USE A COMFORTABLE AND SECURE CARRIER
Small birds – If your bird’s cage fits into your vehicle, then transporting him in familiar surroundings will cause the least stress. Alternatively, use a small box or cage with good ventilation and provide food for the trip. Make sure that you leave the papers on the bottom of the cage from the last 24 hours as the droppings provide important information. Empty the water dish, but if you have a long trip offer fresh food that contains moisture or place an ice cube in the dish that will provide some water as it melts.
Large birds – A front opening carrier with a comfortable perch is best. Make sure that there is sufficient ventilation and a secure closure. Some parrots need a lock to prevent escape! Put some treats in a dish that is securely attached to the carrier.
MAKE THE CARRIER A FAMILIAR PLACE
Leave the carrier out and practice “stepping up” and “stepping down” onto the perch. Make it fun and give a favorite treat as a reward.
IN THE VEHICLE
Place the carrier on the floor of your vehicle and prevent it from sliding during transport. If you need to place it on a seat, use a towel to keep the base horizontal and secure it with a seat belt.
“TO COVER OR NOT TO COVER”, that is the question.
The answer will depend on your bird’s personality. Some birds are curious and love the excitement of seeing new people and places while others are terrified. If you cover the carrier, please remove it once you are in the exam room to allow your bird to acclimatize to the new environment.
PROTECTION FROM THE ELEMENTS
In cold or inclement weather wrap the carrier in a thick blanket (or even a sleeping bag). If there is a cold wind, you may use a large plastic bag to cover the carrier, but remember to open it once you are in your vehicle to provide fresh air. Warm up your vehicle to the same temperature as your home before moving your bird. Some people put a hot water bottle or a warmed oat bag in the bottom of the carrier to provide extra warmth – just make sure that your pet doesn’t chew it!
GETTING USED TO A TOWEL
Restraint with a towel is often a necessary part of the veterinary visit. Practice “towel games” at home so this does not add stress to the visit. If your bird has a familiar towel, please bring it along.
Introduce the towel gradually and use lots of positive reinforcement/treats. Please contact us for suggestions if you need help with this.