If you’ve spotted birds helping themselves to your dog’s food, it’s understandable to feel frustrated. After all, dog food, especially premium brands, is intended for your canine companion, not for opportunistic birds. The challenge then becomes: how do you prevent these feathered freeloaders from targeting your dog’s bowl?
To stop birds from feasting on your dog’s food, use decoy animals, artificial noise-makers, and wind chimes as deterrents. All these discourage birds from approaching your dog’s bowl. Most importantly, managing portion sizes to ensure minimal leftovers is a key strategy in reducing the attraction for birds.
In this article, we’ll explore innovative and effective strategies to keep birds away from your dog’s food. From simple home remedies to more creative solutions, we’ll guide you through a variety of methods to protect your dog’s meals.
Whether you’re dealing with persistent feathered thieves or just looking for preventative measures, our tips will ensure your dog’s food stays where it belongs.
Keep reading to discover how you can outsmart these winged intruders and maintain peace at your dog’s dining spot!
Let’s get to it!
Why Do Birds Eat Dog Food?
Birds eat dog food because it can look appetizing to them. Most birds are indiscriminate consumers of inanimate chunks of seemingly edible items. Birds can find dog food interesting enough to try. And because it is easy for them to digest, they can continue targeting it once they have sampled it.
Dog food’s smell doesn’t play a big part in making it more or less appetizing to birds.
You must do one of two main things to keep birds from eating dog food.
Firstly, you can try to stop birds and other predators from eating dog food. And if that ship has sailed, you can raise physical barriers to minimize scavenging. Most of the specific solutions fall into physical deterrence or sampling barriers.
How To Stop Birds From Eating Dog Food
Easy ways to keep birds from eating dog food include raising predator dummies, using tech-enabled feeders with limited supply, and feeding your dog in an enclosed area.
Alternatively, you can supply birds with their own food source to keep them from eyeing that of your dog.
Let’s look at 7 specific methods of deterrence that will minimize scavenging and ensure your dog’s food is secure.
1. Raise a Dummy Predator
This is the old scarecrow tactic modified for dog food protection instead of crop protection. A wide range of predator animal dummies can deter different types of pests.
A fake owl, large rubber snake, or cat can keep birds away. The only potential downside of this method of deterrence is that it can also scare your dog! Unless you own a protective German Shepherd, like me!
Fake rubber snakes are great for deterring birds, but your dog might chew on them. But fake owls look a better bet as they can keep birds at bay without distracting your dog. The higher you place it, the fewer chances it has of meaning anything to your dog.
2. Use a Proper Schedule With Portion Control
Having your dog eat his food on a set schedule is always recommended. You will minimize leftovers if you use a schedule and portion his food so that he gets exactly the amount he needs.
Your dog will have fresh food, finishing it in 10 minutes or less, and there will be nothing left to attract birds. Above all, the schedule and portion control will ensure that your dog doesn’t have to eat what the birds leave (which often includes bird poop)!
3. Use Enclosures to Deter Birds
Birds don’t like to venture into areas with walls, especially when said areas are closer to the ground. The more “out in the open” a dog’s bowl is, the more likely it will invite birds’ attention.
Placing the same bowl closer to a fenced patio or inside a kennel will deter most birds and other predators.
Remember that birds are visually stimulated while your dog is stimulated by smell. Even the most delicious-smelling wet dog food will not attract birds’ attention if said food is inside a kennel.
4. Use an Automatic Dog Feeder
If you don’t have a kennel or an appropriately enclosed space to place your dog feeder in, you can use an automatic dog feeder. This is a great way to stop birds from eating your dog’s food. These devices dispense a set portion of food on a schedule or upon a button’s push.
An automatic feeder will reduce the chances of leftovers the same way a feeding schedule does. The only difference is that it will not require timely manual work.
5. Use Predator Bird Ambiance
Birds eyeing your dog’s bowl might be quicker than your dog, especially if they manage to understand how his food dispenser works.
Soundscapes that feature eagle and falcon sounds can scare away potential scavengers, including birds. Physical dummies compound this method’s effectiveness. Again, you have to be careful not to scare your dog too!
6. Feed Birds Separately
If there are a handful of birds in your area, perhaps feeding them separately with cheaper feed can be a good strategy. Whether you should feed the birds individually depends on how charitable you are and how many birds are around.
If you find that feeding birds separately is a good idea, choose a location far from where you feed your dog. This can ensure that your dog’s food bowl doesn’t get targeted.
7. Use Wind Chimes
Using wind chimes is a simple and non-invasive method to keep birds away from your dog’s food. The unexpected sounds from the chimes startle birds, encouraging them to avoid the area without causing them harm.
The sound of wind chimes creates an auditory barrier that birds naturally avoid, making it a humane and eco-friendly option.
This method not only deters birds but also adds a pleasant sound to your outdoor environment, ensuring a peaceful coexistence with nature while protecting your dog’s food.
How To Keep Birds Out Of Your Dog’s Water
To keep birds out of your dog’s water, have a separate water source readily available. Since birds choose the path of least resistance, they will stay out of your dog’s water.
Understanding birds’ preferences is essential in this. Bowls on the ground aren’t as attractive as water sources at an elevation.
If you have water in a bowl on the ground and water available on a window sill, they will prefer the higher-elevation source and stay away from the bowl.
Still, you can use other deterrence methods like predator sounds and dummies that keep birds away from food.
Reasons Birds Target Dog Food
Knowing why birds might seem to target your dog’s bowl aggressively is important as it will help you pick out the methods to deter them from consuming your dog’s feed. Here are the top reasons birds specifically target your dog’s food.
- Your dog is docile – if your dog doesn’t seem to mind that birds seem to pop by and peck at his food, the birds will take it as permission to dine. You cannot make your dog more aggressive towards uninvited bird guests. But you can use motion-activated pest repellents to minimize uninvited feeding. Many predator dummies come with motion-activated sound generators and lights that can scare some birds away.
- The birds don’t have any food source – The harder it is for birds to find food elsewhere, the more they will target your dog’s food bowl. That’s why spreading seeds and bread bits away from your home might take the heat off your dog’s food.
- There are no consequences – While a dog not doing much to chase away birds around his bowl can encourage the birds to target his food, a dog owner not doing anything can further encourage the birds.
Fortunately, I’ve never had this problem with my German Shepherd, who has a strong prey drive and quickly chases away both birds and squirrels that dare to encroach on her territory. The squirrel had a lucky escape in the below photo. I’ve never been quick enough to catch a photo of her chasing the birds!
#1 Solution for Keeping Birds Away
Now that you know all the different tactics that can deter birds from accessing your dog’s bowl, alongside the actual reasons that encourage birds to take from your dog’s food portions, it is time to crown the best strategy for minimizing this.
The top solution way to keep birds from dog food is to control the portion of the food to reduce leftovers.
Birds rarely target a bowl while a larger animal is around. If you portion the food properly and fill the bowl only when your dog has to eat, you ensure that there’s nothing left in the bowl for birds.
If your dog leaves behind food anyway, you can either clean out the bowl or simply place the bowl indoors. A combination of scheduled feeding and indoor bowl placement can cut out bird interference completely.
Are there any natural remedies to repel birds from dog food?
Several plant-based repellents have exhibited efficacy anecdotally, such as hanging bags of dried hot peppers near feeding areas. Peppermint or eucalyptus oils applied around bowls may also deter some avian species naturally through strong aromas. However, not all natural solutions will work for every bird problem.
Are there any DIY solutions to keep birds away from dog food?
Pet owners have attempted solutions like tying strips of aluminum foil or CDs near food that spin and glitter in the wind, hoping to startle birds visually and aurally. Motion-activated sprinklers rigged above feeding zones also act as a do-it-yourself deterrent.
While low-cost, DIY methods require testing to assess individual bird behaviors and guarantee canine safety first.