Rats can find their way into our gardens whether we like or not but can they harm our dogs?

If you’re a dog owner with a garden, it’s likely you’ll probably let your furry friend roam freely as they play or go out to the toilet.

Rats that find their way into your garden will also roam and it’s important that dogs stay away from them to avoid contracting diseases.

Can rats in the garden harm dogs?

Rats roaming around your garden can pass on diseases to your dog, including Leptospirosis, the PDSA website explains.

Dogs can also get Leptospirosis from infected dogs, mice, cows and infected water.

But what is Leptospirosis? The PDSA says: “Leptospirosis (often shortened to lepto), is a bacterial disease that causes serious illness by damaging vital organs such as the liver and kidneys.

“Leptospirosis bacteria can spread in urine, and can enter the body through the mouth, nose or wounds.”

If a dog comes into contact with the urine of rodents, such as when they spend a lot of time on farms, they can catch the disease.

It can cause serious illness if it’s passed on to humans.

How to get rid of these common garden pests

While symptoms vary, the PDSA says they can include:

  • Fever (high temperature)
  • Jaundice (yellow gums and eyes)
  • Muscle pain and limping
  • Weakness and collapse
  • A reduced appetite
  • Drinking more
  • Vomiting
  • Bloody diarrhoea
  • Bleeding from the mouth and eyes
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Difficulty breathing

Other diseases can be passed onto our furry friends by the unwanted pests in our gardens.

The Pest Control Berkshire website has shared some other diseases that can be passed onto dogs by rats.

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It says: “Rats carry a host of very nasty diseases, which can easily be transmitted to your cat or dog. Germs and disease are present in rat urine and droppings, which can contaminate pet food and water sources. For this reason it is extremely unwise to store pet food in a shed or outhouse.

“Rats can chew through even very sturdy plastic containers. If you find droppings, chew marks or paw prints anywhere around your pet's food, discard it immediately and call a pest control company.”

It says the diseases that can be passed from rats to dogs include leptospirosis, toxoplasmosis, rat bite fever, tularemia and tapeworm.