Wellness - to keep your pet healthy for the next year:
Lastly, if the primary caregiver is not the one coming to the appointment, a written list of questions, diet, and medications is very helpful and avoids extra office visits for missed concerns. Be your furry friends' advocate and help us give your pet the care he or she deserves!
We love our birds, and want to give our pets the best food to keep them as healthy as possible. Here’s the bad news: there is no single diet on the market that you can scoop from a bag and be done. But don’t be discouraged. The good news is that there are great diets available for our birds, and it’s easy to supplement them with a variety of healthy foods that you have right in your own kitchen.
Why don’t we have a single perfect diet? That’s a great question - and the answer comes from our birds themselves. Our pet parrot species originate all over the world, and each adapted to their native habitats. So a wild cockatoo from Australia is eating a completely different variety of plants than an amazon from Brazil. Then, each individual bird’s nutritional needs change over time: a mature adult needs far fewer calories per day than a growing chick, and an egg-laying hen needs far more calcium than when she’s not reproducing. Lastly, think of how smart and social your bird is - they often form strong food preferences in the first months of their lives, and self preservation instincts can prevent them from trying new foods (think about those poisonous berries out in the wild - the birds that survive are the cautious ones who only eat what their flock-mates are eating).
Can’t birds just eat seeds? Nope. Seeds are high in fat and deficient in many vitamins. They’re pretty much the bird equivalent of eating at McDonald’s every day: delicious, but so not healthy.
So, what’s the recipe for success?
Parrots don’t need grit or cuttlebones. While many cockatiels will happily ingest small quantities and be perfectly fine, some individuals will swallow large pieces of cuttlebone or too much grit and obstruct their intestinal tract. Parrots hull their seeds before swallowing, so they don’t need grit to break down seeds like pigeons and doves do. That’s also the reason that fortified seed mixes aren’t as healthy as the marketing would have you believe - the added vitamins get left in the seed cup along with the hull.
Help - my bird only eats seeds! What do I do?
This plan applies to any new food - fresh or pellets - whether we’re starting with an all seed diet or just trying to add some variety to a more healthy diet.
Be patient and DON'T GIVE UP!
Parrots are naturally suspicious creatures, and it usually takes over 20 times of seeing a particular food before they will accept it.
Tips and tricks for seed addicts:
With lots of patience and persistence, your bird can learn to enjoy a variety of foods. Not only is a balanced diet the foundation for a healthy pet, but you'll get to have fun at mealtime with your feathered friend, too.
Photo credit Geek2Nurse, www.flickr.com
It goes without saying that your dog, cat, or other animal companions are not just pets, but family members and best friends! Pet owners will scour labels in order to find the healthiest food, and they’ll spend hours researching veterinary clinics to find the right one to deliver the quality care and treatment their pal deserves. Yet, according to the latest American Pet Products Association’s Pet Owners Survey, only 4% of dog owners and 1% of cat owners purchase a pet health insurance policy. We want you to keep in mind the benefits of pet insurance when you’re considering care and treatment for your furry loved one.
Just like a car crash or an unexpected fall, you never know when a pet medical emergency might strike. Choosing to purchase pet health insurance is a wise investment for the safety and well-being of your beloved family member. Unlike health insurance for humans, pet insurance allows you to obtain care from the veterinarian of your choosing, no matter the extent of your pet's health care needs.
While it’s recommended that you obtain pet insurance as soon as your pet becomes part of your family, you can also insure your pet years later. When purchasing insurance for your pet make sure to read the policy carefully, as many companies place breed-specific conditions on their coverage or exclude pre-existing conditions. Some companies will exclude a condition that occurred the previous year even while your pet was covered by their plan. Look for policy language that talks about your pet's lifetime, not the insurance period. There are also significant differences when it comes to coverage of wellness care, so be sure to review what is included in each plan. Most pet insurance policies reimburse up to 80% of costs after deductible, and many pet health insurance premiums can be paid in installments. The majority of insurance plans offer discounts for additional pets in the household. There are currently a dozen or so companies offering pet health insurance. Embrace, Nationwide, and Trupanion are the pet insurance industry leaders.
We believe that pet health insurance is most valuable when unexpected medical problems occur. Responsible pet owners will budget for their pet's annual wellness care, but an emergency can easily incur thousands of dollars in medical bills at a 24-hour facility. Pet health insurance will deliver the emotional peace of mind so that finances never dictate the decision between life and death for your pet in a medical emergency.