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Are Voles Dangerous to Dogs: (Deadly Diseases to Avoid)

Voles… kind of like hamster rats, right?

Whatever you liken them to, we’re here to discuss whether or not they’re dangerous to our dogs.

Can these small critters be as bad as what many make them out to be? We’ll find out

All you need to know about Voles and dogs is just below.

are voles dangerous to dogs

Can a vole harm my dog physically?

Voles, also known as meadow mice, are small rodents that are generally not a threat to dogs.

They are non-aggressive creatures and prefer to escape rather than confront a potential threat.

However, in rare instances where a vole feels cornered or threatened, it might bite or scratch, potentially causing minor harm to your dog.

Ultimately, though, Voles are very small and likely can’t harm even a very small dog. The only breeds that a Vole might be a physical threat for would be teacup breeds that are incredibly small.

Can my dog catch diseases from a vole?

This is where Voles can be dangerous for our dogs. While not so much a physical threat, they are known carriers of certain diseases and parasites, which can be harmful to dogs.

They can carry bacteria that cause diseases such as tularemia and leptospirosis.

They may also host parasites, like ticks, that can transmit Lyme disease.

While the chances of your dog catching these diseases directly from a vole are relatively low, it’s still a potential risk to be aware of.

Here’s the full list of potential diseases that could be trasmitted from a Vole.

  1. Tularemia: Also known as rabbit fever, tularemia is a rare infectious disease that can cause fever, skin ulcers, and lymph gland swelling. Voles can carry the bacteria that cause tularemia, and dogs can potentially contract the disease by consuming an infected vole.
  2. Leptospirosis: This is a bacterial disease that affects animals and humans. Dogs can contract the disease through contact with urine from infected animals, including voles. Symptoms in dogs can range from mild, like fever and muscle pain, to severe, such as kidney damage, liver failure, and even death.
  3. Hantavirus: Voles and other small rodents can carry hantaviruses. Although transmission to dogs is not well-studied, it’s theoretically possible that dogs could contract the virus. In humans, hantavirus can cause severe respiratory disease.
  4. Tick-borne diseases: Voles can carry ticks, which can transmit diseases like Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis, and anaplasmosis. When your dog interacts with or eats a vole, it’s possible to come into contact with these ticks. Lyme disease, for instance, can cause symptoms in dogs such as fever, loss of appetite, reduced energy, lameness, and swollen joints.
  5. Salmonellosis: Voles can carry Salmonella bacteria, which can be transmitted to dogs. Symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting, fever, and reduced appetite.
  6. Plague: Although rare, voles can also carry the bacteria that cause plague. Plague can cause fever, swollen lymph nodes, and in severe cases, organ failure.

In all these cases, it’s important to monitor your dog’s health closely, especially if you know they’ve been in contact with a vole. Always consult your vet if you observe any unusual symptoms.

Could my dog catch rabies from a vole?

The risk of a dog contracting rabies from a vole is extremely low.

Rabies is most often transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal.

In the United States, this disease is most commonly seen in wild animals like bats, raccoons, skunks, and foxes.

Voles are small rodents and are not typically associated with carrying or transmitting rabies. While any mammal can theoretically get rabies, cases of voles with the disease are rare.

What should I do if my dog catches a vole?

If your dog catches a vole, it’s important not to panic.

Safely remove the vole from your dog’s grasp if possible.

Avoid touching the vole with bare hands as they can carry diseases. If your dog has killed the vole, dispose of it properly.

Afterward, check your dog for any signs of injury or illness and contact your vet if you have any concerns.

If you notice to see unusual symptoms after your dog has made contact with a Vole then of course contact your veterinarian as soon as possible for further checks.

Are voles aggressive towards dogs?

Voles are typically not aggressive towards dogs.

They are more likely to run away and hide when they encounter a potential threat.

However, when cornered, voles can become defensive and may attempt to bite or scratch, although this is not common behavior.

Again, Voles are incredibly small and likely not a physical threat for 98% of breeds.

What are the signs that my dog has been bitten or scratched by a vole?

Signs that your dog might have been bitten or scratched by a vole include visible wounds, bleeding, or discomfort in a specific area.

Your dog might also show signs of pain or distress, such as limping, whimpering, or excessive licking of a specific area.

If you suspect your dog has been injured by a vole, contact your vet immediately.

How can I prevent encounters between my dog and voles?

To minimize the chance of encounters between your dog and voles:

  • Supervise your dog: Always keep an eye on your dog when it’s outside, especially in areas known for having voles.
  • Keep your yard clean: Regularly clean up fallen fruit, dog food, or any other potential food sources that may attract voles.
  • Use humane traps: If you have a significant vole problem, consider using humane traps and then releasing the voles far from your home.

The best defense is prevention.

Ensuring that your yard isn’t an attractive habitat for voles can significantly decrease encounters.

What should I do if my dog eats a vole?

If your dog eats a vole, monitor them closely for any signs of illness, such as vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, or lethargy.

Contact your vet immediately to discuss the next steps and to check if any preventive treatment is required.


While voles don’t typically pose a significant threat to dogs, they can carry diseases and parasites that can be very harmful.

It’s important to supervise your dog when it’s outdoors and maintain a clean yard to prevent vole encounters.

If your dog catches or eats a vole, monitor for any signs of injury or illness, and consult with your vet as necessary.

With the right knowledge and precautions, your dog can safely coexist with local wildlife like voles.


Before making any decisions that could affect the health and/or safety of your dog, you should always consult a trained veterinarian in your local area. Even though this content may have been written/reviewed by a trained veterinarian, our advice to you is to always consult your own local veterinarian in person. Please read our full dislcaimer if you have any questions.