How to Stop Birds Stealing Dog Food? (8 Methods)

how to stop birds stealing dog food

My uncle has a working dog that lives in outdoor kennels. He’s recently had issues over birds eating from the dog’s bowl and drinking water and asked me for my advice on what to do.

I came up with a number of solutions that worked kept the birds out of the dog’s food bowls and have shared them below. If you want to know how to stop bird stealing your dog’s food, read on.

How do I stop birds from eating my dog’s food?

The most obvious way you can keep birds out of a dog’s water bowl and food is to feed them indoors. For many people this isn’t practical or possible though. You can’t stand guard by the bowls, and neither will your dog!

Instead, here are my tips for keeping your dog’s food and water bowls bird-free.

1. Use a fake plastic owl, snake, or cat that birds hate

Scarecrows have been used for centuries to keep birds away from food crops. You may not want to build a full-size scarecrow to stand guard and protect your dog food and water bowl from birds. But you could use a similar concept.

Buy a large fake cat or owl and place it next to your dog’s bowls. Big, plastic snakes (the ones boys love to scare girls away with) are also a great scare tactic. You can find these items in any of your local toy stores or on Amazon (see prices).

Birds are smart creatures so you may have to move the items around which means keeping the dog’s food bowl in different areas outdoors.

You might also want to get your pup used to these “guards” by letting him sniff them so he’s comfortable having them near his food and water.

2. Have a regular feeding schedule

Instead of leaving dog food out all day, stick to a regular feeding schedule. Plan to feed your dog a meal in the morning and another meal in the evening

Make sure you only give your dog the exact amount of food he needs at each feeding time. This means he’ll eat all his food within ten minutes and there’ll be no scraps to attract birds. Once your dog has finished eating, remove the dog bowl so birds can’t get to it.

This method gives you peace of mind your dog is eating fresh food which hasn’t been contaminated with bird waste.

It also means your dog gets his quota of food without having half his kibbles taken away by hungry winged creatures.

3. Keep the dog bowls in an enclosed area

Birds often don’t like to venture into places that are enclosed on the ground. This makes them feel vulnerable. This idea will mean you have to get a bit innovative.

Get some garden netting in from the local hardware and drape it from your patio roof. Keep the dog food and water bowls on the patio behind the netting.

Another idea is to get a covered dog crate or dog kennel. The dog food and water bowls can be kept inside without being obvious to the birds.

A more curious bird may pluck up the courage to explore what’s going on behind the patio screen or inside the dog kennel, but it won’t happen often.

4. Automatic dog feeders and spill proof water bowls

Another great way to keep birds away from your dog’s food and water is to use automatic dog feeders and spill proof water bowls.

The Little Giant Automatic Dog Feeder only dispenses food when your pooch opens the feeding door. It’s robustly designed to handle the outdoor environment and holds up to 12 lbs. of dog food.

A spill proof water bowl is another great idea for keeping your dog’s water safely out of reach of birds. I like the Road Refresher No Spill Dog Water Bowl. All your dog has to do is press down while drinking and the water will come through the top floating plate.

Both these items can be ordered online from Amazon and will certainly keep the birds away and your dog well fed and watered.

5. Make use of technology

Okay, this tip works well if you’re at home and have the time to play audio recordings of predator birds. Birds stay away when they hear a threatening call of a predator bird in the area.

You can buy CDs on Amazon with birds of prey noises on. According to the bird experts, you only need to play these sounds occasionally to keep away most birds from your garden.

You could also buy devices that mimic bird sounds and play them whenever you see birds landing on the dog bowl. Like I said though, this idea is perfect if you’ve nothing else to do with your time!

6. Feed the birds

Has it ever crossed your mind that maybe these little feathery creatures could be hungry?

Dog kibble is highly nutritious and for birds, this is an easy way to get a good dose of food into them without too much effort.

Instead of having hungry birds feeding on your dog food, attract them to eat their own food. This is one way to stop birds from eating dog’s food – but takes a lot of perseverance.

You can do this by providing bird seeds in the garden. A great idea is hanging bird feeders in different areas of your property.

It’s a good idea to keep bird feeders away from the area where your dog feeds.

Happy birds will mean equally happy dogs who aren’t having their food stolen.

7. Provide the birds with their own water source

What can you do to keep birds away from your dog’s water bowl? Birds, like every other creature on earth, needs water to survive. They also love to bath in water, so your dog’s water bowl is their solution!

You can stop this happening by providing the birds with another source of water. The best option here is to get a bird bath. Place it somewhere in the garden where they can find it easily. Make sure it’s not next to your dog’s water bowl though.

By distracting the birds and giving them their own water source, you’re keeping your dog’s water clean and drinkable for him only.

Check out this attractive VIVOHOME Antique Outdoor Garden Bird Bath from Amazon.

8. Other scare devices

My first tip talked about using the scarecrow concept to frighten the birds away. Here are some more scare devices you can use:

  • Bright, moving objects: Birds can be deterred by bright, shiny things that move in the wind. Grab some of those kiddies’ pinwheels and place them around the area where you keep your dog’s bowls. Strips of aluminum foil hanging down from trees also works well
  • Make use of old CDs: I saw this idea on a farm growing vegetables in the open. You could take all those old CDs you never listen to anymore and hang them from the trees in your garden or even from the patio roof.
  • Wind chimes and bells: Sounds from these hanging chimes and bells will keep the birds away whenever the wind blows.

Why you should keep birds away from your dog’s food

Why do you want to keep birds away from your dog’s food and water bowl?

These winged creatures, sweet as they are, carry pesty parasites and diseases. They could contaminate both your dog’s food and water. Plus, they’re constantly making droppings which can also taint the food and water.


There is no fool proof way to completely stop birds from stealing dog food, but with a little effort you might be able to reduce it.

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Marc Aaron

I write about the things we've learned about owning dogs, the adventures we have, and any advice and tips we've picked up along the way.

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