My wife and I have been working on a greenhouse for the past few months, and the other day, a tiny bird flew into one of the windows, knocking itself out. For a second, we thought the bird was dead, but then it quickly sprung up and tried to fly away, until…
Our dog, Maggie saw it, and instantaneously caught it and crushed it with her jaws. The whole event happened so quickly – literally a matter of seconds – there wasn’t much we could do other than shout, “No, Maggie, No!” She immediately dropped the bird, but it was already too late.
The bird was dead. All we could do at that point was dig a small hole and burry it so that neither of our dogs came back around later to pick at its dead body.
Unfortunately, if your dog catches a bird, there isn’t much you can do about it. I always recommend training your dog to respond to a stern vocal command, such as “no” or “stop”, when you want them to desist from any bad behavior. If your dog won’t let go of the bird, you’ll have to carefully remove it from your dog’s mouth before they swallow it. However, some dogs will bite their owners if they try to remove “food” from their mouth, so be extremely cautious when trying to take the bird from your dog.
What Are the Risks Associated with Your Dog Catching a Bird?
It’s perfectly natural for wild dogs to catch and eat birds. Couple that with the fact that many dog breeds have been trained to hunt birds, and it’s no wonder that even the sweetest, most gentle dogs, will often jump on the opportunity to kill any bird within striking distance.
The biggest danger this poses to your dog is that they might choke on the bones if they try to swallow the bird. The sharp, jagged edges of the bones could also do damage to their insides if they swallow them. However, in my experience, most dogs will drop the bird after they kill it.
I’ve had a lot of dogs in my lifetime, and many of them at some point or another, have managed to wrap their jaws around a bird. This has never turned out well for any of the birds, but all of the dogs were just fine.
What if Your Dog Finds and Eats a Bird That’s Already Dead?
Birds carry diseases and parasites, and the longer a bird has been dead, the more bacteria, worms, etcetera the bird is likely to be infected with. For this reason, you really don’t want your dog to eat a dead bird. But what if it’s already too late?
In this scenario, the best thing to do is to take your dog to a vet. Odds are they will probably be fine, but you want to insure they didn’t contract salmonella, a worm, or any other diseases birds commonly carry, such as the parasite, trichomoniasis.
Can Dogs Get Rabies from Birds?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, birds can neither contract nor transmit rabies since they are not mammals. That also means your dog cannot get rabies from fish, snakes, or other reptiles. Basically, anything that is not a mammal cannot transmit rabies to your dog.
Mass Audubon. Common Bird Parasites and Diseases. Retrieved from: https://www.massaudubon.org/learn/nature-wildlife/birds/common-bird-parasites-diseases#:~:text=The%20four%20diseases%20that%20most,susceptible%20to%20mites%20and%20lice.