Can Dogs Eat Bird Seed?

By Jen Gehring

Whether helping themselves to a backyard feeder, eating leftovers dropped out of a bird cage or simply nosing around a food bag, dogs sometimes eat bird seed. While dogs that occasionally eat small amounts of bird seed most likely will not suffer any long-term consequences, veterinarians recommend keeping your dog’s bird seed consumption to a minimum. If your dog eats a large amount of bird seed, take him to the veterinarian immediately to rule out a possible intestinal obstruction.

Bird Seed is Safe in Small Amounts

Dogs that occasionally eat commercial bird seed typically experience few problems other than a slight upset stomach, according to the ASPCA. Just to be safe, the organization recommends owners keep outside feeders at a safe height -- higher than the dog can access -- and properly store excess bird seed in a secure container or location. If your dog eats bird seed mixed with other ingredients, monitor him more closely; people sometimes mix nuts, dried hot peppers or citrus into their bird seed, and these added ingredients can cause diarrhea, irritation of the eyes and mouth and vomiting if consumed by dogs. Also, improperly stored bird seed may spoil or mold, and if your dog eats moldy bird seed, he could develop a fungal infection that requires veterinary attention.