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Holidays With Polly

December 1, 2020

Does your beloved pet have a beak and feathers? Birds aren’t as popular as dogs and cats, but they really are very cute and charming, not to mention hilarious. Of course, birds are also quite fragile, and they do have some specific needs. As the holiday season ramps up into full swing, you’ll need to take some precautions to keep Polly happy, healthy, and safe. Here, a Fort Myers, FL veterinarian offers a few tips on helping your winged buddy get through the holidays safely.


Those beautiful holiday trees can be quite dangerous for birds! Both real and fake pine needles are quite sharp, and can easily injure your cute pet. Polly could also get entangled in lights or tinsel, or cut herself on sharp ornaments or hooks. If possible, put the tree in a room your bird doesn’t have access to.


Don’t forget to get something for your feathered buddy! Toys are great options. You can buy some, but you can also make your own. There are lots of options for making hanging toys, using things like plastic bottlecaps, shower curtain rings, rice cakes, popsicle sticks, and even poker chips. A new perch is also a great option. If you really want to spoil Polly, get her a new cage!


As you probably know, birds have very sensitive lungs. Powerful fumes and vapors are very toxic to them! Things like scented candles, incense, and potpourri burners are very dangerous to birds. Cooking fumes are also unsafe. Take care not to expose your pet to these hazards.


Treats are a big part of many holiday celebrations. Just be careful with what you give your feathered friend! Some unsafe foods include chocolate, caffeine, alcohol, garlic and onions, fruits with pips, and xylitol. Ask your vet for more information.


Birds can get very stressed out by a lot of commotion. If you’re having more than a handful of people over, put Polly in a quiet back room, and let her sit out the festivities. This goes double if your guests are bringing their canine pals over!


Keep Polly in mind when hanging decorations. Birds can get entangled in anything with strings or threads. They may also try to eat or play with small, sharp, and/or shiny objects.

Our Advice on Holidays With Polly in 2024

How can you keep your bird safe around the Christmas tree?

To ensure your bird’s safety around the Christmas tree, place the tree in a room that your bird cannot access. This is crucial because both real and artificial pine needles pose a risk of injury due to their sharpness. Additionally, birds may become entangled in lights and tinsel or hurt by sharp ornaments and hooks. Keeping the tree isolated prevents these hazards, protecting your bird from potential harm during the holiday season. Always prioritize your pet’s safety by minimizing their exposure to risky decorations.

What kind of holiday gift would be safe and fun for your bird?

For a safe and enjoyable holiday gift for your bird, consider toys that stimulate their natural behaviors, such as foraging and playing. Homemade toys, using materials like plastic bottle caps, shower curtain rings, rice cakes, popsicle sticks, and poker chips, offer both enrichment and fun. Additionally, a new perch can provide a refreshing change to their environment. If you’re looking to really spoil your feathered friend, a spacious new cage can be an excellent gift. For more personalized advice on bird care, feel free to visit us at our veterinary clinic in Fort Myers, FL.

What are some safe and festive human holiday foods your bird can enjoy?

For birds to partake in holiday festivities safely, offer them bird-safe fruits and vegetables. Options, like cooked sweet potatoes, carrots, and green beans, are healthy and can be festive. Small amounts of plain, cooked pumpkin or squash also make safe treats. Always avoid toxic foods like chocolate, caffeine, alcohol, garlic, onions, and anything with xylitol. Before introducing any new food, please consult with a veterinarian to ensure it’s safe for your specific bird species. Remember, moderation is key to keeping your feathered friend healthy during the holidays.

How can you travel safely with your bird during the holidays?

To travel safely with your bird during the holidays, ensure you have a secure, comfortable travel cage. This cage should be large enough for your bird to stretch its wings and move around but small enough to prevent injury during transport. Cover the cage with a light cloth to reduce stress from unfamiliar environments. Avoid placing the bird in the front seat to minimize the risk of airbag injury. Provide access to water and familiar foods to keep your bird hydrated and comfortable. For longer trips, plan for breaks to check on your bird’s well-being. Always keep the vehicle’s temperature regulated, avoiding extreme cold or heat, to ensure your bird’s safety and comfort throughout the journey.

How can owners recognize if their bird is becoming overwhelmed or stressed by holiday activity?

Owners can recognize signs of stress in birds during holiday activities by observing changes in behavior and physical signs. Stress indicators include feather plucking, aggression, changes in vocalization, lethargy, and decreased appetite. Birds may also exhibit repetitive behaviors such as pacing or head bobbing. Sudden retreat from interaction or increased sensitivity to noise and movement can also signify stress. It’s essential to monitor your bird closely for these signs and provide a quiet, secure environment to retreat to if the festivities become overwhelming, ensuring a stress-free holiday season for your feathered friend.

Happy Holidays from Small Animal Hospital, your Fort Myers, FL veterinary clinic. Call us anytime!

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