nearly impossible to keep all eyes on him at all times. If your dog gets too close for comfort to a fox, rubs up against it, moves in to smell and meet it, it's likely he'll either contract mange or get a nasty fox bite! Infections are fairly common from fox bites and typically come from curious doggos getting too close for their own good.
The Science Behind Conditions Passed Between Foxes and Dogs
The way roundworm works is that worms will be inside an infected animal and they will lay eggs/larvae that is spread through their feces. Any animal that comes too close to the infected feces will likely be infected with worms too, and the process will repeat.
Then, there is mange (also called Sarcoptes scabies). This is a highly contagious condition and if it isn't treated quickly and properly, can spread to your dog's entire body. Your dog, who typically has harmless mites that live on his body already, can become infected with fox mites by getting too close, and because of the nature of the mites, they can spread and cause your dog pain and discomfort.
Training Your Dog Through the Healing Process
These commands will come in handy if you're far enough away to not exactly see what he's trying to eat or explore. If he gets too close to something you're unsure of, yelling out these commands and knowing he'll obey can save his health!
If your dog does contract something from a fox, odds are, he's going to have to take medicine and heal from his condition. This requires he's comfortable taking pills. Teach your dog a throw-and-catch game, teach him to eat his pills out of your hand, or just to take them with his food.
He may also have to take some downtime, so make sure he has a comfy, quiet place to rest through recovery. It's probably best to keep him leashed during outside-time during this period so that he doesn't contract anything else while his immune system is already occupied.
How to React if Your Dog Contracts Something from a Fox
Call your vet immediately!
Do not leave out food that could attract foxes.
Seal holes and get rid of fox-friendly hiding places.
Use special bird feeders that foxes can't get to.
Clean up all fox feces as soon as you see it so your dog won't eat it.
Set up fences to keep foxes out of your area.