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How to Bring a Bird into a Home with Other Pets

Learn how to bring a bird into a home with other pets in this Howcast video featuring veterinarian Laurie Hess.


Doctor Hess: So people ask us all the time if I have pets at home, could I bring a new bird in? What could I do to get ready?

We have to remember that most pets that we have at home, cats and dogs are actually predators. They're the hunters, and they go after everything that moves, and they love to chase around birds. Even if they just want to play with them they'll still go after a bird that moves by them quickly.

So if you have a cat or a dog you want to be very careful when you bring in a new bird. You want to do it gradually. You want to do it in a supervised way, so that that pet sees the bird first, certainly never leaving the bird out around those pets unsupervised. And you want to make sure that that cat or dog is not on top of the cage. That would freak the bird out.

And certainly if you have other birds at home there are certainly considerations to make too. Right, Sarah?

Sarah: Absolutely. The first consideration when bringing a new bird home if you have other birds, is you want to quarantine the new bird in a place where he can't come into contact with your other birds. In another room is preferable. It's OK if they can hear each other. In fact it's good if they can hear each other. They can get to know that the other bird is in the house, but there's a large concern with possibly transmitting disease to the birds that are already in your house and that's just a mess you don't want to get into because then you have several sick birds. It's also a good idea to bring that new bird straight to the vet to make sure that you don't have any possible pathogens to be passed on to your other birds.

Hess: Absolutely. So whether you have another bird and you're hoping to introduce them to live together, again, they may not want to be best friends and live in the same cage. Most birds can live in the same room if they tolerate each other. Or if you have a cat or dog, you have to do things gradually and realize that not everyone is meant to hang out together, even the sweetest cats and dogs, who like to look at birds, and even just be near them, you just have to remember they're still animals. They're still predators. And even if they don't mean, in a bad way, and they mean well, if they want to just pick up the bird and carry it around in it's mouth, they can inflict serious damage with those teeth. So you've got to be really really careful when you bring a new bird into a home with existing pets.

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