We all understand about the obesity epidemic in pet cats and dogs, but our feathered pets suffer from it also. Here’s what I told a reader.
Q: My veterinarian says my bird is fat. Is that actually something I need to stress about?
A: You bet! Obesity is as much an issue in pet birds as it’s in dogs and cats. An overweight fowl may be predisposed to metabolic diseases including diabetes. He may also become arthritic or develop fatty liver disease.
Certain species are usually more inclined to develop tubby — Amazon parrots, parakeets, canaries, cockatoos and Quaker parakeets — but any fowl can gain an excessive amount of weight if he’s enabled to eat whatever he needs. Pet fowl may start out on great diets but become choosy with age, determining they will eat just a couple of kinds of food.
Don’t let your bird get away with that. He’s most likely to really have a balanced diet if he eats various foods. Birds can and will eat pasta, cooked chicken, scrambled eggs, legumes and many fruits and vegetables. Avian specialist Scott Weldy, DVM, says that most birds succeed on a diet of 70 to 80 percentage pelleted food and 20 to 30 percentage fresh or cooked food.
Avoid giving fowl avocado, onion, mushrooms or chocolate, all which have hazardous effects. Highly salted foods are a no no as well.
What’s the secret to discovering in case your fowl is heavy? Birds with cleavage matching that of a Hollywood starlet are overly fat. Birds should be slim and glossy, with no cleavage whatsoever, Dr. Weldy says. If you can’t feel your fowl’s keelbone because it’s covered by a layer of fat, discuss to your veterinarian about methods to help him get back to a healthy weight.
Read more, including vacation “pet-iquette” suggestions, in this week’s Pet Connection!