Last Updated on January 6, 2022 by Griselda M.
How can I protect my small dog from hawks? What can pet owners do to prevent this rare but scary situation?
Your dogs getting attacked by birds of prey is a rare occurrence. However, it is essential to know what to do when this happens, especially if you live in places where these birds can be found.
Are you not sure what your odds are of this happening?
Can A Hawk Pick Up A Dog?
The answer is yes, provided that the dog is small and light enough. And those kinds of dogs are few and far between – even Chihuahuas!
Hawks are known to prey on rabbits. Wild rabbits weigh around 1 to 4 lbs. – it can be assumed that similarly built animals can fall victim to the hawk’s talons.
It should be noted that an adult hawk, on average, weighs 3 lbs. The average adult Chihuahua, on the other hand, weighs 6 lbs.
It’s been observed that the hawk can pick up and fly off with a load of 4 to 5 lbs. If your dog is any heavier, it can be safe to assume that it would take an exceptionally strong hawk to kidnap your pet.
Even still, Chihuahuas are already one of the most miniature dogs in the world – so hawks aren’t the evil overlord of the skies as sensationalist articles will have you know.
However, there have been accurate and recorded incidents that should not be ignored either.
What Are The Odds That A Hawk Will Attack My Small Dog?
In 2011, there was a report of a Boston hawk attack on two small family dogs. In 2013, another pet dog was killed by a hawk in South Carolina.
News stories where a hawk attacks dog have not been conclusive. No recent witness report or unedited footage proves that this has happened.
While these things can happen, the stories usually frame the birds as monsters. In reality, some of these birds are just protecting their territory.
The answer is, it’s not very likely, especially in the comfort of your own home in a suburban, populated region.
While getting carried off is a rarer event, it’s still possible for a bird to try and attack something small that it could consider prey. Just be smart about bringing your small dog around in areas known to have some predators, and you will have little to worry about.
If you’re still worried and thinking ‘how can I protect my small dog from hawks?’ read on to become more informed.
What Birds Of Prey Should You Be Aware Of?
What specific birds of prey do you need to watch out for? Here are some birds that have some record of attacking or stealing dogs, cats, and other pets.
- Hawks – the most common one is the red-tailed hawk, commonly found in Central America, West Indies, and Jamaica.
- Owls – the great horned owl is known to be an excellent predator and usually picks on rodents. They are found throughout North America and in Argentina, Bolivia, and Peru.
- Eagles – the bald eagle usually picks on chicken and fish, but their strength and speed inspire small dog owners to be on constant alert. They are located throughout North America.
- Vultures – vultures are known to wait around animal carcasses, but reports in Kentucky and Southern Indiana about the black vulture have made many wary about leaving their small pets undefended.
- Kites – reports from England of a kite “swooping” down on a Pomeranian may not have resulted in injuries, but it still scared the dog’s owner and prompted her to run away with her dog in tow.
It should be noted that attacking a wild bird is against the law, and claiming your pet’s defense would not fly. It’s better to be cautious of the places where these predators appear. Preventing these occurrences is better than responding violently to rare and sensationalized reports of attacks.
Remember that these wild birds are also inhabitants of our space.
How To Protect Your Dog From Birds Of Prey?
How can I protect my small dog from hawks? While being aware that bird of prey attacks are pretty rare, we can still take the necessary precautions to keep our small pets healthy and safe.
Always be at your pet’s side
Hawks and other predatory birds are usually afraid of humans. They are pretty shy and try their best to avoid being seen. Being by your pet and not letting them go off into a wide-open space on their own will prevent any grabbing attempts.
Have the company of more humans and/or bigger dogs
If you have to go out, why not have a walking group with you? More people means the hawks will be more cautious, and the bigger dogs can act as a defense for the smaller dogs in the group.
While some hawks and other birds of prey and known to pick a fight with large dogs, having a group discourages going after and harming the small dog.
Use a safety harness and leash
There are numerous safety harnesses and other accessories for small dogs and dogs with disabilities on the market. They are made from solid material and may even be equipped with spikes to prevent predator attacks. They can act as a hawk deterrent for small dogs.
These harnesses usually cover vulnerable areas on your dog’s body, adding to the safety factor. Equipping them when you head outdoors is a good idea and is an extra protective measure that helps against other dangers.
Watch the news and reports on raptor activity
Being aware of hawk nest sightings and other similar activities could help you be wary of specific areas. After all, if you avoid these areas, there is a smaller chance of becoming a victim.
Prevention and foresight are essential weapons you need to equip to take care of your beloved pets!
How can I protect my small dog from hawks? It’s doubtful that your dog will get attacked by a hawk, but there is no harm in taking precautions. This is especially true for those living in areas where birds of prey can be found.
Have you ever witnessed a predator attack on dogs? What did you do in such a situation? Let us know in the comments below!