Learning About Rodent Pets

New Parrot Owners: Protect Your Feathered Friend From These Three Hidden Dangers In Your Home

by Neil Turner

If you've never owned a pet parrot before, you may be surprised to learn of a few potential threats that could harm your new pet. Unlike other pets such as dogs and cats, birds are susceptible due to their delicate respiratory systems. The following is a list of three potential threats that could land your feathered friend in the animal hospital:

1. Overheated Nonstick Products

This is a potential danger that may surprise some new parrot owners. Did you know that when overheated, nonstick cookware can harm or kill a companion bird? Nonstick pots, pans and other products coated with Teflon contains a substance known as polytetrafluoroethlyene (PTFE), which creates a gas emission that can be deadly to birds due to their high metabolic rate. While the burnt nonstick coatings may not be harmful to you or your dog or cat, exposure to your pet parrot may be fatal.

If you have inadvertently overheated nonstick and notice signs of respiratory distress in your parrot, provide ventilation immediately and seek emergency care at the animal hospital at once. Signs to look for include open-beak breathing and inability to perch.

If you must cook with nonstick products, never leave them unattended and don't allow them to overheat. Better yet, don't use nonstick at all, just to ensure a safe environment for your parrot.

2. Room Deodorizers and Scented Candles

This is another hidden threat to your feathered friend. As a new parrot owner, your vet may warn you not to use air fresheners or plug-in room deodorizers in the vicinity of your pet. The same applies to scented candles.

Although other pets may not be subject to harm from exposure to chemicals in air fresheners or from scented candles, birds cannot tolerate exposure to these products. This is due to their efficient respiratory system that transports oxygen at a fast rate. Play it safe and do not use scented candles or room fresheners, either in aerosol form or through a plug in. Carpet deodorizers, essential oils and potpourri should also be avoided.

3. Common Foods That Are Potentially Harmful to a Bird

While some table foods are perfectly fine to offer your parrot, others should be avoided. The following foods should not be consumed by your bird:

  • Chocolate: In any form, chocolate may cause digestive distress such as diarrhea and vomiting ,or central nervous system problems such as seizures. In some cases, consumption of chocolate may be fatal to your parrot.

  • Apple Seeds and Fruit Pits: These contain small amounts of cyanide and could be toxic to your parrot if eaten.

  • Avocado: Do not feed this fruit to your bird, as consumption may cause cardiac problems.

  • Onions: This may cause digestive upset or lead to anemia if consumed by your bird.