You may think dog food is an absolutely convenient option for birds, and you aren’t wrong to a certain extent. I, too, had taken on the bad habit of feeding dog food to my birds, and everything was going well.
However, I soon realized that I needed to draw some boundaries. Dog food can be an occasional treat for your birds, but it must not be the birds’ regular diet.
Because birds have a delicate digestive system built to process simple components like plain veggies and fruits. Well, there’s more to it, actually.
I am not saying you should completely avoid feeding dog food to your bird, but there are some things to consider. Check this entire article out to know all about it.
Where Does Dog Food Fit in a Birds’ Diet?
Birds have diverse dietary needs. Although their food habits vary greatly, there’s a very noticeable variety.
Most birds are omnivorous, while some are strict herbivores. Chances are your pets are omnivorous, just like most pet birds are. This is the reason birds don’t hesitate to eat dog food.
Dog food, as the name suggests, is made to meet the dietary needs of domestic dogs. These foods usually include a combination of meat or protein sources, grains, vegetables, and some added supplements.
Related post-Can parrots eat ice cream?
These supplements provide essential nutrients such as vitamins and minerals. At the same time, they keep the food for a long.
Now, the effect of the food actually depends on the components, especially the supplementary elements a dog food contains, and the digestive ability of the bird. Some of my birds can eat dog food whenever I offer them, and they show no discomfort.
However, a few of my pet birds get easily sick, even if they have only a little dog food.
Even if my birds can take on dog food, I don’t offer much of it to them because the supplements can easily make my birds sick. It’s fine as an occasional treat, but as a primary source of nutrition, it’s actually the wrong way to go.
Most importantly, I don’t prefer feeding dog food to my birds at all if I am not sure about the quality of the food. Low-grade dog food may keep my dogs’ sturdy stomachs fed, but it will destroy my bird’s delicate digestive system.
Overall, my recommendation is to keep dog food out of your bird’s dietary chart. It’s completely fine as long as you keep this as an option.
But I never made it the primary food source, and I never pushed any of my weaker birds to feed on it. So, make sure to keep these factors in check.
How To Feed Dog Food to Birds? The Right Way
It’s okay if you opt for offering dog food to your birds. Well, it’s okay if you do it correctly and in moderation.
As you probably already know, there are two kinds of dog foods out there. There are the dry foods like biscuits and pellets, then the wet foods. Here, you will learn about both.
Dry Dog Foods for Birds
Dried dog foods are actually filled with fiber and carbohydrates. Birds can really satisfy their dietary needs with these foods. In fact, if appropriately offered, you can even include them in your more giant birds’ diets.
However, as birds have tiny mouths and very narrow throats, it’s best not to offer them totally dried dog food. I just simply soak the dry foods before feeding them to the birds. This way, the dry chunks become easily edible, saving the birds from a choking hazard.
Wet Dog Foods for Birds
Wet dog foods have a richer mixture of proteins, fats, carbs, minerals, and vitamins. I prefer damp dog foods for my baby birds because they have a higher protein value.
However, I must clarify one point here: you should never try feeding anything to a baby bird unless you are experienced. So, consult a vet before doing so.
Overall, I prefer wet foods because these are more effective in building up the birds’ health while being more appealing to them.
So, how do I offer them to my birds? I first place a minimal quantity in a shallow dish or a tray where my birds can access it.
I usually place the dish at a height where my bird can easily reach, but my cat and dog can’t. It’s really crucial to create a safe dining environment for your bird. Otherwise, it will just beget a clash between the pets. That’s an ugly picture you don’t want to see.
Lastly, after your bird is done eating, clean up all the mess the birds made. It can attract rodents and predators, and they can target your vulnerable pet birds for an attack.
But no matter what option I choose or how I offer dog food to my birds, I always feed them appropriately. I can’t emphasize this enough, but an inconsiderate amount of dog food will surely make your bird sick.
When To Avoid Feeding Dog Foods to Birds? The Clear Signs
Well, I am not going to repeat the same thing again. So, now let’s get deeper into what I have been saying over and over till now.
Yes, you should not make dog food the primary source of nutrition for your pet birds. But what are the clear signs that it’s getting too late? There are some apparent ones.
Dog food is good for some types of birds while being bad for others. The difference here exists in their dietary habits. Simply put, herbivorous and insectivorous birds shouldn’t eat dog food, but it’s more suitable for omnivorous birds.
Well, it would be wrong to say that herbivorous and insectivorous birds can’t eat dog food. Some dog foods contain only plain proteins and are made from vegetable scraps.
However, non-omnivorous birds tend to have a weaker digestive system. In other words, they may struggle to pass the food through their stomach.
Herbivores like finches, canaries, and doves have evolved to primarily consume plant-based diets. They usually eat seeds, fruits, and vegetables.
Simply put, they can only break down simpler nutrients. On the other hand, insectivorous birds are more like omnivores, but they have a high protein need.
As a result of such dietary habits, herbivorous birds may not be able to process dog foods. In contrast, a small amount of dog food may not satisfy the nutrient needs of insectivorous birds.
In addition, feeding more dog food to insectivorous birds can make them sick and bloated. Either way, dog food is an impractical option for most non-omnivorous birds.
Even when you are feeding dog food to your omnivorous birds, make sure that they are not getting too dependent on it. If your bird starts avoiding the foods from its regular diet and always shows an inclination toward dog food, then it’s time to take some steps.
Firstly, stop giving dog food to your birds. You don’t want to make them dependent on this diet. Offer them a new and unique platter of vegetables and fruits to keep them engaged elsewhere.
It may take time. I struggled for weeks to get my birds to like the natural and local food sources. This didn’t only save my bird from falling sick, but it kept me tons of cash as well.
As you can see, though you can technically do it, you must be careful. Yes, I, too, feed dog food to my birds, but I do this with utmost caution.
If you have read this article thoroughly and made sure to take a mental note of each point, you, too, can confidently offer dog food to your birds. All there is to do is keep in mind the risk factors involved.
Overall, if anyone asks me if they should feed dog food to their birds, I would not give them a simple answer. First, I will try to know about them. If they are easygoing and are careless toward their pets or are simply busy with other things, I recommend against it.
However, if a severe bird owner asks me if it’s okay to feed dog food to birds, I would show them this article and give them a big thumbs up.