Every dog owner has undoubtedly experienced the moment of panic when their dog picks up or eats something they shouldn’t. Unfortunately dogs sometimes eat dead animals, and birds (sometimes even living ones) are high up on the list. If you’re freaking out right now and wondering what to do because my dog ate a dead bird, don’t worry this is more common than you might think.
If your dog ate a dead bird, he or she will usually have symptoms of an upset stomach, which may include vomiting or diarrhea. These symptoms usually go away within a day or two and should not be a cause for concern. If you notice your dog acting weird or sickly after eating the bird, take them to the veterinarian immediately to be checked out.
Dogs are naturally inquisitive, especially during walks. They can easily pick up nasty things that you don’t want them to touch. If your dog ate a dead bird, don’t panic. Here are tips and advice on what you should do.
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Here’s a Quick Pro Tip!
One great way to prevent your dog from getting the chance to eat a dead bird when on walks is using something like the TUG 360° Tangle-Free, Heavy Duty Retractable Dog Leash to keep them away from dangerous things.
Alternatively another safe option would be the Gentle Muzzle Guard for Dogs which won’t allow them to eat dead animals.
My Dog Ate a Dead Bird, Should I Be Worried?
Dogs are more resilient than humans when it comes to eating things that are supposed to be a health risk. The good news is that you shouldn’t worry or stress over your dog dying due to this.
In most cases, you’ll likely be dealing with a dog that has an upset stomach. You can expect your dog to react by having diarrhea or vomiting. If that happens, keep monitoring your dog and check for other symptoms such as loss of appetite and lethargy.
If you observe that your dog is behaving normally, then there is nothing to worry about. On the other hand, if you see that your dog is behaving oddly after the encounter, you can take steps to manage his upset stomach at home.
What To Do If My Dog Ate a Bird
We are not veterinarians. If your dog is experiencing more serious symptoms, bring him to the vet immediately.
In general, dogs will be just fine if they’ve eaten a dead bird (or even a live one for that matter). There’s no need for panic, and if your dog does have an upset stomach, there are steps you can take to make sure your dog remains comfortable until it goes away. These are steps recommended by dog experts:
- You can start by withdrawing food for 12-24 hours.
- Give only small amounts of water while your dog is going through fasting.
- Resume feeding your dog but with a bland diet. Make sure to give only small, frequent amounts.
- Gradual feeding should continue; then slowly increase the feeding if your dog is no longer vomiting or if stool is already normal.
You might also enjoy our post on What to Do if Your Dog Eats a Dead Frog
Why Dogs Like To Eat Dead Animals
Before we discuss tips on what to do if your dog ate a dead bird, it’s important to understand why dogs like to play with or eat dead animals. Dogs eating dead things isn’t just limited to birds, but they’ve been known to eat other dead animals as well. You may be interested in also checking out:
Dogs are easily intrigued by dead things because of the smell. And when it smells, a dog’s interest is piqued – all the more when there is that smell of decay. While we, humans, are grossed out, dogs are drawn to it. So, don’t be surprised if your dog will stop and pick the gross thing up with its mouth during your walks or if they come across a dead bird in your yard.
Have you wondered why this is so? According to popular theory on why dogs like to play with dead animals or put them in their mouth, it has to do with their wolf ancestors. By playing with dead things, wolves mask their own scent, making it easier for them to hunt. This is an instinct that has been passed on from wolf ancestors to the domesticated dogs of today.
Is It Normal For Dogs To Kill Birds?
Killing birds is normal behavior for dogs and it’s because of their instincts to go after small animals. On top of that birds do make a great meal for some. Just because your dog lives comfortably in your home and is pampered with essentials he/she needs, doesn’t mean his hunting instincts have disappeared.
Some dog breeds are even bred specifically to accompany their owners to go on a bird hunt. While it isn’t entirely a bad thing for dogs to kill birds, it may be a concern if they’re doing it too much.
You might also enjoy our post on What to Do if Your Dog Eats a Dead Mouse
Can My Dog Get Sick From Killing a Bird?
When your dog goes on a bird-killing frenzy, you may find that its’ something you can no longer tolerate, especially if you have a pet bird yourself. What if I have a pet bird and my dog ate my bird? What if I saw a pretty little hummingbird hanging out in the garden and then my dog ate a hummingbird?
As previously mentioned, your dog may experience an upset stomach after eating a dead bird. But another concern is the possibility of contracting a disease from an infected bird. Salmonella infection is possible since birds can carry the bacteria in their intestinal tracts.
It would be a good idea to bring your dog to the veterinarian if he or she appears weak. When you know your dog has eaten a dead bird, you should also be careful when picking up dog poop. Make sure to wash your hands thoroughly to prevent contamination.
Can a Dog Get Rabies From a Dead Bird?
If birds can carry salmonella, you might also worry about the possibility of your dog getting rabies by eating the dead bird. Perhaps, your dog licked a dead bird and you get worried about the possible bacteria and viruses your dog could get and pass on to everyone in the house.
Rabies, is indeed a dangerous disease, but it’s not present in birds. So, no, your dog cannot get rabies from a dead bird. That’s because only mammals can contract rabies.
Can Eating a Dead Bird Kill a Dog?
Serious effects such as falling very ill or even death is always the main concern for most dog owners who find their beloved fur best friends eating a dead animal. If you are greeted by your dog with a dead bird in his mouth, you can’t help but feel worried if he or she might die.
Just remember that in most cases, the risks are low for dogs that ate a dead bird or if your dog swallowed a whole bird, for instance.
Eating a bird that has been poisoned is a different story. In this case, your dog can also get poisoned and you may need to bring him to the vet as soon as possible.
You might also enjoy our post on What to Do if Your Dog Eats a Dead Snake
How Do I Stop My Dog From Killing Birds?
Killing birds can both be a dog’s skill or a habit you want to break. If it’s the latter, below are some tips you can consider:
- Have a retractable leash that you can control when walking in areas known to have birds around. This should train your pup to feel comfortable in their presence. A good recommendation is TUG 360° Tangle-Free, Heavy Duty Retractable Dog Leash.
- Reward good behavior with doggy treats. If you’re walking your dog, make sure you have some tasty treats ready. Find one that is not only delicious for dog taste buds but also contains vitamins and minerals, such as Greenies Original Regular Natural Dental Dog Treats.
- If your dog is known to attack birds and eat it, a muzzle would come in handy. Go for a lightweight muzzle that feels comfortable for your pooch. A good recommendation would be the Gentle Muzzle Guard for Dogs.
- Have enough patience and keep in mind that at times your dog could relapse despite having a successful training.
Can Dogs Digest Birds?
If your dog has a habit of eating birds, you might wonder if they are capable of digesting them. When you think about it, birds have beaks, feathers, and sharp claws.
For instance, my dog ate a pigeon – can a dog really swallow and digest all that? You’ll be surprised how your dog won’t be bothered if he or she ate a whole bird – even while it was still alive.
What Happens If A Dog Eats A Bird Feather?
There are dogs that do eat birds whole so what happens then to the feathers? If you see your dog not gagging or puking, then it only shows that he or she is fine. Otherwise, you may need to take your pet to the vet.
Some dogs have it bad that they would cough or even feel pain when drinking. If you observe such signs from your dog then that could mean that feathers may have lodged in his or her throat. Feathers could also get lodged in the intestine and cause diarrhea.
You might also enjoy our post on Can an Electric Fence Kill a Dog?
Conclusion: Should I Worry If My Dog Ate a Dead Bird?
Dogs are always drawn to things that smell. When it comes to dead animals, don’t be surprised if your dog loves to play with it or even eat it. And if your dog happens to eat a dead bird, there is no reason to be overly concerned.
Usually, dogs will have a minor upset stomach and will manifest in episodes of vomiting and diarrhea. Home management includes letting your dog go on fasting for 24 hours. You should reintroduce feed gradually and resume his/her normal diet once symptoms have subsided.
If however your dog continues to appear lethargic and present the mentioned symptoms, it’s best to take him or her to the vet.