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Parrot First Aid Kit: A Checklist of Must-Haves

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Parrots can get into all kinds of trouble, and with great trouble comes accidents like cuts, broken feathers, or a broken leg. You must be ready for any minor or major accident because you are the only one to save your pet’s life. Also, vets that are experts in avian care are usually unheard of in most cities. You may need to travel far just to take your pet parrot to an expert avian vet.

To prepare for these mishaps, you must have a parrot first aid kit handy at home. No, you can’t find a complete first aid kit specifically for parrots in a pet store. You must make one yourself and include the following items:

Wound cleaning and emergency medications

  • Antiseptic wipes – choose wipes with an antiseptic solution which is available in most pharmacies. You can buy wipes with 50 or more counts plus these come in ready to travel packs like diaper wipes. You need these to easily wipe messes like blood, poop, vomit, or any dirt that can get in the way of cleaning a wound. If your bird is fussy, use non-scented wipes and always dispose of these in a durable plastic bag and into the bin. Never leave antiseptic wipes laying around.
  • Betadine solution – this is good for cleaning wounds. This is an antiseptic solution that will kill bacteria and other pathogens upon contact. Most formulas don’t sting and may smell a little but won’t be too strong for your pet. Keep a medium-sized bottle handy and use a cotton tip applicator or a cotton ball to apply to the wound.
  • Hydrogen peroxide – betadine solution and hydrogen peroxide go hand in hand. Peroxide comes in different strengths, and the best one is a 3% solution, which is perfect for washing wounds. It stings to apply hydrogen peroxide, especially when you’re applying it on an open wound. So, you must hold your pet gently as you clean its wound with peroxide. Afterward, apply betadine solution and cover with a gauze. You can also use peroxide to clean closed wounds, but this won’t sting at all since the wound has already closed.
  • Styptic powder – also known as Kwik Stop, this is a very common part of any pet first aid kit. It is used to immediately control bleeding that’s caused by minor cuts, docking tails, and clipping nails. For minor cuts sustained after a fall, after clipping your bird’s nails or any other accident, clean the wound and apply Kwik Stop. This is available in most vet offices and pet stores. 
  • Baking soda or cornstarch – baking soda is non-toxic, and you can use this to quickly absorb messes and oils. You can dust your bird’s wings and body with baking soda or cornstarch powder to quickly remove grease and oils. And with equal amounts of water, you can make a paste to easily remove dirt, grime and smells inside your pet’s cage or carrier. 
  • Eye/skin wash – birds don’t blink but instead has a concealed eyelid that covers and lubricates their eyes. The problem starts when any bit of food, dust, or dirt enters their eyes and irritates them. They will use their sharp claws to remove the dirt and irritation. You can help by using an eyewash; just place a few drops into the affected eye, and the irritation and itching will likely stop. You can also use an eye/skin wash to quickly clean wounds before you apply betadine or hydrogen peroxide solution.
  • Pedialyte (electrolyte solution, non-flavored, for kids) – birds with runny stools, vomiting, or is not feeding well should be rushed to the vet, but if an avian vet is miles away, you can risk your pet’s health. Pedialyte for children should be given in small amounts. This will replenish your pet’s electrolytes and prevent dehydration. Use a syringe to give this to your pet because it’s very likely that it will resist drinking while in a weak condition. There are many flavors of Pedialyte for kids, so pick the unflavored one but if your pet drinks juice, you can choose the orange or grape-flavored variety. 
  • Feeding formula – your first aid kit has to have a small supply of feeding formula just to keep your pet well-fed while sick. This is unlike its regular food (hard fruits, seeds, nuts, and veggies); this is like feeding formula food for babies. You can pick some of these up from your vet. Pack this up with a small amount of water, a small spoon or a syringe. 

Supplies for wrapping and dressing wounds

  • Gauze rolls – every first aid kit has gauze rolls of different sizes. Pack ones that are ½ and 1-inch wide. This is handy for dressing wounds located along with the claws, legs, and feet, but you can still cut these into small pieces to cover cuts and bruises. Just be careful that your pet does not remove it!
  • Gauze or pads – gauze pads are pre-cut gauze that you can use to easily dress wounds and cuts. You will find gauze pads of different sizes and shapes. For parrots, you should prepare pads from the smallest ones to the largest and make sure you have enough. If you use any of these supplies at any time, be sure to replace them at once.
  • Vet wraps – a vet wrap is a handy, colorful tape made of safe material that you can use to wrap around unsafe perches. Some pet owners don’t recommend using vet wraps saying that this is a waste of time and it will only be eaten by your birds but in the case of an emergency and you must use a cage with metal or very hard perches, you can use this vet wrap to wrap the perch.
    Take note that a cold metal cage or perch will only make your pet stressed and anxious, and you must not let this happen. Use a vet wrap temporarily until you can find a good natural wooden perch to use.
  • Cotton balls and cotton swabs/applicators – you need plenty of clean cotton balls to prepare and clean wounds, to apply medication, and to stop bleeding. But use cotton carefully, never leave it on your pet’s wound because it may eat it up. You also need cotton swabs and applicators to apply ointments and solutions more easily to your wound. And just like using gauze and pads, don’t leave cotton balls and applicators behind. Place these in proper trash receptacles.
  • Masking tape – masking tape may not be a medical tool or supply, but it can help fasten things quickly. Masking tape may also be used to fasten splints made of popsicle sticks or any sturdy material. You’ll find masking tapes in different widths, so be ready to have a supply of ½-inch, 1-inch, and 1 ½-inches thick tapes at your disposal. 
  • Medical tape – medical tape or Micropore tape is a breathable tape that you can use to dress wounds. This tape is easy to tear and will stick well to different surfaces such as skin, feathers, and downy feathers. Micropore also comes in varying widths, so you must keep a good supply of these. You can buy Micropore tape from local pharmacies and medical supplies shops.
  • Latex gloves – to protect you from any possible infection or bird disease that can be harmful to humans, you must have at least a dozen or more latex gloves. Have latex gloves your size as well as a general size 6 or 7. Don’t forget to throw your used gloves in the trash bin, and don’t forget to replenish your supplies as always.
  • Face masks – some parrot respiratory diseases can be harmful to humans and so you should protect yourself by wearing a mask. Use a disposable mask, and just like gloves and gauzes, you must throw it in proper trash bins. Never leave used disposable masks in your home and replace worn out masks to protect yourself 24/7.
  • Clean towels – you need clean towels to wrap your pet in case of an emergency. Towels will also make cleanups easier, plus if ever you need a clean space to treat your pet, just open a towel and use this clean space. Have at least two large towels, and remember to replace a towel once you used it.

First aid tools

  • Syringes – you need syringes to administer antibiotics to your pet, so be sure to include disposable needles and a place where you can put dirty syringes and needles in. Also include small tuberculin syringes to give oral medication to your parrot.
  • Scissors – have bandage scissors and ordinary safety scissors handy. You’ll need these to cut bandages, cut wrappers, and to make splints. Scissors must be sharp and should be placed in a safe place inside your first aid kit.
  • Tweezers – you need tweezers to remove fine, minute dirt, dust, or foreign object in your parrot’s body. Usually, the most prone areas of the body of a parrot are its claws. And together with tweezers, you need a magnifying glass to remove foreign objects and to check for the progress of wounds and cuts. 
  • Eyedroppers – you need eye droppers to place medications to your pet’s eyes and also to wounds and cuts. Eyedroppers are small and are usually made of plastic and thus disposable. Make sure to have at least a dozen eye droppers in your first aid kit.
  • Forceps or hemostats – you need forceps to hold on to tissue, cotton balls, and gauges when dressing wounds. Hemostats are special forceps that can clamp blood vessels and tissues together to prevent bleeding. Most first aid kits and surgical supplies carry a set of forceps and hemostats along with bandage scissors and blades.
  • Magnifying glass – any kind of magnifying glass would do, but we suggest a handy one with a convenient LED light. You need this tool to check on your pet’s eyes, throat, wings, wounds, and anything that might be bothering your pet bird. Be sure to have an extra in case this breaks.
  • Penlight – a penlight is handy in checking on anything. It can help you check for debris in wounds, for bleeding and to check your bird’s feathers for injuries. Penlights are handy in many applications, so you must have one as well as spare batteries in your first aid kit.
  • Popsicle sticks for splinting – popsicle sticks can be used as splints which are needed for breaks and any accidents. You can also use popsicle sticks to stabilize your pet’s wings in case of any accidents that may cause breaks or broken bones. 

Important documents and first aid bag

  • Your bird’s medical records – you can’t be without your pet’s medical records; therefore, you must keep these records updated. Take time to ask your vet to update your pet’s records, including vaccinations, deworming records, and medical records. 
  • Phone numbers of your vet, poison control, and local shelter – you should have a complete list of phone numbers, including your vet’s numbers, pet boarding numbers, your groomer’s numbers, and all other important contacts. 
  • Large bag – all these items may be too much to carry, so find a handy bag with a heavy-duty handle and a sturdy bottom.
  • Pet bird carrier – If you don’t have a pet carrier yet, then maybe it’s time you get one. A pet carrier should be large enough to carry your pet. It must be large enough to take some important things that your pet needs, including his food, water, and any medication. You can choose from a small pet carrier that you can keep on your bag or a classy stainless steel cage. Also, make sure that the pet carrier doors and screens are secure and can be locked for your pet’s safety.

Your pet bird’s evacuation kit

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An emergency evacuation kit is also needed. You’ll never know when there’s a fire, earthquake, or a storm/hurricane that you need to get away from. No matter what happens, don’t leave your pets behind! Care for them like your kids and don’t forget to bring the following emergency evacuation supplies

  • First aid kit – you need your first aid kit at all times. It should be well-equipped with all the things you need. Also, if you have any medications or solutions inside your first aid kit, be sure to check the expiry dates of your medications. Don’t keep medicines and solutions that are about to expire. Also, take note that eyewashes and betadine also have a good to use date, so check these out as well. 
  • Traveling cage or backpack preferably for each bird (if you have more than one) – as mentioned before, a traveling cage or backpack is necessary, and you should have one for every bird. If you don’t have individual backpacks, then your pets may end up fighting in a small cage! So as much as possible, have a bug-out bag for each pet. You can look for good traveling backpacks or cages online.
  • Covers for the cages – use covers for your pet’s cages. This could be a tablecloth, a towel, or any clothing that would fit your pet’s cage. Pet bird cages should be covered to reduce stress and anxiety.
  • A week-supply of non-perishable food and drinking water – if you’re evacuating due to a storm, hurricane, tornado, or any natural calamity, you should bring along at least a week’s supply of food and drinking water. You must place food in waterproof and lightproof plastic packs. Keep water in a safe drinking bottle. Keep all these in an easy to carry bag and near your pet’s backpack or carrying cage.
  • An extra set of dishes – have at least two or three sets of food and water dishes. Place this inside your pet’s food supply, and don’t forget to wash these after use with clean water and dish soap. Have these handy as well.
  • Pet medications – if your pet has medications, supplements, or vitamins, then you must bring these as well. Place medications in an easy to carry bag. If the medicine has to be refrigerated, have ice packs ready to transport it.
  • Clean towels and small pillows – as much as possible, bring a pillow to help transport your pet. Throw pillows or small pillows can act as padding to your vehicle or as you ride public transportation. Clean towels will help you hold your pet if you have no traveling birdcage or bird carrier. 
  • Battery-Powered radio and extra batteries – if you’re evacuating because of a storm or tornado or any natural disaster, you should be ahead of the news. Cell phone sites may be down, but radio stations will still broadcast the news. Use a pocket-sized radio and bring spare batteries. You can also use the radio in your cell phone; just attach a headset jack, and you’re ready to listen to the news.
  • A list of emergency numbers – just like preparing important phone numbers in your first aid kit, place a copy of these numbers in your bug-out bag. Yes, you may have a list of these numbers in the contacts of your phone, but these won’t do any good if you have a dead phone.
  • A well-charged cellphone and batteries – you need to contact people you love to tell them your situation and to tell them you and your pet are OK. But batteries won’t last long, so make sure to take a spare and possibly a power bank.

When to take your parrot first aid kit with you?

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If you think that a parrot first aid like this is overrated, think about what you’ll do when an accident strikes. What if your pet meets an accident or suddenly had bouts of diarrhea or vomiting? This first aid kit might be the only thing to save your pet’s life! So when to bring a parrot first aid kit?

  1. While traveling, on a vacation
    If you’re headed on vacation with your pet, take the parrot first aid kit with you. Make sure that the kit is complete and all the important documents you need are ready. This is very important, especially when you’re headed to a remote area or a place that’s far from the city and far from a vet or hospital. 
  2. While camping or backpacking
    If you’re camping or backpacking with your pet, you’re likely far from a vet or pet hospital, and you can’t take chances. Make sure that your kit is in a waterproof bag, and your pet’s carrier is waterproof as well.
  3. Riding in your RV or camper – if you’re going on a road trip with your pet, then there’s no reason not to take this first aid kit. If you have two or more pet birds, double the number of supplies you have. You’ll never know what will happen during your trip, even if you and your pet are safe in your RV.
  4. When evacuating due to a natural disaster – take your bug-out bag and your first aid kit with you if you need to get out of your home due to a natural disaster. But of course, take care of yourself and your family as well. Bring warm blankets, food, drinking water, and medicines. Don’t take chances; if you hear that you need to evacuate, then do so and make your family and your pets a priority.
  5. When transferring to a new home or place – aside from preparing your stuff for your new home, you also need to prepare your pet’s things, including his first aid kit. You and your family will likely be busy with the move, and thus, you may not be able to care for your pet during these times.

A complete first aid kit will come in handy for any emergencies that may happen during the move. As much as possible, keep your pet still and stress-free during the move and let it stay with you.

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