Deb D’Andrea, Nederland. I was talking with a friend and she mentioned her dogs loved to eat birdseed that had made its way to the ground; but, afterwards the dogs didn’t feel so great. They weren’t totally sick, but definitely not feeling chipper about their latest score. With those of us feeding birds throughout the year, it’s good to keep an eye on who is eating the bird seed; especially once it’s on the ground.
A few seeds scattered about and consumed usually doesn’t present an issue to our dogs; but if they consume more than just a casual snack, problems can arise.
Bird seed can potentially lead to gastrointestinal obstruction, clogging up their intestinal tract. If enough seed clogs up the works, it could lead to an expensive multi-day hospital visit to ensure your dog safely passes all the seeds. This visit wouldn’t be fun for anyone as enemas are typically part of getting the seeds to pass; and the vet bill to accompany this, is costly.
As with bread dough, birdseed carries the ability to ferment in our dogs’ stomachs. This fermentation process in a dog’s stomach has a high potential to lead to bloat, or gastric dilatation-volvulus (GVD); an extremely serious, life threatening condition. In this instance, as the fermentation process occurs, the dog’s stomach fills with air putting pressure on their organs and diaphragm, leading to difficulty breathing along with disrupting their overall blood supply. Once this happens, the dog’s health fails rapidly, and they need to be rushed to the emergency vet. Several veterinarians call this “the mother of all emergencies.”
If birdseed is allowed to linger on the porch or yard, over a short amount of time it can become moldy or covered with fungus; which leads to the creation of mycotoxins that are not only toxic to our dogs, but also sometimes fatal for birds. This is especially true if the birdseed contains peanuts or corn. Keeping the area clean under where your bird feeders are, and cleaning the feeders themselves, can help alleviate this situation.
While many dogs have enjoyed snacking on birdseed, keeping the feeders outside a dog’s grazing perimeter offers an ounce in prevention. Sometimes placing a tray under the feeders works to capture any flung seed; but then the squirrels may find an easy path to the feeders and make matters worse. Also, keeping stored birdseed safely from your dog will help ensure they don’t gorge themselves in your absence.
Till next time. Deb D’Andrea, founder of 4TheLuvOfDogz & the Caribou Dog Ranch is recognized by the State of Colorado as a Certified Canine Massage Therapist and will visit your home or Vet’s office to work with your dog. Canine Agility may be offered at the Caribou Dog Ranch in 2017 if there is interest. Deb currently has limited availability for new Petz Nanny Clients; and she bakes up fresh dog treats & doggy birthday cakes per order. For information contact Deb at 720-675-7078 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.