Dog and Tortoise

Dog and Tortoise: Do They Get Along (All Explained!)

Tortoises are solitary animals that live alone from a tender age, especially in their natural habitats. Domesticating a tortoise in a homestead with dogs can prove a hard task. Most pet owners find it challenging to keep both dogs and tortoises in the same compound.

So, do dogs and tortoises get along? Yes. Dogs and tortoises do get along and can make perfect pairs, but one needs to take extra care to ensure the dog doesn’t harm the tortoise. In a harmonious environment, they exist peacefully, but the dog can harm the tortoise with its strong teeth and jaws. You can keep the tortoise in an enclosed space from the dog.

Keep reading this piece to get more information on the relationship between dogs and tortoises. 

Dog And Tortoise: Do They Get Along


Yes. Dogs and tortoises do get along. However, one needs to take extra precautionary measures to maintain a harmonious relationship between them.

Tortoises are slow, calm, and less dangerous than dogs, which are aggressive and can easily cause harm by biting when provoked.

Dog And Tortoise

Dogs have strong teeth and jaws that can bite and crash the tortoise’s shell. It can also bite the exposed body parts such as the limbs and head. Dogs are fast and may run after the slow tortoise while barking at it, causing stress to the tortoise.

On the other hand, tortoises’ speed, shape of the shell, and movement may trigger some aggressiveness in dogs, causing them to bark in defense. This is especially common at first sight.

If your dog is aggressive to other pets, you can erect a barrier between the two species to limit direct access to each other. Keeping tortoises in enclosed spaces makes them feel safe.

Can Tortoises Live With Other Pets?

Tortoises can live with most animal pets, provided the environment is favorable and enough space exists for them to coexist. However, like other animals, tortoises can get aggressive when sick or threatened by other pets.

In such scenarios, it’s advisable to inspect their relationship with other pets and adjust their existence to make sure there is less conflict. 

Can Tortoises Live With Other Pets

It’s good to note that however, pets seem cool and non-aggressive, they will always be characterized by scenarios such as frightening each other, playful fights, and irritating each other with bites.

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Such activities are okay and normal for animals living together unless they cause harm to each other. You need to closely monitor them for any weird behavior.

Below is a list of pets that tortoises can live with harmoniously.

  • Lizards
  • Geckos
  • Turtles
  • Toads
  • Frogs

What Are The Impacts Of Keeping Dogs And Tortoises Together?

What Are The Impacts Of Keeping Dogs And Tortoises Together

Keeping dogs and tortoises together has positive and negative impacts as discussed below.

Positive Impacts

  • Their coexistence provides companionship for each other, reducing boredom and loneliness.
  • Dogs can offer security to the tortoise.
  • Dogs are playful and help keep the tortoise active through exercises

Negative Impacts

  • They can result in random fights that can even cause bodily harm or even death.
  • Disease transmission is due to their direct contact.

How To Make A Dog And Tortoise Get Along Better?

How To Make A Dog And Tortoise Get Along Better

If your dog and tortoise seem to have a hard time coexisting without fights, you can consider any of the following steps to improve their coexistence.

Step 1: Create A Training Routine

This can be achieved by training the dog to interact with dummy tortoises in its cage before letting them interact in real life.

You can also include similar toys and plushies for the tortoise and train them to interact.

Step 2: Allow Them To Interact In Enclosed Structures

This involves caging the tortoise and then allowing the dog to roam around the tortoise’s cage until they develop a real-time mutual relationship. Using enclosed spaces helps prevent fights from direct training.

Step 3: Let Them Interact Without Any Obstructions

After they develop some mutual acceptance and even play when enclosed, it’s time to let them interact freely. Ensure they are properly fed, especially the dog, to avoid mistaking the tortoise for food.

What To Look Out For When Pairing Dogs And Tortoises?

What To Look Out For When Pairing Dogs And Tortoises

If you are planning to keep dogs and tortoises in your compound, you need to look out for the following practices to ensure a smooth coexistence.

Health Condition

You need to separately carry out a medical inspection of the two pets and ascertain their health safety. You need to check for pests and parasites such as fleas, worms, and lice for the dog.

For the tortoise, check for upper respiratory tract disease (URTD), which causes nasal discharge, wheezing, and lethargy.


Age is a main factor to consider. Old tortoises are more susceptible to diseases and infections from the dogs. You should also avoid keeping young tortoises with old mature dogs as they can easily mistake them for food.

Dog and Tortoise Age


Dogs and tortoises require a spacious compound to coexist without competition for space and food. You can have them separated by a mesh wire or clear glass to allow indirect contact and reduce fight risk.

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To better understand the coexistence between dogs and tortoises, read the following FAQs by other pet owners.

Q: Can Tortoises Bite Dogs?

Yes. Large tortoises can bite small dogs when extremely angered and frustrated. It is rare to find a tortoise biting or even being aggressive, but they can bite in self-defense.

Q: Is It Wise To Let Tortoises Mingle With The Dogs In The Compound?

Dogs may be aggressive towards tortoises. Therefore, it’s not advisable to let them interact in the open. Even if your dog is calm and timid, you don’t want to risk leaving the two creatures alone in the open.

Q: Which Dogs Are More Friendly And Advisable To Keep With Tortoises?

Not all dogs are friendly to tortoises, especially the wild dogs that will always feed on the tortoise. You should introduce the small and social puppies and juvenile dogs since they are playful and love playing on top of the tortoise shell.

Avoid dog breeds such as Pitbull and Dobermans even if you have trained them well due to their high level of aggressiveness.


Tortoises and dogs get along and can safely coexist in the same compound, provided all their requirements are met. Dogs should be tamed and calm to prevent them from attacking tortoises since they have strong teeth and jaws.

Their relationship is viable since they are from different species and have distinctively varying requirements. You may need to train the dog on how to play, interact and associate with the tortoise without harming each other.

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