Will Barred Owls Attack Dogs

You may be aware of the danger that raptors like eagles and hawks represent to your puppy, but you may not think that owls are much of a problem.

People frequently imagine owls as sage, reclusive, and majestic creatures who wouldn’t harm animals. But because they are apex predators, owls can catch huge prey like rabbits and weasels with ease. Would an owl attack a dog, though? And how do you keep owls away from your dog? Let’s look at it.

Do owls attack dogs?

Undoubtedly, owls do attack dogs. Nevertheless, owl assaults on dogs are uncommon. Only prey that owls believe is tiny enough to carry away will they pursue.

There are 19 native owl species in the US. The great horned owl is the only species that is thought to pose a serious hazard to dogs.

The great horned owl, which may reach a length of 2 feet and a weight of 3 pounds, is the biggest owl species in North America. Snowy owls and long-eared owls are other owl species in North America that have been reported to attack dogs.

The great horned owl is the only species of owl that would constantly be able to pick up a small dog due to its size and strength. Since great horned owls can carry up to 9 pounds, they are capable of snatching small dogs like Chihuahuas or Yorkshire terriers.

In the news, there are numerous reports of owls attacking dogs. A Bichon Frise was attacked by a snowy owl in Ontario, Canada, in January 2022, leaving its owner with $800 in medical expenses. Two Dachshunds were attacked by an unidentified owl in Atlanta, Georgia, in January 2018.

Where do large predatory owls live?

Throughout the US, great horned owls can be found in many types of habitats and temperatures. In North America, there are about 3,900,000 great horned owls.

Although they spend the winter in southern Canada and the northern US, snowy owls are Arctic tundra dwellers. Fewer than 30,000 of them exist in North America, making them uncommon. About 140,000 long-eared owls live in woods and are considered endangered.

The three species are all under decline. Since 1970, the long-eared owl population has decreased by 91%. Critical contributors to the decline in owl populations include illegal hunting, deforestation, and climate change.

Signs of an owl attack

Owls, like many other predatory birds, are quick to strike. Since owls are nocturnal animals, it’s unlikely that you will see an owl attack.

OWL assault warning signs include:

  • Puncture marks
  • scrapes and claw prints
  • missing fur patches
  • Broken bones or head injury
  • Bruising
  • Calls of horns prior to the assault
  • Bird feathers close to the dog

Diagnosis and treatment of an owl attack

Your vet might not know exactly what attacked your dog unless you were able to identify the bird during the incident because most bird attacks resemble one another.

Attacks by owls can vary in severity. A small puncture wound on your dog might only need a few stitches and medicines to avoid infection.

Blood loss could happen in deeper wounds. Your dog might need a blood transfusion in this situation. Your dog might have shattered bones, internal bleeding, or a concussion if the owl was able to pick him up and drop him from a height. There may be a need for surgery and X-rays. Owl assaults could, in some situations, be fatal.

Vet costs for an owl attack

Depending on the severity of your dog’s injuries after an owl attack, the expense of veterinary care may be quite high. The cost may also change according on your area and the breed of your dog. Here is a ballpark figure for vet bills following an owl attack:

  • Embroidery: $100–$300
  • $25-$50 for antibiotics
  • Operation: $2000+
  • X-rays: $100$300
  • MRI: $800$1,100
  • $400–$3,000 for casting and splinting.
  • $35 or more for painkillers
  • Fluid replacement: $70-$100
  • Transfusion of blood: $100–$300

Tips for preventing owl attacks

Attacks by owls can occur quickly and be challenging to thwart. Nevertheless, there are numerous methods for keeping owls away from your yard.

Being strictly nocturnal means that the majority of owl species only hunt at night and are dormant during the day. Bring your dog indoors at night if you want to avoid them being attacked by an owl.

There are several items available on the market that will shield your dog from attacks by birds and other animals. The Raptor Shield serves as a thin layer of body armor for your little dog, shielding its neck and back. It is constructed from the same material as bulletproof glass and is resistant to coyote bites and bird talon attacks.

The Coyote Vest is another popular item. To defend your dog against various species, this protective garment is studded with spikes and constructed of stab-proof cloth.

Owls make their nests in a variety of locations, including trees, man-made platforms, and abandoned structures. Consider purchasing a set of binoculars to search for nests if you live in a densely forested region or have heard owls calling at night. When releasing your dog outside if you see something that appears to be an owl nest, exercise particular caution.

As predators, owls frequently hunt small birds like sparrows. They have even been observed eating osprey and other huge raptors. Small birds may attack owls if you leave bird feeders out in your yard. To lessen the likelihood that owls will visit your yard, remove any bird feeders.

Owls will become confused and stop hunting in bright lighting. Installing a motion light to deter owls and other predatory animals like coyotes may be an option if you live in a rural location and your neighbors are okay with it. If a motion light bothers your dog too much, think about buying an LED collar or putting a flashing light on the collar to scare off potential predators.

A fake owl is a great deterrent for owls and other raptors from approaching your house. Owl decoys function similarly to scarecrows. Small birds will avoid it because they see it as a predator, and other raptors will avoid it since they won’t want to hunt in the same area.

What do you do if an owl attacks your dog?

Owl assaults often take place in a fraction of a second, making it challenging to halt one in progress. It’s important to remember that the Migratory Bird Treaty Act protects owls, and that hurting or killing one could result in a sizable fine and/or a jail term.

Approach your dog while yelling and making loud noises if you see an owl circling or attacking it. After an owl assault, take your dog to the veterinarian right away. Even if the wounds appear minor, they could develop an infection or worsen over time.

Are you going to a place where there are a lot of owls? Consider first obtaining pet insurance. Pet insurance can assist pet owners in covering unforeseen medical costs and damage (including owl attacks). You may select the “pawfect” plan for your pooch with our convenient comparison tool for pet insurance.

A barred owl might attack.

Barred Owls do not travel south during our challenging winter months, in contrast to many of the fascinating species that live in our state. This species should garner our affection because they are just as resilient as we are for sticking it out through the chilly, windy weather.

Barred owls are smaller than Great Horned Owls (21 versus 22), although they weigh significantly less on average—1.6 pounds on average, or about half as much as a Great Horned Owl. They are also different in temperament, with Barred Owls being less aggressive and less likely to attack a person even if they came close to a nest.

A barred owl eats mice and voles, but they will also eat small frogs, reptiles, and birds. All of their hunting occurs at night or in the early morning. The vast bulk of their diet consists of mice and voles, and as a result of their reliance on smaller prey, their talons are much smaller and less scary than those of other huge raptors. The size of their prey has been conveniently matched by nature to their talons!

The Barred Owl’s nesting season begins in the late winter or early spring. They may choose a cavity created by a broken branch, a missing tree top, or a hole that a pileated woodpecker had previously dug. Cavities are favoured for nesting. Barred owls will also use man-made nest boxes, but even the most ambitious nature enthusiast may find it challenging to imagine a volunteer strolling into a heavily forested region and heaving a huge wooden box more than 20 feet above the ground into a tree.

Barred Owls often choose natural nest cavities that are 2 feet deep and 15–30 feet above the ground. The birds do not coat the bottom of the nests with anything. They may decide to reuse the nest of a squirrel, crow, or hawk if they are unable to find a suitable nest cavity, although it would obviously be an exception to their usual practice.

The male Barred Owl will obediently feed his partner while she meticulously incubates the eggs. The female produces one brood of 2-3 white eggs, which she will incubate for 28–33 days. About six weeks after hatching, the young owls are ready to fledge, but the parents will continue to feed and look after them until they can look after themselves. For 4-6 months, which is significantly longer than for most other birds, full independence might not come about.

Barred owls are noted for being steadfast to their nest sites, so if you come across a pair that is nesting, you might want to make a note of the area. Each year, mated pairs frequently go back to the same place to build their nests, and some pairs have built their nests in the same tree for several years running.

Due to their size, strength, and ferocity, Great Horned Owls pose the biggest threat to Barred Owls. However, a group of obnoxious crows or blue jays can readily irritate a Barred Owl that is taking a nap and make it leave the safety and comfort of its secretive, daylight roost. The owl is vulnerable to numerous other dangers if it is chased away from its daytime resting location.


Most birds are scared off by reflective metal tape for a variety of reasons. There are numerous explanations for why this might be. It might be because of the peculiar way it reflects light, which might prevent birds from the region. Alternately, they emit peculiar wind noises that could frighten away birds.

Long strips of tape can be strung up on trees, awnings, or fences to repel birds. Beware; most birds, especially songbirds, will flee if this happens. This is likely not the greatest choice for you if you want your bird feeder to remain filled.

There are many types of reflective tape available on the market that can be useful. Anything smaller than this might not truly be visible, so you should select for bigger choices that are at least an inch or two thick. Beyond that, it doesn’t really matter what sort you get.

Take cautious not to leave any tape behind as litter. Take hold of any loose parts and put them back in place.


At first glance, bird spikes might appear a little barbaric, but their main purpose is to make it harder for birds to perch. They aren’t truly so sharp and don’t hurt the bird. They merely impart a texture that is not really conducive to bird seating.

Many birds will move to a new location once they are without a perch. This can be applied on nearby trees to prevent predatory birds from perching and keeping an eye on your dog. This can reduce the possibility that birds will decide your dog is a target because they frequently hunt while perched.

Songbirds won’t be able to perch on the branch either, of course. They can always be placed exclusively on larger branches, whereas smaller birds can use larger branches. Longer spikes can also be used to prevent larger birds from perching. Smaller birds, though, can easily squeeze between the spikes and don’t seem to mind them. In fact, they frequently construct nests on the spikes.

On higher trees, applying them can actually be a little difficult because you need to reach the branches. Additionally, this might not be feasible depending on how many trees you have in your yard.

By brand, the way you use the spikes differs. Typically, anything that will hold the spikes in place will work, including screws, glue, zip ties, and so on.

Bird Balloons

In essence, these balloons are enormous, floating beach balls. They frequently have painted eye markings. The bird is confused by this and believes they are enormous predators. As a result, many birds, particularly larger pet birds, will avoid these balloons.

It is possible to add tassels and other accessories to simulate movement, which could frighten birds even more. These balloons are made to maintain their inflation for a considerable amount of time so that frequent replacement is not necessary.

The majority of birds, even small ones you might desire in your yard, will flee after using this technique.

Scarecrow Owls

These owl replicas made of plastic are excellent for frightening off various species, including certain raptors. Many other birds don’t like to live close to owls since they are predators. They will therefore seek out another location to hang out in.

However, it seems to be more effective with smaller birds. Although many predatory birds may not care, some may avoid owls. As a result, larger predator birds could not benefit the most from this technique.

Hawk-Proof Netting

Many people use netting to cover items like poultry for protection. This covers the area where the hens are, which is usually enclosed by a frame. Birds cannot fly through the netting, protecting the animals from them. For your dog, you can follow the same procedure. In essence, you’ll be building a safe space for your dog to hang out in.

This choice requires a lot of labor. It entails constructing a structure and mounting the nets. But it pretty well ensures that a hawk or other such bird won’t hurt your dog. By all measures, it is the option that is the most protected.

Use a RaptorShield

Your dog wears a protective item called the RaptorShield. It is made of polycarbonate that is impervious to punctures, so raptors’ talons cannot penetrate it. Your dog has something similar to a shield on their back that deters assaults from raptors and other animals without doing much damage. Due to the fact that predatory birds typically attack from above, it is very useful against them.

It is available in a wide range of sizes intended for smaller dogs. Two straps ensure that it remains in position. It’s crucial to pick the right size because you don’t want the raptor to be able to crawl under the shield.

Use a Hawkshield

The Hawkshield is a comparable item. Small dogs are intended to be shielded from raptor attacks by it. However, it is coated in spikes rather than essentially just being armor. These spikes are really painful and hinder the bird from taking a firm hold on the dog. Since the spikes might hurt an animal if it bites your dog, this barrier is also useful against coyotes. This tiny clothing essentially transforms your dog into a porcupine.

The same Kevlar material that is used to make bulletproof and knife-proof vests is also used to make this vest. The shield is designed to break away if the hawk gets to capture it, leaving your dog behind.