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BIRD / new pets

A Set-up Guide for New Dove Pet Parents

Tips for home, health and fun


Five things to know about your pet dove

  • Doves can live up to 15 years
  • They can grow up to 8 inches long
  • The smartest doves include the Diamond Dove and Ring-Neck Dove
  • Doves live on every continent except for Antarctica
  • Doves drink water by drawing it into their beaks as though through a straw

Your dove’s home

  • Doves are quite social and do well in pairs or even flocks. Keep doves in a cage large enough for them to stretch their wings, climb and play. The bigger the cage the better, especially if it will house multiple doves.
  • Provide at least two perches of different thickness and materials; these variations help keep birdie-feet strong and healthy. The perches should also be placed at different heights.
  • Don’t put perches over food or water because droppings will make a mess where the doves eat and drink.
  • Birds are sensitive to smoke, strong smells and drafts. Keep the cage away from the kitchen and open windows. Don’t place the cage in direct sunlight and be sure to cover it at bedtime.
  • Cushion the cage floor with an inch or two of corncob, aspen, wood-pellet or recycled-paper bedding, or use a cage liner. Remove droppings frequently, spot-clean the liner or bedding weekly, and replace it entirely once a month.
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Playing & grooming

  • Doves can be trained to sit on their pet parent’s hand. They also make gentle cooing noises. (Soothing!)
  • They are nesters, so consider buying them nest boxes for bedtime.
  • They like hay balls — toys you can fill with Timothy hay — for fun and foraging.
  • Offer a warm bowl of water for your birds to bathe in two to three times a week. Or if they prefer, gently mist them with warm, clean water from a spray bottle.
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Help keep your doves healthy

Try not to handle doves for three or four days after bringing them home, to give them time to adjust.

Even a settled-in bird can feel sick. If you notice any of these signs of illness or distress, contact a veterinarian who treats birds:

  • Decreased appetite or weight loss
  • Decreased activity or grooming
  • Feathers fluffed up for a long time
  • Long periods sitting at the bottom of the cage
  • Sneezing
  • Discharge from nose or mouth
  • Change in droppings for more than two days


Pets purchased at PetSmart are part of our exclusive Vet Assured™ program, designed by PetSmart veterinarians to help improve the health and well-being of our pets. Our vendors meet a high standard in caring for pets and screening them for common illnesses. This program also includes specific standards for in-store pet care.

The PetSmart Promise: If your pet becomes ill during the initial 14-day period, or if you’re not satisfied for any reason, PetSmart will gladly replace the pet or refund the purchase price.