- Accidental Innuendo:The Tod: Keep tight ahold of your meat and good luck go with you.
- Misaimed Marketing: The film features a cheerful cover of cute dogs◊ featuring the tagline "Escape to A Different World... And Share The Adventure Of A Lifetime!" and "A SPECIAL KIND OF MOVIE MAGIC from the CREATORS OF WATERSHIP DOWN!" Of course, anyone who had actually seen Watership Down might have had an idea of exactly what sort of 'movie magic' they were in for... and still been shocked by just how much bleaker The Plague Dogs manages to be. It's also considered to be Grave of the Fireflies with dogs.
- Narm: The evil laboratory's acronym is "ARSE."
- Nightmare Fuel: Both the novel and the movie are rife with it, but the movie's deleted scene with the mangled and eaten corpse of the Bounty Hunter is probably the worst.
- Only the Author Can Save Them Now:
- More explicitly than most — the book seems about to end with the dogs drowning at sea. The Reader protests and cries out for the Author to spare them, claiming that Real Life would end badly but this isn't Real Life. One Deus ex Machina later, the dogs are saved.
- The animation, in a feat of Grimmification, decides just to stick the realistically bleak ending, and ends with the dogs about to drown but with a shot of an island nearby during the credits.
- Signature Scene: The scene in which a hunter is killed via an accidental gunshot to the face.
- What an Idiot!: The hunter who gets shot in the face because Snitter accidentally stepped on the trigger of his hunting rifle. There's a reason you don't point the barrel of the gun anywhere near yourself, kids.
- What Do You Mean, It's Not for Kids?: The film, like Watership Down before it — which is actually tame and kid-friendly in comparison to The Plague Dogs — this is mistaken for a kid's movie with shocking frequency (not helped by the case of Misaimed Marketing). The film deals with bleak, mature themes such as animal experimentation, the psychological ramifications of such on the protagonists, and features plentiful amounts of graphic violence, swearing, and a depressing Downer Ending — which wasn't even in the original book — to top it off. A children's film this is not.
- The Woobie: Rowf and Snitter go through more mental torture than most characters ever have to. In the end, they're just dogs who just want a home and someone to take care of them.
YMMV / The Plague Dogs