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geopelia spp and streptopelia spp

Graceful birds of the Columbidae family. They are gentle birds known to make a soothing cooing sound.


Dove Facts

Average Adult Size 7 1/2 to 12 inches long, head to end of tail
Average Life Span 10 to 25 years with proper care, depending on species
Diet herbivores

Bird pet parents should avoid non-stick cookware and appliances as they can release fumes hazardous to your bird's health.


A well-balanced dove diet consists of:

  • High quality fortified seed mix for doves should make up 60 to 70% of diet, with fresh vegetables and fruits making up the rest.
  • Clean, fresh, filtered, chlorine-free water, changed daily.
  • Do not feed birds avocado, fruit seeds, chocolate, caffeine or alcohol as these can cause serious medical conditions. Avoid sugar and high fat treats.


Things to remember when feeding your dove:

  • Fresh food and water should always be available.
  • Vegetables and fruits not eaten within a few hours should be discarded.
  • Treats should not exceed 10% of total food.


  • Doves acclimate well to average household temperatures, not to drop below 65°F or to exceed 80°F; be cautious of extreme temperature changes. The habitat should be placed off the floor in an area that is well-lit and away from drafts.
  • A habitat approximately 24"W x 24"D x 24"H, with metal bars spaced no greater than 3/8" apart, makes a good home for one dove; a flight habitat is recommended. It is best to provide the largest habitat possible.
  • Perches should be at least 4" long and 1/2" in diameter; a variety of perch diameters to exercise feet and help prevent arthritis is recommended.
  • A metal grate over the droppings tray will keep the bird away from droppings; line the droppings tray with habitat paper or appropriate substrate for easier cleaning. To avoid contamination, do not place food or water containers under perches.
  • Doves can be kept alone or in small groups, but different types of birds should not be housed together.

Normal Behavior

  • Doves make a cooing sound
  • Their calm nature has made them a universal symbol of peace.
  • Enjoy stretching, preening, sunbathing, and require daily attention from people.
  • Ensure a dark area for your dove to sleep at night.
  • Provide foraging toys which provide important mental stimulation.

Habitat Maintenance

  • Clean and disinfect the habitat and perches regularly with a 3% bleach solution; replace substrate or habitat liner weekly or more often as needed.
  • Replace perches, dishes, and toys when worn or damaged; rotate new toys into the habitat regularly.
  • Ensure that there are no habitat parts or toys with lead, zinc or lead-based paints or galvanized parts as these can cause serious medical issues if ingested by your bird.
  • Do not use a lot of cleaning agents around your bird as the fumes can be harmful. It is recommended to use a natural cleaning product.

Grooming & Hygiene

  • Provide filtered, chlorine-free, lukewarm water regularly for bathing; remove the water when done. As an alternative, mist the bird with water.
  • Nails should be trimmed by a qualified person to prevent injury to the bird.


Signs of a Healthy Animal

  • Active, alert, and sociable
  • Eats and drinks throughout the day
  • Dry nares and bright, dry eyes
  • Beak, legs and feet normal in appearance
  • Clean, dry vent
  • Smooth, well-groomed feathers

Red Flags

  • beak swelling or accumulations
  • fluffed, plucked, or soiled feathers
  • sitting on floor of habitat
  • wheezing or coughing
  • runny or discolored stools
  • favoring one foot when not sleeping
  • eye or nasal discharge
  • red or swollen eyes
  • loss of appetite

Common Health Issues

Health Issue Symptoms or Causes Suggested Action
Health Issue Diarrhea Symptoms or Causes Fecal portion of stool not formed. multiple causes, from change in diet to internal parasites. Suggested Action Consult your veterinarian and ensure correct diet.
Health Issue Pneumonia Symptoms or Causes Difficulty breathing; caused by bacterial, viral or fungal infection. Suggested Action Consult your veterinarian.
Health Issue Trichomiasis Symptoms or Causes Masses in mouth and throat area, decreased appetite, loose droppings and shortness of breath. Suggested Action Consult your veterinarian.


Ask a store partner about Petco’s selection of books on doves and the variety of private brand products available for the care and happiness of your new pet. All private brand products carry a 100% money-back guarantee.

Because all birds are potential carriers of infectious diseases, such as Chlamydiosis, always wash your hands before and after handling your bird or habitat contents to help prevent the potential spread of disease.

Pregnant women, children under the age of 5, senior citizens and people with weakened immune systems should contact their physician before purchasing or caring for birds and should consider not having a bird as a pet.

Go to for more information about Doves and disease.

This care sheet can cover the care needs of other species.

Note: The information in this Care Sheet is not a substitute for veterinary care.If you need additional information, please refer to the sources on the following page or contact your veterinarian as appropriate.

Developed with and approved by a qualified veterinarian.