Many bird owners are animal lovers in general. This brings us to the question: How to safely own birds and other pets? It is a great question and definitely one that deserves consideration because if we are going to own pets, their safety should be our top priority.
Dogs are naturally hunters so this must always be taken into consideration. However, if a dog is introduced to pet birds as a puppy and trained to be gentle, dogs and birds can live happily together. Always take the dogís personality into consideration. If your dog is prone to catching wild birds in the yard, obviously your pet bird is at risk. As a precaution, even if they appear the best of friends, never leave a bird outside the protection of its cage alone in a room with your dog.
The same basic rules that apply to dogs apply to cats. If you choose to keep cats and birds, it is best to introduce your cat as a kitten so they grow up with the bird as a friend, not food. Also, if you allow your cat to be indoors and outdoors you must consider what your cat is doing while itís outside. Likely, itís hunting and developing habits and skills that could be detrimental to your bird. I recommend indoor-only cats to be kept with birds. As with dogs, never leave your bird unattended and outside itís cage if you own a cat.
Reptiles commonly carry salmonella in their feces. After cleaning their habitat or holding a pet reptile your hands should be washed with warm soapy water before handling your pet birds to avoid transmitting this illness to your bird. Because birds can also carry these bacteria in their droppings it is important to potty train your bird so that droppings are not deposited wherever your bird happens to be. When accidents occur, disinfect the area to prevent possible spread of salmonella bacteria. Wild-caught birds are at higher risk of carrying this illness.
Pets such as hamsters, mice, guinea pigs, and rats also have the ability to carry salmonella bacteria in their feces, so the same hand washing precautions apply. Also, rats specifically, can be dangerous to your pet birds. If your pet rat escapes and comes into contact with your bird there is potential for the rat to wound or kill your bird. They will attack your bird. As long as you keep rodents separated from your birds and maintain good hand-washing habits, rodents should have little or no impact on the safety of your pet bird.
With some simple precautions it is easy to keep your birds safe and healthy while owning other pets. But the uninformed pet owner could be putting their birds at risk and not even be aware of it.