Why do Dogs hate Squirrels? 9 Main Reasons

Dogs don’t just hate squirrels. While dogs are known to chase after squirrels, they enjoy the sport of chasing them down. Dogs probably hate these little critters for an entirely different reason; revenge.

See, while you may think that squirrels are cute and innocent creatures who pose no harm to anyone or anything, you are sorely mistaken.

Although we may believe that we have no connection with these furry, little tree-rats, they are actually plotting their revenge on us as we speak.

For how long will dogs be the butt of squirrels’ jokes? We may never know.

But after extensive research and hours upon hours of watching those funny, little videos of squirrels yelling at dogs, we have compiled our top 9 reasons why dogs hate squirrels.

1) Dogs were bred to hunt and kill small prey.

Dogs were bred to hunt and kill small prey.

Dogs were bred for thousands of years to work as hunters. Dogs, like wolves, would hunt their prey and eat the flesh of other animals.

While today’s dogs are generally fed canned dog food or dry dog kibble, they still retain that hunting instinct; so when they see a squirrel, their natural reaction is to chase it down and kill it.

2) Squirrels are like the more annoying cousins of rabbits.

Quickly hunted, rabbits were an excellent food source that sustained many humans and dogs alike for thousands of years.

While cats may like chasing after rabbits, dogs don’t share this sentiment.

Dogs see rabbits as small prey, and while they will chase them down, it’s not to eat them.

3) Squirrels have a resemblance to rats.

Rats were another go-to food source for humans and dogs alike before realizing that they carried disease.

The resemblance between squirrels and rats is uncanny; both are small, furry, quick critters who are sort of dumb but still manage to be fast enough to get away.

4) Squirrels can inflict severe damage with their sharp little teeth.

While I’ve never seen a squirrel actually eat a dog, I’ve heard stories of squirrels inflicting severe bodily harm upon dogs, especially terriers who were bred to hunt small prey.

While it’s sort of funny to watch your dog get attacked by a squirrel (again, only laughing because you know your dog is okay), this can be extremely painful and even dangerous for your puppy.

5) Squirrels sometimes tease dogs by playing around and then running away.

Squirrels sometimes tease dogs

Yes, before you laugh at this reason, listen to it. Much like the way cats tease dogs by playing around with them and then running away, squirrels do this too!

I don’t know if it’s just because dogs and cats both evolved from wolves, but they seem to share similar behaviors.

The other day we saw a squirrel playing around with our dog before scampering away; the second he looked out, the squirrel stopped and waited for him to turn back around, then repeated this play process all over again.

This was likely the cause of numerous dog-on-squirrel altercations.

6) Squirrels are natural enemies of both dogs and cats alike.

While squirrels don’t always seem to make an effort at getting along with dogs or cats, they are still their natural enemies.

While dogs generally enjoy hunting small prey, these prey generally enjoy outsmarting dogs.

Cats also see this prey as their natural enemy, so it’s not rare for cats and dogs to come across the same squirrel at different times in their lives and kill them instantly.

7) Dogs may dislike the high-pitched squealing noise that squirrels make.

This reason is a bit harder to explain than the rest. While most dogs seem to hate squirrels, it isn’t for any specific reason other than that they are small prey animals.

However, there have been many reports of people who claim their dog cowers in fear whenever they hear a squirrel squeal, and over time, this reaction has been proven to become more and more frequent.

8) Dogs may see squirrels as a threat to their territory.

While territoriality is usually reserved for dogs meeting other dogs, it can be theorized that since dogs see squirrels as prey animals to hunt, they may also see them as a territorial competitor.

I think this has more to do with people who allow their dogs to roam free outside; if you keep your dog on a leash or in the backyard, you probably won’t run into as many squirrels.

9) Why do some dogs hate squirrels while others don’t?

This reason is pretty similar to the first reason we mentioned: just like there are different breeds of dogs bred to hunt various types of prey, there are also breeds that were selectively bred to tolerate smaller prey.

Terriers and small hounds were both breeds deemed “toy breeds” due to their likability for small prey, but not all toy breeds will get along with squirrels!

Since squirrels fall under this category, terriers and small hounds have been known to be the most aggressive when it comes to hunting them.


Can Dogs Eat Squirrels?

Although squirrel meat isn’t toxic to canines, it simply doesn’t provide enough nutritional value to your dog.

Much like human beings don’t always need to eat meat, dogs can survive without meat; however, what makes us different from dogs is that we are omnivores instead of carnivores.

Just like how we can’t survive by only eating meat, dogs can’t survive on a diet of nuts and acorns; they need some meat in their diets to survive.

Why do Dogs think Squirrels are prey?

Dogs may see squirrels as prey because they look similar to the small game dogs were selectively bred to hunt.

While most dogs will try to chase squirrels, not every dog will be successful in catching them, but this doesn’t mean that the game is over!

Squirrels are fast creatures who know how to dodge an oncoming predator; this behavior has led to some dogs becoming fatigued after long chases involving little payoff.

What dog breeds are best at hunting squirrels?

Terriers and small hounds, such as dachshunds, corgis, and beagles, were selectively bred to chase after small animals such as rabbits and squirrels.

While terriers may take a bit more effort than other dogs to train to stop chasing after squirrels, this is a relatively easy task that any owner can accomplish with a bit of diligence.

Disclaimer: Nothing within this website is intended to provide health care advice. Please promptly call or see your physician or another healthcare provider if you have any healthcare-related questions.

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