Do Owls Attack Dogs At Night?


Owls can attack dogs, but it is relatively rare.

Most owl species are nocturnal, meaning they hunt at night and sleep during the day. Owls are apex predators that can easily pick up large prey like rabbits and weasels, and they have been known to carry off much larger animals, including rabbits, raccoons, and possums. However, most owls feed on small mammals, including voles, songbirds, rats, mice, and squirrels. Great Horned Owls are known to occasionally attempt to catch and kill small cats and very small dogs. Signs of an owl attack include puncture wounds, claw marks and scratches, missing patches of fur, broken bones or concussion, bruising, hooting calls before the attack, and owl feathers near the dog. To protect your dog from owls, it is recommended to bring them inside at night. If you must let your dog out at night, it is important to supervise them and keep them under close watch when near any wild animal.

How Common Is It For Owls To Attack Dogs At Night, And Are Certain Breeds More Susceptible To Such Attacks?

Owls have been known to attack dogs, particularly smaller breeds like chihuahuas, miniature pinschers, and terriers.

However, owl attacks on dogs are rare.

The Great Horned Owl is responsible for the highest number of attacks on dogs.

Hawks, owls, and other birds of prey are opportunistic animals, so dogs, puppies, cats, kittens, ferrets, guinea pigs, ducks, rabbits, and chickens are all at stake.

Any dog under 20 pounds is at serious risk of being hunted by birds whose natural prey generally includes rodents, birds, rabbits, snakes, and insects.

It is important to owl-proof your backyard to protect your pets, so they don’t become your resident owl’s next meal.

If you notice an owl circling or attacking your dog, approach your dog while yelling and making loud noises.

Take your dog to a vet immediately after an owl attack, even if the injuries seem superficial.

What Are Some Signs That An Owl Might Be Targeting A Dog, And What Precautions Can Dog Owners Take To Protect Their Pets From Owl Attacks?

Signs that an owl might be targeting a dog include:

  • Puncture wounds
  • Claw marks and scratches
  • Missing patches of fur
  • Broken bones or concussion
  • Bruising
  • Hooting calls

To protect their pets from owl attacks, dog owners can take the following precautions:

  • Keep their dog indoors at night, as most owl species are strictly nocturnal
  • Supervise their dog when outside at night
  • Approach their dog while yelling and making loud noises if they notice an owl circling or attacking their dog
  • Hang reflective tape in their yard to make it less owl-friendly
  • Set up a scarecrow or fake owl to deter birds of prey
  • Pick up their dog as soon as they see a bird of prey and hold it close to their body
  • Shine a flashlight at owls to scare them away
  • Make big arm gestures and loud noises to scare off hawks

It’s important to note that all hawks and owls are protected federally in the U.S.

by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, while golden and bald eagles are protected by the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, so it is illegal to harm them to prevent them from potentially attacking a dog.

Are There Any Specific Regions Or Habitats Where Owl Attacks On Dogs Are More Prevalent, And Are There Any Measures Taken By Local Authorities Or Wildlife Organizations To Mitigate Such Incidents?

There is no specific region or habitat where owl attacks on dogs are more prevalent.

However, it is important to note that owls can attack dogs at any time of the year, and smaller breeds like chihuahuas, miniature pinschers, and terriers are more vulnerable.

Large predatory owls like the Great Horned Owl are widespread and found in all climates and habitats across the US.

Helpful Resources