Cockatiel Sneezing – Is It Normal? (Important Facts)

If you hear your cockatiel sneezing, don’t worry, as it is normal for them to do so. Just like us, our cockatiels also sneeze for many reasons. They can sneeze due to the dust trapped in their feathers. Still, be observant, though. While it may be a usual thing, continuous and frequent sneezes can also be a sign of health issues.

If it’s your first time owning a cockatiel, it can be quite problematic to hear your pet sneezing.

It may make you wonder how you should respond or what you should do. For this reason, understanding such acts is essential for you to know the proper actions you need to take.

This way, you can secure your pet’s health and avoid unwanted incidents.

Let’s get into it!

Why is my cockatiel sneezing so much?

As I said earlier, sneezing is a normal thing you can often witness from cockatiels. However, it only remains normal if it’s not continuous, and that it’s only from time to time.

If your cockatiel is sneezing so much, it can be a sign of health issues. It’s either your pet begins to get ill, or it’s suffering from illness already.

Since these birds are small, the sneezing may not be quite noticeable. Thus, it can be a completely different sound than our sneeze.

Of course, before you conclude that your pet is sick, you may want to check if the sneezing is due to other reasons.

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Common reasons why your cockatiel may sneeze

Here are some common reasons why your cockatiel may sneeze. It would be best to check these first before concluding that your pet is sick or ill.

Dust particles get in their nose.

Aside from getting sick, one of the primary causes of sneezing is dust. This fact isn’t something that needs explanation. Still, it would be best to check your cockatiel’s surroundings.

At the same time, you should know that their feathers produce more dust and powder than other species. Thus, it would also be best if you bathe your pet frequently.

No air passes in your pet’s cage.

It could also happen that your pet stays in a place where there is little to no airflow.

Check if your pet gets some airflow regularly. If not, try switching the spots and see if the sneezing stops.

Having a good airflow helps them get fresh air and removes dust in their area.

Seeds and other food in their nose

While cockatiels eat, they are also prone to taking in seeds and other small food particles in their nose. Thus, it would also be best to check if a pit or any food gets stuck in their nose.

You can take it out with a toothpick, but be cautious while you do so.

Inhaling harsh cleaning chemicals

It is also possible that your pet inhales harsh chemicals that can make them sneeze. This instance is likely to happen when there’s a cleaning happening in or near your pet.

If you are using chemicals in cleaning your pet’s surroundings, it would be best to take your pet out first.

If you’re cleaning your bird’s cage, it would be best to use natural cleaners such as vinegar solutions. This way, you can avoid harming your pet as you clean.

Extreme weather conditions

Extreme weather conditions can suddenly change temperatures and the air. When such happens, your cockatiel is prone to sneeze as a sign of sudden change in the climate.

You can aid this occurrence by adjusting the temperature for your pet on your own.

If you checked all these things and your pet still sneezes, you may want to observe it for other sickness signs. We’ll get into this in a while.

Why is my baby cockatiel sneezing?

The same as the adult ones, baby cockatiels also sneeze due to similar reasons. The only difference is that baby birds have a more sensitive nose.

For this reason, it can be a sign of illness. Since baby cockatiels have sensitive noses than their adult counterparts, they are more prone to sneezing. At the same time, they can get sick more than adults.

If you have a baby cockatiel sneezing, check out the main reasons I stated above. Observe your pet and see if there’s a possibility that it’s only a reaction to the environment.

If it is, then it would be best to solve the issue immediately. However, if you have checked it already and found no problems, it would also be best to consider checking signs of illness.

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Cockatiel sneezing after drinking

If your cockatiel sneezes after drinking, it can be because it gulps too much water. At the same time, it can also be because your pet takes in some water in its nose.

One of the common problems is the bowl and the perch. The bowl can be too deep that your cockatiel reaches down too low.

At the same time, it can happen that the perch where your pet drinks are too high from the bowl. Thus, the nose may get wet, leading to sneezing.

If that is so, it would be best to change your drinking bowl to something shallow. At the same time, you can also lower the perch from where your pet drinks.

What are the signs of a sick cockatiel?

As I said earlier, continuous sneezing can be a sign of illness for your cockatiel.

If you have already checked the possible situations above and none fits, then your pet may be sick.

Aside from sneezing, here are some of the usual symptoms your cockatiel may show if it’s ill. Observe your pet if it shows any of the following:

  • Tail bobbing
  • Sitting on its own perch/floor
  • Coughing
  • Runny nose (brown-stained feathers above the nostrils)
  • Losing or changing of voice
  • Changing Behavior (becomes less active, sleepy, and a bit withdrawn)
  • Loss or increase in appetite
  • Drinks more water than normal
  • Change in the droppings’ color and texture
  • Decrease in droppings
  • Fluffing up
  • Picking its feathers
  • Tucking its head under its wing and standing on two feet
  • Losing balance and falling off the perch
  • Trembling
  • Not Preening
  • Dull, hollow, and unusual eye color
  • Unusual Smell
  • Drooped or elevated wings

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What to do if your cockatiel is sneezing?

If your cockatiel is sneezing, your reaction should depend on the reason why your pet does.

For instance, as long as the sneezing isn’t continuous and is dry, it’s normal. Thus, you don’t have to do anything about it.

Of course, you can consider making some improvements to help your pet, such as cleaning.

You can also take your pet somewhere with a good flow of air. Or, you can give it a bath to lessen the dust from its feathers.

Now, if the sneezes increase and start producing mucus, then it would be best to take your pet to an avian vet.

This way, you can be confident that your pet receives proper medication.

Medicine for sneezing cockatiel

If you wonder what medicine you can offer your cockatiel to aid the sneezing, it would be best to ask an avian vet.

Of course, you can search for some medicine online and offer it to your cockatiel. However, that’s not a good idea to do.

The reason is that sneezing happens for many reasons. Thus, giving medicine as a response to stop it isn’t ideal.

While it can relieve your pet from the sneeze, it can also lead to worsening the condition.

Thus, if you ever plan to get medication for your pet, always make sure to get your avian vet’s approval.

Getting any medicine without a vet’s knowledge can lead to harm instead of healing.

Simultaneously, before going to the vet, make sure you check if the sneezing is due to sickness.

This way, you can save some time visiting the vet when all you have to do is consider the surroundings.

Now, when should you take your cockatiel to the vet? Let’s find out!

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When to take your cockatiel to the vet?

Deciding when to take your cockatiel to the vet can be quite a dilemma.

True enough, taking your cockatiel to the vet every time it shows some signs of illness is ideal. However, chances are you’re planning to do so even if it’s unnecessary.

For this reason, you may want to consider these things before taking your cockatiel to the vet.

Of course, deciding when to take your cockatiel to the vet is a matter of urgency.

Thus, if you see other illness symptoms other than sneezing, it would be best to make an appointment.

However, if your cockatiel only shows sneezing and you can see it usually acts and healthy, then you may want to observe it a little bit more.

It’s possible that your pet only reacts to its surroundings and has no illness that needs consultation.

If there are symptoms together with the sneezing, asking for a vet’s help is necessary.

It’s also ideal for your cockatiel to get checked by an avian vet at least once a year.

This way, you can be confident your pet isn’t showing any signs of symptoms or complications. Moreover, your vet can recommend some tips to optimize your pet’s health.

Of course, an annual check-up isn’t an obligation. However, it’s something that would benefit your pet in so many ways.


Hearing your cockatiel sneeze for the first time may seem problematic. Indeed, it can be quite a dilemma, especially if it’s your first time owning a pet. However, it would be best to keep in mind that sneezing is entirely regular for cockatiels, just like it is for us.

Sneezing can mean many things. It can be a reaction to dust in the air. At the same time, it can be a symptom of illness.

Whatever the cause is, I think we can all agree that sneezing is usual and happens from time to time.

The only thing we can do is observe its causes and deal with it to help our pets.


Image credits – Canva

[1] Ill Cockatiel Signs – WikiHow

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