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Man’s Best Friend on Menu? Do Owls Eat Dogs?

Do Owls Eat Dogs

From insects to small mammals, the diet of various owl species is diverse. Being a well-known bird of prey, owls are notorious for hunting domesticated pet birds and animals. As a dog owner, the presence of preying owls in your neighborhood can be concerning. But do owls eat dogs? 

Yes, owls are carnivores and they will eat dogs if available. However, when it comes to hunting and eating, only a few owl species are known to prey on dogs. Great horned owls, eagle owls, snowy owls, and barred owls are some larger owls that can pick up and swallow small dogs.

Chihuahua, Pomeranian, and Yorkshire terrier are the common targets of preying owls. Let’s get into the details and find out whether dogs are a common item on an owl’s menu.

Do All Owls Eat Dogs? – Exploring the Possibilities

While most owl species consume meat, not all of them are capable of hunting and eating dogs. That’s because typical owls are smaller than most dog species. So, owls in general can’t carry a full-grown dog. 

Do All Owls Eat Dogs

However, if you present owls with dog meat, most owl species will have them as owls are strictly carnivores. But what about dead dogs? For many years, it was believed that owls don’t scavenge on dead animals. 

Yet, recent studies and observations have revealed that owls routinely eat roadkill animals. Therefore, some owls may eat dead dog’s meat if hungry. Here’s a list of owl species that are large enough to hunt and eat dogs:

Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus)

One of the most notorious species known for preying on dogs is the great horned owl. You can find many news and CCTV footage online showing great horned owls capturing dogs. Although the owl weighs only 2.2 to 3.8 pounds, it can carry animals 3 times its body weight.

Great Horned Owl

In general, the great-horned eagle can hunt prey weighing up to 9 pounds. What’s more worrying for dog parents is that this owl is one of the most widespread species in North America.

Eurasian Eagle Owl (Bubo bubo)

As the Eurasian owl has a huge body, it can easily lift a small dog without much effort. Adult owls of this species weigh 3 to 9 pounds and they can carry 5 pounds on average. When hungry, the owl might hunt small to medium mammals including foxes, dogs, and cats.

Eurasian Eagle Owl

Apart from this particular species, other eagle owls are also known to attack dogs on rare occasions. However, eagle owls aren’t common in America, they are mostly found in Europe, Asia, and Middle Eastern countries. 

According to some sources, about 20 eagle owl attacks have been recorded causing the death of at least three dogs in Finland.

See also:  How Do Owls Hunt and Kill Their Prey? - Interesting Facts

Barred Owls (Strix varia)

Although rare, barred owls can also catch small dogs or puppies when left unattended. The species is spread all over North America and Canada. 

Barred Owls

An adult barred owl weighs only 1 to 2.3 pounds, so they are less likely to lift full-grown dogs. However, if you have a small puppy, barred owls can easily capture and eat them if it’s hungry. 

Snowy Owl (Bubo scandiacus)

A typical snowy owl doesn’t take pet animals as its food, but the owl can grow interest in them when it’s hungry. Commonly found in North America, snowy owls are one of the largest owl species weighing 3 to 6 pounds.

Snowy Owl

Due to their size and incredible hunting skills, snowy owls are considered a threat to dog owners, especially during the winter.

What Dogs Do Owls Eat?

When it comes to eating dog meat, owls don’t usually distinguish among species. As for preying, most dogs are too big for an owl to pick up. Hence, only the smaller toy species and puppies are more likely to be attacked by owls. 

What Dogs Do Owls Eat

The prey selection of owls depends on a large number of factors including the environment and characteristics of the prey. However, the general rule is that you must be alert against owl attacks if your dog weighs less than 10 pounds. 

Below is an overview of small dog species that owls might be able to hunt and eat:

Dog SpeciesAverage WeightThreatened by Owls
Chihuahua2 to 6 poundsGreat horned owls, snowy owls, barred owls, and Eurasian eagle owls
Pomeranian3 to 7 poundsGreat horned owls, snowy owls, barred owls, and Eurasian eagle owls
Yorkshire Terrier4 to 7 poundsGreat horned owls, snowy owls, barred owls, and Eurasian eagle owls
Maltese4 to 8 poundsGreat horned owls, snowy owls, and Eurasian eagle owls
Papillon5 to 10 poundsGreat horned owls and snowy owls

Tips to Protect Your Pet Dog from Owls

Now that you know owls are a threat to your beloved pet dog, you must find a way to deter them. Below are a few useful tips to protect your dog from hungry owls:

Tips to Protect Your Pet Dog from Owls

Always Monitor Your Dog When Outdoors

You can’t stop your dogs from going outside, so the best thing you can do is to supervise them. If you live in a location where owls are a common sighting, you must always monitor your pets as they go out. Owls are less likely to attack a dog in human presence.

Also, avoid leaving your dog outside at night, especially during dusk and dawn. Most owls are nocturnal and hunt in the night. Skipping the late hours will make sure your pet dogs are safe.

See also:  Investigating Owl Diets: Do Owls Eat Fish?

Make an Enclosure with Roof

A proper dog enclosure for the outdoor activity area will be a patio with a strong fence and roof. The fence should be tall enough to stop an owl from flying over. In case it’s too costly, you must arrange a roof to protect your dog from a preying owl. 

Install Outdoor Lighting

Bright lighting can easily distract and deter owls and other predators. Motion detector lights are the best choice to keep owls away from your property. 

Even if you can’t lighten up the whole area around your house, you can simply arrange regular lighting or an LED collar for your dog.

Protect Your Pet Dog from Owls

Remove Food and Water Sources

If you don’t want owls anywhere near your pet dog, you must remove everything that attracts owls to your house. Bird feeders and water containers are such things that bring in small birds. 

As owls hunt these birds, removing your bird feeder and other food sources will keep owls away. Also, try to find and destroy owl nests by contacting the local authority.

Use Owl Decoys

Some pet owners have found owl decoys helpful in keeping owls away from their dogs. When an owl notices the decoy, it avoids hunting in the neighboring area. Also, other small birds don’t come anywhere near the decoy. So, there’s no prey for the owl to capture.

Install Protection Gear

Thankfully, there are many safety gear available for small dogs and puppies to protect them from predators. Protective gear such as a raptor shield or coyote vest covers the sensitive area of your dog’s body.

Even if an owl attacks your pet dog, it won’t be able to grab or kill it, thanks to the strong protective material of the gear.


Still worried about the safety of your little pet dog? Let’s get to know more about owls preying on dogs and how to deter them.

Q: When are owls most likely to attack dogs?

Owls are opportunistic predators, so they will attack a dog whenever the situation is right. In general, owls are more likely to hunt unattended dogs when they are hungry and if the dog enters their territory.

Q: Will music keep owls away from my dog?

Yes, loud music and noise will keep owls away from your dog. Intense music such as heavy metallic sounds will scare away owls from the area. Apart from that, loud clapping or shouting will also make them leave.

Parting Words

When dog owners see majestic owls flying in their area, one question will cross their mind: Do owls eat dogs? In our guide, we’ve discussed how some large owl species can carry away and eat a small dog. The great horned owls and eagle owls are the two predator species you need to be careful of.

If your dog or puppy weighs less than 10 pounds, follow the pro tips we’ve provided to deter these hungry predators. In any case, the best way to safeguard a dog from preying owls is to supervise it, especially during the night. 


Peter Kaestner

Hi there, my name is Peter Kaestner and I am the owner of As a avid bird watcher and enthusiast with a passion for ornithology, I want to share my knowledge and experience with other bird lovers through this blog. As someone who regularly participates in bird-related forums and groups online, I am dedicated to helping others learn more about these amazing creatures. However, it's important to note that while I am happy to share my expertise and advice, it is always crucial to consult with an avian veterinarian before making any decisions that could potentially impact your bird's health or well-being. Your bird's health and happiness should always be your top priority, and consulting with a professional is the best way to ensure that you are making informed decisions on their behalf. I hope that through my blog, I can help make a positive difference in the lives of birds and the people who care for them. Whether you are an experienced bird owner or just starting out, I encourage you to use this resource as a way to learn more about these fascinating animals and how to provide them with the best possible care.View Author posts