Bird Health E-mail

Making Your Home Safe

Whether you are a new pet-bird owner or have shared your home with a bird for years, it is a good idea to occasionally tour your home with a bird’s eye view. Ask yourself, “Is this a safe place for my bird?” A curious parrot can find many ways to get into trouble, but there are several situations you can avoid.

Take water, for instance. You can eliminate drowning hazards by keeping toilet lids closed, keeping your bird away from bathtubs or bathroom sinks in use, and keeping your bird away from the kitchen sink. The kitchen sink isn’t the only danger in the kitchen, of course. Hot stoves, boiling water, running disposals, open oven doors, and busy feet all can lead to injury. Play it safe and simply keep your bird out of the kitchen.

Birds can be like babies who love to put everything in their mouths, but it’s a stage they never outgrow. Get down on the floor and look for anything your bird might chew on or swallow. Hazards can include electrical cords, computer or telephone cables, staples, paperclips and curtain weights. The safest place for your bird is either in or on its cage, on a playgym, or in your hands, so establish those areas as fun places to be, rather than letting your bird spend time on the floor.

Birds have highly sensitive respiratory systems, which means they can be poisoned by fumes in the air. If you can smell it, consider it a potential danger. Scented candles, perfumes, aerosol sprays, paint, chemically based cleaning products, smoke, and pesticides all have the potential to be deadly. And there’s a common fume that you can’t smell that has been proven to be toxic to birds: polytetrafluoroethylene (commonly called PTFE). This is a chemical that is released when products that have a nonstick coating are used at certain temperatures. Even the experts disagree on the temperature at which fumes begin to be released, so avoid using nonstick items in your home (including nonstick pans and cookie sheets, as well as some ovens and space heaters).

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, so always supervise your bird when it is out of its cage.