At first glance, an armadillo looks like something from science fiction, with its covering of armor and those super long claws. But to answer the question, are armadillos dangerous to dogs, we would generally say no.
Dogs are excruciatingly nosey; they will try to investigate anything. And don’t seem to appreciate danger until it’s too late. So when we say armadillos do not pose a threat to dogs, we also have to think about what the dog is doing.
If an armadillo turns up in your yard one day and your dog goes to chasing it, then there might be some problem for the dog if he corners the creature. Their claws are very sharp and can cause physical damage to the dog. The armadillo will also try to bite, even though their teeth are more like pegs and probably won’t do too much harm.
Armadillos are still wild creatures, and both humans and their pets should avoid them. They certainly want to avoid us, so we should reciprocate the feeling and keep our dogs away from them.
Can A Dog Get Leprosy From An Armadillo?
There aren’t many people who have not heard of leprosy, and undoubtedly the recent reporting of outbreaks in Florida has fired people’s imagination. It’s known that armadillos can carry the Mycobacterium leprae that causes the disease in humans. This situation puzzles why this is happening because there has to be close contact with the carrier to catch leprosy.
So, if humans are catching the disease, can dogs catch leprosy?
First, dogs do catch leprosy. But there is a species-specific variety of leprosy, Mycobacterium simiae, and that’s not the same one that infects humans and armadillos. So the likelihood of an armadillo giving your dog leprosy is probably none.
Humans cannot catch leprosy from their dogs; at least, that’s the situation so far. If your dog is diagnosed with leprosy, it’s treatable by your vet. However, it will become serious if left and will cause similar progressive and permanent damage to the skin, limbs, eyes, and nerves as it does to humans.
Can Armadillos Transmit Rabies To Dogs?
Dog owners worry about their dogs catching another disease from armadillos, and that’s rabies. Armadillos are a low-risk creature for transmitting rabies, along with rats, squirrels, rabbits, and assorted other animals. There is a risk, even though minimal, that if an armadillo did bite, the saliva might transmit rabies. But we should stress the risk is very small.
What If My Dog Eats An Armadillo?
Would it be possible for a dog to eat an armadillo? It wouldn’t be easy, what with all the armor. It would probably already have to be dead.
Then that opens up a whole host of different questions. If you know for sure your dog ate a dead armadillo, take him to your vet or nearest pet hospital.
Pets, including dogs and people coming into contact with armadillo feces, can contract tapeworms. This transmission usually occurs via tapeworm eggs. These eggs will develop in the intestines of the new host. They feed on the food entering the host’s intestines, making them ill through weight loss and other intestinal issues. The tapeworms will also lay eggs that will transmit on through their feces.
Armadillo feces contain salmonella. The armadillo can contaminate water with salmonella bacteria, and a dog can become very sick drinking salmonella contaminated water.
Salmonella bacteria will cause severe diarrhea, fever, and vomiting, and if a young child or an older person contracts the infection, it can have dire consequences.
It’s going to be better to stay away from these animals and, in particular, armadillos that are active in the day time.
Armadillos And Your Home
As we say, it’s best to avoid them. But what happens when armadillos keep invading your yard? You have to keep your dog safe and out of their way. So what steps can you take?
The problem with armadillos is they love to dig, and that includes your flowerbeds and lawn. They will dig under trees, your driveway, and even your home’s foundations. They are not in any way a creature you want to invite into your yard, and not just because of any danger to your dog.
If your dog is sensitive to noises in the back yard or around the home, an armadillo will drive him bonkers. They make a tremendous amount of noise eating, grunting, squealing, and screaming and will keep you and your dog awake all night.
Preventing an armadillo from getting into your garden has to be better than trying to get rid of one already ensconced there.
One prevention method is to make sure you have a strong fence surrounding your property. It will need to go down at least 12 inches to prevent the armadillo from making a hole to wriggle through. They don’t have good eyesight, so they tend to travel along walls and fences.
Of course, this means he’ll dig down by your fence, hence the reason for making sure your wall goes deep to at least the 12 inches we mentioned.
Controlling their food source is another way to get rid of armadillos. If they can’t eat, they’ll bug off somewhere they can. Use whatever means you can to get rid of insect infestations around your home and try to keep worms and bugs away.
If the fence and insect control do not deter a particularly persistent armadillo, you might have to capture him. Place animal traps strategically along his travel route, mainly alongside the walls and fence. Place wooden planks on the ground to deter him from going around the traps.
If you do catch him, or it’s proving difficult, contact your local wildlife trapping experts. They will show you how to catch them and remove them.
Conclusion – Are Armadillos Dangerous To Dogs?
In most cases, they do not pose a threat to your dog. If confronted by a dog, they will run away; unless the dog corners them, they will turn and use their claws and bite.
It’s incredibly doubtful that a dog would contract these diseases from an armadillo with rabies and leprosy issues. However, to be perfectly safe, keep your dog away from them at all times and don’t let them play with one. What might be a game to a dog would be sheer terror to an armadillo.
As a kid, I grew up with lots of dogs in my family. My earliest recollection was a Labrador mix called Bruce, and I must have only been about three years old.
When I was around seven, we began to move around frequently, so having a dog was very difficult until we adopted a baby long-haired Dachshund. I was thirteen by then. We called him Pepe; I have no idea why; all I can say was it wasn’t my idea. But he did seem to grow into the name.
I’ve personally been the parent of a Great Dane called Lady, a French Bulldog we called Spike. I have also had the privilege of being the parent of one of the gorgeous cats on the planet; a British Blue Shorthair called Ellie. Right now, we have an amazing little Havanese in our family; we call Biscuit; he’s four years old.
I pride myself on being the very best dog-parent I can be. I refuse to bring a dog into my life without investing as much time as possible to understand that dog’s particular needs. Every dog I have parented has been an experience, and they are all different with incredible personalities.
To understand dogs as much as possible, I have taken several courses regarding dog care and training. The most recent course is The Truth About Cats And Dogs, offered by The University Of Edinburgh.
My dogs and cat have been the funniest and most unique animals I have ever been privileged to spend my life with. They can teach human beings so much if we take the time to watch and listen to them. My ambition is to share what I have learned with other passionate dog lovers.
I am obsessed with writing and researching everything I can about dog health, care, psychology, and finding the best dog products available to help ensure a dog’s life is as happy and contented as possible.