A woman holds her small, white dog in a park.

There are many predatory species in Florida, and even small amphibians, insects, and plants can pose significant threats to a pet’s welfare. To fully assess the myriad risks associated with our flora and fauna, it’s important to remember that some of the stealthiest hunters are not on the ground, growing in the garden, or lurking in the water. Birds of prey are critical members of our ecosystem, but they can quickly and quietly undermine pet safety.

Look to the Skies

Large birds of prey can easily swoop down on a small pet and grab them with their talons. Depending on the bird, they may struggle to lift a pet over 10 pounds. But that may not necessarily stop them from launching a vicious attack on an unsuspecting pet, especially if they are desperate for a meal or defending their nest or territory. 

Know What to Look For

The most common culprits for attacks on small pets include the following:

  • Hawks
  • Owls
  • Falcons
  • Eagles
  • Vultures

Raptors are federally protected. You may be able to scare them off, but that doesn’t mean your pet will escape from a potentially lethal encounter with one. It is illegal to harm, capture, or kill a bird of prey or their offspring.

What You Can Do

The best thing pet owners can do for their small pets is to maintain constant vigilance, even on your own property. Stay with your pet while they’re outside in order to deter predators. If you have more than one pet, encourage all of your animals to go outside together (safety in numbers!).

You might also decide to build a covered enclosure for your pet. This provides them with ample independence (and frees you from constant supervision, as well), while inhibiting birds of prey from entering their space. 

Additionally, keep the yard and surrounding area as tidy as possible. Any items that attract aerial hunters, such as bird feeders, shiny objects, and small rodents can have disastrous consequences. 

Uphold Pet Safety

When out and about for walks or hikes in a natural setting, be sure to avoid known raptor habitats. Keep a firm grip on your dog’s leash and minimize the distance between you. If your shared activities warrant a talon-proof vest, there are many styles and varieties to choose from. 

You may have additional questions or concerns about the ways to promote and sustain pet safety, and our team at Caring Paws Animal Hospital is always here to help. Please give us a call at (813) 723-7297.