Most animals instinctively know what food is good for them and avoid unhealthy foods. What about manufactured food that does not look like natural food for pets or backyard birds, such as dry dog food? Can birds eat dry dog food, and is it good for them, or should you avoid giving them this type of food?
Can Birds eat Dry Dog Food?
Yes! Birds can eat dry dog food. Dry dog food has fiber, carbohydrates, and protein that will benefit your bird’s health. However, birds should have as natural a diet as possible, so if you must, give them only a little dry dog food from time to time as a snack.
Our curiosity and experience with feeding common wild birds have given us insight into which foods are good for birds and which foods may cause health problems.
While dry dog food can be beneficial for birds, there are some cautionary steps you can follow to ensure your dog kibble doesn’t become a problem for your pet or backyard birds.
Is Dry Dog Food Good For Birds?
Most dog owners that feed their dogs outside will have experienced garden birds eating leftover food from the dog’s bowl.
This behavior by your garden birds often raises the question of whether dry dog food is healthy or harmful to birds.
Most birds have a varied diet that helps them get the essential nutrients they need. Although some birds specialize in eating certain types of natural food, such as insects, seeds, fruits, or berries, dog food is not one of a bird’s natural food sources.
Is Dry Dog Food Nutritious For Birds?
Dry dog food is formulated with fiber, carbohydrates, protein, vitamins, and minerals that help dogs stay healthy and in good condition.
All animals need a balanced diet that includes these nutritional components at varying levels. The same nutrients that are good for dogs are also suitable for birds.
Birds generally get these nutrients from the seeds, nuts, insects, fruits, and berries they eat. These natural food sources contain similar nutrients, proteins, and carbohydrates as formulated dry dog food.
These similarities mean that our feathered friends can benefit from eating dry dog food, and it is safe for your birds to eat in small quantities.
Remember, though, dogs require way more protein, carbs, and vitamins than birds do, so if you have to feed your birds dried dog food, treat it as a snack and not a food alternative.
Did you know?
Dry dog food is often softened with water and fed to injured or sick birds who need rehabilitation. The nutrient density allows large quantities of vitamins and beneficial nutrients to be provided to the bird, even if it can only eat a small quantity.
Does the Quality Of The Dog Food Matter For Birds?
Different dog food brands vary in quality and essential nutrients. Good-quality dog foods have more nutritional value for your dogs than poor-quality food.
Poor-quality dog food usually contains higher cereals such as corn and wheat, which bulks up the food and the fiber content. This formulation is cheaper for the manufacturer to produce but lowers the nutritional value of the food.
The poor quality dog foods are not bad for dogs but offer different nutrient value than higher-quality dog foods.
The higher the quality of the dog foods, the more nutritional benefit the birds will receive.
Can all backyard Birds Eat Dry Dog Food?
Not all backyard birds can eat dry dog food, and you may notice that the leftover food in your dogs will only attract specific bird species rather than all birds.
There are several reasons why only certain wild birds come to eat dog food from your dog’s bowl, but the main one could be the size of the food itself. The smaller the dried dog food, the more variety of birds, are likely to take an interest.
Large chunks can only be eaten by larger birds, such as Blue Jays and American Crows, so the size of the dog chunks may limit the type of bird that can eat them.
Another reason is that many wild garden birds will be too afraid to venture too close to your home or risk being caught by your dogs and will avoid the temptation to eat dog food altogether.
When Can Dry Dog Food Be Harmful To Birds?
Dry dog food chunks contain concentrated nutrients to feed dogs, which are substantially larger animals than birds.
The smaller body mass of birds means they do not require the same serving amount that dogs typically get. The high concentration of nutrients in the food may cause digestive system issues and cause your birds to become overweight if they overeat.
The additional minerals and salts can also overload the liver and kidneys and cause health issues for the bird. Feeding dry dog food to birds is a situation where too much of a good thing can be harmful!
Birds often swallow their food whole, so the size of the dry dog food chunks can also be a choking hazard for smaller birds.
How To Feed Dry Dog Food To Birds
We can think of many different foods to feed your birds first, but if you do feed dog food to your birds, consider the following precautions to avoid any potential problems:
- Don’t give your birds too much dried dog food. Giving your birds dry dog food as an occasional treat once or twice a week is fine, but you should not replace the bird’s regular diet with dog food or give them dog food daily.
- Break the dry dog food into smaller chunks. Crush the dog food into smaller fragments that the bird can eat without choking on large pieces. For Feeding smaller birds, it may be necessary to crush the dog food into particles of the same size as bread crumbs.
- Moisten the dry dog food with water. Moistening the dog food will allow the birds to break it into sizes they can eat.
- Consider using a bird feeder to keep the dog food out of reach from your dogs so that the birds are safe.
So, Can birds eat dry dog food?
To summarize, birds can eat dry dog food, which has nutritional benefits that can improve their health and condition.
Following a few basic guidelines when feeding dog food to birds, such as not providing them too much, and breaking the food into smaller pieces, will prevent your birds from having any health or digestive problems.
If you have any experience feeding dried dog food to birds, let us know! We would love to share your experience with our readers. We can all benefit from each other’s birding experience and knowledge.
Remember to check our other blog posts for more information about birds and nature. Also, don’t forget to share this article with your friends, family, and fellow bird lovers!