Can a Hawk Carry a Dog Away?

Red-tailed hawks are sometimes hazardous to little canines.
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Caring for a pet is a lot about joy, but at the same time, a lot about worry, too. You can never be too cautious or too prepared when it comes to rearing your dog. If your dog is tiny enough, he could even be susceptible to seizing from sizable birds of prey such as hawks.

Carrying Dogs Away

Hawks, like other birds of prey, routinely make dinnertime out of all sorts of critters, from rabbits to mice and beyond. When their typical prey choices aren't easily found -- think during times of heavy winter snow -- hawks sometimes turn to animals that they don't normally eat, which is where a domestic pet might come into play. The differences in size between some of their usual prey and tiny canines aren't always that substantial, if any differences exist at all. As a result, big hawks such as red-tailed hawks (Buteo jamaicensis) are often fully capable of snatching up little dogs and consuming them -- a terrifying scenario for any owner.


Hawks have indeed carried wee dogs in efforts to take them somewhere else to munch on. The dogs sometimes are able to remove themselves from the hawks' tight clutches, but others aren't so fortunate. If a dog weighs less than 20 pounds, a hawk might be able to carry him easily. Despite that, it's impossible to say that a hawk cannot hold a dog heavier than that, even if the chances aren't as likely. Chihuahuas and Yorkshire terriers might be especially vulnerable to being carried away by hawks, due to their light average body weights.

Keep an Eye on Your Dog

Since hawks can retrieve small dogs, it's crucial for all owners to keep their eyes on their pets, even if they're just playing around in the backyard or on typical leashed neighborhood walks. If you leave your pooch alone in the yard for a mere five minutes while you take a phone call inside, that's more than enough time for a hawk to dive down into your yard and carry your sweet pet into the distance. Note that the odds of a hawk going after your dog are stronger if he's all by his lonesome, rather than with a couple of other furry buddies. The majority of hawks also tend to hunt for food during the day, so be especially cautious when it's light out. Hawk attacks can be deadly to dogs, or can at least bring upon some serious wounds, so always do what you can to avoid the frightening possibility.

Cats, Too

Don't assume that your cats are any safer than dogs from the threat of hawk attack. Like small dogs, many cats are close in size to some of hawks' most common prey focuses. If your cat spends a lot of time on his own outside, consider having him live in your home 100 percent of the time, instead.