Preventing An Avian Emergency: 3 Bird-Specific Dangers Every New Parrot Owner Should Be Aware Of

Have you recently joined the ranks of first-time parrot ownership? If so, you're about to discover the uniqueness of caring for an avian companion and the potential dangers lurking within your home. Birds have specific requirements that set them apart from other pets such as cats and dogs, and they are subject to dangers unique to their species. As a new bird owner,  be aware of how boredom may lead to self destructive habits in a parrot, possibly leading to a pet emergency. In addition, take note of hidden dangers around the home.

1. Self Mutilation Due To Frustration or Boredom

Parrots are intelligent creatures that require mental stimulation and activities to keep them happy and healthy. Studies show that parrots possess logic and reasoning much like that of three year old child. If you don't provide your parrot with activities and metal stimulation, your pet may become bored and frustrated.

This frustration could lead to destructive behavior such as feather picking. Feather picking is a form of self mutilation, and some parrots pluck their own feathers simply because they have no outlet for their energy. If companion birds have little social interaction, or they are caged for hours at a time with little to keep them occupied, feather plucking may become an issue. When birds pluck their feathers, there is a risk for infection, and this could land your pet in the emergency pet clinic. Fortunately, you may be able to prevent this bad habit by providing adequate stimulation for your pet.

Provide bird-safe toys for your parrot and hang them inside the cage. Also, provide plenty of time outside the cage for social interaction and supervised play. To provide a place for Polly to play outside of the cage, buy a parrot play stand or gym with various sized perches and a hook for attaching toys.

2. Injuries or Escape Due to Unclipped Wings

As a first-time bird owner, you may not realize the importance of keeping your pet's wings clipped. A parrot with full flight feathers can fly surprisingly high and fast and may escape through an open window or door. A bird with unclipped wings may also crash into a mirror or wall and injury itself or fly into a toilet and drown. After a bird has completed a molt and has regrown its flight feathers, they should be clipped. Typically, this may occur a few times a year.

3. Bird-Specific Toxins

Most pet owners know that chocolate is harmful to any pet, and this includes birds. However, there are other things that may cause illness (or be lethal) in birds specifically. One such household danger to be aware of is non-stick pots, pans and appliances. When overheated, non-stick coating can cause an emergency health issue for your parrot. Many bird owners unaware of the dangers of polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) toxicosis have lost their pets due to fumes from overheated nonstick cookware.

The avian respiratory system is extremely sensitive, and the high metabolic rate increases the chance for respiratory distress from irritants and toxins. As a responsible parrot owner, play it safe and avoid overheating nonstick cookware, or avoid using it altogether. Also, avoid potential toxins by not using spray aerosols (including room deodorizers, deodorants and hair sprays) in the vicinity of your parrot's cage or environment. All of these are irritants to a bird's delicate respiratory system and may cause serious health issues when exposed to them.

For more information, contact Animal Emergency Clinic or a similar location.