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How to Keep Birds Away From Dog Food (7 Proven Methods)

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

By Nicole Cosgrove

labrador eating outside

If your dog spends a lot of time outside, chances are you feed them outside too, and if you feed your dog outside regularly, chances are the local birds have noticed. Birds are smarter than we usually give them credit for, and they will quickly catch on to your habits. Once the birds are used to helping themselves to your dog’s food, it can be a huge pain to keep them away, and having lots of birds around doesn’t lend itself to having a clean yard. So, what can you do about it?

In this article, we cover seven proven methods for keeping birds away from dog food. Not every method will be right for every set of circumstances, but hopefully, there will be something you can implement to keep those pesky birds away from your dog’s food for good.

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The 7 Proven Methods to Keep Birds Away From Dog Food

1. Use a Scarecrow

As a society, we’ve been so conditioned to associate scarecrows with The Wizard of Oz and Halloween that it’s easy to forget that they were initially for, well, scaring crows! Your local home improvement or gardening store will probably have a decent selection of plastic owls, cats, snakes, and other predators that you can use to keep birds away from your dog’s food.

The key to getting a scarecrow to work is to keep it unpredictable. Birds will quickly learn that the fake owl next to the tasty food bowl isn’t a threat after a few days of observing. If you move the owl around the area near your dog’s bowl, it will keep the birds wary and stop them from helping themselves to your pup’s dinner.

Image Credit: Pixabay

2. Feed Your Dog in a Confined Space

Birds don’t like to explore confined spaces since they can’t use their gift of flight to escape from tight places quickly. You don’t need to go crazy, but a little creativity goes a long way. A picnic-type table pushed against a wall is one great option, but you can also build an enclosure from wood and bird netting. The right picture to have in mind is sort of like a dog house. Make sure whatever space you make is big enough for your dog to squeeze into.

3. Don’t Leave Food Outside

While it’s very convenient to leave your dog’s bowl where they can help themselves throughout the day, the trouble is your avian adversaries can help themselves whenever they like as well. One solution is to establish a regular feeding time for your dog. Bring them their meals whenever you like, feed them, and then take the bowl back inside. Without any leftovers to attract them, the birds will be forced to find another place to feast.

yorkshire terrier dog eating from a bowl
Image Credit: Radomir, Shutterstock

4. Electronic Feeders

A more expensive option is to purchase an automatic electronic dog feeder. You can program these machines to dispense food at certain times, so you don’t have to remember to stop what you’re doing to feed the dog. Automatic feeders offer all the same benefits of a regular feeding schedule without the need to remember yourself. The drawback of choosing an automatic feeder is the cost; these devices tend to be expensive.

5. Play Recordings of Predatory Birds

One less common approach is to play recordings of predatory birds like hawks and owls to keep smaller birds away. Birds will avoid any areas that they think routinely have predator activity, so if you occasionally play hawk calls, other birds are likely to avoid your property.

6. Feed the Birds

This one seems simple, but you have to be careful. Feeding the birds can prevent them from stealing your dog’s food, but it can also attract more birds to the area, causing problems when the bird feeders are empty. If you decide to try this, we recommend placing several feeders around your property as far away from your dog’s bowl as possible.

It is essential to keep the feeders well-stocked; otherwise, you risk creating more problems for yourself since there would be more hungry birds eyeballing your dog’s food than there already are.

7. Wind Chimes

This is a simple and delightful way to keep the birds at bay, although it won’t keep away the most brazen birds. Wind chimes make a racket, and birds tend to avoid loud noises and sudden movement. However, like the scarecrow, it’s important to keep the variety up by swapping in different wind chimes occasionally and moving them around. Anything that stays predictable will be less effective at deterring them.

hanging silver wind chimes
Image Credit: Alex Andrei, Shutterstock

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Birds are excellent scavengers and will help themselves to your dog’s food if given the opportunity. Hopefully, these tips have given you some ideas for protecting your dog’s food from unwanted feathered interlopers. The best option is to use a scarecrow, but playing predatory bird calls and feeding your dog in a confined space are also effective methods.

Automatic feeders can be useful, but they’re also expensive. If your budget doesn’t allow for an automatic feeder, you can achieve a similar effect by feeding your dog yourself at specific times and cleaning up immediately after they finish eating.

Featured Image Credit: PixieMe, Shutterstock

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