What To Do If Your Dog Eats A Bird

As a dog owner, you may have dealt with the unpleasant situation of your canine eating a bird it caught or found dead. This may leave you wondering what steps to take next. Here’s a quick answer: If your dog eats a bird, the main things to do are check your dog’s mouth for any remaining pieces, monitor for signs of illness, call your vet for guidance, and take steps to prevent it happening again. In this comprehensive article, we’ll go over how to respond if your dog consumes a bird and reduce risks in the future.

We’ll cover inspecting your dog’s mouth, what symptoms to watch for afterwards, contacting your vet for advice, discouraging hunting behaviors, protecting birds on your property, and coping emotionally if your pooch’s predatory instincts kick in.

With the proper information and preparation, you can keep your dog healthy while also being responsible toward wildlife.

Immediate Actions if Your Dog Eats a Bird

Check Your Dog’s Mouth and Throat

After discovering that your dog has eaten a bird, it is important to act swiftly. Start by carefully examining your dog’s mouth and throat. Look for any signs of injury, such as cuts or bleeding. If you notice any abnormalities, it is crucial to contact your veterinarian immediately.

They will be able to assess the situation and provide guidance on the next steps to take.

Look for Any Remaining Pieces

In some cases, your dog may not have completely consumed the entire bird. Check your dog’s surroundings for any remaining pieces or feathers. Removing these remnants can help prevent any further ingestion and potential complications.

It is important to ensure that your dog does not have access to any other parts of the bird.

Contact Your Vet With Concerns

If you have any concerns or questions about your dog’s health after they have eaten a bird, it is always best to contact your veterinarian. They will be able to provide professional advice based on your dog’s specific situation.

Keep in mind that every case is unique, and it is better to be safe than sorry. Your vet may recommend bringing your dog in for an examination to rule out any potential issues.

Monitor Closely for Choking

Choking is a serious concern when a dog ingests a bird. Keep a close eye on your dog for any signs of distress or difficulty breathing. If you notice any symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, or gagging, it is crucial to seek immediate veterinary attention.

Choking can be life-threatening, and prompt action is necessary to ensure your dog’s safety.

Remember, while it is not uncommon for dogs to eat birds, it is essential to take appropriate measures to protect your pet’s health. If you are unsure about what to do, always consult your veterinarian for guidance and support.

Signs of Illness to Watch Out For

It can be concerning if your dog eats a bird, as birds can carry diseases and parasites that can be harmful to your furry friend. If your dog has ingested a bird, it’s important to monitor them closely for any signs of illness. Here are some key indicators to watch out for:

Vomiting or Diarrhea

Vomiting or diarrhea can be a common reaction when a dog eats something they shouldn’t. If your dog has consumed a bird, keep an eye out for any unusual vomiting or diarrhea. If it continues for more than 24 hours or is accompanied by other concerning symptoms, it’s best to consult your veterinarian.

Loss of Appetite

If your dog suddenly loses their appetite after eating a bird, it could be a sign of an underlying issue. Loss of appetite can indicate stomach discomfort, digestive problems, or even an infection. Monitor their eating habits closely and consult with your vet if the loss of appetite persists.

Lethargy and Weakness

Lethargy and weakness can be indicators that something is not right with your dog’s health. If your dog seems unusually tired or lacks energy after consuming a bird, it could be a sign of illness. Keep an eye on their activity levels and seek veterinary advice if the lethargy persists.

Gagging or Coughing

If your dog starts gagging or coughing after eating a bird, it could be a sign that a bone or feather is stuck in their throat. This can be dangerous and may require immediate attention from a veterinarian. Observe their breathing and seek professional help if the symptoms worsen.

Swollen Abdomen

A swollen abdomen can be a cause for concern after your dog consumes a bird. It may indicate an obstruction in their digestive system or the presence of parasites. If you notice a distended belly or your dog appears uncomfortable, it’s crucial to consult a veterinarian promptly.

Remember, every dog is different, and their reactions to ingesting a bird may vary. It’s essential to closely monitor your dog’s behavior and seek professional advice if you notice any signs of illness or discomfort.

When in doubt, always err on the side of caution and consult with your veterinarian for proper guidance.

Preventing Your Dog From Eating Birds

Provide Adequate Supervision Outside

One of the best ways to prevent your dog from eating birds is to provide adequate supervision when they are outside. Dogs have a natural instinct to chase and hunt, so keeping a close eye on them can help you intervene before they have a chance to catch a bird.

If you notice your dog showing interest in a bird, redirect their attention to a toy or treat to distract them.

Install Birdbaths and Feeders Above Reach

Installing birdbaths and feeders above your dog’s reach can help deter them from hunting birds. By placing these bird-friendly areas at a height that your dog cannot reach, you create a safe space for birds to enjoy without the risk of your dog preying on them.

This not only protects the birds but also helps to prevent any potential harm to your dog from consuming a bird.

Use Aversives to Deter Hunting

If your dog has a persistent habit of hunting birds, you can use aversives to deter this behavior. Aversives are techniques or products that create an unpleasant experience for your dog when they engage in unwanted behavior.

For example, you can use a citronella spray collar or a noise-making device to startle your dog when they show interest in birds. However, it’s important to consult with a professional dog trainer before using aversives to ensure they are used appropriately and effectively.

Train ‘Leave It’ and ‘Drop It’ Commands

Training your dog to respond to the commands ‘leave it’ and ‘drop it’ can be extremely helpful in preventing them from eating birds. These commands teach your dog to disregard or release anything they have in their mouth on command.

By consistently practicing and reinforcing these commands, you can teach your dog to leave birds alone and drop them if they do manage to catch one.

Keep Your Dog Leashed in Bird Areas

When visiting areas where birds are frequently present, it’s important to keep your dog leashed to prevent them from chasing or catching birds. This not only protects the birds but also ensures the safety of your dog, as they may encounter other hazards such as traffic or other wildlife.

By keeping your dog on a leash, you can enjoy the outdoors together while minimizing the risk of your dog eating a bird.

Coping Emotionally if Your Dog Eats a Bird

Discovering that your beloved dog has eaten a bird can be a shocking and emotionally challenging experience. It’s natural to feel a range of emotions, including frustration, sadness, and even guilt. However, it’s important to remember that dogs are instinctual animals and their behavior may not always align with our expectations.

Here are some tips to help you cope emotionally if your dog eats a bird:

1. Don’t Punish After the Fact

It’s essential to resist the urge to punish your dog after the incident has occurred. Dogs live in the present moment, and punishing them for something they did in the past will only confuse them. Instead, focus on redirecting their behavior and reinforcing positive actions.

Use positive reinforcement techniques to encourage desired behaviors and discourage unwanted ones.

2. Focus on Prevention in the Future

Prevention is key when it comes to keeping your dog from eating birds. Ensure that your dog has a safe and secure environment, especially when they are outside. Supervise them during walks or playtime to prevent them from chasing or catching birds.

Consider using a leash or long line to have better control over their movements. Additionally, providing engaging toys and mental stimulation can help redirect their attention away from birds.

3. Appreciate Your Bond Despite Challenges

Remember that your bond with your dog is not defined by a single incident. Dogs have their instincts, and sometimes those instincts can lead them to behaviors that we find undesirable. Instead of dwelling on the negative experience, focus on the positive aspects of your relationship and the joy your dog brings to your life.

Show them love, care, and understanding, and continue to build trust and strengthen your bond.

4. Talk to Your Vet About Concerns

If you have concerns about your dog’s behavior or health after they have eaten a bird, it’s important to consult with your veterinarian. They can provide guidance on any potential health risks and offer advice on how to address the behavior.

Your vet may recommend additional training or behavior modification techniques to prevent future incidents. Remember, they are there to support you and your dog’s well-being.

Dealing with the aftermath of your dog eating a bird can be emotionally challenging, but by following these tips, you can navigate through this experience with love, understanding, and a focus on prevention. Remember, accidents happen, and it’s how we respond and learn from them that matters most.


Having your dog eat a bird can be an unpleasant and worrying situation as an owner. By taking sensible steps like inspecting your dog’s mouth, watching for illness, and contacting your vet, you can respond appropriately right away.

While predatory instincts may take over at times, you can take measures to protect birds through supervision, training, and setting up your yard properly. Staying calm and focusing on prevention will help you manage your dog’s behavior and continue enjoying your furry friend.

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