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 Beware of Potential Hazards to Pet Birds!
 

BEWARE!
Keep Your Bird Safe

You will see from the extensive list below that many hazards lurk in your home in seemingly innocent places.  The list has been compiled to alert you to some of the dangers which can be averted if proper caution and husbandry practices are exercised.  I'm  sharing this information as a bird owner because I believe every bird owner has a duty to help others prevent accidental death and injury to these truly wonderful and amazing pets.

Although our hazard list is extensive it is not necessarily complete.  Always keep your bird monitored when it is out of its cage and keep your bird in mind when performing various activities around your home.  As you will notice many of the everyday products listed are poisonous compounds.  However, all the products listed can prove hazardous because birds are particularly sensitive due to their small size and efficient metabolism.

 Potential Hazards 

Toxic Plants - A list of some plants that may be hazardous to your bird. 

Bird Toys with dangerous parts
such as:  small chain links that can trap nails, metal clips, lead parts, balsa wood, light weight or breakable plastic parts, small bells, parts that could cause strangulation.

Kitchen hazards such as hot stoves, gas flames, boiling pots of water.  Do not use PTFE-coated nonstick cookware (common trade names include:  Teflon, Silverstone, etc.), irons and ironing board covers around birds.  The fumes from these over-heated products are not detectable by people and are highly toxic to birds.

Sudden Temperature Changes.  Birds must be given the oppotunity to acclimate to changes in temperature, especially when they are being relocated from a warm environment (such an inside your home) to a colder environment outside.

Exposure to Hot Temperatures.  Birds should be protected from the direct sun if they do not have the ability to move into shade, nor should they be left in cars which can become overheated quickly.  Signs of initial heat distress are open-mouth breathing, panting and wings held away from the body.  Do not ignore a heat distressed bird and take immediate steps to cool it to a normal body temperature.  Spraying or misting the bird with water will help.

Fireplaces.  Be cautious smoke fumes when using your fireplace.  Always keep the fireplace screen in place to prevent a flighted bird from accidentally entering the fireplace. 

Electrical Cords and Plugs.  Birds allowed to roam free within your home are easily attracted to dangling electrical cords and wall plugs.  The danger is obvious.

Children.  Young children must be taught how to handle and properly care for birds and should be monitored when they are handling them.  If your child has a bird of his/her own and is responsible for its care, the care should be monitored so the bird's food, water and cleanliness is not neglected.  Do not let your bird be handled by a child too young to understand how to handle them.

Other Pets In Your Home.  If your bird sustains an injury from another pet seek veterinary assistance immediately. See sidebar for further comments.

Zinc in galvinized metal and skin preparations.

New Carpet.  Toxic fumes are out-gassed from newly installed carpet.

Open Toilets and Bathtubs filled with water.

Open Doors that lead outside or can be slammed on a bird.

Ceiling fans are a danger to flighted birds.

Leg Bands can be a hazard because the bird can become hooked causing injury to its leg such as sprains, dislocations and fractures.  A leg band can also become irritating and cause swelling and inflammation, or act as a tourniquet causing the loss of a leg.  The "tourniquet" problem is most common with canaries and cockatiels, but any banded bird is at risk.   Most veterinarians recommend removing bands unless they are needed for identification.  If identification is desired because of risk of loss AVID microchipping is recommended.  In keeping a bird banded be sure the band fits properly and that you regularly examine legs for any changes.  If your bird's leg band needs to be removed it should be done by an avian veterinarian who has the skill and tools to do so safely.  Do not try to remove the band yourself because the risk of injury to the bird is high from anyone inexperienced with the proper procedure.

Windows and Mirrors.  Birds don't recognize these objects as barriers and may fly into them.  Take precautions if you have flighted birds in your home.

Loud Noises.  Birds have sensitive hearing and loud noises can cause stress which can easily lead to lowered resistence to infection or emotional problems such as feather picking.

Pet Store/Medications.   Pet store personnel do not have the knowledge, qualifications or testing required to provide advice regarding the treatment of an ill bird.  It is not advisable to treat a sick bird with over-the-counter medications from a pet store unless a product is recommendation by a qualified avian veterinary practioner following an examination of the bird.  Use of over-the-counter medications as a substitute for qualified veterinary care at best may only mask the problem rather than cure it, waste valuable time that a sick bird just doesn't have, and can alter the results of proven avian diagnostic techniques. 

 Unsafe Household Products 

Air Fresheners
Aerosol Sprays
Alcoholic Beverages
Ammonia
Ant Syrup and Paste
Arsenic
Asbestos
Auto Products
Bathroom Cleaners
Bleach
Boric Acid
Camphophenique
Candles (scented)
Carbon Monoxide
   (car exhaust/water heater)
Carpet Cleaners & Deodorizers
Charcoal Fluid
Chlorine
Cigarette Smoke and Butts
Clinitest Tablets
Copper/Brass Polish
Corn/Wart Removers
Cleaners (All)
Denture Cleansing Solution
Deodorants
Diazinon
Disinfectants
   (aerosols & liquids) *
Drain Cleaners
Drugs prescribed for
   your bird, in excessive
   quantities or improperly used
Epoxy
Glue
Felt Tip Markers
Flea Products
Floor Polish and Wax
Formaldehyde
Fumes **
Furniture Polish
Garden/Agricultural Sprays/Chemicals
Gasoline
Glade Plug-ins
Gun Cleaners
Hair Dye
Hair Spray
Herbicides
House Plants (toxic)
Insecticides
Iodine
Kerosene
Lead Poisoning
Lighter Fluid
Lye
Matches
Model Cement
Mothballs
Muriatic Acid
Mushrooms
Nail Polish Remover
Oven Cleaners
Over-heated
Non-stick Cookware
Paint
Paint Thinners
Perfumes
Pesticides
Pine Sol
Potpourri
Rodenticides
RX Drugs
   (including over-the-counter)
Rubbing Alcohol
Salt (in large amounts)
Shellac
Shoe Polish
Silver Polish
Snail Bait
Spot Removers
Spray Starch
Strychnine
Sulfuric Acid
Super Glue
Suntan Lotion and Oils
Turpentine
Wax
Weed Killers
Window Cleaners
Wood Preservatives

NOTES: 
( * Disinfectants) Phenols and cresols used more concentrated than recommended by the manufacturer are hazardous.  Often people feel that if a little is good, then alot is better.  Disinfectants can lie in pools on the bottom of aviaries and dry on perches.  Whenever disinfectants are used thorough rinsing and following manufacturer's usage guide is essential.

( ** Fumes) The following have been proven to be toxic to birds, although some have no effect on people:  the propellent in aerosol spray is toxic, polymer fumes in spray start, fumes from self-cleaning ovens, paint fumes, smoke from burning food, burning/overheated cooking oil/butter, non-stick plastic sprays used to coat cooking utensils, cooking gas, or any other material that emits fumes.

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Pet Bird & Parrot Supplies - Bird Cages plus everything else Your Bird Needs to Succeed - Basic Bird Care Information

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Bird Cage Portal is a great online source for buying quality pet bird supplies, accessories, bird cages and so much more ... at the lowest prices.  It is also offers a guide to learning about good bird care and provides resources to insure the best life for your bird and the most enjoyment for you.

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Common Hazards 


Be aware that the following can lead to injury or cause the death of pet birds:

Dehydration.  This is most commonly caused by water bottles malfunctioning or a child's failure to properly care for their pet due to lack of parental supervision.

Unsupervised out of cage activities.  Always monitor your bird.

Toxic fumes.  See the list of dangerous products on this page.

Accidentally stepping or sitting on birds.  Allowing a bird to roam free can result from obvious mishaps.  Always be aware of the location of the bird.  Your bird is especially vulnerable when on the floor as they usually like to follow you around and you may not realize they are underfoot.

Other pets in the home.  Leaving your bird vulnerable to other pets is an accident waiting to happen.  Never leave your bird unsupervised.  Even seemingly trustworthy pets should not be trusted 100%.  Note:  dog and cat saliva is life-threatening if it enters a bird's bloodstream.  Cat saliva is especially lethal to birds due to a Pasturella bacteria in the feline mouth.

Toxic food or plants.  Toxic food includes avocado and chocolate.  Never feed these items to your birds.  While birds most often shred plants rather than ingest plant parts you can never be certain they won't be eaten, or the toxicity won't negatively impact the mucous membranes in their mouth.  Exposure to toxic plants should be avoided.  Remove them from you home or place them where there is no chance the bird could reach them.  List of plants toxic to birds.

Handfeeding mistakes such as crop burns and aspiration.

Human errors.  Examples:  not quarantining a new bird before introducing it into proximity of other birds, attempting to treat a bird for illness instead of taking it to an avian veterinarian immediately, exposing a bird to human saliva which can carry bacteria and fungi causing a bird serious illness ... even death.

Heat Exposure.  Birds are vulnerable to extreme temperatures.  Heat exposure is especially serious.  Do not leave your bird out in hot weather.  If the weather is warm monitor him for signs of distress such as panting, wings held away from his body, etc.  Do not leave your bird in the direct sun without providing shade for him to escape to.  Be sure to acclimate your bird to any permanent change in environment such as transferring from a warm or heated environment to colder weather outside.

Sleeping with birds.  Falling asleep with a bird near you is always dangerous.  A bird's respiratory system consists of air sacs rather than lungs like we have.  They are more vulnerable to suffocation from pressure to their chest area.  When you are asleep you cannot monitor your own movement and you may end up crushing the bird.