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How to Bathe a Pet Bird

Learn how to bathe a pet bird in this Howcast video featuring veterinarian Laurie Hess.


Dr. Laurie: So birds really should bath every day. Remember, when they're out in the wild, they're getting rained on and it's really important to keep their feathers and their skin healthy that they get wet. This can be a problem for most birds that live inside, because obviously they're not getting access to the rain, and unless we actually give them water they're not going to get wet.

Feathers are actually waterproof, so many birds are great in that they'll just jump into their own water bowls and bathe. That makes it really easy for an owner to make sure that they get bathed and kept low dust every day. But some birds are not so simple. Some birds don't like to get in the water. So what do we do with them, Sarah?

Sarah: A lot of owners have either a spray bottle outside the cage that the birds actually really enjoy. You can just spray a fine mist over the birdcage and let it fall down on the birds and they seem to really enjoy it. It's more like a natural rainfall and they'll bathe.

The other possibility is that there are suction cup perches that you can bring into the shower with you and a lot of birds actually love it. They love the humidity. They love the mist and they really enjoy themselves. It can actually be a nice bonding experience too, to bring your bird into the shower with you.

Dr. Laurie: Absolutely, my bird loves to go in the shower every day, my cockatoo. It can be a little intimidating at first. A bird doesn't really understand what a shower is. So if you get one of those suction cup perches you can actually start with the suction cup outside on the tile wall. Before you put it into the back of the tub or the shower and move the suction cup perch over gradually, just a few inches a day over a period of time, until the bird is comfortable.

Even getting the humidity in the shower is very, very important and it's very, very important to keep them sleek and healthy and dust free. So encourage your bird to bathe, but if the bird doesn't bathe on his own, there are certainty things you can do at home to make it much easier for him to stay healthy.

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