The pet trend of the last year seems to be keeping birds. From chatty Ringnecks and beatboxing Tiels to clownish Caiques these animals are all over TickTock and Instagram.
If you are thinking about taking on a bird as a pet we advise that you do not do this lightly. As with all pets, they can take over your life, but birds require an extra special amount of care and have specific veterinary needs and housing when you go on holiday.
Unfortunately, there are lots of things around our houses that could harm our birds and be potentially fatal.
Because birds have sensitive lungs, toxins in the air can be especially dangerous. In general, anything with a ‘strong smell’ should be treated carefully. As a rule, it‘s always best to keep any product that gives off strong fumes away and open windows to help ventilate the area.
When keeping pet birds, avoid:
Candles: This may seem obvious, but the fumes from incense and both scented and non-scented candles can be really harmful to pet birds.
Non-stick pans: Teflon and other non-stick coatings on pans release toxic fumes when they are heated up which can cause sudden death in birds. Teflon coverings can also be found on irons, ironing board covers, heat lamp covers and on the inside of ovens.
Zinc: Zinc in wire cages, mesh, staples, nails and some toys is a common cause of poisoning in birds. Other sources of zinc can include fertilisers, some paints and pennies (minted after 1982).
Household cleaners: As with all pets, direct contact with many household cleaners can harm your pet birds. The fumes from cleaners can also harm them.
Beauty products: Hairspray and nail varnish can both cause harm to your birds, especially if used in close proximity to them.
Smoke: Smoke from any source, including cigarettes as well as from wood-burning stoves or open fires, can be fatal to pet birds. Remember some smoke can linger in the air and on surfaces after its source is gone. Don’t let pet birds in rooms with fires even when they aren’t on.
Plants: Many plants can be toxic to birds and birds like parrots and parakeets are particularly inquisitive and may be more likely to investigate plants by eating them.
Human foods: Parrots in particular like to chew anything they can get their claws on, which might include human food. It’s best to avoid feeding them human foods that in general as many of our foods (especially those high in fat, salt, sugar or dairy) can be harmful. Keep food like chocolate, alcohol and caffeine completely away from your birds. Avocado toxicity can cause sudden death so it should never be fed to pet birds.
Glass windows and doors: Windows aren’t just dangerous because your birds might escape if they’re left open. Birds might not see glass clearly and may try to fly through it, even if it’s shut. A collision can seriously hurt or even kill them. Try to make your windows more visible to birds by making glass panes more obvious with decals or use blinds or curtains.
Toys: Toys are an absolute must to keep your bird’s mind active, and your birds will love to play with them. Most toys available to buy should be pet-safe for birds but there can also be potentially dangerous toys on the market.
For more information visit: www.pdsa.org.uk