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No, dogs should not eat birdseed because it can cause health issues, ranging from aflatoxin poisoning to intestinal obstructions. While a small amount of fresh birdseed is not toxic to dogs, several factors make it dangerous for your dogs to eat. Therefore, if your dog insists on exploring the bird feeder, it is best to keep it away.

caution icon

Caution: This food is generally considered risky by the veterinary community. Dogs should not eat this food and should be monitored for adverse effects.

Food Safety Not toxic but can cause health issues due to several factors.
Nutritional Issues Bird seed is left outside and may be moldy or damp. Some birdseed mixes might also contain raisins, which are harmful to dogs.
Potential Risks Aflatoxin poisoning from moldy and damp bird seeds, raisin toxicity, ingesting bacteria and parasites through bird feces, and overeating birdseed can lead to intestinal obstruction.
Symptoms Lethargy, loss of appetite, vomiting, jaundice, diarrhea, abdominal discomfort.
Every dog is different. For specific feeding guidelines, including quantities and beneficial foods that are best for your dog, please consult your vet.

How Much Birdseed is Bad for Dogs?

A small amount of uncontaminated birdseed is ok for dogs. However, if the birdseed is moldy or damp, any amount of birdseed might lead to aflatoxin poisoning. Similarly, if your dog ingests a raisin with a small amount of birdseed, it can show symptoms of poisoning.

Why is Birdseed Unsafe for Dogs?

Birdseed is unsafe for dogs due to several reasons, these include:

  • Aflatoxin: Birdseed can have aflatoxin which can cause aflatoxin poisoning in dogs.
  • Contaminants: Dogs can ingest contaminants with birdseed, such as bird feces or rodent droppings, which can make them sick.
  • Toxic ingredients: Birdseed can have ingredients that are toxic for dogs, such as raisins.
  • Sharp objects: Birdseed can have sharp shells or pieces of twine that can be harmful to dogs.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • If your dog insists on eating birdseed, you can keep it distracted or keep the feeder in a place that won’t be noticed by your dog.

  • If your dog has eaten a raisin you should seek immediate medical assistance.

About the Writer
Dan Greco , Dog Dad

Having been a dog dad for 5 years, I know how hard it is to make sure your dog gets the right nutrients and stays away from hazardous foods. With the help of a veterinarian who specializes in nutrition, I created this blog to help dog owners quickly access food information they need.

photo of vet holding a pup
About the Contributor
Dr. Hillary Wolfe , Veterinarian & Certified Food Therapist

Dr. Wolfe holds a doctorate in veterinary medicine from Kansas State University and holds nutrition certifications from the NAVC and CIVT. Her business, Tula Veterinary Nutrition, hosts online courses that teach owners how to cook for their pet for optimal health and longevity. Follow her on Instagram at @doctorwolfe.dvm for dog nutrition tips, recipes and insights.