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|Our homes are a "mine-field" for our companion parrots with so many possibilities for injury or poisoning. We need to bird-proof the areas of the house that they live in and visit by educating ourselves as to what is safe and what could lead to an accident or disaster. The following are guidelines on what is not safe in our homes if our parrots can breate it in or digest it. Get into the habit of checking everything out to find out if it is bird safe. Analyze each situation you plan to expose your parrot to before it happens - In other words think "what is the worst that could happen?" and plan ahead so it doesn't.|
by Sally Blanchard
What household items are dangerous for my birds?
I am afraid this list could go on forever but I will list as many as I know of at this time and readers can let me know if I have left any out. There is a good chance that just about every product containing made by companies that use chemicals we can't pronouce can be toxic to our parrots. New carpeting outgasses toxins, fumes from paneling can be toxic, adhesives used in construction and flooring can kill parrots ... We REALLY need to check products out before we bring them into our the home we share with our parrots! It is also important to realize that birds don't always die right away from a toxic exposure but they may end up with compromised health issues. Often if a vet knows that a parrot has had a toxic exposure, they will put the bird in a nebulizer to help clear the lungs, air sacs, and other sensitive organs. Continued exposure to household toxins such as hair spray, air fresheners, etc can eventually cause organ damage and death. If there is a danger that you know about that I have not mentioned, please let me know.
Teflon, Silverstone, T-fall and other non-stick coating used in Cookware, Fumes from Self-cleaning Ovens, Stove Drip Pans, Irons, Ironing Board Covers, Bread Makers, and other household appliances: Many items in addition to pots and pans have non-stick coatings. When overheated, these items can release fumes that are deadly to birds. I personally would not own any cookware with non-stick coating as there is too much room for error. I can be a forgetful cook and occasionally have houseguests who may not know about the danger to my birds. I do not want to take the chance. I would rather scrub pots. Portable heaters often have a coating on the heating elements to prevent rust. It is best to use these in the garage or a room far removed from the birds until that coating is burned off.
Burning Plastic of any kind—overheated plastic pan and pot handles, burning oil, and just about anything burning on the stove or in the household: Non-stick coating is not the only thing that releases toxic fumes when it burns. Some woods burned in the fireplace can create problems for birds, especially if the fireplace is not well-vented.
Scented Candles, Plug-in Air Fresheners, Incense, Potpourri:
The vapors from the oils in these products can be toxic and even fatal to birds.
Cigarette, Cigar, and Pipe smoke, Marijuana smoke, Nicotine on hands and clothing, Ingested Tobacco and Marijuana:
Aerosol Sprays of any kind, Oven Cleaners, Furniture Polish, Air Fresheners, Carpet Fresheners, Tub & Tile Cleaners, Cleaning Supplies, Bleach and Ammonia fumes, Oil-based Paint and paint product fumes, Tile Adhesives, Insecticides, Flea Bombs, Fertilizers, Fungicides, Hair Spray, Spray-on Deodorants, Perfumes, Colognes and more: Use common sense. Any thing that produces fumes can cause parrots health problems and in some cases, be fatal to them. It is best to take birds out of a room or even the building if it is being cleaned, painted, etc. and only bring them back after the room has been thoroughly aired out and the fumes are gone. Keep your parrots out of the bathroom when you use spray products (hairspray, deodorant, etc) of any kind.
CHEWABLES: Leaded Stained Glass Decorations, Old Paint on Woodwork, Costume Jewelry, Curtain Weights, Lead Fishing Weights, Lead pellets, Solder, Some Artists Paints, Pencils and Chalks, Some Cage Paint & Galvanized Wire, Toothbrushes, Metal Hardware that Flakes or Chips some Woods: Most or many of these items contain heavy metals such as lead, zinc, or cadmium which are toxic to parrots when chewed and ingested. Most toothbrushes have metal pieces that hold the bristles in place. These can contain zinc, which can cause heavy metal toxicity.
OTC Meds, Human Dietary & Health Supplements:
Be very careful in assuming that any human dietary or health supplement is safe, particularly if it is a fad product, for your parrots. Do not give your parrot anything without first checking carefully with reliable sources about its safety and the quantity which can be safely consumed. Don'g give your parrots any over the counter meds (human and parrot) without checking with an avian veterinarian first. This is particularly true in regards to aspirin and other pain remedies.
One parrot owner was giving her parrot a significant amount of seaweed thinking it would be very healthy for the bird. The parrot started feather picking and it was found that the seaweed was too high in salt content to be given in the quantity it was being fed.