Is bird food harmful to dogs?

Is bird food harmful to dogs?

Dog owners will understand the uphill battle of keeping your four-legged friends away from food on the ground.

And if you’re also an avid garden bird feeder – this struggle can be daily!

Birds are messy eaters and will soon cover your garden floor with enough seeds to make a dog-sized snack. In most cases, your dog can hoover up a few seeds without concern, but there are still a few things to be aware of before you start letting doggo dine alfresco.

 

Raisins 

Many ground and table bird seed mixes will have raisins or sultanas in. Whilst these provide your garden birds with lots of energy and healthy vitamins, they are toxic to dogs.

It’s well known that feeding fresh grapes to dogs can cause sickness and even kidney failure, but did you know that dried grapes (raisins and sultanas) are even more likely to have serious effects?

If your dog is likely to eat your bird food, do not use mixes that contain raisins or sultanas. Many mixes now contain dog-friendly dried apricots which shouldn’t cause any problems when eaten in small quantities.

Reference

 

Mouldy Seeds

It probably goes without saying that dogs should never be allowed to eat any moudly food, moudly bird seed included.

Mould contains natural hepatotoxins, which are toxic chemicals that can cause liver damage in both animals and humans (so don’t you go eating mouldy bird seed, either!).

 

Bacteria

If your dog is eating bird seed its likely they’re doing it from underneath your bird feeders. This means that bird faeces is almost certainly present on the seed and ground.

Bird faeces can contain all kinds of bacteria and parasites that can easily be passed to your dog if they eat it. Whilst the effect of these diseases on your dog may not be as severe as on the birds, they can still cause a great deal of discomfort, diarrhea or vomiting.

 

Internal Blockages and Bloating 

On the rare occasion that your dog manages to wolf down a whole bag of bird seed (without raisins), they may experience a gastrointestinal obstruction.

This is where large volumes of food clog up the intestinal tract, stopping your dog from digesting food or going to the toilet without being in a great deal of pain.

In severe cases, your dog could require a trip to the hospital and potential enemas, or even surgery, to remove the blockage.

 

Flower beds surrounding bird feeders
 

How to stop your dogs eating bird food

The easiest way to stop your dogs eating bird food is to stop it reaching the ground. There are several bird feeders that offer screw-on base trays to catch wayward seeds and husks.

You can also make sure that you regularly collect any bird seed mess from underneath the feeders or try creating a barrier around the base of your feeders.

For a more natural approach you can try planting a bed of flowers around the base of your feeders to hide any seed waste and deter your dog from fussing around that area.