68% of households in the United States owned some type of pet in 2016, with dogs and cats being some of the top choices. However, for those who prefer pet companionship that requires less maintenance than a dog or cat, then a fish or bird can make a great pet choice. However, while birds and fish don’t need regular trips to the dog park, they still require diligent care: proper and humane animal care is essential when you're bringing any pet into your home, no matter what kind they are. Whether you’re thinking about adopting a new companion or you already have, here are some need-to-know tips on how you can keep both fish and birds happy and healthy by caring for them in a humane way.
The importance of a proper habitat
For those who choose to adopt a bird, a cage is likely to be on the top of your list. Your birdcage carries much importance in terms of humane and proper pet care, as it should be big enough for them to exercise, climb and play with their toys. Depending on the bird and how many you have, your cage may need to be bigger to be comfortable, as your bird(s) will likely spend a significant amount of time in their cage throughout their lives.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that it shouldn’t be a source of sole confinement, either, as socialization is an integral part of any bird's life. A birdcage is meant to protect them from harm (such as from other animals or poisonous substances) when you’re not home, or during the night when you can’t keep a watchful eye on them, so making it a safe and comfortable space for your birds is necessary.
When it comes to fish, proper habitat size also plays a major role in humane care, and while the size of your aquarium may also vary depending on the type of fish you choose, the proper maintenance of it is still extremely important, no matter if it’s fifty or twenty gallons. This is because the improper maintenance of a fish tank can potentially lead to your fish dying prematurely. For such reasons, cleaning your fish tank regularly and replacing some of the water with clean water can help - some eco-friendly products such as bio-stones allow for fish tank cleaning to be made less stressful and easier, as some bio-stone manufacturers infuse their rocks with friendly bacteria that can help keep your tank clean by clearing up cloudy water and reducing odors in a much more natural way.
More than one?
While it’s not uncommon for people to have more than one cat or dog, many birds and fish thrive with companionship. Because of the social nature of most birds, getting another is definitely worth considering. Having two birds instead of one can prevent loneliness while you’re at work, and having a second bird can provide the first with a mate or companion. Fish, on the other hand, can also be of social nature - goldfish, for example, are social and often thrive in a tank with other goldfish to interact with.
However, you should never overcrowd a birdcage or fish tank, as it can lead to a stressful and unhealthy living environment for your pets - not to mention an increased risk for disease. Researching different fish and bird breeds beforehand can give you major insight as to what the best ways to care for them are in detail - for instance, betta fish are territorial, and will fight other betta fish, so just one of these will be enough. Birds like budgies, on the other hand, are great in pairs, making companionship an important element to consider adopting one.
Dogs and cats might be more popular pet choices, but birds and fish make great companions as well. With that said, it’s important to remember that while they are lower maintenance in many ways, it's vital to do your research before bringing one into your home, and proper humane care is just as important as it is for larger animals.