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Importance of Proper Supervision of Other Pets with Birds

Written by Grace, Pootspete

Ever seen or read something similar: "Hey, look at my picture of my dog Fito and my budgie Petey sitting on Fito's head. They get along so well and even sometimes Petey will go and step on Fito's nose." Or: " My kitty Precious gets along so well with my bird Tweety they are best of friends."

This may seem all innocent and wonderful, but there is the possibility of real danger here.

Even one of our members at Tailfeathers, Carol, aka WolfRyder, shares in a recent post about her bird and dog:

We almost lost Skye the other night. I thought my husband was watching Tino (our new dog) and he thought I was watching Tino. I stepped out of the room for just a moment to get something and I heard my daughter screaming "Tino NO!". I came back in to see Tino with Skye pinned under a huge paw.

I grabbed Tino's collar and told him NO and dragged him into the back bedroom and closed the door as I fussed at him.

We've been trying to teach him that they're My birds. He's good about leaving My things alone, but I think he really wanted to smell the budgies.

I checked Skye over very thoroughly. No bite marks (Tino was curious, but you never know) and a few tail feathers were pulled out, no blood. I washed Skye off with a bit of soap and rinsed thoroughly, just in case there was dog slobber on him.

Skye's fine (48 hours later) and I now have a gate across the upstairs. When the birds are out, Tino is downstairs. Always.

Just be aware, you never, ever know what a dog or cat will do. They may ignore them for days, weeks, months, even years. But sometime or another the instinct (prey drive) may kick in and if you're not prepared, tragic results will happen.

We were lucky. My daughter said if Skye had been killed she would be mad at Tino and I told her if Skye had been killed it would have been my fault for not watching him constantly. Tino was being a dog who had a bird hop in front of him.

Even with the best supervision that one can offer, you may never ever know what a dog or cat will do, even though you may think that your cat or dog would never harm your bird is undeniably false. Dogs, cats, iguanas, ferrets or any other animal for that matter are born with certain prey instincts. You cannot read a dog or cats mind and they could snap or grab at any given moment.

What is even equally harmful is the toxic saliva of a dog or cat that your bird may ingest from exploring their mouths or drool. Even if you think it is adorable that your bird is sitting on the back of your dog or cat preening its fur, all the dried saliva is just as bad and could make your bird very ill.

Larger birds, such as parrots, cockatiels, and other large feathered friends could also pose a danger to your little bird, i.e. budgie, finches, canaries, etc. If you own a budgie and a large parrot, cockatiel, etc., it would certainly not be a good idea to have the two socialize. Just look at the size difference that should tell you something. Budgies are notorious for being very playful, where a cockatiel is more laid back and could be easily annoyed with a prodding budgie, and go after the budgie something awful, causing harm.

Some may have not even thought twice about this next scenario. It is a beautiful day, and you decide that your birds would love a breath of fresh air and sunshine. So, you fix on setting their cage onto your outside patio that is not fenced or screened in an walk away, figuring everything is fine and dandy. Wrong. Taking into consideration exactly where you live in the world, you must look at weather conditions (don't want your bird too cold or too hot or in a draft), certain bugs that are in your area that could fly, crawl, creep upon your bird, unbeknownst to you that could possibly bite and sting. Furthermore, squirrels, rats, possums, skunk, and other stray animals, including humans, that could seek out your bird and possibly traumatize or injure. Never leave your bird unattended.

So, this brings me to the conclusion, ending with supervision. If you go the route of supervision over not having your bird(s) at all associate with your larger animals, please monitor them carefully. I cannot emphasize that enough! A lot of birds have been injured, maimed and even killed over something that could have been prevented. If you must leave the presence of your animals that you are supervising for even a minute, separate them, put them back in their cages, in another room away from one another until you return. It only takes a quick swoop, sweep, swat, splat, pounce or plop to make an enjoyable outing and outing to the emergency vets or worse.

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