Can Dogs Eat Bird Seed?

If you’ve placed a feeder in your backyard having top-quality bird seeds, you’ll find your dog near it often. Why is it so? Because many dogs consider birdseed a tasty treat, regardless of what it can do to them.

Dogs can eat birdseed but remember it is food meant for your feathered friends, not your dog. If your dog eats birdseed in a small amount, then you don’t need to worry about it. But if this becomes regular, it can cause problems for your dog. 

Therefore, you must discipline your dog to stop eating things that are not good for him. To learn more about birdseed side effects for your dog and how to stop him from eating birdseed, read this article till the end.

Is Bird Seed Poisonous Or Harmful For Dogs?

Fresh bird seeds are usually harmless for dogs, and you won’t observe any severe side effects. But the same isn’t the case with old or damp seeds. It’s not uncommon for old or damp seeds to harbor molds and fungi.

These microorganisms can produce mycotoxins. The most widespread mycotoxin present in birdseed is aflatoxin which can cause aflatoxin poisoning in your dog.

According to the reports of the U.S. Food and Drug Authority (FDA);
“High levels of aflatoxin poisoning can make your dog skin and can even cause death.”

As per the reports of Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine,
“Aflatoxin curtails the production of cholesterol and many proteins that profoundly affect blood clotting. Physical exams and blood tests are necessary to differentiate dogs that have been poisoned from those that have not. Unfortunately, the latent onset of signs may require that an individual dog be evaluated several times.”

The primary organ that is affected by aflatoxins is the liver. Many dogs will suffer from this condition without any symptoms. While others show the following symptoms of Aflatoxin Poisoning:

• Lethargy
• Loss of appetite
• Vomiting
• Jaundice
• Diarrhoea

Is Bird Seed Poisonous or Harmful for Dogs?

What Are The Risks Or Consequences If Your Dog Eats Bird Seed?

In addition to aflatoxin poisoning, there are many more risks associated if your dog eats birdseed frequently. Some of the most common ones include:

Kidney Failure In Dogs

Some types of bird seeds contain ingredients that may be toxic to your dog. These include fruits such as raisins or sultanas (a type of grape), both of which are considered highly toxic for dogs. Higher ingestion of these toxic substances can cause kidney failure.

Stomach Problems In Dogs

When your dog eats a lot of bird seeds, then he might have an upset stomach. Bird seeds can result in severe digestive blockage, which is a condition known as bloat.

Bloating is a serious health concern, and you must get your dog check by the vet if you suspect that your dog has this condition. The signs of bloating include:

• Visibly enlarged stomach
• Salivation
• Retching
• Your dog will feel pain when you touch the stomach

Bacterial Infection In Dogs

The birdseed that your dog will most likely eat is found underneath the feeder. It’s evident that your dog will likely ingest bird faeces too. Bird faeces have a variety of bacteria and parasites that can be transferred to your dog. It results in infections accompanied by mild or severe attacks of diarrhoea and vomiting.

How To Stop Your Dog From Eating Bird Seed

Your dog must refrain from the food that isn’t meant for him, and to stop him from eating birdseed; you should discipline him. It will be best to start the training when he is still a pup because he can pick instructions better then. Here are some ways you can stop your dog from eating birdseed.

Use A Leash

Always use a leash when you take your dog outside in an unfenced area. Otherwise, they may run to the bird feeders and eat birdseed without even letting you know. If the bird feeders are placed in the fenced area of the yard, shift them to a new place that is outside the fenced portion of the yard.

Thus, your dog will not be able to reach the birdseed if they drop.

Tether Your Dog

While training your dog, tether your dog for short periods. You should use a tether with a lead long enough to allow your dog to move freely in the yard. But it should be short enough to keep your dog away from the birdseed feeder. With time, he will learn to stay away from the birdseed feeder without even a tether.

Train Your Dog Well

Make your dog familiar with the spoken commands. One of the commands you can use is Leave It so that your dog can leave things that he can’t eat. So, when you’re in the yard where your dog can easily approach the birdseed feeder, you can just utter this command to stop him.

Dog Noisemakers or Whistles

You can keep a shake can full of rice or bean and use it as a noisemaker whenever your dog tries to eat birdseed. When you’ll do this often, your dog will associate the noise as a negative stimulus with eating birdseed. But don’t overuse the shake can method because if your dog becomes used to it, he will ignore it.

How To Stop Your Dog From Eating Bird Seed


You understand that everything is not meant for your dog. But your pup won’t understand this until you train him. Birdseed is bird food and contains substances that can be really harmful to your dog.

If your dog eats bird seeds rarely or by mistake in less quantity, then that won’t be a severe issue. But if he loves to eat birdseed often, then it can negatively impact your dog’s health and can even be life-threatening.

Being the caretaker of your innocent buddy, you must take the responsibility to teach him right and wrong. You can start your dog’s training early to avoid the worse consequences of eating birdseed.

To stop your dog, you have multiple options that you can opt for. Choose any that you’re most comfortable with to save your pet and ensure his health.