Moles are a nuisance, but they are also fascinating animals. They have a strange fleshy appendage that they use to eat invertebrates, and spend much of their time underground.
They are a favorite target for many canines. I’ve seen my beagle digging in the yard countless times. When she gets very excited, digging as fast as she can, I pay attention. I often find a tell-tale mole ridge in the ground near the digging site.
Dogs not only love to hunt moles. Some dogs also enjoy eating them. As pet parents, it’s our job to be sure that our pets aren’t ingesting anything harmful. Will eating a mole hurt your pooch?
What happens if my dog eats a mole?
The good news is that your pooch will probably be fine if they eat a mole. The most common issue is stomach upset. However, it is possible for your dog to get sick from eating or coming into contact with a mole.
One of the biggest concerns with your dog eating a mole is rabies. Moles are well known carriers of the disease. Of course, the most well known way rabies is passed on is through a bite.
Moles can bite, but they are peaceful animals that prefer non-violence. Of course, if your dog is attacking it, a bite could occur. However, this isn’t the only way the virus is transmitted.
It’s believed it’s possible to contract rabies by eating an infected animal. Cooking can kill the virus, but your dog isn’t going to roast the mole. If there’s a small cut or wound, rabies can also enter the body through it when your dog comes into contact with the moles bodily fluids.
The symptoms of rabies include fever, trouble swallowing, excessive drooling, staggering, disorientation, foaming of the mouth, and seizures. Behavioral changes are common as well.
Dogs have it easy in many ways. They get to lounge around, and we bring them their meals. We ensure they have a warm safe home. However, there’s one area where dogs do have it rough.
Many dogs will eat a lot of things that they shouldn’t. This is also known as dietary indiscretion. Unfortunately for them, they also have sensitive stomachs. When they eat food that they aren’t accustomed to, it can cause serious stomach issues.
Your pooch may experience vomiting and diarrhea. Gas, bloating, and pain are also common. They may lose their appetite temporarily as well.
In most cases, your pooch simply needs time to recover at home. However, some cases warrant a visit to your vet. If your pooch is dehydrated, has fever, lethargy, body pain, bloody stool, or continues vomiting or experiencing diarrhea for more than a few hours after consuming the mole, you’ll need to contact your vet.
It might be something more serious than simple stomach upset due to dietary indiscretion.
Moles can harbor intestinal parasites. If your pooch eats the mole, they can also get the parasites. Tapeworms get their name from their flat long body, which resembles a measuring tape.
They will grow up to 11 inches as an adult, making their home in the dog’s intestines. Ironically, dogs cannot get a tapeworm directly from the eggs or larva of the tapeworm. Instead, they are infected through fleas carrying the eggs.
The dog eats the flea, which means they also eat the tapeworm eggs. The egg will then hatch into a tapeworm in your dogs digestive system.
Dogs don’t typically get very ill from a tapeworm. They may scoot their butt on the ground. If the dog is very young or has health issues, the tapeworms can cause malnutrition or anemia.
Bartonella is a bacterial disease that is carried by fleas. It is a common bacteria, and it can have serious consequences for both dogs and humans.
Dogs can have a variety of symptoms, including:
A red bump at the site of insect bite or scratch
- Seizures or confusion
- Loss of appetite
- Irregular heartbeat
- Swollen or painful lymph nodes
- Fever and chills
- Muscle pain
- Chills or visible shivering
- Vomiting and Diarrhea
These symptoms can lead to more concerning issues, that must be diagnosed by a veterinarian. These include an enlarged liver or spleen, inflammation of the heart or brain, and arthritis.
Other Flea and Tick Diseases
There are other flea and tick diseases that can affect your dog. Like the previous diseases mentioned, these don’t come from teh mole directly. Instead, your pooch is at risk due to fleas and ticks that may be on the mole.
Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, anaplasmosis can all be transmitted by parasites. Fever, joint or muscle pain, loss of appetite, rash, diarrhea, and vomiting, are potential signs of these illnesses.
Tularemia is a disease caused by the bacteria Francisella tularensis. It’s often known as rabbit fever, because it’s a common disease in rabbits. It’s also common in rodents, including rats and moles.
If your dog eats a mole infected with tularemia, they will likely get the disease. It can be contracted by ingesting infected tissue or body fluids. It can also be transmitted by parasites, including ticks, fleas, and moisquitos.
Once it enters the body, the bacteria collects in the lymph nodes. From there, it spreads throughout the body. It can travel into the liver, spleen, and bone marrow.
The good news is that dogs are less susceptible to the disease than many other animals. They may develop loss of appetite, fatigue, and slight fever. If dogs get a serious case of the disease, they can develop conjunctivitis, abscesses, and enlarged lymph nodes.
One of the biggest concerns with a dog eating a mole is not the mole themselves, but poisnin they may have ingested. If the mole ingests poison, and the dog eats the mole, then they will also consume the poison.
Unfortunately, mole poison is typically made from zinc phosphide or bromethalin. Both of these chemicals are highly toxic to dogs, even in small amounts. There’s no antidote, and ingestion can be fatal.
Essentially, these poisons cause the same reactions in your dog that they do the mole. Zinc phosphide creates phosphine gas when it reaches the digestive tract. Symptoms of mole poisoning from Phosphine gas include vomiting, neurological problems, and respiratory disorders.
The first signs are typically vomiting and excessive drooling. As it progresses, tremors, trouble breathing, and a swollen abdomen occur. The gas can also be toxic to humans, so keep your pet in a well ventilated area if you suspect zinc phosphide poisoning.
Bromethalin is a neurotoxin. If its ingested, swelling of the brain can occur. The dog may also develop incordination, tremors, seizures, or paralysis.
What to do if my dog eats a mole?
Your dog ate a mole, now what? Do you rush to the vet? Do you do nothing at all? Shame them for their hunting instincts? There are a few steps you can take in this situation.
Remove the Mole
Obviously, if there’s any mole left, you’ll need to remove it. Do not handle a dead mole with your bare hands. Grab a pair of gloves or a shovel. Place the mole into a trash bag, and then dispose of it. Be sure that your pooch can’t get to the remains.
Serious Symptom Prevention
One of the best ways to keep your pooch safe if they do eat a mole is prevention. Most of the concerns with moles can be avoided with proper preventative action.
Keep your pooch up to date on their rabies vaccinations. Use a flea and tick control product, so they do not pick up infected parasites from the mole. Lastly, do not use mole poisons which could be toxic to your dog.
If you take these steps, your dog may gross you out by eating a mole, but it’s unlikely to be harmed from the forbidden snack.
Contact Your Vet
It’s really best to consult your vet in this situation. They may simply advise you to monitor your pooch for symptoms of illness, or ask you to come in for a visit.
If your pooch seems fine, you may want to wait it out. Stomach upset can occur simply because your dog ate something they aren’t used to digesting. However, severe vomiting or diarrhea, bloody diarrhea, fever, dehydration, or muscle pain should be evaluated by your vet.
If they are not up to date on their rabies vaccine, it’s a good idea to discuss this with your vet. Moles commonly have rabies.
Treating Stomach Upset
If your dog seems to have simple stomach upset, you can treat this at home with over the counter medication.
You can give the ant-acid famotide. The dosage is .5 mg per 1 pound of body weight. A 20 pound dog can take 1 10 mg tablet, for example. You can give another dose in 12 hours.
Pepto Bismal is another option, In this case, you’ll give 1 teaspoon per 10 pounds of body weight. Do not exceed 4 teaspoons for dogs weighing over 40 pounds. You can repeat the dose every 6-8 hours as needed.
Lastly, a bland diet can help settle your pooch’s stomach. It’s best to withhold food for 12 to 24 hours if your dog is vomiting or has diarrhea. When you begin feeding them again, give them rice and boiled chicken. The ratio should be iether 50:50 or 75% rice and 25% chicken.
These foods are easy to digest, so it gives their digestive tract time to rest and settle down before going back to regular food.