My Dog Ate a Bird: Should You Be Worried? (Important Facts)

As a dog owner, you probably understand the panic when you see your dog pick up and eat something they shouldn’t. Unfortunately, birds are on their list. You may have wondered about it many times. Thus, it begs the question:

My dog ate a bird, should I be worried? A dog that eats a bird can cause specific health issues depending on the situation. Observe your pet’s reaction after eating. If your dog seems alright after eating a bird, then there’s nothing to worry about it. However, if your dog starts showing symptoms, contact a vet immediately.

Dogs are curious animals by nature. Thus, they can sniff on everything and eat anything they find. They can eat a dead bird or even catch a live one. While it seems alright for them, it may cause certain conditions that can drive your concern.

In this article, we’ll tackle everything you need to know about birds and their effects on dogs if eaten. This way, you can ensure your pet remains safe from such incidents.

Without further ado, let’s get into it!

What happens if a dog eats a bird?

If a dog eats a bird, it becomes at risk of many health issues. While most dogs would be alright after eating a bird, some may suffer from various problems.

Some birds carry Salmonella, which dogs can get upon eating. Other birds, if ingested, would only cause diarrhea.

Since any dog can get sick from eating any bird, you should take your pet to the vet if it shows any symptoms.

Alive bird

A live bird shouldn’t cause more problems than a dead one. The reason is that its meat is fresher than a dead one. Moreover, it would have lesser bacteria since it has more secondary exposure than a dead one.

Still, it doesn’t mean it’s safe for dogs to eat. Live birds can still carry bacteria even if they are alive. For this reason, always keep an eye on your pet in case it shows any symptoms.

Dead bird

If a dog eats a dead bird, it’s prone to many risks, especially infection and virus transfer. Unlike a live one, a dead bird may have died due to sickness. Thus, it poses a lot of risks for dogs if eaten.

Moreover, if it died due to wounds, the wounds may get exposed to different bacteria that can also harm your pet.

Thus, it would be best to prevent your pet from reaching any dead bird around.

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Should I be worried if my dog ate a bird?

Your reaction should depend on your dog’s symptoms upon eating a bird.

As I said earlier, there’s a good chance that your pet will be alright. However, it can also induce your pet to many complications.

For this reason, it would be best to observe your pet after eating a bird and check for symptoms or problems.

Of course, it may only be an upset stomach. Still, it’s quite unsure since birds can carry many bacteria.

Alive bird

If your dog ate a live bird, it’s not much to worry about it. The reason is that live birds have fresh meat. Moreover, live birds didn’t get exposed that much since it’s alive.

Nevertheless, it doesn’t mean they are entirely harmless. Many live birds still carry bacteria that can harm your pet.

Thus, it’s still not a great idea to rest easy and be confident if you find your pet eating a live bird. As always, keep an eye and observe your pet.

Dead bird

If your dog eats a dead bird, it has many risks that you need to be cautious of as an owner.

For instance, dead birds may contract a disease that can transfer to your dog if eaten.

Another thing is that dead birds may have died due to toxins. Such an item can take a toll on your pet and induce severe symptoms.

Other causes of death may be wounds. If it died for a while now, the injury might get exposed to bacteria. Such bacteria can also transfer to your pet.

As always, it would be best to take your pet to the vet and have it checked as soon as possible.

What should I do if my dog ate a bird?

While eating a dead bird may not be a big deal for dogs, it can affect their health. Thus, you need to take immediate action, so your pet receives proper care and treatment.

Alive bird

If your pet ate a live bird, you could do the following as a response to treat your dog.

The first thing you’ll want is to observe your pet for any signs or symptoms after eating the live bird.

Since it’s a live one, it shouldn’t be that much of a threat than a dead one. Still, you need to make sure your pet is perfectly alright.

If it shows some symptoms such as vomiting or diarrhea, you can do the following:

  • Withdraw food for 12-24 hours.
  • Give your pet a small amount of water as it fasts.
  • Resume feeding, but in small amounts.
  • Keep the gradual feeding as your pet recovers.

Of course, you should do it as long as your vet acknowledges it and approves of it. Thus, before that, consult a vet first and ask for advice regarding the matter.

Dead bird

If your dog ate a dead bird, then it may need immediate attention even without symptoms.

If your pet seems alright after eating a dead bird and shows no problems, it may be alright to wait it out and observe for signs or symptoms. Still, you may want to call your vet and ask for a recommendation regarding the matter.

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Can a dog digest a bird?

Dogs can digest a bird since they are relatively small and consist of meat and small bones.

Still, it’s not reason enough to allow your dog to eat a bird. Moreover, it’s not enough to be complacent and not worry about your pet if it eats one.

There is a good chance that your dog will be alright. However, it still has some serious health concerns.

The complications can vary from mild symptoms like an upset stomach or diarrhea. However, it can also be as severe as a Salmonella infection.

For this reason, always keep an eye on your pet and prevent it from roaming around without your supervision.

dead bird

Why did my dog eat a dead bird?

Your dog may eat a dead bird, most likely due to its smell. The thing about dogs is that they get easily attracted by dead things due to scent.

A couple of sniffs on a dead bird should be enough for dogs to find it edible and worthy of eating. It’s the same way they do, even to the weirdest things we never thought they’d eat.

While it seems gross for us, our dogs find it pleasant. Thus, it’s the reason why they eat more things they shouldn’t than the ones they should.

Another theory that explains this behavior is that our dogs come from a long line of wolves. Thus, they imitate their behavior.

The theory states that by playing with the dead things, they cover their scent with the scent of the deceased. Thus, it makes everything easier for them, especially when hunting.

While dogs don’t hunt necessarily, they still have that curious behavior in them that sniffs on things and pounces on every movement.

What do you do when your dog has a dead bird in his mouth?

If your dog has a dead bird in its mouth, you may feel like taking it away. However, it may make your dog aggressive.

If you plan to take the dead bird away from your dog, you may want to lose its attention on it.

You can do this by merely driving its attention on another. For instance, you can give your pet some food or play fetch with it.

If you use another item for fetch, your dog may leave the bird as it gets the ball. As soon as it does, take the dead bird away and keep it out of your pet’s reach.

In general, the only thing you need to do is to get your pet’s attention and focus it on other things.

How do you clean a dog’s mouth after eating a dead bird?

If your dog ate a dead bird, you must clean its mouth to remove any bacteria it may carry.

In general, you can do so by wrapping a cloth around your finger and gently wiping it. You can use salt water, baking soda, or even coconut oil as a cleaning agent. When you do this, make sure you won’t gag your dog.

Another thing you can do is to use a mouthwash to your dog’s water. Or, you can increase its saliva using a dental chew.

My dog licked dead bird – should I be concerned?

If your dog licked a dead bird, it shouldn’t cause any issue. Still, you may want to clean your pet’s mouth if possible.

Dogs usually lick a dead bird if it sees one and sniffs it. As it finds the dead bird’s scent alluring, it will try to lick the bird.

As long as it’s only a few licks and your pet didn’t eat it, it should be alright.

However, if your pet shows some symptoms or complications, it would be best to contact a vet and ask for assistance regarding the matter.

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My dog ate a baby bird – should I be concerned?

A baby bird may be too small to create any worries. Still, it’s not something to be confident about as an owner.

If your dog ate a baby bird, chances are it won’t cause any issues. However, it would be best to prepare yourself if your pet shows some complications.

If it does, then contact a vet right away and ask for recommendations and instructions on caring for your pet.

Can my dog get sick from sniffing a dead bird?

It’s not likely that your dog would get sick if it just sniffs a dead bird. Dogs sniff stuff all the time, from the everyday items even to the strangest they can find.

Still, if you worry too much about your pet sniffing a dead bird, you can prevent it from doing so by removing the bird out of your pet’s reach.

Since dogs usually find dead birds during walking sessions, make sure to keep your pet supervised and call it if it sniffs a dead bird.

As always, prevention would be better than cure. Moreover, it will save you from the worries of affecting your pet’s health.


Any kind of bird, be it alive or dead, can be a risk for your pet if it decides to eat it. For this reason, you need to be observant of your pet and check for any signs of complications.

If your dog seems alright even after a few days of ingestion, you can already be at ease. However, if your pet starts showing some complications, a visit to the vet might be necessary.

As always, preventing your pet from eating birds would also save you from worries. Thus, if your pet plays outside, be sure to keep it company.


Image credits – Canva

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