The forest and rural areas are roaming with wild animals but which ones are dangerous for dogs?
Here are 21 animals that might attack dogs.
We will cover each one in detail so you know exactly when to take precautions.
Many times, the dog will be the one hunting the animals below. But this doesn’t mean that the encounter isn’t dangerous to the dog. When smaller animals like rats and possums try to defend themselves they will often leave the dog with several bites.
Coyotes are found all across North America and they do sometimes get pretty close to cities and suburbs. This is very unfortunate because these are fierce killers when it comes to smaller pets like cats and dogs.
Their closest relatives are wolves and they are actually small wolves, basically.
It seems like they hunted for sport but they will often kill the animal once they capture it.
You need to make sure to not leave any food outside doing the night. Make sure these little beasts will not find anything they can eat around the house and make sure to keep your little pets inside at night if you have coyotes in your area.
If you live in rural areas of the United States you might also encounter wolves in your area. There are many reports of wolves snapping a dog or two and they can even go after the bigger dogs too.
Remember that wolves normally hunt sheep which can weigh as much as 220 pounds (100 kilograms) so it’s definitely possible for a wolf to kill a big dog too.
Wolfs are fierce predators that will often hunt in packs.
This makes them extremely strong when they outnumber even a bigger animal. They are very hard to kill themselves because the defending animal will need to bite their neck (which is almost impossible).
Walls have actually become more common in Northern Europe as well. People are starting to protect them and let them romp freely across the borders. It’s actually illegal to shoot a wolf in Denmark at the moment which is creating a big buzz in the media because they are attacking peoples pets.
Foxes are much smaller than wolves but they can also cause danger to your dog. If a Fox is really hungry or desperate it will attack smaller dogs in rural areas.
Foxes have often been observed to get really close to smaller cities and towns at night. They can be extremely silent and it’s easy for them to surprise a smaller dog if it’s sleeping or resting.
Possums have an impressive defense mechanism. They will typically play dead if they are found or hunted by a dog which is a really good thing.
They will typically not show or use their long sharp teeth even though they have a deadly bite. But when they do you need to pay close attention because, as I mentioned, the teeth of the possum are long and sharp. They will definitely do harm to the dog if they grab a leg.
You might think raccoons are cute little fellas after watching Guardians of the Galaxy or other funny movies. But in fact, they are fierce and vicious little killers who hunt for sport.
A raccoon can definitely kill or wound a very small dog but bigger dogs will typically win the fight. But this doesn’t mean that the dog won’t get wounded badly or fatally.
Raccoons are amazing swimmers and they will often try to take the fight to the water. This might often cause the dog to drown after getting several bites or scratches on the front or in the face. Raccoons have been known to go after the eyes or leave deep bites that can even penetrate the skin and puncture the lungs.
Raccoons will typically hunt at night so if you keep Fido indoor during the night you will probably not have any bad experiences with raccoons.
The fully grown bobcat can (only) weigh as much as 30 pounds (13 kilograms) but they are fast.
The bobcat typically it looks somehow like a big domesticated cat. As you can imagine, they are very flexible and agile and they can definitely cause harm to even bigger dogs.
Normally, a bobcat will take flight if it encounters a big dog but sometimes they will engage in a deadly fight. If the bobcat feels like it’s can get away it will typically panic in rage and be very dangerous.
When your dog is wandering off-trail or into a field it might encounter a snake.
A snake bite is rarely fatal to the dog but you need to take it to the vet immediately to get it checked.
There are a ton of different snake breeds and some are venomous while others are completely harmless to the dog.
The snakes are typically not very active during nighttime. They are more likely to be laying out in the sun during the daytime to catch some heat from the sun. So this is something you need to pay attention to when you are out in nature with your dog on a warm sunny day.
Cougars & Mountain Lions
These rather big predators are also known as the Pumas. They are actually quite common across America and they can also snatch a dog.
They can even be dangerous to bigger animals like stock and smaller horses.
Over the last decades, they have gained in population after almost going extinct. They are large cats and they can hunt big animals as well as humans. So you also need to be aware of kids and livestock if you are living in areas where the cougars and mountain lions live.
These guys are also referred to as Peccary, which is a more correct name.
They are the same size as a medium-sized dog and they hunt in packs. This makes them more dangerous because they can easily outnumber the dog.
They can produce a fatal bite if you are unlucky.
You will typically be able to scare them away by making loud noises are spray water against them. And I advise you to do so because you don’t want these flocks of javelinas to hunt on your property. Especially if you have smaller dogs.
A deer will rarely attack a dog. But it might do so in order to protect the little Bambi’s (fawn). If a dog gets too close to the little fawn, the mother will probably be quick to attack with a series of kicks.
We even saw a video if this is one point where a pretty big deer would almost stomp the medium-sized dog to death.
Some dears will get pretty close to humans and they often live around the suburbs. In many cases, they will go near people during the early mornings in order to find food.
If you are walking your dog in these areas it’s a good idea to keep them on a leash. The kicks from the deer can be fatal to the dog or it might wound it for life.
If your dog likes to explore boroughs and little tunnels in the forest you might want to keep it on a leash. Otherwise, it might encounter badgers at some point.
During the 5-6 months of the year, badgers will protect the little cups from any intruder. The encounter between the dog and a better world probably turns out badly for the dog. If it doesn’t end fatally for the dog, then it will at least get some serious scratches and wounds.
The same thing goes for wolverines, otters, ferrets, and weasels. They all show similar behavior to badgers.
You might not think a squirrel is dangerous to a dog or other smaller pets but they can, in fact, have a very vicious bite.
The problem typically arises when your dog or cat will hunt the little fella. Dogs like to hunt smaller animals and squirrels are a good challenge for even a smaller dog.
If the dog manages to get really close or even capture the squirrel it will try to protect itself. It will do so with a vicious bite that can cause pain and infections to the poor dog. Even though the dog is probably just playing with it and might not want to harm it the squirrels get afraid and will defend themselves.
It’s also important in this case to take the dog to the vet if you see bite marks of any kind. You never know which diseases the squirrels (and other predators) are caring around.
If your dog is hunting a rat it might get bitten in the process. Rats can get pretty big and they will always try to defend themselves with their sharp teeth.
They are typically found around places with people where they can find disposed food or garbage lying around.
They will not cause a lethal bite to your dog unless your dog is really small. But it might transfer diseases and infections to your dog because rats are known for carrying lots of diseases. So again, you definitely need to take your dog to the vet if it has been bitten by a rat (or if you even suspect it).
Skunks have sharp claws they used to dig in the ground.
Remember, they have a very strong smell so you will typically know if your dog has encountered a skunk. In that case, you need to examine the dog and make sure it didn’t get scratched.
7 Birds That Might Attack Dogs
If we’re talking about smaller dogs we also need to consider some of the bigger birds.
The birds below are known for snatching mice and even bigger rodents. So if we are talking about a Chihuahua or a similar-sized dog you need to keep it inside during the night. Especially if some of the bigger birds below are living in your area.
Crows & Ravens
Crows and ravens are very intelligent birds. They have been known to hunt in groups and they are incredibly good at coordinating and communicating with each other when they hunt.
They will probably never be able to kill a dog but they can injure them because they have sharp beaks.
Crows and ravens can get pretty aggressive if anybody comes near their nest. When they are nesting they will do anything to protect the little ones.
You can reach much more hear about the amazingly intelligent crows and ravens.
Eagles, on the other hand, is a different story. They are much bigger than crows and ravens and they can definitely snatch a smaller dog. But would they attack a dog?
Probably not. Even though Eagles are huge birds they typically wouldn’t snatch anything heavier than a few pounds. So, unless we are talking about a tiny puppy or very small dog breeds, they should be safe from Eagles.
That being said, we have heard about it terriers taken by Eagles. So it’s definitely possible and if you are hearing Eagles circling over your area you might take your small dog inside until they fly away.
Bigger hawks like the ferruginous hawk have a wingspan of up to almost 60” (152 centimeters). They are enormous birds and they can snatch a tiny dog or cat.
But if we are talking about a medium-size dog you shouldn’t worry about Hawks, in general.
They probably won’t snatch even a tiny dog but if they can catch a cat they will also be able to lift a small dog into the air. Hawks will typically hunt mice and smaller rodents and they might eventually snatch a cat. But they should be very hungry in order to do so because it can also cost dangerous for the bird to try to grab a dog. After all, the dog has sharper teeth than a hawk.
There have been several occasions where bigger owls have snatched a poodle or another smaller dog. They will fly really close and try to snatch the little poor thing but that they normally wouldn’t be able to carry it away.
Owls are silent hunters so you might not notice them at first.
Owls are typically hunting at night or early in the morning. During the day they will often be more passive while sitting in a tree.
Vultures are getting pretty rare these days. They have a reputation for hunting anything that breathes and Hollywood has only added to this narrative.
But as it turns out, vultures are only interested in dead animals. They are primarily going after (dead) herbivores so your dog or smaller pets should be safe from the vultures. Vultures will even eat some vegetation himself and their digestion system isn’t built for animals that eat meat.
Just like most other bigger birds, magpies are most dangerous when they are protecting their young. For magpies, this is around October.
They will swoop, which basically means circling around the area and pick on humans as well as animals. They do so to keep people away from their nests.
If you having trouble with this you might consider putting up a scarecrow. If you do so, the magpies or other swooping birds will probably stay away from the ground. You can also put up something else like a Halloween costume or something like that that looks like an alligator.
What To Do In Case Of An Attack?
You need to be able to do some basic first-aid immediately. And then you should call the vet as soon as possible to have the dog checked for any infections etc!
Check out our list of 24 must-haves for dog owners where we have included first-aid items. It’s a really great list to check out with a ton of helpful items for any dog owner!
How To Keep Your Dog Safe
Remember the dogs have a lot of personalities, just like humans. Some dogs like to attack and hunt other animals while others are lazier and preferred to lay on the couch.
The same thing applies when we are talking about dogs’ safety around the predators of nature.
Very often, the encounter will happen because the dog is hunting the predator in the first case. But this doesn’t mean that the encounter shouldn’t be taken seriously because dogs will often hunt animals that are dangerous to them.
Remember those wild animals have much more “training” in hunting and are better to defend themselves. They live in the wild, so they will be quick to answer back with a series of bites or scratches if they feel threatened by a dog. Even though the dog probably just wants to play.
So, what can you do to make sure your dogs stay safe?
Keep it on a leash
The best thing is to always keep the dog on the leash if you are walking it in the wild.
When you enter areas where you don’t know whether there can be snakes or other predators hiding you need to keep your dog close. You shouldn’t let it roam freely if you suspect there could be predators in the area.
Keep it in at night
If you live in rural districts or in small suburbs you should keep the dog inside during the night.
These are the places where most of the animals we have listed above will typically be roaming at night. Your dog will have a pretty good night’s Vission but it might not be as good as the other animals.
Should I Put The Dog To Sleep After An Attack?
If the dogs really badly hurt you should let the vet decide. Needless to say, it’s always VERY tough to put a good dog to sleep after many years of companionship but sometimes it’s the best thing to do.
You need to apply some logical thinking here and let the vet decide what’s best for the animals. It shouldn’t have to live on with a ton of surgeries and pain for the rest of its lives.