Like humans, parrots do get slower with age, but there is no proven fact that they get dementia. As they grow older, they tend to get more easy-going than the much active younger days. With age, parrots show signs of anxiety and depression. You may think your parrot has dementia while it could just be suffering from a mental ailment.
Since it’s yet to be proved, we can only be uncertain if parrots get dementia. But we do notice that they can show signs of mental illnesses. And right now, if we can only focus on those symptoms, we will be able to understand better how to handle such situations.
What Kind of Mental Illnesses Can Parrot Have?
We know for a fact now that parrots can show signs of anxiety and depression as humans do. Just as we struggle from a disturbed mind, parrots can have a hard time coping with mental illnesses. Eventually, their health can go for a toss if we do not take care of them in time. What are they? Let’s find out.
If there isn’t much stimulation and excitement in your feathered friend’s life, or they lost a partner, the road to depression or anxiety isn’t far from there. But the question is how you diagnose the root cause. These are some symptoms you may want to observe.
- Loss Of Appetite
When in depression or anxiety, your parrot may lose its appetite to eat. Notice how the bird that used to be happy feeding on the treats you give has lost the cravings. They could be either bored of the treats and foods or lack the interest and energy to eat them.
Whatever may be the case, it’s an issue you cannot ignore. Parrots typically have a fast metabolism burning the calories they consume and turning them into energy. And to stop eating means they have to burn the fats for energy, leading to rapid weight loss. It’d be best to reach out to the vet if you see these signs for more than two days.
- Aggression and Violence
Another significant symptom of depression or anxiety in parrots is a change in their behavior. By behavior change, notice if your parrot gets unusually aggressive towards everyone, be it other pets or even you. Please do not take it easy and consider this change in behavior as a seasonal change or aggression. Seasonal change in behavior is when birds go through hormonal changes that make them hostile. But this change is short-lived.
But we can’t say the same for change in behavior due to depression. If you notice that your bird is aggressive for several days now, you may want to find out what’s making them so violent. It could be the treatment they are receiving or lack of amusement, or anything at all.
One of the most heart-wrenching symptoms of depression or anxiety you can witness in parrots is when they begin harming themselves. When depressed, your bird may start inflicting pain on them by plucking their feathers out. This behavior can turn chronic if you don’t seek professional help in time.
By taking your parrot to a vet at this juncture, they will be able to determine if your bird is suffering from any other illness. It helps rule out causes, and if at all the case is due to depression, then you know you can begin treating the behavior.
Parrots often exhibit this kind of behavior if they are frustrated or out of boredom. Perhaps you are not giving enough time to your dear pet, or they are living under unfavorable living conditions.
- Vocal Change
Parrots are pretty vocal, so it shouldn’t be a task to notice a shift in their tone and vocals. If the pitch in their voice changes, you might want to think if they are trying to signal you. Your bird usually is quite vocal, but if you hear them shouting and screaming as outbursts, it’s time to find out why. In most cases, only a depressed parrot will pull such an act.
- Presence Of Stress Bars
Try to look for ‘stress bars’ if you think your parrot is depressed. If you notice a criss-cross pattern on its back and wings, you must know that those are stress bars. But they can also appear if your bird is eating poorly.
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How To Keep Your Parrots Free From Mental Illnesses?
A little care and empathy will go a long way in keeping your parrot at bay from mental illnesses. Mental illness is no stranger to humans, birds, and animals alike. It’s always a good idea to do one’s bit of research about their pet’s health and well-being, in this case, a parrot.
Once you learn more about parrots, you will know that the way a parrot’s brain functions is not very different from humans. If you confine them to a specific place for a long time with monotony and minimal amusement, they could head towards a mental illness.
For instance, imagine how frustrated and bored we’d become if we were to eat the same food every passing day. Well, you can now empathize with parrots, too, can’t you?
Here are some practical ways you can keep mental illnesses from your parrot at bay.
- Keep changing the cage environment and location to avoid boredom.
- A clean and tidy cage with sufficient food and water will boost their mood.
- Introduce a variety in your parrot’s diet and toys. Repeated food and monotony with the same toys can make them frustrated.
- Spend more time with your feathered friend. Play with them, pet them, to make them feel more special.
Parrots may or may not suffer from dementia. But we know that they can suffer from other mental illnesses like depression and anxiety, just as humans do. Try as much to keep them happy and away from mental illnesses. And if they do, seek professional help immediately. Delaying diagnosis and treatment of a changed behavior will only worsen their health and well-being. And as a pet parent, you don’t want your parrot to suffer, do you?