I was in the backyard playing fetch with my dog, when all of a sudden he darts off into the bushes. I look around and try to find him as my mom calls his name but there’s no sign of him anywhere. Suddenly, out from behind a bush pops what appears to be a lifeless bird at first glance. My eyes widen in horror as it becomes clear that my dog has eaten one of our rare songbirds!
Has this ever happened to you? Your dog finds a dead bird and eats it before you can stop them? Read on to find out what to do when this happens.
Table of Contents
Check For These Signs
There are a few things you should check immediately. The first is the dead bird. If any of it remains, you should check for its size, species, and whether or not it was freshly killed or if it has been decaying for a while. You should also check to see how much your dog has eaten of it.
After that, you’ll want to check your dog for signs of disease. Vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, appetite loss, abdominal pain, weakness, and lethargy should all be concerns. If they vomit or diarrhea only once or only a few times the day after eating the bird, but then stop the next day, you shouldn’t be concerned.
There are a few problems that your dog can encounter if they eat a dead bird. While not all birds carry disease, some do. As such, BeautyofBirds warns that your dog may suffer from the following problems:
Botulism in birds is caused by diseased fish. When they eat fish that have the bacteria in their bodies, then it exists inside of their body as well. The bacteria are then transferred to your dog after it eats the bird. Botulism can be fatal if it isn’t treated.
The symptoms of this disease may not be immediately noticeable depending on how much your dog consumed. Some symptoms may be dry mouth, trouble breathing, vomiting, blurred vision, or even paralysis. The symptoms can become worse the longer that the bacteria is in your dog’s body.
Salmonella is another toxin to watch out for. It’s common for wild birds to carry salmonella in their guts. While your dog may be able to filter it out of its system, you’ll want to look for vomiting or diarrhea that lasts longer than 24 hours. A change in appetite that lasts longer than 24 hours may also indicate a problem.
The biggest threat of salmonella is that it can also be transferred to you. It’s important that you sterilize your water’s dog bowl and continue to wash your hands any time you handle your dog. You’ll want to avoid allowing your dog to make contact with your skin with its mouth.
One of the last major toxins that your dog may pick up from a bird is chlamydia. This a respiratory disease that can’t be transferred to humans. You’ll notice panting, irritated eyes, and some problems breathing in your dog if they’re suffering from this disease.
The good news is that it can be cleared up with some antibiotics. However, you’ll want to take your dog to the vet as soon as you can.
What To Do
One of the first you should do is to check and see if your dog is choking. There’s a possibility that the bones may be too large for them. Sometimes the feathers can make swallowing the bird difficult, too. If your dog is choking, then you’ll want to take it to the closest vet or hospital.
The next step you should take is to determine what kind of bird was eaten. You shouldn’t touch the bird yourself. However, it may help the vet if you take a picture of it.
If your dog isn’t choking, then you’ll want to keep a close eye on him for the next 24 hours. He may vomit or have diarrhea. If he consumed feathers, then you may notice those in his poop as well. Take your dog out frequently and give him plenty of access to water.
After 24 hours, if he still has diarrhea or is vomiting, then you need to take him to the vet.
You should also refrain from giving him any food for 24 hours. This can help his body from becoming overloaded. It can allow his digestive system to focus solely on breaking down the bird he’s eaten.
To lower the risk of their becoming ill, you should also give them fresh water. You’ll need to change the water between periods of drinking to ensure it stays clean.
Do I Need To See The Vet Or Go To The Emergency Animal Hospital?
In most cases, you should be able to get by with just a visit to the vet. They have antibiotics and other drugs that can help fight any disease that your dog may have picked up.
If your dog is choking on a bone, then you’ll need to go to either the vet or the animal hospital. Whichever one is closest to you will be the best decision. You shouldn’t try to remove the clog or obstruction yourself if your dog’s life isn’t in danger. Doing so can cause serious damage to their throat.
An animal hospital is also an appropriate choice if it seems as though your dog is having a severe reaction to the bird.
Safe Alternatives To Eat
You can help train your dog to avoid eating dead things.
If your dog loves birds, however, then a safer alternative is to give them raw chicken that is human grade. You shouldn’t feed them the bones, however.
If you like the idea of giving your dog bird bones, then you can find plenty of choices at your local pet store. The safest option is bird bones that haven’t been cooked. These are less likely to splinter and cause choking.
Can Dogs Eat Birds?
Dogs can eat birds. Their ancestors, the wolves, eat birds. However, they likely stray away from eating dead birds if possible. Dead birds often carry disease. Even living birds that your dog kills may carry disease.
A safer solution is to give your dog a raw bird that has been designated for human consumption. This bird comes without feathers. You can also find variants that are boneless if you’re worried about your dog choking.
Poultry offers a lot of protein and other good minerals nutrients for your dog. Human-grade poultry ensures that it is disease-free and ready to eat. To further ensure the bird is safe for your dog, you can always cook it.