Can Squirrels Eat Dog Food? [Is It Safe or Toxic?]

can squirrels eat dog food

Squirrels are natural foragers, and they’ll eat almost anything they can find. However, just because they can eat dog food, it doesn’t mean they should, and here’s why.

Can Squirrels Eat Dog Food?

Squirrels will eat dog food, but only if they can’t find any other food. Dog food is not toxic for them, but it won’t provide them with the nutrients they require. Like us, squirrels require certain nutrients to provide them with the energy they need to survive in the wild.

Is Dog Food Bad for Squirrels?

As mentioned above, dog food is not toxic to squirrels, but squirrels thrive best when eating foods found in the wild. 

When you’re feeding a squirrel, it’s best to replicate the kinds of foods that, in an ideal world free of urbanization and pollution, the squirrel naturally comes across.

Food that they would eat in the wild includes fresh fruit, vegetables, and nuts. This is why it’s best to feed them these things, as they’re the closest to the foods they’d find in the wild.

It’s unlikely that a squirrel would ever find dog food in the wild.

If you have a pet squirrel, don’t feed them dog food. Pick up any leftover dog food and seal it in an airtight container, so your pet squirrel can’t get a hold of it. 

Nutrients In Dog Food

All dog foods vary in nutrition, but most will have a mixture of:

  • Fats
  • Proteins
  • Vitamins and Minerals
  • Water 

The nutrients are balanced perfectly for dogs, not small rodents like squirrels. According to PetMD, dog food contains by-products or “leftovers” from the human food industry. The by-products are a mixture of (bones, beaks, organs, bones, and blood).

Some dog foods are not good for dogs, and they definitely can’t be good for squirrels. 

Will Squirrels Eat Dog Food?

Squirrels are a lot like raccoons in that they’ll root around in trash cans or eat leftover foods that people have discarded. They’re generally considered to be omnivorous, which means that they can eat both vegetables and meat if they are hungry enough.

If your dog leaves any leftover dog food on the porch, and a squirrel is hungry enough due to a short supply of food sources, they will eat it. They will love the taste and will keep coming back for more. 

But their natural diet isn’t meant to include junk or processed foods, and dog food is highly processed.

Can Squirrels Eat Wet Dog Food?

However, there are two types of dog food: wet and dry. Wet food certainly shouldn’t ever be fed to a squirrel, as it’s a meat product that, ideally, a squirrel shouldn’t eat.

Canned dog food is nutritious for canines but won’t do squirrels any good. 

Squirrels also bury their food for winter, and burying wet dog food will cause it to quickly grow mold, which is bad for them and can kill them.

Can Squirrels Eat Dog Treats?

Some vets and animal experts will concede that occasionally eating dry dog biscuits won’t do a squirrel any long-term damage. The biscuits can be good for their teeth, as squirrels need to chew on hard objects. Dry dog food is mostly processed wheat and grains, with some meat by-products.

So, if you feed your dog outside and a squirrel nips down and steals a few biscuits. There’s no need to be too alarmed. But don’t make it a part of their feeding routine because they’ll become dependent on food that’s not good for them.

How To Keep Squirrels Away from Dog Food?

The best way to keep squirrels out of your dog’s food bowl is to feed your dog inside the house. If your dog stays outside, ensure that there’s no kibble or crumbs that will attract the rodents to your home. 

Feed Them Something Else, Instead!

There’s no need to feed dog food to a squirrel when they can eat so many other things that are so much better for them!

Carrots, celery, spinach, broccoli, and even tomatoes are all vegetables that squirrels find delicious and that are good for them, too. They also love fruits, including apples, bananas, and watermelon.

They enjoy berries, which they’ll eat in the wild whenever they find them. 

Foods Squirrels Love To Eat

Squirrels will devour blackberries, raspberries, watermelon, and cherries. If you choose to feed them handfuls of these fruits, don’t give them too much, as they’re high in sugar.

It’s not expensive to feed squirrels the right kinds of foods, but it’s so much better for them in the long run if you take the time to learn the best foods for the visitors to your garden.


In conclusion, squirrels will eat dog food and even cat food and enjoy it completely. Unfortunately, this food doesn’t provide any health benefits for them. Dog food also contains by-products and chemicals that can be dangerous for the little animal. 

If you love having squirrels in your backyard but hate it when they eat your dog’s food, then consider putting up a squirrel feeder for them. 

These critters are foragers, and if they don’t have access to food, that’s when they go looking in your yard for food they can eat!

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