Your pet parakeet is probably an active little creature. Such curious little birds love social interaction and actively investigate their environment. But sometimes, parakeets endanger themselves with their own curiosity. Certain plants, foods and fumes can be poisonous to your parakeet. Identifying potential hazards is important to parakeet health and longevity.
Certain foods and beverages are toxic to parakeets. Onions and garlic contain poison that destroys their red blood cells, and many fruit pits and seeds contain arsenic. Also, leaves of tomatoes, rhubarb or potato plants contain a toxin, solanine, that is lethal to parakeets.
Avocado is poisonous to parakeets; so are foods containing caffeine, such as coffee, tea and chocolate. Alcohol can cause liver failure in your parakeet.
Many other household plants also contain toxins. Common shrubbery plants, such as yew, rhododendron and azalea, have chemicals poisonous to parakeets. Also, houseplants including philodendron, poinsettia and parsley can produce toxic symptoms in birds. Other plants poisonous to parakeets include lilies, English ivy, tulips and daffodils.
Parakeets are highly sensitive to poisonous fumes. Dangerous fumes can come from aerosol sprays, insecticides, overheated cookware, car exhaust, glues, paints and smoke. Certain everyday cleaning products, such as bleach, ammonia and some detergents, can produce fumes that could poison your parakeet.
Also, self-cleaning ovens can emit poisonous fumes. At high temperatures, non-stick pans can emit odorless fumes that could kill a parakeet within one to five minutes. Never keep your parakeet in the kitchen.
Paints, putty, plaster, dishes, hardware, foil, fishing weights and batteries can contain heavy metals poisonous to parakeets. Parakeets tend to bite and chew on objects that contain heavy metals, such as lead and zinc.
Food and water can become contaminated from heavy metals that leach from the containers that hold your parakeet's food and water. Sometimes, old cages have lead paint that can chip when your parakeet chews on the bars, leading to lead poisoning.
Human vitamins, diet pills and prescription medications can be poisonous to parakeets. Keep these brightly colored little objects in sealed containers to prevent your parakeet from investigating them.
Parakeets tend to enjoy granular food, but plant food pellets or granular pesticide baits can be poisonous to them.
If you think your parakeet might have been exposed to a poison, contact an animal poison control center or your veterinarian.
Based in Michigan, Keri Gardner has been writing scientific journal articles since 1998. Her articles have appeared in such journals as "Disability and Rehabilitation" and "Journal of Orthopaedic Research." She holds a Master of Science in comparative medicine and integrative biology from Michigan State University.