The obvious way to keep birds away from your dog food is not to feed your pet outside. Even if your dog spends part of his day outside, just bring him inside at feeding time. If that's a bit too obvious and you were looking for something more creative, don't worry. There are other things you can do to avoid fattening up the neighborhood birds with your dog's food.
Feed your dog as much as he will eat in one setting. Dogs don't need to have food sitting out at all times. PetMD notes that this can lead to obesity and it's not very sanitary, as it can attract rodents, insects and, as you well know, birds. Many of these animals carry viruses or bacteria that can make your pet ill. Who wants to deal with rat poop in their porch anyway? To avoid this, feed your dog twice a day and take the bowl away once he's done. It might take some time for your pooch to get used to the different feeding routine, but he'll get on board soon enough.
Give the birds a water supply that looks more tempting than your dog's water bowl. Install a bird bath in one corner of the yard, as far away as possible from your dog's feeding area. The birds won't bother with a tiny water bowl when they have a Jacuzzi waiting for them nearby.
Buy a rubber snake or owl and place it near the feeding area. This might work only temporarily, until the birds wise up to the fact that these amazing predators are not moving at all. Try buying both toys and then alternating them or placing them in different positions to trick the birds to stay away. Some birds are smarter than others, so don't despair if the trick only lasts for a while.
Buy a treat ball or Kong toy at your local pet store. These are special toys that allow you to hide the food inside. To get to the food, your dog needs to roll the toy so the treats fall out. Sounds like a lot of work to get some dry kibble, and the birds will agree and move somewhere else. An added benefit of these trick toys is that they will keep your dog busy when you're not around.
Set up a kennel or wire cage and place the food inside. Since you have to leave the door open for your dog to walk in and get to the food, this means there's also an open space for the birds to get in. However, many birds will shy away from the idea of getting inside a cage, door or not. While this might not eliminate the problem, it can reduce the number of birds that are brave enough to steal the food in the first place. You also can try adding a flapping doggy door to the kennel, as long as you can train your dog to use it.
- If you're feeding your dog inside and are worried about your own pet birds eating the food, either keep the bowl in a different room or lock the birds in their cages while the dog eats.
Tammy Dray has been writing since 1996. She specializes in health, wellness and travel topics and has credits in various publications including Woman's Day, Marie Claire, Adirondack Life and Self. She is also a seasoned independent traveler and a certified personal trainer and nutrition consultant. Dray is pursuing a criminal justice degree at Penn Foster College.