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Male Northern Cardinal with seed in beak, perched on rim of rustic wooden seed feeder

Are bird feeders bad for dogs

Dogs running freely in the backyard shouldn't be ruined by the presence of bird feeders, but you will need to go cautiously if your dog insists on ingesting bird food.

Bird feeders can be bad as Salmonella can develop on the surface with this bacteria; thus sickness can occur in dogs but is rare due to a dogs strong metabolism. Common wild bird food in seeds, nuts or mealworms are safe for dogs to ingest - as it must remain fresh while avoiding bird food gone bad.

It can be a scary moment as your precise four-legged friend ingests what can be poisonous wild birds food, via the bird feeders in your backyard.

Feeders can become a nuisance to dogs if they persist in eating up anything, but dogs can quickly overcome this as their bodies reject it, just as the human body does - with mild to strong diarrhea and sickness.

If at all concerned about this, simply make an appointment with your veterinarian ASAP, as they may possibly induce vomiting in your dog to avoid severe sickness.

Birds can pass rotten bird food around the bird feeder to which can lead to bacteria being present on the feeders exterior body - if a dog licks this or comes into contact with it - then the bacteria will end in the digestive system.

Similarly, bird poop can be present on bird feeders with dogs possibly ingesting this, not on purpose but they can become very unwell.

Dogs of certain breeds will eat up anything on the ground, so its vital you keep bird food spilt on the ground below the feeder cleaned up at all times. Go as far as isolating bird feeders to keep them out of reach of all pets, and children to be safe.

Feeders can cause issues

Feeders can be bad for dogs if indeed dogs are allowed the freedom of the yard whilst left unchecked, as they can ingest anything the mutt sniffs out.

Unless regularly cleaned out, bird feeders can be a breeding ground for bacteria, as bird food is allowed to rot, thus dangerous bacteria develops.

Dogs would then lick the bacteria riddled bird feeders while becoming ill; nothing too major I hope, with the likely cause being diarrhea and sickness. Similarly, if people touch their face or mouth, they too can be sick due to unkempt feeders.

Birds themselves are never the culprits, despite often being referred to rats with wings.

And while it can happen in very rare circumstances, its unlikely to happen to your dog as most dogs are seen to ignore feeders, or indeed they remain out of reach.

Whilst feeders may not be the direct cause, it is possible rotten bird food can exit the feeders at any point - thus dogs can feed on decaying wild bird food on the ground.

Disease transmission

Bird feeders are not so bad for dogs in that you should never use feeders of any kind, in case of dogs becoming ill.

Illness can be quite mild to nothing happening at all if dogs eat fresh, or indeed gone off bird food - with feed accessed via the feeders or on the floor below them.

Transmission of diseases is a rare one, with only a few cases medically recorded in recent history, and that is within people.

Dogs have a much stronger metabolism than us, so any old muck they usually ingest, is quickly passed naturally, with no sign of sickness.

Birds do corrugate mostly around bird feeders and its corresponding equipment, while dogs can't pick up illnesses here, bird poop can be an issue.

No serious viruses pass onto dogs, though Salmonella poisoning is what dogs will catch.

Bird poop is quite toxic to pets and people, with a visit to the veterinarian needed if your dog is seen to ingest birds poop.

Bacteria could be present

Other than bird poop the cause of diarrhea and sickness, bacteria riddled food or bird feeders in use are what can cause dogs to become ill.

Its these bacteria riddled bird feeders that transfer to dogs in easiest possible way.

Feeders hanging off an high point on a bracket or a branch remain safe for dogs in your yard, only bird feeders too low down to the ground can allow larger dogs to stand on their hind legs to investigate bird food on top.

It can be a platform bird feeder on a stand, but if you can believe it a bird bath can be an issue for dogs - with the exact same cause being bacteria present on the surface.

Assume bacteria is always present on bird feeders or other wild bird equipment, only then can you be sure to sustain high standards of hygiene, for both yourself and your dog.

Clean bird feeders once or twice a week if you can, while continuing to replace old bird food just as regularly to maintain an healthy bird feeding area.

If dogs eat bird seed or chews bird feeders you can be sure there's little bacteria present, if recently cleaned with a vinegar or bleach solution.

Food can be BAD for dogs

Feeders can of course be responsible for dogs ingesting all types of bird food, without you even realizing it.

And while a wild birds diet consists mostly of food groups that dogs can safely eat, you don't have to worry about the onion, garlic or even junk food being eaten - in which case all this can be poison to pets or wild life.

Bird food can be bad for dogs if its gone way past its expiry date; thus it can be moldy which can see a dog become poorly.

Bird food on the ground that has fallen out of the bird feeder can be eaten by dogs, but hopefully not on purpose, and only if a day old and remains fresh.

Dogs can eat seeds, peanuts or suet if any of it lands on the ground below feeders; if its off then there's going to be an issue - if its only a few days old then you are going to be OK, but do keep an eye of them.

If bad weather continues to dampen the ground, then this can certainly speed up bacteria germinating on bird food, so be sure the area below bird feeders are kept clean if your dog can't help itself.


Bird feeders themselves tend to be safe for dogs, but any bird feeder can see bacteria develop on the surface, so in turn can be in contact with a dogs face or mouth.

Nothing much can happen in this case but do keep an eye on your mutt.

Indirect cause of dogs becoming more ill is wild bird food within bird feeders. Whilst dogs don't normally feed on bird food in the yard, they may sniff it out on the ground and ingest it in large quantities.

If this were to happen then visiting the VET to be sure would be the best cause of action.

Dogs that remain insistent on accessing bird feeders must be stopped at all cost; cage off the ground below bird feeders, or indeed hang feeders over an area dogs cannot reach without you noticing to stop them in time.

Bird food spilled on the ground can be eaten safely by birds if it remains fresh, but if its old then it will likely be moldy so can make dogs ill.

Fresh bird food doesn't mean its safe, because bird food exposed on the ground can develop bacteria quite quickly, even more so in damp conditions.

Feeders can be bad for dogs if not regularly cleaned up to kill off bacteria, but the real culprit here is wild bird food allowed to rot, while being ingested by dogs.

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