Updated at: 06-06-2023 - By: Jane Brody

The presence of bird feeders in the yard shouldn’t prevent your dog from enjoying some free playtime, but you should exercise caution if your dog has a penchant for eating the seed mixes.

Salmonella can grow on the surface of bird feeders, posing a health risk to dogs, albeit this is extremely uncommon due to the robust canine digestive system. Seeds, nuts, and mealworms are all examples of common wild bird food that can be fed to dogs without fear of illness.

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When your specific four-legged friend eats from the bird feeders in your backyard, he or she risks ingesting potentially toxic food meant for wild birds.

In the same way that people become sick and have diarrhea if they eat something they shouldn’t, dogs soon get over feeders when their bodies reject them.

Make an emergency appointment with your vet if you’re worried, and they may recommend inducing vomiting in your dog to prevent more serious illness.

Germs can grow on the exterior of a bird feeder if birds deposit spoiled food there, and if a dog licks or otherwise comes into contact with the feeder, the bacteria will be ingested.

Dogs might get quite sick if they accidentally eat bird feces that has accumulated on bird feeders.

Certain dog breeds will eat everything they find on the ground, so it’s crucial that you always pick up any dropped bird seed or scraps from under the feeder. Put bird feeders in a secure location, far from the reach of pets and youngsters.

Feeders can cause issues

Can Bird Seed Kill A Dog-2

Unsupervised dogs who have access to a feeder may be harmed by it because they may eat anything that piques their interest.

Bird feeders can harbor harmful bacteria if the food inside them rots and the feeder isn’t cleaned on a regular basis.

After licking the bacteria-infested bird feeders, the dogs would become unwell, perhaps with diarrhea and vomiting but hopefully nothing worse. Also, unclean feeders might spread germs to others who then touch their faces or mouths.

Despite being frequently compared to rats with wings, birds themselves are never the perpetrators.

And while it is possible, it’s highly unlikely that your dog will do this because most dogs either choose to ignore feeders or keep them out of reach.

Although feeders might not be the root source, spoiled bird food might leak out at any time, allowing dogs to scavenge on discarded scraps meant for wild birds.

Disease transmission

You shouldn’t use any form of feeder around dogs for fear that they will become sick, but it doesn’t mean that bird feeders are completely safe.

Dogs that get their food from bird feeders or the ground below them may only experience minor health problems, if any at all.

Disease transmission within human populations is extremely unusual, with only a handful of documented examples in medical history.

Dogs’ metabolisms are significantly higher than ours, thus they are able to easily and quickly excrete the kinds of yucky garbage they consume without showing any ill effects.

And while dogs won’t get sick from the birds themselves, their feces can be a problem if they happen to be walking through the area where the feeders are kept.

Salmonella poisoning is the only dangerous virus that can be caught by dogs.

Bird droppings are highly poisonous to animals and humans alike, so if your dog eats some, you should take him to the clinic right once.

Bacteria could be present

Can Bird Seed Kill A Dog

Bird feces isn’t the only thing that can make a dog sick; consuming tainted food or having contact with dirty bird feeders can also lead to stomach issues and diarrhea.

These bacteria-infested bird feeders are the most accessible route of transmission to canines.

Bird feeders that are hung from a bracket or a sturdy branch out of reach of canine paws are safe, but those that are placed too low to the ground provide a hazard to larger dogs who may try to stand on their hind legs to reach the food.

A bird bath, or even a platform bird feeder on a stand, can be a problem for dogs because to the same bacteria that causes problems for the birds.

You and your dog can only maintain a good degree of hygiene if you always act as if bacteria is present on bird feeders and other equipment used with wild birds.

Feeders should be cleaned once or twice weekly, if possible, and old bird food should be replaced on the same schedule to ensure the health of the birds using the area.

Bird seed and bird feeders that have recently been cleaned with a vinegar or bleach solution will be safe for dogs to consume and chew.

Food can be BAD for dogs

Dogs may unwittingly consume any variety of bird food kept in feeders.

You don’t have to worry about the wild birds eating onion, garlic, or even junk food, which can all be poisonous to pets or wild life, because their diet comprises mainly of food categories that dogs can safely eat.

Dogs shouldn’t eat bird food that’s over its expiration date since the moldy food can make them sick.

Dogs can safely consume bird seed that has fallen to the ground from a bird feeder, provided it is no more than a day old and is still in good condition.

Dogs can get into the bird seed, peanuts, and suet that falls from feeders. This might be a problem if the food is spoiled, but it’s usually safe if it’s only a few days old, but you should still keep a watch on your dog.

Make sure the area underneath bird feeders is maintained clean if your dog can’t help itself, especially if inclement weather continues to moisten the ground, which will undoubtedly speed up the germination of bacteria on bird food.


Bird feeders are generally harmless for dogs, although any bird feeder can grow bacteria on the surface, which can then come into contact with a dog’s face or mouth.

While it’s unlikely anything would go wrong, you should still keep a watch on your mutt just in case.

Wild bird food in bird feeders is a secondary cause of canine illness. Dogs may eat a significant amount of bird seed that has fallen on the ground after sniffing it out.

The best course of action in this situation would be to check with the local VET.

Cage off the ground below bird feeders or, better yet, put feeders over an area dogs cannot reach without your notice to stop them in time if they persist in trying to access feeders.

When it’s still relatively fresh, birds can safely eat bird food that has fallen to the ground, but when it’s old, it can make dogs sick due to the presence of mold.

Freshness is no guarantee of safety when it comes to feeding birds; bird food left out in the open can easily get contaminated with bacteria, especially when exposed to rain.

Wild bird food that has been left to deteriorate is the real culprit here, as it contains harmful bacteria that can be consumed by dogs if feeders are not cleaned regularly.

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