Why is My Parakeet Breathing Fast?


Blue parakeet

As you get more familiar with your parakeet, you will get pretty familiar with their habits and even the way that they breathe. That is why it can be a little concerning when you start to see your parakeet breathe quickly and fast. You may wonder why they are breathing this way since it is so out of the normal.

The most common reason why your parakeet is breathing fast is because they do not feel good. This is a good sign that the bird is dealing with some respiratory issues and will need medical attention right away. If you notice they are lethargic or not eating their food, this is another sign that your bird does not feel good. In some cases the parakeet can breathe heavily because they are scared, but for the most part it is because they do not feel good.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the reasons why your parakeet is breathing fast and then explore the steps you can take to help your parakeet feel better.

Why is My Parakeet Breathing Fast?

Your parakeet may be breathing fast when they feel sick. When the breathing seems to be fast or kind of labored compared to normal, this is a sign that the parakeet is either really stressed out or they feel sick. Neither of these are good for your bird. You may also see some other signs of your bird being sick as well, such as a change in their eating habits, a change in their voice, or shivering. When you see these happen, it is time to take care of your parakeet and get them to a professional.

There are a number of respiratory problems that your parakeet may suffer from when they are breathing quickly. This is the most common issue that will show up when there is fast or heavy breathing with your bird. Your bird specialist will be able to take a look at your bird to figure out why they are breathing so fast and can give you medication for the exact problem that your bird is sick with.

What Signs Will My Parakeet Show When They Have Trouble Breathing?

There are different signs that you can look for to see whether the fast breathing is related to your parakeet having trouble breathing in the first place. A few of the signs to watch for include:

Tail bobs up and down

While birds will breathe the same air that we do, the rest of their respiratory system is different. Birds do not have a diaphragm so their lungs will remain open most of the time. The muscles of the chest will compress which will force the air into air sacs. If the bird is distressed, they may not be able to use these muscles to help breathe, they will start to use the posterior muscles, which will cause the tail to bob up and down. If this happens, you need to visit the vet right away because it is a big deal.

Gasping and wheezing

When the parakeet is breathing, they should make very little, if any, sound. If you start to notice gasping or wheezing is all indicative of the parakeet having trouble with breathing and is something that you should treat right away. Take the time to watch out for coughing and sneezing.

Breathing with Their Mouth Open

Your parakeet should breathe through their nares. If these get blocked up because of mucus during an infection, then the bird will open their mouth and try to breathe that way instead. This is a big sign that the bird is not feeling good and has an infection so go and visit the vet when this happens.

Voice Change Along with Coughing

As time goes on, you will start to recognize the sound of the voice for your bird. If you notice that their voice does not sound the same and they cough quite a bit, then this is a sign that there is some kind of breathing difficulty with your bird. With the unnatural use of the tail bob to help them breathe, it is possible that the parakeet is taking in too much air, more than they need. This can irritate the lungs and the throat. Coughing, on the other hand, is a sign of the congestion that makes them feel sick.

Nasal Discharge

Whether it comes with coughing or sneezing, this is going to be a big symptom that there is something blocking the airways for your parakeet and you will need to get them some relief with medication.

Through all of these signs, you need to look for a condition known as cyanosis. This is basically a bluish tone to the skin and is a sign that the parakeet is dealing with oxygen deprivation. This can happen in severe cases. If you were looking for some of the clues from above, then this is not likely to happen.

If any of the signs from above start to show up, then it is time to take your parakeet in to get checked out. When it is caught early, the vet will be able to give your parakeet some of the medication they need and can get them back to health in no time. 

Does Fast Breathing Mean My Parakeet is Sick?

Most of the time when your parakeet is breathing quickly it means that they are not feeling that good. This can be a sign that they are struggling to breathe and this could be due to some kind of respiratory issues. When you notice they are breathing heavily and you do not see something else around that could make them worried or scared, then this is a good sign that the bird is not feeling well. You can also check out for some of the other signs we had above.

Will My Parakeet Pant?

You may notice on occasion that your parakeet is panting. This is an indicator that the parakeet is fearful or worried about something. You will notice that their breathing will happen with the beak slightly open and like they want to speak with you, but no sound is coming out. It is also a sign that they are overwhelmed. If you notice that there is something around the bird that seems to make them feel worried or you take them outside and the bird starts to pant when you are with them, then this is a sign that the fast breathing is from them being anxious and worried.

Is the Fast Breathing from Sickness or Fear with My Parakeet?

For the most part, your parakeet is going to breathe quickly when they are sick. This is why you need to take them in to the vet or another specialist to help give you some antibiotics that will keep them healthy. There are a few times when the panting is from them being scared or nervous. The best way to tell this will be based on the other actions the bird does while they are panting.

If the parakeet is panting because they are nervous or scared, then you will notice a few obvious signs. They will flap or fly around their cage in order to get away from the thing that is scaring them, fear poop, or feathers that are very sleek and eyes that are wide open. These are big signs that something is bothering the bird. When you take away the thing that is making the parakeet upset, they should calm down and the panting will go away.

When the parakeet is sick, the fast breathing is not going to stop no matter what changes you make in the environment around them. You may also notice that the bird is not eating, they do not want to be around other people, or they sleep quite a bit. Many of the symptoms that we talked about above will show up when the parakeet is sick and that is the cause of their fast breathing.

It is most likely that your parakeet is showing signs of fast breathing because they are feeling sick. There are a few times when they will do it because they are nervous, but this is usually a short-term thing that will end pretty quickly. When the bird is sick, you will notice that the breathing does not get better and often will start to get worse if you do not get them the right medication they need.

Helping Your Parakeet When They Get Sick

Since it is most likely that your parakeet is going to be sick when they have the fast breathing, it is important to get them the right care and attention as soon as possible. This will ensure they get the right antibiotics to heal, rather than dealing with being sick on their own and getting worse. As soon as you notice the fast breathing along with some of the other signs, take your parakeet into the vet to get them checked out.

Marryn Jenkins

Marryn is a long time pet lover. There has always been a soft spot in her heart for dogs. Although she has owned many dog breeds in her lifetime, poodles and poodle mixes have become her favorite. Currently, she has two pups named Sally and Luna.

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