Why Is My Parrot Sneezing?

If you are a pet bird owner and your parrot is constantly sneezing all the time, it is obvious why you would be terrified to see that you dearly loved feathered friend is in such a sick and discomforting state.

In addition, you likely have no clue as to what is going on and how to fix it. What precisely is the cause of the sneezing, and what should you do about it?

In normal circumstances, a parrot may sneeze about one or two times per day, just to clear the air passage from irritants such as dust. However, if the sneezing is becoming more persistent and frequent, and you see a thick nasal discharge, then it is time to realize that this is a sign of some type of illness.

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Small Particles

A parrot may also occasionally sneeze to clear its nostrils of small particles that float in the environment, but if the sneezing continues, it is no longer normal.

An excess accumulation of dust in the air, tobacco smoke, air fresheners that we use at home can annoy and damage the health of our parrot.

However, it may also be that the parrot has a cold due to a viral or bacterial condition. Also, you may have air sac mites, tumors, or nutritional deficiencies.

Know the Reasons

In the grand scheme of things, most parrots lead a long life. However, it doesn’t mean that your parrot won’t get sick from time to time. There are different reasons why your bird may be sneezing.

It is important to know these reasons and be aware of them over the life of your parrot. In so doing, you will know exactly what to do.

The Environment

Sometimes, your parrot’s sneezing may be unrelated to an illness. Therefore, you may have no reason to be concerned. Let’s take a closer look at some of the causes, which should be well noted.

For example, if the environment around your bird is too humid, it can result in excessive sneezing. Dry or humid environments or humidity indoors or even too much air conditioning indoors can irritate the nasal passage and result in sneezing.

Therefore, it is safe to say that the environment has to be right. If you actually live in a very dry location and you are unable to relocate, the best thing is to get a humidifier in the home and move your bird’s cage away from the air condition unit or heater to solve the problem.

The Cleaning

In many cases, the reason why your parrot is sneezing is constant exposure to dust. If you don’t keep the area clean or if you sweep dust close to your parrot’s cage, it can trigger sneezing as the dust will go right into the parrot’s nasal cavity and cause irritation.

Make sure that the house is cleaned on a regular basis. Use a duster to get rid of the dust from pieces of furniture and change air filters often. You should also clean the bird’s cage at least once per week.

Strong Odors

If your pet bird is allergic to strong odors such as fragrances and chemicals, it is important to keep them away from them. Remember that, in general, birds don’t have a strong respiratory system as a human being does.

It is crucial to avoid artificial fragrances in the home, such as diffusers, scented candles, perfumes, sprays, disinfectants, and any related products.

Food Allergy

Your parrot may be allergic to certain types of food that make it sneeze. Yes, allergens in the air can result in sneezing. It also can be something your pet bird ingests through its mouth or beak.

If you discover that your parrot is sneezing after it eats, and this happens on a frequent basis, it means that your parrot is allergic to the particular food type or the ingredients in the food.

Find out which type of food brand your pet likes and stick to it. Stay away from low quality food, which is packed with preservatives and additives and the ones that will trigger your pet’s allergies.

Mite Infestation

If your pet bird is found to have mite infestation, it could cause sneezing. Just like how cats and dogs get mites, so do parrots and other birds. If your pet bird has an allergy with exposure to mites, it is a trigger to the sneezing and other symptoms.

You have to get rid of those mites from home. In addition to sneezing, mite infestation can also result in discomfort where you see your pet bird plucking and picking its feathers.

So, if you see your parrot both picking and plucking its feathers and sneezing at the same time, you should make a vet appointment to get further clarification and diagnosis.

Imitating You

Parrots are known for their mimicking. That is one reason why they are so highly loved. They can repeat words and phrases after hearing them once. They can imitate sounds as well, including sneezing sounds.

So, if you are sneezing a lot, your parrot may want to imitate you and does the same thing while nothing else is really wrong other than that. If your pet bird simply hears you sneeze and catches on to it, they will try to mimic your actions. Keep a close watch to make sure that it is something as simple as that and not anything else.

Respiratory Issues

When a parrot or other bird has a respiratory condition, it usually accompanies sneezing as well as nasal or mucus discharge. The cause of this is fungal, bacterial, parasitic, and viral infections.

This is something that a vet would have to assess to find out the exact respiratory cause of the sneezing.  It could be more serious than you think. So never hesitate in taking your pet bird to the vet when you see something like this.

As indicated above, parrots have a normal tendency to sneeze, even though not all the time. It is known as a natural response when the nasal cavity is irritated.

Associated Symptoms

If you notice your parrot sneezing once or twice in a single day and you have not noticed any associated symptoms, it could be a result of a potential irritant getting into the nasal passage.

And, the parrot may just be trying to clear out the irritant. However, if you notice that your parrot has watery eyes, changes in voice, a bird cannot perch, lethargy, fatigue, and bird fluffing its feathers, it could warrant a trip to the veterinarian.

What To Expect At The Veterinarian

If the parrot has a persistent sneeze, then a visit to the vet is a wise decision. When you do take your pet bird to the veterinarian, you should know what to expect.

You can expect your pet bird to go through multiple tests to help the vet come up with the right diagnosis. You should expect the vet to take blood samples and do radiographic or x-ray testing. This is helpful in knowing exactly what is wrong.

The Treatment Plan

For your pet parrot to recovery quickly, it is best to get the right medical attention for your parrot. The vet will come up with a good treatment plan for your pet bird.

This includes prescribed medication such as antifungal or antibiotic treatment. You should follow the treatment plan from the vet so your parrot can feel better. You should also consider changing the pet bird’s nutrition and the environment.

This might minimize or eliminate sneezing triggers. This is a great preventative measure after your parrot is fully recovered.

Vitamin A Deficiency

Parrots can suffer from the deficiency of Vitamin A, and as a result, it weakens the immune system. To counteract this, it is best to give the parrot a diet rich with green vegetables such as spinach.

Be sure to include fruits as well. A change in diet will help to strengthen the immune system.

Sinus Problems

Parrots can have sinus problems or sinus infection, which causes a lot of sneezing. To make your pet bird feel better, the veterinarian will give you a nasal spray or nasal wash and other forms of medication for this condition.

Rhinoviruses and the common cold are conditions that can be transferred from human beings to birds. So, if you are sick with any of these viruses, you should stay away from your parrot and have someone else take care of it.

The Cold Weather

If you find your parrot sneezing during the winter months, it could just be due to the change in the climate. If a cold draft is coming into the house, it would be best to have it properly insulated before the winter months begin.

You should also have the birds’ cage moved to a warmer place in the house. Partially cover the bird’s cage at night when it is asleep. You should also make sure the humidifier is on all the time, but especially at night, which is when it gets the coldest.