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Can a Hawk or Owl Pose a Threat to a Small Dog or Cat?

Most dogs and cats are large enough to be safe from hawks and owls. Even very small dogs may be too heavy for a hawk or owl to carry, although it’s still possible that large raptors might attack them. For instance, black-tailed jackrabbits can reach the weight of a small dog (6 pounds) and are a fairly common prey item for Red-tailed Hawks in the western United States, even though Red-tails top out at only just over 3 pounds themselves. Golden Eagles, though far less common than Red-tailed Hawks, have been reported to hunt small dogs and cats occasionally, according to Birds of the World.

But keep in mind that even if pets are safe from birds, they are in danger from foxes, coyotes, bears, raccoons, and even other pets, so it’s always a good idea to keep an eye on your pet when it’s outside.

If a pet is kept outdoors, a kennel with a roof can protect small dogs, not just from the elements, but from hawks and owls, other predators, and human dognappers. If you have a cat that enjoys the outdoors, consider building a catio to keep them safe from predators, and other animals safe from them.

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American Kestrel by Blair Dudeck / Macaulay Library