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Do Squirrels Attack Dogs? What You Need to Know to Protect Your Pets

So many times I have been asked, ‘Do squirrels attack dogs? Have you ever wondered if a squirrel can attack your dog? Seems unusual coming from an adorable creature, right?

You may have concerns when dogs chase around squirrels, especially because squirrels have sharp claws and teeth. Squirrels are also known to be aggressive when danger is around the corner. 

Once you understand all the facts, you should be able to take the necessary action. Continue reading for further knowledge on whether squirrels can attack dogs.

Are Backyard Squirrels Aggressive Naturally?

Anyone who has interacted with squirrels knows them to be adorable little creatures. You would, therefore, be quite surprised if you found out squirrels are aggressive. 

Squirrels are generally not aggressive animals. That would explain why most people love to feed them. However, it is important to remember that all animals are unpredictable. 

Unlike pets, wild animals react differently based on different situations. A cat or dog would not act aggressively since it has some form of training. However, the same would not be said for squirrels since they are wild.

It is always advisable to handle squirrels cautiously since you cannot predict their reaction to your presence. However, if you regularly feed squirrels, they will associate your presence with food and be more friendly.

Do you know that squirrels have a good memory? Squirrels can remember you after having an interaction with them. When you feed squirrels, they will remember you the next time during your next interaction.

Be sure to also take note of squirrels that have young ones. Squirrels become aggressive when you approach their nest. Squirrels are very protective of their young, making it necessary to keep off their young ones.

Do Backyard Squirrels Attack Dogs? Can they Kill Your Dog?

do squirrels attack dogs
dog chasing a squirrel

Can a backyard squirrel attack your dog? Most people would confidently say no. However, is that the case?

In normal circumstances, a dog would chase any squirrel they come across. Most people use dogs to eradicate squirrels from their yards or farms. It is therefore very unusual to even think of squirrels attacking dogs. 

However, squirrels have been reported to kill a dog, as reported by BBC in 2005. In a Russian park, a pack of squirrels attacked and killed a dog. The stray dog barked at the squirrels, and an attack ensued.

Seems unusual, right? But it is true. Squirrels can attack dogs. Although dogs have the size advantage, squirrels are more tactful. Did you know that squirrels begin to squawk after seeing danger as a way of warning other squirrels?

That goes to show how intelligent squirrels are and can become when the need arises. Apart from being intelligent, squirrels have sharp claws and teeth, injuring dogs during a confrontation.

When threatened, squirrels will do almost anything to survive the situation. It should not come as a surprise if squirrels are ready to kill when threatened by dogs.

An aggressive squirrel reported to attack residents in NYC [source: Eyewitness News ABC7NY]

When Do Backyard Squirrels Attack Dogs?

In most cases, a squirrel will attack when it feels threatened. In this case, the mere presence of a dog threatens a squirrel. 

A squirrel will, therefore, become aggressive on seeing a dog. At first, it will begin by squawking as a way of warning other squirrels that are nearby. 

The squawking is also a defensive mechanism that informs the dog that the squirrel already knows about the dog’s presence. It will, therefore, be difficult for the dog to launch a surprise attack on the squirrel. 

If the dog still insists on pursuing the squirrel, it begins to consider other possible options to help it get out of such a situation. 

The squirrel will rely on its sharp teeth and claws to fight back. During such an encounter, the squirrel can inflict a lot of damage to the dog. 

A dog may subdue the squirrel eventually, but not without leaving with injuries sustained from the fight. Squirrels are keen to survive, even if it means attacking an animal way bigger than its size.

Can You Let Your Dog Kill Backyard Squirrels? 

It is always a great concern for many people when domestic dogs begin to behave wildly. However, what most people do not realize is that dogs are apex predators. 

Dogs will always be naturally hunters. That means dogs are more aligned to chasing and killing small prey. It should never be a great concern to you when dogs show their natural character.

By chasing after other animals, a dog is simply trying to express its predatory hunting nature. Even after the domestication of dogs, not a lot changed.

It is always exciting for dogs when they chase other small animals. In the same way, your dog would enjoy playing catch with you, and it is the same way it would enjoy chasing after small animals.

Coming back to the main agenda, is it right for you to let your dog kill backyard squirrels? In reality, there is nothing wrong with letting your dog have a chance at a squirrel. 

In any case, your dog will find it hard to kill a squirrel. Squirrels are very swift, and catching up to one is not that easy. It is more fun for a dog as it chases the squirrel around.

Is It Legal to Let Your Dog Kill Backyard Squirrels?

Now that it is clear there is nothing wrong with letting your dog kill backyard squirrels, are you likely to fall in the wrong hands of the law by allowing it?

Whether it is legal to let dogs kill squirrels or not depends on provincial laws. For instance, if a dog is in its off-leash area, killing a squirrel would be legal. Invasive squirrels are caught legally, and dogs kill them.

After all, it is right to have dogs, which will help keep squirrels off your farm or compound. Squirrels can be destructive, especially if they are hungry.

Squirrels stop at nothing when it comes to their survival. Some people have even reported squirrels eating their chicks and eggs when food is scarce in the environment.

That cannot be very pleasant for anyone who has a poultry farm. Therefore, it would be right to find a dog to help keep squirrels from harming your property. 

The only concern may arise from nature lovers who find it wrong when dogs kill squirrels. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and so it should not surprise you when a group of people disagrees with your actions.

Are Squirrels Toxic to Dogs?

If a dog were to eat a squirrel, would it have any consequences on its health? It is always a concern for many when their dogs chase after squirrels. The biggest concern being, will the dogs fall sick?

Many people worry that dogs can be infected with various diseases that originate from squirrels. Should it be a concern when your dog keeps on chasing squirrels?

First off, you should never worry about your dog getting fleas from squirrels. The Illinois department of health has confirmed that squirrels do not carry fleas. That should be a relief in case you were beginning to worry about it.

However, since squirrels carry ticks, they can transmit Lyme disease through tick bites. Ticks spread Lyme disease, which can be harmful to your dog.

The greatest concern would, however, be when your dog eats a dead squirrel. The main problem with dead squirrels is that you are not sure of the main cause of death.

If the squirrel were poisoned and died, your dog would also be poisoned if it ate the squirrel. Always keep your dog from eating dead squirrels as it will lead to food poisoning.

How to Keep Your Dogs Away from Wild Squirrels?

If you want your dogs to keep off wild squirrels, there are several things you can do to ensure that happens. 

Step #1: Training the Dog to Avoid Wildlife

One way of helping your dog to keep off wild squirrels is through training them to avoid wildlife. This will not be easy since dogs love to chase after wildlife. It is more of an innate prey drive that dogs find hard to resist.

However, you can help by creating a strong bond with your dog. Make sure your dog can follow the commands you give it. That will help in ensuring your dog obeys you when you tell it not to run after squirrels.

Step #2: Impulse Control Games

You can also keep your dog off squirrels through training games. There are several games that dogs can play to help in controlling their high prey drive. Impulse control games will come in handy in helping manage the situation.

You can also consider hiring a dog trainer. If you have tried to train your dog without success, you can always try a dog trainer. 

With a dog trainer, you have nothing to worry about since they have the right expertise to deliver the right results.

Wrapping Up

There is no doubt that squirrels will attack dogs if they have no other option. Any squirrel that has been cornered will have no other option than to attack the dog. Since squirrels have sharp claws and teeth, they will use them to their advantage. 

Apart from the sharp claws and teeth, squirrels will also use their intelligence to ward off the dog. That will include biting and wounding the dog. However, the dog still has the biggest advantage because of its size. 

If squirrels attack in huge numbers, they have a higher chance of killing the dog. 

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