Did your dog just surprise you? devour a bird? Bird watching is a hobby that many enjoy, including our dogs. Unfortunately, dogs often have other things on their mind when closely watching a bird in the garden. You may find that “watching” quickly turns into stalking and then catching! dogs eat all kinds of things they shouldn’t, so a bird shouldn’t come as a surprise.
This drive is due to the fact that some family lines are dogs that were bred as bird hunters. Think of the German Shorthaired Pointer, for example. Their pointing position is instinctive and has historically been used to guide hunters to the location of the game. Labradors are another breed of poultry, and these pups only have one natural instinct for birds! Some dogs chase birds even if they have not yet been trained!
So it’s completely understandable that some dogs will have a fascination with our feathered backyard visitors. Unlike mice, in most cases, these clever birds can quickly fly away when faced with a curious dog. However, on rare occasions, your dog may catch a bird and eat it! So what should you do when this happens? Let’s jump in and find out.
Should I be concerned?
In most cases, Your dog will be fine when he eats a bird or two. The dangers are intestinal blockages and bacterial diseases. Usually, a bird’s bones and other parts do not cause damage, especially when the bird is fresh. Many people choose to do it to feed their dogs raw and their digestive systems are equipped for uncooked bones.
When bones are cooked, it really causes trouble. Chicken bones from a cooked chicken are at risk of bowel punctures, which can be fatal if left untreated. The good news is that most of the time, your pup will catch a sparrow or bluejay or two and eat them. Your pup should be fine.
As a precaution, you should contact your veterinarian and monitor your canine companion’s behavior for the next 48 hours. Usually, signs of a blockage appear during this time. It can be beneficial to have an X-ray, which is why we recommend Contact your veterinarian immediately.
Will, my dog gets an illness?
Your dog is unlikely to develop an illness consume a bird especially if they are otherwise healthy. However, the risk does exist and will continue to exist whether your puppy will eat the bird’s head only or the whole bird.
It’s best to stay suspicious of the possibility that a bird has developed an infectious disease if your dog is unusually successful at catching one. Wild birds tend to be much faster than most dogs, especially those who are not bird watchers.
An infected bird can be more lethargic with illness. In fact, this may be why your pup can catch it in the first place! If you spot some dull looking birds in the area, stay far away and keep an extra close eye on them. Sick birds can more easily be caught for a snack. Here are the two diseases You have to be very vigilant of.
Wild birds often become carry salmonella in the intestines. This is a bacterium found in undercooked poultry and is one of the reasons why it is so important to remove all surfaces in contact when working with raw chicken. Fortunately, studies have shown that dogs often remain in good clinical health even when they catch Salmonella Bacteria.
Still, getting sick is not impossible and it is a good idea to closely monitor your pup for the 48 hour period after eating it. Watch for vomiting, diarrhea, and changes in appetite. If you notice these or any other sudden behavior changes that last longer than 24 hours, it is best to make an appointment with your veterinarian for an examination.
Don’t forget that people can catch salmonella. Your furry friend can then pass it on to you! Very elderly or very young people are more at risk, as are those who are immunocompromised for another reason. Try not to let your puppies lick their faces and teach children good hygiene around pets.
Chlamydia is another type of bacteria that Dogs can pick up from birds, especially when they are in contact with their droppings. This type of chlamydia has the scientific name “Chlamydia psittaci”. It is a Respiratory bacteria and cannot be transmitted from dogs to humans. The symptoms of chlamydia in dogs are wheezing, difficulty breathing, and irritated eyes.
If you experience these symptoms after interacting with a bird or after eating a bird, let your veterinarian know and make an appointment. If your vet suspects chlamydia, they’ll take swabs to help confirm the diagnosis. Fortunately, these bacteria can be treated with antibiotics.
Can my dog digest a bird?
Most parts of a bird that are eaten can pass through the intestines without causing harm. However, bones and feathers are indigestible. If your pup opts for a tiny songbird, it is unlikely that any of the bones will cause an obstruction because of their size. However, some birds are quite large as well. If your dog manages to find a seagull the size of a seagull it can cause a blockage.
What about bird bones and feathers?
A bone can cause problems even before it reaches the stomach! You may notice repeated excessive drooling or coughing shortly after eating. This can indicate that a bone is stuck somewhere in your mouth or throat and you should see a veterinarian right away. You can diagnose the obstacle and find out how best to fix it.
It can take up to 48 hours for signs of constipation to appear further down the bowel to become obvious. Watch for vomiting, diarrhea, changes in appetite, or abdominal pain, and take a trip to the vet if they don’t improve within a few hours. Feathers are less of a problem than bones when it comes to bowel obstruction.
They are often sensitive enough to get through without a problem. You can only enjoy a few whole feathers that are present in your dog’s poop! Still, if you have concerns about something your puppy has eaten, Contact your veterinarian. They can advise how best to proceed.
How should I clean up after my dog?
After your dog has eaten a bird, you will likely want to stay away from dog kissing for a while, especially at the risk of salmonella! The saliva in your mouth becomes a Nice job keeping things tidy To properly rinse their mouths, encourage your pup to drink some water. You can do this by filling your bowl with fresh water and showing it to your dog. Depending on how messy they got during the experience, a home bath can definitely be okay.
Splashing the water into the bowl can help pique their interest. A little chicken broth in the water can make it more tempting, but make sure you clean the water bowl completely soon after, as chicken broth in a bowl is a perfect breeding ground for bacteria!
Another way to keep your mouth fresh is to use a tooth chew. Some chews even contain a mint flavor that masks bad breath. Of course, the best way to keep your dog’s mouth clean is done by brushing your teeth with dog-safe toothpaste. Not only will this help freshen your breath and clean your mouth, but it will also keep your teeth and gums healthy.
How can I stop the behavior?
There are certainly many reasons why your pup shouldn’t get involved in bird trapping! You can prevent bird stalking behavior through attract your dog’s attention (You can try saying their name) as soon as you realize they are interested in a bird. When they look at you, give praise or offer a reward. Not only will this break focus on a bird, but it will also reinforce re-call training.
For dogs that are particularly bird-motivated, it may be best to keep them on a leash or closely monitor them. This is especially true if you live in an area where they can have access to birds. It’s a great way to keep Fido busy with a fetch game or other activity distract from any wildlife that can be in the immediate vicinity. Additional protection against bird grasping behavior is to attach a series of bells to your dog’s collar. The bells act as a warning and give the birds in the area extra time to get to safety.
Especially with all the potential risks, be prepared the next time your dog watches a bird. It is best not to mix dogs and wild birds to protect you, your dog, and the local ecosystem. However, if your dog catches and eats little songbirds they are unlikely to be harmed. You can usually monitor them at home and only call the vet if you experience symptoms.