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7 Easy Ways To Keep Birds From Eating Dog Food

If you have noticed birds getting their fill of dog food from your dog’s bowl, you might be reasonably upset. Dog food is meant to be for your dog, and you might be paying a premium for it. The last thing you want is birds freeloading. So, how do you stop birds from eating dog food?

Easy ways to stop birds from eating dog food are using dummy animals and artificial sounds to keep birds away. You can also use bird-deterring reflectors to keep them from targeting your dogs bowl. Above all, you can manage portions to minimize leftovers.

In this article, you will find out my specific ways to keep birds from eating your dog’s food, including:

  • Predator dummies 
  • Enclosed feeding areas
  • Schedule and portion control (reducing leftovers)
  • Automatic dog feeder
  • Audio of predator birds
  • Different food sources for birds
  • Feeding indoors

Let’s get to it!

How To Stop Birds From Eating Dog Food. A dog eating food from a bowl with some birds watching.
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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 any more or less appetizing to birds.

“Any remedies suggesting that you mask the scent of your dog’s food aren’t helpful.”

World of Dogz

You must do one of two main things to keep birds from eating dog food.

Firstly, you can try to stop birds 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.

In contrast, the Dalen Fake Owl Decoy from Amazon is much better. It 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. It has thousands of positive reviews, and if you read through these, you’ll see that some even comment on how the decoy can even deter rabbits and raccoons.

Dogs Eating

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.

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.

Dog In 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. I think 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 like the Voluas Pet Feeder from Amazon 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. Feed Your Dog Indoors!

Golden Retriever Puppy Eating From Its Bowl

Finally, you can always opt for indoor feeding if nothing else works. You have 100% certainty that your dog’s food is not contaminated by bird poop when you feed him indoors! While this isn’t an option for many people, it is one you can accept if outdoor feeding attracts birds.

More often, dog food is more manageable than water because you need to make water accessible to your dog at all times. If your dog’s water bowl is out in the open, birds might try to quench their thirst with readily available water.

How Do I Keep Birds Out Of My Dogs 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 are 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.

What Makes 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!
German Shepherd High Prey Drive. A German Shepherd chasing a squirrel up a tree.
My dog Willow

What Is The Best Way To Keep Birds From Eating Dog Food?

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 best 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.

Final Thoughts

Birds eat dog food when they find it to be easier than looking for food elsewhere. Adding predator dummies and audio ambiance and ensuring there are no leftovers in your dog’s bowl reduces the risk of this happening to your dog’s food.


  • Sharon Waddington

    Sharon Waddington is the founder of World of Dogz. With over 30 years of experience working with dogs, this former Police Officer has seen it all. But it’s her trusty German Shepherd, Willow, who steals the show as the inspiration behind this website. As Sharon’s constant companion Willow has played a pivotal role in shaping her passion for dogs. Find her on Linkedin!