Rabies in Dogs: What Every Dog Owner Should Know

  • Sep 08, 2023
  • By sricharan govindaraju
  • 0 Comment

Rabies is a word that, for many pet owners, evokes a sense of fear and dread. While rabies is undoubtedly a severe and fatal disease, understanding its causes, symptoms, and preventative measures can help ensure that our furry friends remain safe. Let's delve deeper into rabies in dogs and what every dog owner should be aware of.

What is Rabies?

Rabies is a viral disease affecting the central nervous system. It's transmitted through the saliva of infected animals and usually spread via bites. While many wild animals can be carriers, for domesticated animals like dogs, the disease is preventable.

Symptoms of Rabies in Dogs:

The progression of rabies in dogs is generally categorized into three phases:

Prodromal Phase (lasts 2-3 days): The dog may show signs of apprehension, nervousness, and fever. There may be a noticeable change in temperament, with a docile dog becoming aggressive or an active dog becoming more subdued.

Rabies in dogs

Excitative Phase (lasts 1-7 days): Often referred to as the 'furious phase,' dogs can become aggressive, irritable, and may be prone to biting. There might also be signs of hallucinations where a dog snaps at imaginary objects.

Rabies in dogs

Paralytic Phase: The virus affects the dog's central nervous system, leading to paralysis, often starting with the throat and jaw muscles. This can cause drooling and difficulty swallowing. As the paralysis progresses, the dog may go into respiratory failure and die.

Prevention is Key:

The most effective way to prevent rabies in dogs is through vaccination. Rabies vaccines are not only beneficial for the dog but also act as a barrier between wild rabid animals and humans.

Puppy Vaccination: Generally, the first rabies vaccine is given between 3 and 6 months of age.

Booster Shots: Your dog should get a booster one year from the date of their first vaccination and then every three years after.

Rabies in dogs

What to Do if You Suspect Rabies Exposure:

If your dog is bitten by a wild animal or an unknown pet:

Wear gloves and clean the wound with soap and water.
Contact your vet immediately, even if your dog is up-to-date on their rabies vaccination.
Report the incident to local animal control or health departments.
If your vaccinated dog has bitten someone:

It will typically be quarantined and observed for 10 days.
If no signs of rabies appear during this period, the dog is not considered rabid at the time of the bite.
Rabies and Public Health:

It's crucial to understand that rabies isn't just a canine concern. It's a public health issue. Rabies in dogs can potentially spill over to the human population, making its prevention and control paramount.

Rabies in dogs


Rabies is a grave concern, but with awareness and proactive measures, the risk to our canine companions can be minimized. Regular vet check-ups, staying updated with vaccinations, and educating ourselves about the disease are the best lines of defense. Every dog owner plays a crucial role in not just safeguarding their pet, but also in the larger context of public health.