Knowing the difference between a healthy bird and a dehydrated bird can save your pet's life. Dehydration can pose a definite risk to your bird, but if you know the symptoms to look for you may be able to prevent the dehydration from developing into a health crisis.
You can reduce the risk to your bird's health simply by taking a good look at him every day. If you are concerned about dehydration you must examine the area around your bird's eyes closely. If his eyes appear to be sunken or dull, or the skin surrounding his eyes has a wrinkled appearance your bird may be suffering from dehydration. Dehydration also can cause your bird's mucous membranes, located inside your bird's mouth, to become sticky or dried out.
If your bird has areas of skin where there are no feathers, check for dehydration by pinching gently and lifting a section of skin and then releasing it. If the skin takes longer than a second to go back into place smoothly, then your bird likely is dehydrated. Reduced skin elasticity is a common symptom of dehydration.
Lethargy and Weakness
A lack of energy often is one of the earliest signs that your bird may be experiencing some level of dehydration. A bird that is not consuming enough water is unlikely to maintain a normal, healthy energy level. If your bird stops chirping, singing, flying, or playing with his toys, or generally is not showing a normal level of interest in his environment, check to make sure he has an adequate water supply and is consuming enough water to maintain a normal level of hydration. Checking and changing your bird's water every day will help you get a good idea of what is normal for your particular pet.
Adequate hydration is necessary for almost all physical functions, including elimination. If your bird is mildly dehydrated you may notice that his droppings are not as well formed or solid as they normally are. If your bird progresses from this point to become moderately-to-severely dehydrated he may produce very dry droppings or stop having bowel movements altogether.
As a bird owner it is important for you to be aware of your individual bird's habits. You will have a much easier time identifying potential problems, such as mild dehydration, if you can spot abnormal behaviors or appearances before they progress. Pay attention to how much food and water your bird consumes regularly daily, how much physical waste he produces and what his normal behaviors are.
Jen Davis has been writing since 2004. She has served as a newspaper reporter and her freelance articles have appeared in magazines such as "Horses Incorporated," "The Paisley Pony" and "Alabama Living." Davis earned her Bachelor of Arts in communication with a concentration in journalism from Berry College in Rome, Ga.