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How Do I Treat Parakeet Diarrhea?

By Kathleen Howard
Updated Mar 05, 2024
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The first step in curing parakeet diarrhea is understanding the cause of the condition. Common causes of diarrhea include stress, sudden dietary changes, bacterial infection, viruses or exposure to toxins. In some cases, you might be able to cure your parakeet’s diarrhea by adding a small amount of kefir, bran or hulled oats to the diet. Certain medicines can also be used to help nurse the bird back to health. If your pet does not respond to these treatments, consult a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Parakeets are sensitive, intelligent animals. Changes in their environment, food or routine can cause stress, which often leads to diarrhea. If you have recently moved your pet or switched its food, this might be the reason your parakeet appears ill. In most cases, stress-related diarrhea will resolve on its own once the bird has adjusted, or once you have resumed a more normal routine. If the condition does not improve within a day or two though, there could be a more serious reason for the diarrhea.

Exposure to certain types of human food can also cause diarrhea in birds. Avoid giving parrots and parakeets chocolate, mushrooms, apple seeds, dried beans, onions and avocado. These foods can cause a variety of dangerous side effects in small pets, including parakeet diarrhea. If your parakeet has developed diarrhea after consuming one of these foods, contact a veterinarian immediately.

If you are unsure as to why your parakeet has begun suffering from diarrhea, try adding a small amount of kefir, bran or hulled oats to your pet’s food. Kefir, which is a type of yogurt, will balance the bacteria in your parakeet’s digestive tract. Bran and hulled oats absorb water in the stomach, which should help your bird produce more solid droppings.

Your next option is to treat parakeet diarrhea with an over-the-counter medication. There are a wide range of products designed to cure diarrhea and restore digestive health in parakeets and other exotic pets. To keep your pet nourished, you should also give it a product containing electrolytes and vitamins. These products are readily available at many pet supply stores and veterinary offices.

If your parakeet’s condition has not improved within a day or two, visit your veterinarian. Parakeet diarrhea might be a sign of an infection that requires antibiotics or other medication to cure. If diarrhea is left untreated, pet birds can become severely dehydrated and suffer serious health problems. Diarrhea that is accompanied by tremors, sunken eyes or weight loss should also be evaluated by a veterinarian. Getting your pet parakeet prompt medical care is the best way to ensure a successful recovery.

What Does Parakeet Diarrhea Look Like?

Checking your parakeet's poop is one of the easiest ways to keep tabs on his health and ensure that he is happy and safe. Parakeets poop 40-50 times per day. Typically, it is bright green or olive green in color. Typically, the poop is mostly solid, although it may show slight bits of liquid, which is the urine from your parakeet's kidneys.

Sometimes, the texture or color of your parakeet's poop is different, which may or may not be an indication of a problem. Solid or liquid poop that is very dark green or leaning towards black in color may indicate that your parakeet is not eating the way that it should be. The color may also look different if you've changed your parakeet's diet recently.

Outside of color, pay attention to consistency. If your parakeet's poop is more liquid than solid and stays that way for more than a few hours, it could be indicative of a diarrhea problem. Diarrhea may still be bright green in color, but it could also be white or black.

What Does It Mean When My Parakeet Has Diarrhea?

There are a number of reasons that your parakeet could suffer from diarrhea. Many of them are of no cause for concern, luckily.

Fear-Based Diarrhea

Like some humans, scared parakeets may have loose bowels. This is especially typical in birds that have just been introduced to a new environment. If you've only just brought your parakeet into the home, he is likely just nervous about his new situation. This is also true if you've had your parakeet for a long time but he just happens to have a nervous personality. Your parakeet may display "fear poop" if you wake him up unexpectedly or if you have new people in the house.

Post-Bath Diarrhea

Parakeets often take baths and doing so may cause them to ingest more liquid than they are used to consuming. If this happens, their waste may be almost completely water, which will often look like diarrhea to you. This is usually short-lived and is no reason to worry.

Diarrhea After Eating Fruits or Vegetables

Because fruits and vegetables have a high water content, a parakeet that eats them may display signs of diarrhea afterward. Like post-bath diarrhea, this is of no worry as long as it does not last a long time.

Diarrhea When Molting

Some parakeets experience diarrhea during their molting periods, although it doesn't happen to all of them. If your parakeet is molting, you may notice that he has had intermittent diarrhea for several days during this time. As long as they are still eating and drinking properly, there is no reason to worry.

Diarrhea After Competitive Drinking

Okay, so your parakeet probably isn't heading to a beer chugging contest at the local bar, but that doesn't mean he won't get caught up in competitive drinking from time to time. If you have two or more parakeets, even if they are kept in separate cages, they may begin to experience an intense flock mentality. This means that sometimes they'll get stuck in a loop. One parakeet will drink, so the other one will. The first parakeet will notice the second one still drinking, so he'll continue to drink. They may continue this for several minutes, both ingesting more water than usual until the result is diarrhea. As long as the situation is short-term and your bird continues to eat, there is nothing to worry about.

What To Give Parakeet for Diarrhea

There are several things you can do to treat diarrhea in a parakeet. If your bird isn't showing any other signs of distress and is otherwise eating and drinking normally, he may just have an upset stomach. If this is the case, you can give your bird a small dose of Kaopectate and keep an eye on him to see if diarrhea goes away.

Probiotics can also help a parakeet that has diarrhea but otherwise doesn't seem to be sick. You can help your bird get the probiotics that he needs by feeding him small amounts of plain yogurt. It will help to restore balance to your bird's digestive system and help him to feel better overall.

Finally, consider giving your bird a small amount of bran. Bran can help to bulk up your bird's still and absorb excess water to prevent diarrhea from continuing. Offer him soft options to entice him to eat it but be sure it isn't too hot for him. If you don't have access to bran, brown rice will work just as well.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the common causes of diarrhea in parakeets?

Diarrhea in parakeets can be caused by a variety of factors, including dietary changes, bacterial or viral infections, parasites, or exposure to toxins. Stress and underlying health conditions may also contribute to gastrointestinal disturbances. It's essential to observe any additional symptoms and consult a veterinarian for an accurate diagnosis.

How can I tell if my parakeet has diarrhea?

A parakeet with diarrhea will have loose or watery droppings that differ from their normal, firm, and shaped feces. You may notice increased frequency of droppings or changes in color and consistency. Monitor your bird's behavior as well; lethargy or decreased appetite can accompany diarrhea.

What should I do if my parakeet shows signs of diarrhea?

First, isolate the affected bird to prevent the spread of potential illness. Remove any fresh foods from the diet temporarily and ensure the bird has access to clean water. Clean the cage thoroughly to reduce the risk of reinfection. Consult a veterinarian promptly to determine the cause and appropriate treatment.

Can changes in diet help treat parakeet diarrhea?

Yes, dietary adjustments can help manage diarrhea in parakeets. Temporarily offering a bland diet of pellets and removing fresh fruits and vegetables may aid in stabilizing digestion. Once the bird recovers, reintroduce fresh foods gradually. Always ensure a balanced diet to prevent nutritional deficiencies and digestive issues.

Are there any home remedies for treating parakeet diarrhea?

While some mild cases of diarrhea may resolve with supportive care, such as ensuring hydration and a clean environment, home remedies should not replace professional veterinary care. If diarrhea persists or is accompanied by other symptoms, it's crucial to seek a veterinarian's advice for proper treatment.

When should I seek veterinary care for my parakeet's diarrhea?

Seek veterinary care if diarrhea persists for more than 24 hours, or sooner if it's accompanied by other signs of illness like lethargy, ruffled feathers, or changes in appetite. Early intervention is key to preventing dehydration and addressing potential underlying causes, such as infections or toxic exposure.

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Discussion Comments

By fify — On Jan 10, 2015

I'm actually against the idea of domesticating birds and putting them in cages. I have had parakeets in the past and in hindsight, I think the birds were very unhappy. Moreover, parakeets require a lot of care and even the smallest change can upset them and disturb their health. People buy parakeets not knowing much about them and think that they're very easy to care for but that's not how it is.

Temperature changes, bacteria, new foods, stress and even the quality of their drinking water can upset their digestive system and cause diarrhea among other things. Their cage also needs to be cleaned regularly, they need a clean, hygienic and comfortable environment in a warm (but not hot) temperature.

It's best to not buy and cage these animals. They are better off in their natural environments. And if we don't buy them, stores will have to stop selling them.

By ddljohn — On Jan 10, 2015

@bear78-- Yea, he's probably just stressed. You can try talking to him but if that's making him more upset, it may help to just cover the cage and allow him to rest for a while.

Sometimes when parakeets are upset, they might eat less and that can cause the droppings to be more loose or watery than usual. So check to see if he's eating. If you're giving him feed that's different than what was given to him before, that could also be the cause of diarrhea.

If things don't improve tomorrow though, you should take him to a vet and make sure he's not ill.

By bear78 — On Jan 09, 2015

I just adopted a parakeet a few days ago. He seemed fine the first day but now he has diarrhea and doesn't look too happy. I don't think he's ill. He just seems upset that he's in another place and all alone. What can I do to help him adjust? I think his diarrhea will go away once he gets used to his new home. I just don't want him to get sick until that happens.

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