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Can Ducks Eat Dogfood or Is It Bad for Them?

Ducks can eat dog food, as it’s full of nutritional value. They’re omnivores, so the extra meat won’t harm them. However, there are some risks related to dry dog food.

Ducks are omnivores. They eat both plants and meat and need both to stay healthy.

But can they really eat dog food? And what kind of dog food can they eat? 

In this article, we will explore some of the dietary habits of ducks and what they can and cannot eat. We will also discuss the potential health benefits and drawbacks of feeding your pet duck dog food.

Can Ducks Eat Dogfood?

Ducks eat both plants and meat, and can indeed eat dog food. Both pet ducks, wild ducks, and ducklings can take part in feeding on dog food.

It might sound strange, but yes, ducks can eat dog food[1]. Ducks are omnivores, meaning they can eat both meat and plants.

Ducks are known for their voracious appetites; they often eat more than 10% of their body weight in food every day (6 ounces or 170 grams). 

Ducks can eat a lot of different foods, including meat and plants. They can easily digest meat found in the water, such as fish and small crustaceans.

Dog food shouldn’t make up a big part of a ducks’ diet, as they need certain other nutrients. Make sure to buy some duck feed or chicken feed as well.[2]

ducks eating on water

Can Ducklings Eat Dog Food?

Ducklings can eat dog food if they need to, but it’s not the best food to feed them. One positive about dog food is that it contains a lot of protein, which ducklings need.

Instead of feeding ducklings dog food, you should provide them with a duckling start or chick starter, which is better tailored to their diet.

Besides dog food, ducklings can eat vegetables, aquatic plants, fruits, insects, and more.

Related: What can ducklings eat?

duckling eating

Can Wild Ducks Eat Dog Food?

Yes, domesticated and wild ducks can eat the same foods. Domestic ducks such as Pekin ducks are capable of eating dog food without any problems, and the same goes for wild ducks, such as Mallards.

Domesticated and wild ducks are both omnivores, which means they eat both plants and animals. They will happily dine on a bowl of wet dog food or dry dog food that has been slightly softened with water.

Can Ducks Eat Dry Dog Food?

Yes, ducks can eat dry dog food, but it comes with some risks if not processed beforehand.

Dry dog food, or kibble, is a favorite amongst many dog owners, as it’s easier to handle, and it makes less of a mess. However, kibble is not always good for ducks.

Ducks don’t chew their food. They swallow it. Hence, any food that’s too big poses a potential choking hazard. If you have dry dog food, that you want to give to your duck, you should either make sure it’s small enough or soften it with water.

duck foraging food on the ground

Is Dog Food Good for Ducks? (Nutrition)

Dog food contains plenty of nutritions, but it’s made for dogs. Hence, it isn’t tailed to a ducks’ diet. It shouldn’t make up the primary part of a ducks’ diet but instead, be used as a supplement.

Some people feed their pet ducks dog food because it is cheaper than traditional duck chow, or perhaps because they have it laying around. 

However, this may not be the best type of food to use. Many types of dog food are full of carbohydrates and sugars that can cause obesity in your pet duck.

Duck experts say that it is perfectly fine to hand out dog food every now and then, but that it should not be given on a regular basis. The reason for this is that dog food doesn’t contain all of the nutritional needs of ducks. 

Is It Safe for Ducks to Eat Dog Food?

It’s generally safe for ducks to eat dog food, though dry dog food does come with a risk, if not processed properly. Overfeeding ducks with dog food can also be an issue.

Pet dogs and pet ducks may seem like they’re as different as night and day, but these two pets share one commonality: both enjoy eating dog food.

However, dogs can live solely off of dog food, while ducks cannot. Overfeeding ducks with dog food can result in health problems.

Dry dog food, as mentioned, can also be a choking hazard for ducks. Either grinding it up or softening it with water, will make sure it’s safe for ducks.

Related: What can ducks eat?

dog food on the bowl

Things to Keep In Mind When Feeding Ducks Dog Food

Ducks are often fed dog food by well-meaning householders. Ducks love it, and it is cheap and readily available. 

But there are some things you need to keep in mind before you go feeding your ducks.

Serve Bite-Sized Pieces

One thing that you should always remember when feeding ducks is that they need bite-sized pieces. 

Ducks don’t have teeth. They simply swallow it. Sometimes, they may try and break food into pieces with their beak, but they’re not always good a recognizing when food is too big.

If you give your ducks too large of pieces, they may choke.

lone duck quacking

Don’t Overfeed Them

If you are taking care of ducks in your backyard, or just out feeding them, it’s easy to overfeed them.

Overfeeding ducks can lead to a series of problems. For wild ducks, it can even lead to loss of natural behavior, where they become dependent on humans to feed them.

For pet ducks, overfeeding them with dog food can result in malnutrition. If they’re too full of dog food, they won’t have any appetite for other nutritions they need.

Watch Out for Cannibalism

When feeding ducks dog food, be aware that it can lead to cannibalism. Some dog foods are made with duck meat. Don’t serve this to ducks. Instead, look for dog food that is made on other types of meat.

How to Feed Ducks Dog Food

The best way to serve dog food to ducks is to mash it up beforehand, mix it with other feed, use it as treats, and mix it with water.

When you feed ducks, there are some things to keep in mind. It’s not always good to serve it as is. Sometimes you have to process it.

Here’s how to serve dog food to ducks.

Mashed Dog Food

Mashing up food is an excellent way to feed ducks. As stated, ducks don’t chew their food, hence mashing it up eliminates the choking hazard.

This is also important for other types of food, such as fruits (grapes, strawberries, bananas) or vegetables.

If you don’t want to mash the food, you can either cut it into smaller pieces, or you can soften it with water.

dog food for ducks

Mixed With Other Feed

As dog food isn’t made for poultry, it lacks certain nutrients. It also contains more protein than ducks need. Hence, mixing it with duck feed, or chicken feed, is a great way to add it to a healthy diet.

There are many ways to mix dog food with other duck feeds, but some are better than others. You can for instance use a blender or mixer on the lowest setting to crush up the bigger pieces of dog food.

You can also mix dog food with other foods, not just feed. Adding some vegetables, or other vegetation and grains is a great way to introduce more nutrients.

duckling pellets

As Treats

Many duck and waterfowl enthusiasts give treats to their ducks. Dog food is great fr this purpose. 

Dog food is much better than other foods, such as bread, chips, or junk food. People have made a bad habit out of feeding ducks bread. Bread doesn’t contain any nutrients, hence dog food is better.

Besides dog food, you can also give ducks grapes, bananas, or strawberries as treats. They’re full of vitamins but high in calories and sugar. Hence, using them as a snack works great.

sliced strawberries

Mixed With Water

Serving dry dog food is not always the best idea. Hence, mixing it with water can soften it up, and make it easier for ducks to ingest.

This is the safer way to feed ducks dry dog food.

What Do Ducks Normally Eat?

Ducks are omnivores, primarily feeding off of insects and vegetation that they find in the water of ponds, lakes, or other bodies of water.

Ducks primarily eat fish, insects, and vegetation found in lakes, streams, or ponds[3].

Their favorite foods include mollusks, snails, frogs, and aquatic plants such as algae. Some ducks dive to the bottom of a body of water in search of food while others feed on vegetation near the surface.

Mallard duck diving to catch a frog


Ducks can eat dog food and will if presented with the opportunity. Dog food contains some nutrients that are great for ducks, but they don’t contain all of the necessary ones. 

Dog food should be used as a treat, or a supplement, to ducks’ diet. It should not be used as the primary feed.

Instead of feeding ducks dog food, buy duck feed or chicken feed, which is better suited for poultry.

About Kaitlin Mullins

Birds are plenty, and they can be hard to keep track of. Thankfully, Katilin Mullins has taken charge of these. With plenty of free time spent bird watching, she’s a true expert on these intriguing animals.

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