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Is Human Saliva Toxic to Birds? (What About Dog and Cat Saliva?)

Is Human Saliva Toxic to Birds? (What About Dog and Cat Saliva?)
The purpose of this blog is to share general information and is written to the author's best knowledge. It is not intended to be used in place of veterinary advice. For health concerns, please seek proper veterinary care. In addition, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Birds are really great pets that many people absolutely adore. Sometimes you get really attached to your birds, and you might even want to kiss them or something such as that.

It isn’t that unusual for bird owners to do things such as this when they’re interacting with their birds. It’s an especially common behavior among owners of birds such as parakeets and parrots.

You might have also had bird enthusiast friends advise you not to do that. They might have even told you that human saliva can be dangerous to birds.

Is human saliva toxic to birds or is that just some sort of rumor? Read on to get all of the details so that you can make good decisions that will keep your birds safe.

Human Saliva Is Dangerous to Birds

You likely should be wary of actions that can expose your birds to human saliva. Your saliva is indeed toxic to birds, but it isn’t something that is specific to humans.

All mammals carry bacteria in their bodies that are known as gram-negative bacteria. You can find this bacteria in your bodily fluids, and your body is capable of dealing with it when it’s exposed to typical amounts.

Birds are different because they don’t have bodies that are equipped to deal with gram negative bacteria. Saliva could easily transfer this bacteria to a bird if you choose to kiss it.

Bird Kissing Owner

Therefore, the best practice would be to avoid kissing your bird. However, many bird enthusiasts note that the risk is low if you’re just pecking your bird on the beak or head.

There are many actions that could be dangerous for your bird, though. For example, allowing a bird to eat something off of your fork could transfer the bacteria to the bird.

You want to keep your bird away from your bodily fluids for its own safety. Being mindful of this should allow you to make better choices that will protect your pet.

Cat and Dog Saliva Is Also Dangerous

Cats and dogs also produce saliva that has the potential to be dangerous to birds. Humans aren’t the only mammals that often share households with birds, after all.

You might have seen cute videos online where birds interact with dogs and cats. Sometimes there have even been videos of birds feeding the dogs and other things such as that.

As cute as those videos might seem, this actually puts the bird in danger. Birds shouldn’t be getting near cat or dog saliva.

This means that birds and dogs or cats sharing food is a big problem. There’s also the fact that dogs and cats are predator animals and could potentially harm a pet bird.

A Pet Bird Sitting on a Dog

To keep things safe, it’s going to be wise to limit interactions between your cats, dogs, and birds. You don’t want the bird to get hurt by your other pets, and it’s also imperative to be mindful of the danger presented by animal saliva.

When birds are attacked by cats or dogs, they’re actually going to need to worry about more than just getting bitten or clawed. The wounds could contain saliva that will pass this potentially deadly bacteria to the bird.

Even a small scratch has the potential to seriously harm the bird. For this reason, you should keep your bird away from cats and dogs.

Call the Veterinarian if You’re Worried

Call the veterinarian if you’re worried about your bird. If you have any concerns about whether your bird has been exposed to bacteria, then getting a professional to help is the best choice.

Veterinarians can test the bird to see if it has been exposed to gram-negative bacteria. They do so using a process known as gram staining.

Gram staining allows veterinarians to separate the gram-negative cells from gram-positive cells. They use purple dye on a sample that is taken from the bird.

It makes it so that they can see where the gram-negative bacteria is visually. Gram-negative bacteria will have a pink color while gram-positive bacteria will be purple.

If the veterinarian discovers that your bird has issues with this bacteria, then they’ll be able to come up with a treatment plan. Your bird might need to take medication so that it can get better over time.

In the future, you’ll just have to be more mindful of the danger presented by human saliva and animal saliva. Hopefully, there isn’t anything wrong with your bird, but it can still be good to check if your bird appears to be ill in any way.

You Can Still Play with Your Birds

Holding a Pet Bird

Knowing that human saliva is toxic to birds doesn’t have to completely change the ways that you interact with your birds. It’s still fine to play with your birds and to give them affection in various ways.

You just need to be mindful of keeping your birds away from saliva for their own good. If you’ve ever let your bird eat off of your fork in the past, then you’ll want to avoid doing that again.

Those who want to be able to kiss their birds will need to be able to do so carefully. You want to limit the potential risk of transferring bacteria to your birds through saliva.

It’ll be easy to play with your birds and to enjoy their company. Your bird should be able to climb on you and interact with you in all sorts of different ways.

This knowledge doesn’t make your relationship with your bird worse. It just gives you the information that you need to avoid hurting your bird by accident.

Human saliva could wind up being fatal to a bird. Just be careful and you likely won’t have anything to worry about.

Final Thoughts

Knowing that human saliva is toxic to birds might make you feel uneasy. You don’t want your bird to get hurt, and this means that you might have to alter certain behaviors.

Be careful if you choose to kiss your bird. Avoid sharing food with birds and don’t allow your bird to eat food off of your fork.

Remember that cats and dogs carry gram-negative bacteria as well. This means that you need to ensure that saliva from your cats and dogs stays away from the birds.

Cats and dogs are predator animals, and they might choose to attack birds. Even if your pets are very well behaved, it’s still smarter to limit the interactions between dogs, cats, and birds.

Simply having this knowledge will make a difference in your life. You’ll be able to take steps to keep your pet birds safer now.

If you suspect that anything is wrong, then it’s best to call the veterinarian to get help. A veterinarian can test your bird to see if it has been exposed to gram-negative bacteria.

It’s possible that the bird might be able to get better if it is given the proper medication. Don’t hesitate to call if you think that your bird could have been exposed or if your bird seems to be ill in some way.

Being a proactive bird owner who does a good job of keeping the birds safe should help to keep bad things from happening. If you’re taking the right precautions, then it’s unlikely that your birds will ever have issues with gram-negative bacteria.