What happens if a dog eats a bird? A dog snacking on a bird is an unexpected thing, so it’s normal for pet owners to panic. Most of the time, dogs will be fine after eating a bird, but some cases end up with serious health problems. In this post, I discussed the possibilities and how you can stop your dog from eating birds.
Is it normal for a dog to kill a bird?
To some extent, yes, because dogs descended from wolves. Dogs are carnivores, though not as obligated as cats.
Also, dog breeds with intense prey drive will surely chase after a bird. Terriers and hounds are some of the common bird attackers due to their instincts that are not easily overcome by training alone.
Aside from small birds, dogs with strong predator instincts will also target chickens and other feathery animals.
Moreover, dogs hunt to impress their owners, which they consider as the leader of the pack. This means that your dog considers you as the alpha.
Also, you should factor in the possibility of dietary deficiencies. A dog that’s not fed properly will find ways to survive. Their instincts will dictate them to hunt. Unfortunately, birds in the yard are the easiest targets.
Can dogs get sick from eating birds?
Most dogs will not die if they ate a small bird out of boredom. However, if your pet is targeting birds on a regular basis, its risk for the following diseases increases:
One of the biggest threats here is salmonella. Some birds carry this bacteria, which can wreak havoc on the canine’s digestive system. When a dog eats a salmonella-infested bird, it will suffer from poisoning.
If your dog suffers from diarrhea, vomiting, lethargy, and fever after eating a bird, you should bring it to the vet’s clinic right away.
Such symptoms can indicate salmonella poisoning. You have to act fast since this condition can lead to dehydration and eventual death if not treated immediately.
Also, eating birds can lead to gastroenteritis, also known as ‘garbage toxicosis’. This occurs when dogs dumpster dives and consumes trash. The same effect can occur if your dog ate a bird infested with toxic organisms.
Take note that aside from birds, your dog can also get garbage toxicosis from other stray animals. Dogs that contract this condition will suffer from bloody diarrhea, vomiting, and poor body control movements.
Aside from that, your dog may consume a bird with fleas. Fleas are intermediate hosts for tapeworms. If your pet happened to eat a bird with tapeworm-carrying fleas, a worm infestation would occur.
Moreover, waterfowl like ducks and gulls can catch a disease called botulism. This can happen when the waterfowl ate infected fishes. Your dog can contract the same disease if it eats an infected bird.
Overall, birds can carry a slew of diseases that can be transmitted to your dog. It’s best to train the dog to leave birds alone for their safety.
Should I worry if my dog ate a bird?
If your dog seemed fine within 24 hours after eating the bird, there’s nothing to worry about. However, if your dog starts vomiting and having diarrhea, you have to bring it to the vet right away.
Aside from the infection or poisoning, vomiting and diarrhea can easily lead to dehydration. When not addressed, dehydration can kill a dog.
Also, you should observe if your dog will hack after eating the bird. If so, a bone probably got stuck on the dog’s throat, causing the discomfort. The vet’s help might be needed here to remove the blockage.
How do I know if my dog ate a bird?
It’s quite easy to look for signs that your dog ate a bird. The presence of bird feathers all over your pet’s mouth is a dead giveaway. Another thing you should check is the remains of the bird in your yard. Dogs aren’t clean eaters, especially when it comes to their catches. There will surely have leftover evidence of the ‘crime’.
Some dogs will even bring the dead bird inside. This is in line with their hunting instincts in the wild. A wild dog will bring its catch to the pack, so no one starves. Unfortunately, you are part of the pack of your domesticated dog.
How to stop dogs from eating birds
If you have a dog with intense prey drive, keeping it away from birds might be a challenge. Still, there are some tricks you can do to save the poor bird from being eaten and your dog from getting sick:
Put a bell on its collar
While bell collars are typically used in cats, it will also be helpful for dogs that love targeting birds. When a dog moves, the bell will sound off, which will warn birds nearby. This is the same purpose it plays for cats.
However, it may take some time for your dog to get used to the sound. Some dogs will try to take the bell off. In this case, positive reinforcement is the key.
To desensitize your dog to the bell, sound it off, then give a treat right away. After a few repetitions, you can put the bell on the collar. If your dog sounds it off, give it a treat again. Over time, your pet will associate the sound with something positive.
Install bird deterrents
Your dog can’t eat birds if no birds are present. Deterrents like shiny tapes, owl statues, and predator sounds will drive birds away.
Keep your dog tired
Dogs that target birds are often bored and understimulated. It will help a lot to give your pet enough exercise and more playtime to drain its excess energy. This will keep the dog’s mind away from hunting and chasing after birds.
Distract your dog
Once your dog gets hooked on the presence of a bird, distract it by calling its name. You can also give a treat if your dog comes to you and leaves the bird alone. This will teach your dog that following your command is a rewarded action.
Train your dog
One of the most effective ways to stop a dog from eating birds is training them out of it. Teach your dog the ‘leave it’ command. This will allow you to call the dog when it starts to chase after a bird. For a canine with fierce hunting instincts, this will take a lot of patience and practice.
Can a dog digest a bird?
It depends on your dog’s digestive condition. If the pooch only ate the flesh, it’s safe to say that the dog can digest it. However, the feathers and bones can cause problems, especially if it gets stuck on your dog’s throat.
It’s important to observe your dog after it ate a bird. If it exhibits any signs of distress or digestive problem, it’s best to call the vet right away.
What does it mean when a dog brings you a dead bird?
When your dog brings you a dead bird, it just means one thing: it considers you as the alpha. In the wild, the leader of the pack eats first before the other members. So if your doggo caught a bird and brings it to you, you shouldn’t punish him. Instead, consider it a compliment. But for your dog’s safety, it’s best to train him to prevent future bird slaughters.
What happens if a dog eats a bird? Most dogs will not suffer adverse side effects. However, there are cases when the canine suffers from poisoning if the bird carries toxins or diseases. In the end, it’s best to discourage your dog from hunting birds for its own safety. Positive reinforcement will go a long way here. This may require patience, but it’s better than rushing your dog to the vet’s clinic.