Can Dogs Be Allergic to Bird Seed? (Must Read)

dog-allergy-bird-seed

When you own a dog it is obvious that he’ll often be outside in your garden. Aside from garden tools and gardening chemicals, bird seed should also be considered potentially harmful to your dog.

Can dogs be allergic to bird seed? Dogs cannot be allergic to bird seed. But that doesn’t mean that bird seed is safe for dogs to eat. If a dog consumes a large quantity of bird seed it can create a blockage within the intestinal tract. Old bird seed can also contain harmful bacteria which can affect the health of your dog.

While bird seed will not cause an allergic reaction in your dog, there are some critical health issues that bird seed can cause if your dog consumes too much of it. Read on to see what risks are involved when your dog decides that bird seed is dog food.

Bird Seed is Not a Dog Allergen, But it Can Cause Serious Health Issues

If your dog eats a small quantity of bird seed, then it is highly unlikely that she will suffer any ill effects.

That being said, if the bird seed has been outside for a long time in different weather conditions, then it could have become moldy. Moldy birdseed can contain hepatotoxins (a toxic substance that damages the liver).

By far the most serious threat to a dog eating bird seed is when the amount of bird seed is large.

Any large object swallowed by a dog can become lodged in the intestines. While individual bird seeds are small, they can clump together and form a ball when they are in a moist and confined space. The intestines of a dog are the perfect place for such clogging to take place.

Our own dog suffered this exact same problem by eating grass. The strands of grass wove together and formed into a ball that blocked his intestines.

The first sign that something was wrong with Alfie was when he wouldn’t eat his breakfast. Alfie is a border terrier and food means everything to him. Seeing him refuse his breakfast was a huge red flag!


The first sign that something was wrong with Alfie was when he wouldn’t eat his breakfast. Alfie is a border terrier and food means everything to him. Seeing him refuse his breakfast was a huge red flag!

That event had us at the vet’s clinic all day and resulted in surgery to remove the grass blockage.

Birdseed could lead to the exact same kind of result if eaten in a large enough quantity.

What If The Blockage Is Not Removed?

As mentioned above, Alfie gave us the signal that all was not well by him refusing his food.

If we somehow had ignored that obvious signal, then the blockage in the intestine would have caused much more severe problems.

When intestines become blocked, they clearly cannot do their job.

Feces cannot pass the blockage and the bowels become dilated. The chances of the bowels rupturing increases as the blood-flow to that area become restricted.

If the bowels rupture then feces leaks into the abdomen and serious infection is the result. Quick medical action is required to save a dog’s life if such an event occurs.

How Do Vets Treat a Dog Intestinal Blockage?

Our own vet gave Alfie an x-ray to first see if he had a blockage at all.

We waited with the vet and we all looked at the computer monitor to see the resulting x-ray image.

Our vet pointed to the screen and showed us that there was indeed a blockage.

The next step was to determine if the blockage could be passed normally, or if surgery would be required. The vet gave Alfie a barium meal liquid and we had to wait an hour for the white liquid to reach the obstruction.


The next step was to determine if the blockage could be passed normally, or if surgery would be required. The vet gave Alfie a barium meal liquid and we had to wait an hour for the white liquid to reach the obstruction.

Our hope was that we would see the white liquid in the following x-ray passing the obstruction. This would indicate that there was some space around the blockage that would help Alfie pass the obstruction naturally.

Unfortunately, there was no sign at all that any barium meal was managing to pass the blockage.

At this stage, surgery was the only option.

Alfie fully recovered from that incident but we are now very careful to not allow Alfie to eat any grass. Who’d have thought that grass could cause such an issue?

Symptoms of a Dog Intestinal Blockage

It’s so easy to believe that dogs can get away with eating almost anything.

Dogs are well known to chew the strangest objects and many of these objects end up being swallowed. How many times has your dog destroyed a ball and has then swallowed a chunk of it?

And you hear of destructive dogs eating sofa cushions and obviously, they must swallow some of the foam.

Yet most dogs ‘appear’ to be invincible to digestive problems from swallowing foreign objects, But they are not invincible, they are at risk just like if you or I swallowed something unusual.

If your dog has swallowed anything other than his usual food or treats, then be alert to the possible symptoms.

  • Loss of appetite. This can be a very sudden loss of appetite.
  • Frequent stretching. Where the back-side goes up into the air and the front paws stretch out in front.
  • Sounds of pain. Your dog makes small whimpering sounds that indicate a possible pain.
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Not drinking
  • Bloating

Bloating in Dogs After Eating Bird Seed

One final possible complication to discuss is bloating.

Bloating is a very dangerous condition in dogs and immediate veterinary help is required.

Bloat (gastric dilatation-volvulus), is a condition where the dogs’ stomach fills with liquid or air, and this, in turn, causes the stomach to twist in on itself and cuts off the blood supply to the stomach.

So what has bloat got to do with a dog eating bird seed?

There is a possibility that the bird seed remains in the stomach and starts to ferment. This fermentation process causes bubbles just like yeast in warm water.

The bubbles burst and release the fermentation gases and continue to so so, which can result in bloating taking place.

Bird Seed Dog Allergy Conclusion

In this post, we’ve discovered the fact that dogs can’t be allergic to bird seed.

In a way, a small allergic reaction would be far more preferable to the bigger potential dangers of dogs eating bird seed.

It may have become clear from reading this post that keeping your dog away from birdseed would be a sensible precaution.

As the saying goes: prevention is better than cure. With that in mind, don’t store bags of bird seed where your dog has access to it.

Try have your bird-feeding area in a part of your garden where your dog doesn’t frequently go to.

You can also buy a bird feeder that has a seed-catching tray beneath the feeding area.

Use common sense and you, your dog (and the birds) can all be healthy and happy.