Margaret A. Wissman, DVM
Posted: July 24, 2013, 5:30 p.m. PDT
A panting pet bird may be breathing heavily with its mouth open and sometimes spreading its wings out to the side. If your bird is having difficulty breathing in addition to panting a more serious problem, such as inhalation of harmful fumes, could be the cause.
Panting may be a sign that your bird is overheated and needs to be cooled down or placed in an area with better ventilation. Overweight birds may also pant after overexerting themselves while playing or doing some other activity. A bird that is breathing difficultly could have inhaled toxic fumes or may have an infection in the respiratory tract.
Keep your bird sedentary while it recovers from panting or breathing difficulty. If heat is the cause, cool your pet bird down by placing it in a cool, airy location and misting it with cool water. If the bird is having trouble breathing in addition to panting a more serious problem could be occurring and an avian vet needs to be consulted.
For overweight birds, panting is likely due to a lower endurance and even brief periods of activity can tire them. Implement a healthy diet and encourage short periods of exercise until your overweight pet bird builds more endurance. During months of hot weather, keep your birds cool by keeping their environment well ventilated. Mist your bird periodically with cool water, especially if the air conditioner is being used to cool the bird, as it can cause the air to be more dry, which is not favorable for most pet parrots.
Disclaimer: BirdChannel.com’s Bird Health section is intended for educational purposes only. It is not meant to replace the expertise and experience of a professional veterinarian. Do not use the information presented here to make decisions about your bird’s health if you suspect your pet is sick. If your pet is showing signs of illness or you notice changes in your bird’s behavior, take your pet to the nearest veterinarian or an emergency pet clinic as soon as possible.