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Fleas in dogs and cats sound familiar, sure. But what about pet birds? Oddly, this topic is not as widely covered as flea problems that affect our four-legged friends, despite the fact that countless people own birds as pets.
If you are a new bird owner, then you must know about avian fleas. The quick answer is yes, birds do get fleas and in some cases, these parasitic critters are so small that they are hardly noticeable.
Fleas can be hard to get rid of and this is bad news for your pet. The affected bird might experience discomfort and sleep deprivation. A single flea or mite can also cause an infection.
Read this guide thoroughly to learn more about fleas and how they can affect your pet birds!
What are Fleas in Birds?
Fleas are tiny parasites living on the skin of birds and animals. There are different types of fleas. Some fleas are common to both birds and animals. If such fleas infest your bird, they can slowly spread to other pets in your house.
In birds, these fleas are attached to their skin and stay there for weeks. Bird fleas often go unnoticed because they tend to be much smaller than fleas found in dogs and cats. They drink their host’s blood to survive and also reproduce in their skin.
Symptoms of Fleas
Since bird fleas are often not visible to the naked eye, there are specific symptoms your birds might show in response to flea bites.
- Constant skin irritation
- Excess cleaning of the skin
- Feather damage
Birds are not shy to show their emotions. You will quickly notice when your pet is unusually uncomfortable and agitated. It will struggle to settle, look out of sorts, and possibly even vocalize more than usual. It might also be more irritated with its cage mates as well.
Constant Skin Irritation
If you have the habit of playing with your bird on a daily basis, you might already know what healthy skin and feathers look like. But one glaring sign of fleas is red, inflamed skin and damaged or out-of-place feathers. In some cases, there might even be swelling, rashes, and bald spots.
All healthy birds preen themselves. They groom to keep their feathers in good order and they also nibble other birds to socialize and show affection, especially between breeding pairs.
Excessive preening is not normal and neither is feather-plucking. If you notice either of these behaviors, chances are that your bird has fleas or stress – or perhaps it can even feel stressed due to the flea infestation. Either way, your pet needs help.
If all the above factors go unnoticed, then your bird will soon develop unhealthy feathers and skin. The feathers, especially, can betray the presence of these tiny parasites. If you notice feathers sticking out at odd angles, appear damaged or there are bald patches, these are all strong signs of fleas.
How do Fleas Infect Birds?
Wild birds are very susceptible to fleas. Fleas also live in gardens and small bushes. Birds visit these areas and become infected. But how can your pet catch these parasites?
Unfortunately, fleas are everywhere. In carpets, on other pets, and so on. It’s not hard for pet birds to catch fleas if the latter is already dwelling somewhere in the home.
How to Prevent Fleas?
The only way to keep fleas away is to treat them with safe products and by keeping their quarters clean. You will also win the battle by treating your other pets and your entire home for fleas.
If you have multiple pets, make sure they are all vaccinated and medicated. If you notice any fleas, immediately take your pet to the doctor. Fleas are tiny and are not readily visible to human eyes. By the time you notice them, this means that their numbers are out of control.
There are also many sprays available online to control fleas. Eucalyptus oil is a natural remedy against fleas. It works well when you mix it with lavender and garlic. Just make sure that any product you try is non-toxic for birds.
A Quick Summary
Pet birds do get fleas. This does not mean that they are dirty and dangerous to your health. On the contrary, your pet needs your help to feel better again. Fleas can make a bird feel unwell and cause a lot of stress. Dealing with an infestation is also easy. Simply treat the affected bird and its surroundings with pet-safe products designed to get rid of fleas!