Owning a Dog and Turtle Together
Photo from Pixabay.com

Dogs are social creatures and can live together with other animals and humans after a bit of training.

Dogs and turtles can co-exist in the same place, but you will need to monitor both strictly as they can cause harm to each other. For instance, if your dog is enormous and the turtle is small, always be present because a dog has a strong jaw that can crack open a turtle’s shell. Or they might mistake the turtle for a toy and injure it.

Therefore, if you consider having the two together, never leave them alone in the same room.

Can Dogs Get Along With Turtles?

Although dogs can get along with other animals you bring to your house; it can’t be for all of them as some might show aggressive tendencies towards the new pet. So when two different animals are in the same space, consider introducing them first and see how they fare.

A dog may view a turtle as a toy, as the turtle is small and encased in a shell. Therefore your dog will treat it as a chew toy and bite into the shell, which would be dangerous if the legs and head are protracted or fail to retract on time.

Since your dog treats your turtle as a toy, the dog will throw it around and bite into the shell, which can be stressful, causing harmful effects. Stress can compromise their immune system and make them prone to diseases and infections.

Getting your dog to treat your turtle as another animal will take many lessons. And even after training, never leave them alone.

Turtles can also be dangerous to a dog, particularly if you have giant turtles. For instance, if you have a large turtle and a miniature poodle, your poodle can end up being killed by the turtle, as it’s hard to train a turtle to coexist with other animals. Therefore, if you know you won’t always be available to supervise them, avoiding having the two together would be best.

Can Dogs Eat Turtles?

Dogs are hunters; even when they are well-fed, you will still find them foraging for food. Therefore, seeing a small turtle may excite them, and they will treat it as a chew toy and start biting into the shell.

Although the shell is hard to crack, your dog might take up the challenge and end up breaking the shell.

Owning a Dog and Turtle
Photo from Pexels.com

Signs of Your Dog Attacking Your Turtle

Dogs make great pets as they are friendly, highly sociable, and easy to train. Thus, they are found in many homes. On the other hand, turtles are also great pets, especially if you have small children; however, they require more care than any other pet.

Owning a dog and a turtle is not a task for the faint-hearted, as their temperaments can cause them to lash out at each other. If you observe any of these signs from your dog, it’s time to separate them.

  • Barking non-stop at the turtle
  • Growling
  • Crouching in an attack position
  • Biting the shell
  • Anxiousness        
  • Stalking the turtle

These are aggressive signs and might end up causing harm to your turtle. Therefore, before putting a dog and a turtle in the same place, consider their temperament and keep them apart during training.

Training Your Dog to Live With a Turtle

If you have a dog and a turtle, you must train your dog to coexist with the turtle. For the best results, you’d better introduce them when the dog is still in the puppy stage, as they will grow up knowing that the turtle is part of the family. If you need assistance along the way, you can always rely on Crittertips for all sorts of dog and pet-related tips. 

In the case of an adult dog, it would be best if they know how to follow basic commands, including ‘sit,’ ‘stay,’ and ‘leave it.’ With these commands, you can easily control your dog during the introduction, ensuring no harm to the turtle.

During the introduction, your dog must be leashed as it would be easy to control them if they become aggressive. Also, if your dog displays sniffing, growling, or barking behavior, it would be best to stop the introduction as it could be stressful for your turtle.

Dog-Proof the Turtle Tank

The basics of owning a dog and a turtle are dog-proofing your turtle tank. Place it in a place your dog can’t access as they will try to knock it down. The best will be to keep your turtle in a room your dog can’t access if it’s indoors.

If you are housing your turtle outdoors, ensure the tank is fortified against predators such as foxes, coyotes, raccoons, and wild dogs. You can create a whole new play area with a strong foundation that would prevent other animals from digging under the wall. You must also ensure that the walls are at least 2 feet tall and smoother to prevent them from stacking up if you are housing several turtles.

The top part should be covered with a mesh lid to prevent other animals from getting in.

What is the Risk of Owning a Dog and a Turtle

Having a dog and a turtle comes with several risks; therefore, the owner should be meticulous about the well-being of their pets.


  • Dogs Attack Turtles


Although dogs are known to be friendly and sociable, they can be aggressive toward turtles, especially if the introductions were done when the dog was an adult. This is because turtles are tiny and tend to look like toys. Therefore, your dog may haul them around or bite them. This could lead to injuries, and the process of pulling and biting them is stressful to turtles, thus impacting their immune system and making them susceptible to diseases and infections.


  • Diseases


Turtles are reptiles, and they can carry salmonella. Therefore, if your dogs lick and bite the turtle, they could be in danger if salmonella is transferred into their body. Salmonella is pretty dangerous and if you notice the following symptoms: diarrhea, fever, dehydration, lethargy, loss of appetite, increased heart rate, depression, rash on the skin, or vomiting, take your dog to the vet. And the worst part is your dog can transmit salmonella through saliva and fecal matter, so you are also at risk of contracting it.

Final Thoughts

Owning a dog and a turtle is possible, but taxing on the owner as they need constant supervision. And a turtle requires a lot of care and attention. That said, ensure that your turtle’s tank is dog-proofed and the dog has been trained and introduced to the turtle.

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