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Name: Gale B.
Status: Other
Age: 50s
Location: N/A
Country: USA
Date: 2000-2001

I have a somewhat weird question. I have 2 mini dachshunds that weigh only about 8 lbs each. I live on 10 wooded acres in Michigan's upper peninsula. I have a concern for my dogs when they are outside, that they may be attacked by a hawk or an eagle. The only time they like to go outside is during the warm weather and only if I am home. They love to sniff around for chipmunks but are never successful in catching any. They do have fun trying though. They stay close by and sometimes go into the edge of the woods but I still have a concern. I have tried to find documentation on this but cannot find any. I do not even know what kind of hawks we have but I do see birds soaring very high and I am sure some must live in the woods also. I have bells on their collars but do not know if that would deter anything. Are hawks afraid of dogs and how do they know the difference between a small dog or a rabbit? What is your opinion on this?

I do not really know about birds, (sorry, I do dogs and cats only), but I would think that a hawk could NOT differentiate between small prey and a small dog.

Perhaps you could keep them on some sort of long leash.

You might want to ask this question of someone who does wildlife or avian medicine though.

Phillip Raclyn, DVM CVA


I suspect your worries are warranted. Raptors will, depending on when they had their last meal, be anxious to dine on available prey. I personally don't think that a collar bell would dissuade them.

Having the dogs loose in a wooded are could lead to several types of problems. In addition to raptor attack, dogs can quickly pickup worms while in the vicinity of wild animal feces. Fleas and ticks are numerous and can infest a pet and then the pests are brought within the home on their host.

Last fall I adopted a jack russell terrier. With the numerous hawks which circle the area, I was aware of the threat and provided a safe haven for the this case, a 'dogloo' where the animal could seek shelter if attacked. I found it was wise to keep the dog in a fenced-in area which lessened some of the other threats I mentioned.

I am sure that my pet would prefer running free, but I find that it is wiser to seek a fenced-in field (ex. baseball field) where pets are permitted (you must clean up after the pet) and letting the dogs run there, supervised. In the long run, a living pet is a happier pet . :)

Thanks for using NEWTON!

Ric Rupnik

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