MSD Manual

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Pet Owner Version

Household Hazards for Pet Birds


Manuals Staff

Reviewed/Revised Jul 2011 | Modified Oct 2022
Topic Resources

While time outside a cage can be a positive experience your bird, it can also be dangerous, especially for small birds that can be easily stepped on or injured in falls. Birds also do not understand the nature of glass windows or mirrors. Like wild birds that fly into windows from the outside, pet birds can be injured flying into these barriers. Birds outside their cages should be carefully monitored to ensure they cannot escape and to avoid accidents and injury. All windows and doors in the area should be fully closed before you release your bird from its cage.

Common Household Poisons

This list is not inclusive because there may be other substances toxic to birds that have not been widely documented. The bird’s environment should be limited to those items known to be safe.

  • Acetone (nail polish remover)

  • Ammonia

  • Antifreeze

  • Ant syrup or paste

  • Avocado

  • Bathroom bowl cleaner

  • Bleach

  • Boric acid

  • Camphophenique

  • Carbon tetrachloride

  • Charcoal lighter

  • Clinitest tablets

  • Copper and brass cleaners

  • Corn and wart remover

  • Crayons

  • Deodorants

  • Detergents

  • Disinfectants

  • Drain cleaners

  • Epoxy or super glue

  • Fabric softeners

  • Fluoropolymer fumes

  • Galvanized materials

  • Garden sprays

  • Gasoline

  • Gun cleaner

  • Gunpowder

  • Hair dyes

  • Hexachlorophene (in some soaps)

  • House plants (including calla lilies, mistletoe, poinsettia, and others)

  • Indelible markers

  • Insecticides

  • Iodine

  • Kerosene

  • Lighter fluid

  • Linoleum (contains lead)

  • Matches

  • Model glue

  • Mothballs

  • Muriatic acid

  • Mushrooms (some varieties)

  • Nail polish

  • Oven cleaner

  • Paint

  • Paint remover

  • Paint thinner

  • Perfume

  • Permanent wave solutions

  • Pesticides

  • Photographic solutions

  • Pine oil

  • Prescription and nonprescription drugs

  • Red squill

  • Rodenticides

  • Rubbing alcohol

  • Shaving lotion

  • Silver polish

  • Snail bait

  • Spot remover

  • Spray starch

  • Sulphuric acid

  • Suntan lotion

  • Turpentine

  • Weed killers

  • Window cleaners

Other hazards for birds outside their cages include access to toxic materials (including certain house plants and dangerous foods and medicines), electrical cords, stove tops, open toilets, and other seemingly innocent household objects ( see Common Household Poisons Common Household Poisons Common Household Poisons ). Birds have been caught in blankets, trapped in clothes dryers, drowned in sinks and toilets and even sucked into vacuum cleaners. Be sure to monitor your bird any time it is outside its cage.

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