Could My Dog Have Rabies? The 10 Signs You Need to Know

It’s a lovely evening in Milwaukee, WI, and as you’re playing fetch with your faithful canine companion, you notice something seems off. Your normally energetic and playful pal seems unusually lethargic or possibly even aggressive. Could it be rabies? Is it time to call Frontier Veterinary Urgent Care at (262) 206-2055, or visit for more information.

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Understanding Rabies: A Threat to Your Furry Friend’s Health

Though rare, rabies is a dangerous, fatal disease caused by a virus that affects the brain and spinal cord of mammals, including dogs. It’s concerning because it can also be transmitted to humans through bites or contact with saliva through an open wound. In this blog post, we’ll look at the signs that your dog might have contracted this deadly disease.

The Transmission of Rabies

Rabies is typically transmitted through the bite of an infected animal. While it’s often associated with wild animals like raccoons, bats, and skunks, your pet dog can also contract the virus if bitten by a rabid animal. Therefore, it’s crucial to monitor any changes in your dog’s behavior after it has had an encounter with a potentially rabid animal.  Better yet, if your dog is in contact with a rabid animal, we recommend that their rabies vaccination be updated to prevent infection.

The 10 Tell-Tale Signs Your Dog Might Have Rabies

Rabies in dogs generally progresses in two phases: the early (prodromal) phase, and the advanced (furious or paralytic) phase.

Early Phase Signs

  1. Behavior Changes: Your dog might display unusual behavior, such as increased aggressiveness or excessive friendliness.
  1. Fever: Dogs infected with rabies may develop a fever.
  1. Chewing at the Bite Site: Dogs may chew at the site where they were bitten.
  1. Loss of Appetite: They may show a decreased interest in food.
  1. Fearfulness: Your dog may become unusually fearful or anxious.

Advanced Phase Signs

  1. Foaming at the Mouth: Infamous as a sign of rabies, this is due to the dog’s inability to swallow saliva.
  1. Paralysis: As the disease progresses, it can cause paralysis, often beginning in the hind legs.
  1. Seizures: Rabies can also cause seizures or twitching.
  1. Hydrophobia: Ironically, despite the foaming at the mouth, rabid dogs often avoid water.
  1. Sudden Death: In the final stages, the dog’s heart and breathing may stop suddenly.

What to Do If You Suspect Rabies in Your Dog

If you observe any of these signs, particularly if your dog has recently been bitten by another animal, it’s crucial to act quickly. Isolate your dog to prevent potential transmission and call Frontier Veterinary Urgent Care at (262) 206-2055.

The Importance of Vaccination Against Rabies

Prevention is always better than cure, especially when dealing with a disease as severe as rabies. Regular rabies vaccinations for your dog are the most effective way to protect them from this fatal disease. Remember, your vigilance is crucial in ensuring your dog’s health and well-being. You are the first line of defense in identifying any worrying changes in your pet’s behavior. 

Rabies is a terrifying prospect for any pet owner, but with caution and proper veterinary care, it’s preventable. Making sure your pet is getting regular exams and is up to date on their vaccinations is key.

If you suspect your pet has rabies, please reach out to us immediately at (262) 206-2055. We’re here to provide the highest level of care for your furry friend.