Dog food is packed full of nutrients to provide your dog with a healthy, balanced diet.
Bird food is packed full of nutrients to provide your bird with a healthy, balanced diet.
But what would happen if you tried to mix things up – what would happen if you fed your bird dog food?
Is it safe?
Can parrots eat dog food?
The answer to this question is both yes and no. Yes, technically your parrot could eat dog food, but it would have to be very specific and specialized dog food.
Dogs and parrots do not have the same nutritional requirements, so feeding your bird dog food is unlikely to give them many benefits.
In addition, dogs and parrots react differently to different foods, and some foods that are safe for dogs are not safe for parrots.
So yes, if you choose a very specific dog food, you could give your parrot a pellet or two, but as a general recommendation, I’d stay away from dog food whatsoever.
But let’s delve a little deeper into the topic.
Why is it that some dog foods can be harmful to your parrot?
If you are going to feed your bird dog food, how can you do it safely?
And how can you keep your parrot away from your dog food?
Today we will discuss all of these questions and more, so let’s not waste another minute!
Table of Contents
- 2 Why can some dog foods be harmful to your parrot?
- 3 How to Feed your Parrot Dog Food
- 4 How to Keep your Parrots away from your Dog Food
- 5 What can you do to keep your parrot from stealing nibblets of dog food?
- 6 What kind of dog food can/can’t your bird eat?
- 7 What should you do if your bird has eaten dog food?
Why can some dog foods be harmful to your parrot?
As mentioned previously, dogs have different nutritional requirements than parrots.
First off, dog food can contain ingredients that are safe for dogs, but that can be deadly to parrots.
Avacados, for example, are safe for dogs and can often be found in dog foods, but can be very harmful to parrots.
In fact, every part of the avocado is dangerous for a parrot to eat.
Though the pit and the skin are the most toxic parts, even the flesh can be dangerous.
Basically, avocado acts like a poison once it reaches a parrots digestive system, and it can lead to a variety of problems including cardiac distress and even heart failure.
Secondly, dog foods are often high in sources of protein.
Dogs require a great deal of protein within their diet to maintain proper health.
Birds also require protein, but in much lesser amounts.
Your parrot already gets the protein that they need from their regular diet – nuts, seeds, legumes, etc.
By giving your parrot dog food, you could oversaturate them with protein.
Just as feeding your parrot too little protein can cause health issues, so can feeding them too much protein.
More specifically, too much protein has been associated with kidney damage in parrots.
In addition, parrots are omnivores.
This means their diet consists of plants, nuts, fruits, vegetables, flowers, seeds, etc.
A parrot’s natural diet doesn’t consist of meat.
Therefore, providing them with meat based foods (like most dog foods) will not provide any additional nutritional benefits to their diet.
How to Feed your Parrot Dog Food
Should you choose to forgo any warnings and feed your parrot dog food, opt for an organic dog food that is plant or whole grain based.
Dog foods that are high in protein content (ie. Chicken, beef, liver, etc.) can overload your parrot on proteins and lead to chronic and dangerous health conditions.
When feeding your parrot dog food, try to find a small breed dog food that can easily be chewed and digested by your bird.
Larger pellets could quickly become a choking hazard.
It’s also recommended that when you feed your bird dog food, you either moisten it or crush it before offering it to your parrot – again, this is to avoid any potential choking hazard and to make it easier for your parrot to swallow and digest.
How to Keep your Parrots away from your Dog Food
If you’ve decided that feeding your parrots dog food is a bad idea, your next step might be figuring out how to keep your parrot away from it.
Doing so can be particularly tricky if you feed your dog near your parrot.
Because parrots like to steal food.
Like children, they aren’t exactly picky with what they eat, and they can’t tell the difference between food that is healthy for them or unhealthy for them.
To a parrot, food is just food, and dog food is a good candidate if it’s left out in the open.
What can you do to keep your parrot from stealing nibblets of dog food?
Feed your dog in a different room
If possible, feed your dog in a different room than your parrot.
This will remove any temptations by the parrot to steal your dog’s food.
If you can’t feed your dog in a separate room, then stay nearby while your dog eats.
Your parrot is much less likely to try to sneak a piece if you are in the room.
Remove any leftover food on the floor
Sometimes dogs can be messy and leave scraps on the floor – take my word for it – your bird will find these scraps.
Each time your dog finishes eating, take the time to sweep up anything that has been left behind.
Store your food in animal proof containers
The time during which your dog is eating is the most likely time for your parrot to swoop down and steal a bite, but parrots are also very smart and it wouldn’t take much for them to dip their claws into the dog food bag.
To avoid this, store your food in animal proof containers instead.
Fulfill your parrots nutritional requirements
If your parrot is hungry, they are much more likely to try to sneak a piece of dog food out of the bowl, off the floor, or out of the bag.
By ensuring that you are providing your parrot with enough nutrition and food throughout the day, you can reduce the likelihood of them snatching a piece out of our your dog’s dish.
What kind of dog food can/can’t your bird eat?
Wet dog food
Your parrot cannot eat wet dog food.
Most wet dog food contains a great deal of protein that can be harmful to your parrot in large doses.
Aside from that, trying to feed your parrot wet dog food would be extremely challenging and messy.
Dry dog food
You parrot could in theory eat dry dog food.
Though feeding your dog dry food is not highly recommended, a few pebbles is unlikely to cause them any harm.
If you are going to feed them dog kibbles, it’s suggested that you feed them varieties that are fruit and vegetable based, and feed them small pebbles that will not create a choking hazard.
Though it’s not recommended that you feed your parrot large amounts of dog treats, a few treats that have been broken up for them won’t cause them harm now and again.
As per usual, just don’t make this a staple of their diet.
What should you do if your bird has eaten dog food?
If your bird happened to snatch up a piece of dog food, don’t panic too much.
It’s unlikely that a piece or two will cause your bird any harm.
Having said that, if for any reason your bird has eaten a great amount of dog food, keep an eye on them.
Check the dog food packaging to make sure it doesn’t contain any harmful ingredients like avocado.
If it does, I would suggest taking them to the veterinarian immediately, as avocado can be toxic to parrots, even in small doses.
If your dog food doesn’t contain any overly harmful ingredients, then just keep an eye on your bird to make sure they are not acting unusual or out of the norm.
If they are, consider taking them to the vet just to be safe.
If they aren’t, don’t worry too much.
Again, it’s unlikely that one meal of dog food will harm them.
It’s feeding your parrot large amounts of dog food over time that is likely to cause illness or disease.
In conclusion, yes, you can feed your parrot dog food, but it’s not recommended.
Dogs and parrots have two different sets of nutritional requirements, and your parrot will obtain no nutritional value from eating dog food.
Also, if they get ahold of the wrong dog food, they could be eating something that is poisonous to them.
Better safe than sorry – keep your bird away from your dog food.