The holiday season is really ramping up, with seasonal decorations, sales, and events popping up all over the place. However, this can also be a dangerous time of year for pets, as many of those seasonal decorations and foods are dangerous to pets. A local Las Vegas, NV vet offers some tips on keeping your feathered pal happy, healthy, and safe over the holidays in this article.
Keep your winged buddy’s safety in mind as you decorate. Anything small or sharp is a potential hazard. Unfortunately, quite a few holiday ornaments and trappings fall under that umbrella. That list includes many ornaments, as well as things like manger pieces, tinsel, ornament hooks, ribbons, tape, string lights … the list goes on. The tree itself is also a concern. Trees are Polly’s natural habitat, so it’s not exactly surprising that she may instinctively try to perch on a Christmas tree. Not only do these trees have very sharp needles, the real ones may also be coated with pesticides, fire retardants, or other chemicals. Ornaments make them even more dangerous.
Winter nights can get very cold, even here in Nevada. Fumes and dust from heaters and fireplaces can really irritate your bird’s sensitive lungs. Around the holidays, those room sprays, scented candles, and cooking fumes are also problematic. You may want to get an air purifier for Polly’s room or area. Some birds also struggle with dry air, and may also benefit from humidifiers. Ask your vet for specific advice.
Are you having company over the next month or so? Chances are, most of your guests probably haven’t had pet birds themselves, and may not be aware of the specific do’s and don’ts of caring for and interacting with them. Be very careful as people are coming and going, especially if your winged pal can fly. We’d also recommend asking guests not to feed Polly without checking with you first. If your feathered friend gets nervous when you have a lot of people over, you may want to move her cage to a quiet spot when you have company.
Pick out a few cute gifts for your colorful little buddy. New toys and perches are always great gift options for Polly!
Typical holiday decorations hazardous to pet birds include tinsel, which they can ingest, leading to digestive blockages; small ornaments and ornament hooks that pose choking hazards; ribbons and strings that can entangle them; and scented candles or sprays that can harm their sensitive respiratory systems. Christmas trees, genuine ones, may be coated in chemicals like pesticides or fire retardants, and their sharp needles can cause injury. Always ensure decorations are bird-safe and monitor your pet closely during the holidays.
Scented candles and room sprays are problematic for birds due to their susceptible respiratory systems. These products release chemicals and particles into the air that can be toxic or cause respiratory distress in birds. The artificial fragrances and chemicals in these products can lead to serious health issues like lung irritation, breathing difficulties, or even long-term respiratory problems. Therefore, avoiding scented candles, aerosols, and room sprays around birds is crucial to protect their delicate lungs and overall health.
Bird owners should ensure heaters and fireplaces are well-ventilated and do not emit fumes or smoke, as birds have sensitive respiratory systems. Place birds in a separate room, distant from direct sources of heat, to avoid the risks of overheating or exposure to dry air, which can be detrimental to their respiratory health. Use carbon monoxide detectors and regularly inspect heating devices for safe operation. Avoid using heated elements that emit fumes, such as non-stick coatings, which can be toxic to birds. Maintaining a stable, comfortable temperature and humidity level in the bird’s environment is crucial for their health.
When hosting guests with a pet bird, create a calm, safe environment for the bird. Place the bird’s cage in a quiet, low-traffic area to reduce stress from noise and activity. Inform guests about bird-safe interactions, such as not feeding the bird without permission or startling it. Ensure the bird can’t escape, especially as people come and go. Monitor the bird’s behavior for signs of stress and provide comfort items like favorite toys. Consistency in routine, such as feeding and sleep times, is also essential to maintain the bird’s sense of security.
Suitable holiday gifts for pet birds include new toys that encourage natural behaviors like foraging, chewing, and climbing. Puzzle toys, swings, ladders, and bird-safe chewable items like natural wood perches provide mental and physical stimulation. Also, consider gifting comfortable new perches or a cozy bird bed for resting. Interactive toys that foster engagement with their owners are excellent choices, too. Always ensure the gifts are made from non-toxic, bird-safe materials appropriate for the bird’s size and species. These gifts entertain and contribute to the bird’s overall well-being.
Happy Holidays! Please feel free to contact us, your local Las Vegas, NV animal clinic, for all of your bird’s veterinary care needs.