Dogs are very curious animals, and you may find them munching on strange stuff from your backyard. Among the oddities you may find your dog snacking on is a bird. It is a cause of concern for many dog owners when they see their pets eating foreign things.
Should I be worried if my pup eats a bird? Dogs eat birds like chicken and turkey regularly, and they do not fall sick. This means that poultry is not a cause of concern. The concern is that we are dealing with a wild bird in this scenario. Stick on as we look at how you can deal with such a situation.
Why is My Dog Eating a Bird?
Dogs are predatory in nature, making them excellent hunters, like wolves, their wild cousins. Once in a while, they will try out their hunting skill and will catch an unaware bird, which they can proceed to eat.
Canines are also playful, and at times they have a bird in their mouth for a toy. As earlier hinted, they are curious creatures, and their curiosity may have driven them to the bird.
A hungry pup will want something to eat, and a bird may be easy prey. In such a situation, the dog will proceed to eat it, and the only point of it having a meal will be the feathers and other mess.
What’s the Worst That Can Happen When My Dog Eats a Bird?
A one-time snack of a blue jay won’t hurt your dog. However, there are several risks that your dog faces when it decides to eat wild poultry. Below are some of the dangers to be on the lookout for when you realize your canine had a wild bird.
Risk of Choking
Your dog, courtesy of its instincts, can eat a bird without the risk of choking. The problem is that some of the parts, like the beak, can be hard to chew, especially from the larger birds.
Wild birds can pass diseases like salmonella and chlamydia to your dog through the fecal matter present in their digestive tract. While dogs may not react to the bacteria that cause these diseases, direct contact can pass salmonella.
The chlamydia in birds can only infect animals, meaning that you are safe from it. However, salmonella can affect humans, and you have to be keen on your dog once it feasts on the wild bird.
Can Dogs Eat Dead Birds?
Dogs can be unpredictable at times and may eat a dead bird. This should be a cause of alarm, as you may not know what killed the bird in the first place. A bird that died from poisoning can have fatal effects on your pup, as the poison may still be present in its system.
Signs of poisoning include irritability, vomiting, general weakness, change in mood, and diarrhea. Consult your vet immediately if you see any of these symptoms.
Birds dead from diseases are also a cause of alarm, seeing that some of the diseases can also affect canines. These include aspergillosis, cryptococcosis, salmonella, and chlamydia.
Also, there is the issue of dead birds being full of microorganisms that cause decomposition. Ingestion of the organisms can bring about severe stomach upsets.
Are There Poisonous Birds?
Yes, there are poisonous bird species, like ifrita, European quail, spur-winged goose, and the red warbler. The poison mainly comes from their diet. The most toxic species, such as the ifrita, are native to Papua New Guinea; hence, a low chance of your dog encountering it.
However, others can find their way to your backyard, or you can encounter them on a hunting trip. If your dog eats such birds, the outcome can be pretty severe. You have to identify the bird eaten to help your pet doctor determine the toxins they are dealing with. Action should be quick because some of them may have a complex cocktail of toxins that can cause death.
What to Do After Your Dog Eats a Bird
Once you notice your dog has eaten a bird, you should watch it keenly for the next few hours to see its reactions. The typical garden bird won’t cause any harm to your pup, and if it appears okay after a day, then there is no need to panic.
Nevertheless, you should keep off your dog’s saliva, as it may spread salmonella to you and your household. You also have to carefully handle its fecal matter in the next 48-hours to prevent cross-infection.
Choking, diarrhea, vomiting, and other reactions should prompt a call to the veterinarian for fast action. Clean up the remnants of the bird for the tidiness of your compound.
Should your dog eat a poisoned or poisonous bird, you should immediately head to the vet’s place. It would help if you had a sample of your dog’s poultry feast for proper diagnosis. After the treatment, your vet may advise you to feed your pooch bland food, like plain milk or rice, because such meals help clear up your dog’s digestive tract.
Reasons Why Your Dog Should Not Eat Birds
As we have seen, your dog eating birds can cause diseases that can be hard to handle. You also have to deal with the mess of feathers, bones, and unwanted organs afterward, and no one wants to deal with such.
The other problem with your canine eating a bird is that it can nurture a bad habit. Once it develops a taste for raw poultry, it can spell doom, especially if you keep birds. Your dog may start hunting them down.
How to Prevent Your Dog from Eating Birds
You should stop your dog from eating birds as soon as you notice the habit. While it may be challenging, it is manageable, primarily if dealing with a trained canine. Start by clearing anything that attracts birds to your compound. Do the necessary landscaping work if you have a bushy backyard.
You then train your dog. You may call an experienced dog trainer who can lead it through. However, the training can be pretty expensive. You may train your pup at home by offering a distraction when it wants to pounce on an unsuspecting avian.
Reward it with a treat when it gives you its attention. The other logical move is to provide it with a chew toy, as sometimes it goes for a bird thinking it is a plaything. Additionally, you may want to keep your dog on a leash in areas where it may find birds and get the craving for a quick meal.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can My Dog Die After Eating Bird?
A one-time snack of a wild bird will rarely kill your dog unless in special circumstances. Some unique scenarios include your dog eating a poisoned or poisonous bird. It is easy to determine toxin involvement, courtesy of symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, restlessness, increased salivation, and general weakness. You should contact your doctor immediately if you suspect your canine ingested poison.
Also, your dog may die after eating a diseased bird. Some pathogens can easily pass from aves to dogs, for example, those that cause aspergillosis, salmonella, and cryptococcosis. While it can overcome some microorganisms, it may succumb if it has a compromised immune system.
Why Does My Dog Eat Birds?
Dogs eating wild birds is a common occurrence, considering that dogs are natural predators. It may be their way of testing their hunting skills, which should not alarm you. Also, your dog may be hungry, and it may spot an easy meal in the form of a bird in the compound.
Are Dead Birds Harmful to Dogs?
An odd dead bird on your porch that your dog decides to eat may pose no risk to it. However, you should discourage your dog from eating dead birds, as they may harbor diseases you or your dog may contract. Other times, the bird may have died from poisoning, meaning your dog will ingest poison, which can be fatal.
What Should I Do After My Dog Eats a Bird?
You do not need to panic if your dog eats the common wild birds that you spot in your backyard. Nevertheless, you have to call your veterinarian if you notice a strange behavior after your dog has had its poultry meal. Signs to check for are irritability, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive salivation, and weakness. They may point to some upsets that you need to address immediately.
Your dog munching on a bird might seem strange, but many pet owners have experienced such a scenario. Never panic when you realize that your puppy had an unsanctioned poultry dish, as most of the time, it will be okay.
On the rare occasion that it acts up, reach to your speed dial and contact your veterinarian for further assistance. After attending to your dog, you focus on stopping the behavior. Lure it away from birds using a toy or food. At times, you may have to leash it to keep it in check.
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