Christmas is a great time for families and friends, but it can be a hazardous time for parrots if you don’t plan ahead. So what risks at home should you look out for with the festivities approaching? Tamara Labelle of ExoticDirect pet insurance breaks down ways to keep your parrot safe this holiday season and into the New Year.
1. Christmas trees
Parrots love trees! After all, it’s where many of their ancestors originate from. However, it’s not a good idea to let your parrot hang around the Christmas tree. Not only could the tree topple over, but they may be tempted to nibble on it, resulting in potential choking.
Pine and spruce branches are considered safe. However, be aware that if the tree has been sprayed with an insecticide or a preserving agent, it could be toxic. Also, be aware that any sap produced by the tree could stick to your parrot’s feathers.
As for fake Christmas trees, these are generally safe for your parrot; however, you should be aware that your parrot might try to eat the fake needles. This could cause the bird to choke, or for the needles to get stuck in your pet’s insides.
2. Baubles, lights and ornaments
If you have baubles and lights hanging on your tree, or ornaments around the house, be very careful. Your parrot may see them as a new shiny toy and try to play with them! This could lead to your pet getting hurt if the item breaks. Or even worse, electrocuted.
Also, any loose string or cable could also get caught around the bird, leading to injury. Don’t forget that at ExoticDirect we offer parrot insurance for accidental injury, illness, mortality and theft! So if your cheeky parrot does get itself into a scrape, it needn’t cost you the earth.
3. Room fragrances and lit candles.
Room fragrances should generally be avoided as they can affect your parrot’s very sensitive respiratory system. Some parrot owners have reported issues where their parrot has suffered with breathing difficulties simply because a plug-in air freshener has been installed.
The same should be said for candles. When burnt, candles can release toxic fumes, and these could pose a threat to your parrot. Beeswax candles are thought to be the safest for your parrot; however, if in doubt, don’t use any.
4. Seasonal visitors
The noise and commotion of having lots of new and exciting visitors in the home could lead to your parrot becoming distressed. Birds like stability and routine, and a sudden upset in this could lead to feather plucking or screaming.
Bear these things in mind, and try to give your parrot extra attention should your house be extra busy. If your parrot does begin to exhibit signs of stress, speak to your vet about what you should do.
5. Open doors and windows
When you’ve got visitors coming and going, the open door is an invitation for your parrot. Keen to explore, the bird could see the open space as the start of new adventure. However, we know that it isn’t.
Make sure your parrot is safely away from the door when visitors arrive or leave and that any open windows are covered with blinds or mesh.
Don’t forget that your back door also poses a threat, so bear this in mind. Whether you’re popping to the bins, tidying the garden or ventilating the house, your parrot may still head out when your back’s turned.
6. Picky foods, alcohol and general yummy grub
We love to leave bits and pieces of delicious food around the house during the seasonal period. And as much as we love our nibbles, so will your parrot.
Our food isn’t that great though for your parrot. Many foods can be harmful. Nuts can present a choking hazard and are often loaded with salt.
Your parrot would even try your alcoholic drink if you leave it lying around, so make sure the bird can’t get at it. The last thing you want is an intoxicated parrot and a possible vet visit over Christmas.
7. Boiling pans and hot oven trays
With all the excitement of preparing a seasonal meal, make sure your parrot doesn’t try to “lend a claw.”
Keep your parrot away from those boiling pans and hot oven trays as you prepare your festive treats. Their curiosity can get them into trouble, potentially even a nasty scald or burn.
8. Non-stick pans and Teflon toxicity
It goes without saying that it’ll be more than the food that will suffer if you burn your non-stick pans or oven trays.
Burnt Polytetrafluorethylene (or Teflon, to go by its most popular brand name) releases dangerous toxins into the air that can kill a parrot almost instantly. We can’t emphasize enough the importance of not burning Teflon and the impact it’ll have on your parrot.
Do not use non-stick pans if you can help it. And if you do need to use them, keep your bird well away from the kitchen when you’re cooking. Fumes can travel to other rooms, so keeping your parrot elsewhere isn’t always going to be deterrent.
9. Loud music and noisy people
If your bird isn’t used to loud music or noisy people, this could upset it. If playing loud music, try keeping the tunes to an area the bird is not in, so that the music doesn’t affect it as much.
Visitors may also not be as conscious of your parrot’s safety as you are, which could also lead to accidental injuries for the bird.
Like many pets, parrots may find the sounds of fireworks to be confusing and frightening. This could lead to your parrot feeling stressed.
If you decide to have fireworks, make sure that you close the curtains and shut any windows before setting them off. Playing your parrot’s favorite TV or radio show can also help, acting as a distraction.