Top Summer Concerns for Pet Birds
The arrival of summer marks the beginning of a season of outdoor fun and relaxation, as well as a season of increased danger for your pet bird. Along with warmer temperatures come potential hazards, so let's discuss ways to protect pet birds and help keep them safe, happy and healthy all summer long.
Keep your bird cool
As a responsible pet parent, you should always keep your bird's safety and well-being foremost in your mind, and periods of hot weather are no exception. While a slight increase in room temperature likely won't prove problematic, a significant increase in temperature can spell trouble for your bird. Heat exhaustion is a dangerous condition that can develop when a bird is subjected to high temperatures, which is why you should never leave your bird inside a vehicle on a warm day or in a habitat that is placed in direct sun. A bird suffering from heat exhaustion may become disoriented and exhibit signs such as panting and holding their wings away from their body. Treatment in cases of heat exhaustion must be immediate, and can include lightly misting your bird with cool water or allowing them to stand in a shallow container of cool water; but always seek the advice of a veterinarian to establish an appropriate treatment plan.
Beware of electric fans
Electric fans can be an effective way to cool the air in your bird's environment, but always exercise caution. Try to keep your bird out of the direct path of a draft, and be particularly wary of ceiling fans. The exposed blades pose a particular danger to birds that are allowed to roam freely throughout a room, so never run a ceiling fan when your bird is near. Even with clipped wings, some birds can gain enough lift to reach a ceiling fan, which can cause devastating injuries. Always keep your bird safe in their habitat whenever fans are on in your home!
Keep your bird hydrated
As is the case with people, birds naturally increase their water intake during warm weather. Be sure to check your bird's water supply several times a day and add fresh water when necessary. In warm weather, water becomes stale much faster and the water dish becomes dirty more frequently. Clean and refresh your bird's water more often than usual during periods of warm weather—especially if your bird uses their water container for bathing. Some pet parents provide water bottles in addition to dishes; the advantage being that your bird will have a water source that they cannot spill or contaminate. However, you shouldn't rely solely on a water bottle unless you're absolutely sure your bird knows how to use it (and likes to use it!).
Feed your bird a nutrient-rich diet
Take advantage of summer's fresh, healthy foods to boost your bird's diet during this time of year. Preparing fresh homemade treats can help deliver essential vitamins to your pet bird, just make sure that as you add new foods, you maintain a balanced diet.
Keep your house escape-proof
When the warmer temperatures arrive, it's tempting to open your doors and windows and usher in that fresh outdoor air. But along with open access to the outdoors come increased opportunities for your bird to escape. It's all too easy for your pet to take advantage of a free pass to the great outdoors, so it's important to vigilantly prevent an escape. Make sure that your screens are intact and installed properly on all of your windows, and then consider installing a screen door for your front and back doors. But even with the added precaution of screens, it's possible for your bird to slip through an opening and escape. Watch your bird carefully whenever you open the door and caution family and friends to do the same. Another option: Keep your bird in a room without direct outdoor access. If you're concerned that your bird will still try to make a break for it, you may wish to consider clipping your bird's wings. This is a common procedure but should be performed by a veterinarian or other avian expert.
Keep travel to a minimum
And finally, avoid traveling with your bird during the summer months, even for short trips. On an 80-degree day, the temperature inside a closed vehicle can reach 109 degrees in only 20 minutes, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. If you travel with your bird, be sure to follow proper precautions to keep him cool, and never leave him in the car, not even for a minute.