Dogs are active creatures with an instinct to hunt for prey. There is a possibility that it might kill any small animals that are near them, including birds.
It might be quite horrifying for you to witness your dog killing a bird and enjoying a feast out of it. You might also worry about the health concerns associated with consuming a bird.
My dog ate a bird, should I be worried?
If your dog eats a wild or a pet bird without your supervision, it might come as quite shocking and might worry you.
Eating a bird is not the best option for your dog’s health, but you cannot prevent certain circumstances when it might get a chance to grab a bird and eat it while you are away.
Each dog is unique, and its digestive and immune system reacts differently when they consume a bird.
You should not worry much about your dog consuming a bird until it shows any adverse effects.
However, it is advisable to consult a vet once and discuss the possible dangers of eating the bird and how to resolve them.
If specific symptoms like vomiting, upset stomach, or dizziness begin to appear, you need to rush them to the hospital immediately.
Is it safe for my dog to eat a bird?
It is not very safe for your dog to eat a bird, and they can face many health issues from it. Raw meat is not usually fit for your dog as they contain a variety of pathogens that can get transmitted to its body.
Some pet dogs’ digestive is not suited for consuming raw meat and can lead to several stomach problems like diarrhea and vomiting.
It can develop infections and sometimes allergies from eating a bird. There are always risks involved when a dog consumes a bird, especially if it is a giant-sized bird.
It is even more dangerous if your dog consumed a bird that has been dead for a long time.
The dead bird could be infested with various pests, bacteria, and fungus, which could cause many diseases in your dog, and certain diseases might be transmitted to humans in the family.
What happens if a dog eats a bird?
The dog can have a variety of reactions if they consume a bird.
If it is not accustomed to raw meat, there is a possibility that it might immediately develop stomach flu. It might vomit out the ingested bird or its bones and feathers and develop diarrhea and appetite loss.
Some birds might have the salmonella bacterium in their intestinal tract. If your dog consumes such a bird, it might enter the digestive system of your dog, and they might get infected.
The symptoms of salmonella poisoning usually appear after 12 to 72 hours after your dog eats the bird. Common symptoms include fever, lethargy, diarrhea, mucus in stool, increased heartbeat, etc.
If immediate action is not taken, the toxins might travel to the other organs and damage them as well.
Another possible condition that the dog might develop after they consume a bird is called Gastroenteritis.
It is also commonly known as the ‘garbage gut’ disease, which is quite similar to food poisoning in humans.
The chance of contracting this disease increases when your dog consumes a dead bird, as it might contain a lot of bacteria and other harmful pathogens.
The bacteria can enter into your dog’s bloodstream from its digestive tract, which might cause further complications.
Common symptoms of the disease include fever, diarrhea, vomiting, dehydration, stomach aches, loss of appetite, etc.
You will also notice tiredness and weakness in your dog, and there might be some swelling in the abdomen. This condition is treatable with appropriate medicines.
Your dog might contract a dangerous condition caused by the West Nile Virus, although the possibilities are relatively thin.
The virus infects a bird and makes them sick. They are transmitted to the bird’s body through mosquitoes.
If your dog consumes such a sickly bird, the virus can enter their body and cause several severe symptoms.
It can cause brain inflammation and mess up the coordination and movement of the dog. You will start to notice a high fever and excessive coughing in your dog if it contracts the West Nile virus.
It might also cause life-threatening and dangerous symptoms like seizures, sudden body spasms, paralysis, etc.
What should you do if your dog eats a bird?
If your dog eats a bird without your supervision, you need to keep a check on it for a few hours. Observe carefully if they start to show any symptoms related to a possible disease.
If it has no apparent symptoms and your dog has a good appetite for its next meal, there is no reason for much concern.
But, it would be best if you always discouraged your dog from repeating such behavior in the future as there is still a possibility of danger involved when your dog consumes a bird.
However, if you notice an upset stomach’s symptoms, you need to observe the dog for about 24 hours.
If you believe that it is merely a result of consuming raw meat, you can call your vet and take suggestions for the required medicines to be administered.
You should take extreme care of its diet for a few days and keep it away from foods that might increase vomiting or diarrhea.
However, if the symptoms persist for a long time, and it does not go away despite taking medicines, you need to take the dog to the veterinarian.
The vet would run some tests and look at its symptoms to detect the bird’s disease.
They would recommend appropriate medicines according to your pet’s diagnosis. You should give your dog the medication on time and take good care of them to cure their ailments as soon as possible.
Ways to stop your dog from trying to eat a bird
If you dread that your dog might eat a wild bird, you need to try specific ways to prevent it. It is never a healthy option for your dog to consume a bird, and you should discourage such behavior.
You can train your dog from a very early age to avoid particular mischief like eating a bird. You should teach them commands like ‘Come’, ‘No’, ‘Stay’ etc. which will help a situation where you need your pet to obey you.
Try to associate certain negative things like a scolding to behaviors like eating a bird or any other foreign object.
It would help if you also rewarded them when they follow your orders and stay away from destructive behaviors.
2. Put them on a leash.
It is vital to keep your dog on a leash when you go out, especially in dog parks or other outdoor areas.
This would help prevent your dog from chasing random birds. It will also help you to keep control over your pet and allow it to move around with your supervision.
3. Exercise your dog
Dogs usually chase birds or other animals when they have a lot of stored energy. Regular exercise or walks helps to use this pent-up energy, which makes the dog calm and obedient.
It will also help you teach them good behavior and ways to spend their life productive and useful.
4. Feed the dog
You should feed the dog before going out with it to prevent your dog from chasing a bird.
If it is well fed, the dog is likely to have no appetite for eating a wild bird. They would not chase and eat the bird even if they get a chance to do so.
5. Distract their attention
If you find your dog running after any bird, it is essential to distract its attention to avoid killing the bird. You can distract the dog with its favorite treats and by tossing them in the opposite direction.
If your dog has a favorite toy or loves playing with sticks, you can divert their attention by throwing the stick or the toy for them to fetch instead of chasing the bird.
Dogs are natural hunters, and it might be impossible for you to restrict it from killing a bird in specific scenarios.
You need to train them from a young age and teach them that such actions might lead to severe consequences.
Never encourage them to chase after birds or other creatures as it might tempt them to kill the animal and eat it. With patience and obedience training, you can indeed prevent such a scenario in the future.
Hi There, AJ Oren here. I am the founder of this amazing pet blog & a passionate writer who loves helping pet owners to learn more about their pets through my articles. I am also the content manager of this blog. I have experience in pet training and behavior, sheltering, and currently working for a veterinary clinic.