Avian Safety 101: Can Birds Safely be with Other Pets?

Avian Safety 101: Can Birds Safely be with Other Pets?
Avian Safety 101: Can Birds Safely be with Other Pets?

 Are you considering adding a feathered friend to your collection of pets, but unsure whether birds can coexist with other animals in your home? While birds and other pets can get along, it's important to take certain precautions to ensure the safety of your birds due to their prey instinct and the predatory nature of cats and dogs.

So, how can you keep your pets safe? In this article, we'll discuss the potential risks and benefits of mixing birds and other pets, and provide guidance on:

  • Whether it's safe to keep birds and other pets in the same household
  • What to do if you have birds and other pets in separate households
  • Whether simply supervising their interactions is enough.
  • So, let's dive in without delay!

Should You Mix Birds and Other Pets?

We advise against cohabitating birds and other pets, regardless of how well-behaved your other pets are or how cute they appear playing together, as depicted in some online videos.

Why Should Birds and Other Pets not Be Together?

There are multiple reasons why it's not recommended to mix birds and other pets, especially cats and dogs.

Firstly, cats and dogs are natural predators and pose a significant threat to your bird. Even if they are used to the bird's presence, their predatory instinct can kick in at any moment. Even if you argue that your pets will not harm your bird, their hunting instinct can still be lurking below the surface.

Cats, in particular, are instinctual bird hunters, and even domesticated ones still hunt for fun. Dogs like retrievers, spaniels, and pointers are also bird hunters. Even if they don't utilize this instinct, it's still not safe for birds to be in the same area as other pets.

If a dog or cat is nipped on the nose by your bird, it might lash out, and it could be too late before you know it. Birds are at a disadvantage in a battle with a dog or cat and could suffer injuries that may not be visible on the outside.

Keeping big and little birds apart while unattended is another compelling reason for keeping birds and other pets separate.

Here are some examples to help you decide whether to put birds and other pets in one place.

Cases to Consider Before Mixing Birds and Other Pets

Let's take a look at some real-life examples that illustrate why it's not a good idea to mix birds with other pets, especially cats and dogs.

Double yellow-headed Amazon vs. family dog

A 30-year-old Amazon bird and the family dog had a good relationship and often played together. However, one day, the bird nipped the dog by the nose, causing the dog to instinctively grab the bird's wing and rip it off in front of the owner. Despite the owner's efforts to save the bird, it couldn't survive and had to be euthanized.

Cockatiel vs. dog

Another incident involved a cockatiel that was brought to the vet's office after a family dog tore its wings off. Although the cockatiel survived, it was left wingless, and its chest cavity had to be sewn shut.

Yellow-naped Amazon vs. rescue dogs

Dr. Stephanie Lamb, another veterinarian, had a yellow-naped Amazon patient who lived harmoniously with four other birds and three rescue dogs in their home. Although the dogs and birds rarely interacted, the owner allowed the birds to play in their cage one night.

However, when the phone rang, the owner left the birds for just a few seconds, giving an opportunity for one of the dogs to sneak into the room and grab the Amazon bird from its cage.

Sadly, the bird suffered a hole punctured in its stomach and passed away when it arrived at the veterinarian's office.

African grey parrot vs. a Chow Chow

According to Dr. Lamb's report, a fluffy Chow Chow had always been interested in the African grey parrot. Through the cage, it grabbed the bird once, causing blindness in one eye due to a puncture wound.

A year later, the Chow Chow managed to grab the bird again while it was walking around the floor, resulting in multiple puncture wounds to the bird's face and sinus cavities, as well as a severe fracture on its beak.

The African Grey had to receive a beak prosthesis and spend five days in the intensive care unit, requiring oxygen support and medication.

Although the bird managed to survive, it took over two months for it to recover from its injuries.

Eclectus parrot vs. a dog

In another incident, an Eclectus parrot had been playing with a dog, but things escalated and resulted in the parrot sustaining puncture wounds, internal bleeding, beak fractures, and painful nerve damage. This highlights why it's not recommended to allow birds and other pets to play together, as avian creatures are vulnerable to attack from cats and dogs, who can easily crush these small birds in a matter of seconds.

Simple Scratches Can Harm Birds

It's important to recognize that even a minor scratch from a cat or dog can be extremely dangerous for your bird. This is because their bites, licks, or scratches can transfer Pasteurella multocida, a type of bacteria that can cause infection in birds and potentially spread to humans.

To prevent any risk of infection, it's best to keep your birds away from other pets entirely. However, if your bird has already come into contact with another pet, it's crucial to consult with your vet to ensure that your avian companion is safe.

What if I can supervise my birds and other pets?

While it may seem ideal to supervise your bird's and other pet's interaction, it is important to note that avian pets require a significant amount of time and attention from their owners to establish a strong bond between them.

Having multiple pets can divide your attention and have a negative impact on your relationship with each pet.

If you are unable to give your full attention to each pet, your efforts may be futile, and the bond you have with each of them may suffer.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can cats and birds live together? Yes, they can live together peacefully if trained from a young age. However, you need to take measures to prevent the cat from getting too close to the bird as cats' instincts to hunt and play with birds can put your bird's life in danger.

Can I get a bird if I have a cat? Yes, but never allow your cat direct access to your pet bird. Keep your bird in a secure cage that the cat can't reach.

What are the disadvantages of owning a pet bird? Birds can be self-serving, throw tantrums, and be loud. As they age, they may become more unpredictable and demand more attention.

What bird can live with cats? While some birds can coexist with cats, species such as finches and canaries are too fragile and easy to prey on for cats. Even parrots and cockatiels can hardly escape from sudden attacks.

Can I stop my cat from killing birds? The best way to stop your cat's hunting instinct is to keep it indoors or in an outdoor enclosure where it can't access your bird's cage. Also, adding a bell to the cat's collar can help to prevent it from killing birds.

Final Takeaways

In conclusion, birds and other pets such as cats and dogs can coexist harmoniously, especially if birds are trained and socialized at a young age. However, it's not sufficient to just monitor their interaction. It's important to be attentive and vigilant in multi-pet households as cats and dogs can become aggressive towards birds. Birds require as much time and attention as any other pet, so owners should be mindful of the responsibilities that come with owning multiple pets. Additionally, seeking advice from other owners of multiple pets can be helpful in managing time and attention effectively.

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