Household Dangers & Hazards For Pet Birds (Full List)

Published by Joseph Calabrese on

household dangers to pet birds

The average household is not the safest place for pet birds, despite our best efforts to eliminate potential hazards, risks, and dangers.

However, the greatest threat to any pet is an oblivious owner.

Owners who are unaware of the household dangers to their pet birds have a high chance of killing them accidentally.

And it’s extremely tragic that this happens quite often.

This article aims to prevent sudden tragedies by giving you a complete resource for all the household dangers and hazards that pose a threat to your beloved birds.

I’ve broken this article up into 4 parts…

You can skip to any of the 4 parts using these links so you can quickly get the information you need the most:

Full list of toxic fumes for pet birds

List of hazardous materials for pet birds

Toxic foods for parrots

Household risks/dangers to pet birds

Full List Of Toxic Fumes For Pet Birds

  • Disinfectant spray
  • Disinfectant wipes
  • Odorous cleaning supplies
  • Odorous chemicals
  • Carbon monoxide from heating appliances
  • Match head fumes
  • PTFE fumes from nonstick cookware (DEADLY!) Often used in Teflon, Silverstone, & Supra cooking products
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Marijuana smoke
  • Smoke from burnt food
  • Smoke from outside bushfires
  • Vape smoke
  • General cooking fumes
  • Paint fumes
  • Paint remover
  • Varnishes
  • New furniture fumes
  • New carpet fumes
  • Aerosols (Air fresheners, hair spray, deodorant, perfume, etc)
  • Bleach
  • Gasoline fumes (petrol)
  • Gun cleaner
  • Gun powder
  • Nail polish
  • Nail polish remover
  • Essential oils
  • Permanent markers
  • Smelly glues
  • Mothballs
  • Scented candles
  • Insecticide spray
  • Ammonia
  • Strong vinegar smells
  • Battery acid
  • Oven cleaner fumes
  • Odorous carpet cleaners
  • Dust
  • Other pet dander

You must get your bird out of the area if any of these fumes have been released into the atmosphere.

Either evacuate them to an air-tight room or take them outside ASAP.

For fumes that are expected to travel throughout the entire house, it’s best to take the birds outside. But if the fumes are coming from outside and into your house, it’s best to take them into an air-tight room on the opposite side of the house so fumes can’t get in.

Use a towel or a thick jumper to block the bottom gap of the door to prevent toxic fumes from entering the room.

Related: How To Boost Air Quality Indoors For Pet Birds

household dangers for pet birds
(Image Credit:

List Of Hazardous Materials For Pet Birds

Do not allow your pet bird to play, interact, or eat any of the following hazardous materials:

  • Zinc
  • Lead
  • Copper
  • Heavy metals
  • Medicine/Drugs (Tylenol, antidepressants, pills, etc)
  • Tobacco/nicotine products
  • Electrical cables (Device chargers, power cords, USB cables)
  • Other pets (Dogs, cats, and snakes can all hurt fragile pet birds)
  • Adhesive glues found in toilet paper and paper towel rolls
  • Tap water often contains bacteria or parasites that can make birds sick when consumed
  • Crayons
  • Pen ink
  • Pesticide (Ensure you properly wash all fruits and vegetables before serving to your bird)
  • Sulphur dioxide (Often used to preserve dried fruit)
  • Galvanised objects (Means to coat silver or iron with zinc)
  • Germs/bacteria (Can come from unclean surfaces, dirty phone screens, and unwashed fingers)
  • Unsafe woods (Cedar, oak, redwood)

I suggest locking or putting away any of these hazardous items while the birds are outside of the cage to minimise risk, which includes other pets.

You should definitely not have a cat and a bird out at the same time!

Also, ensure that anything your bird interacts with is clean and germ-free, including your hands.

household dangers for birds
(Image Credit:

Toxic Foods For Parrots

The following foods should never be fed to your parrot:

  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Avocado
  • Chocolate
  • Apple seeds
  • Cherry pips
  • Rhubarb
  • Caffeine
  • Salt
  • Raw meat (Can cause salmonella poisoning)

Click here to view the full list of toxic foods for parrots

Household Risks/Dangers For Pet Birds

This list is not on toxic fumes or materials, but a list of potential risks and accidents that can and do occur to pet birds within the household.

You can avoid these instances by simply being cautious while your birds are out of the cage.

  • Birds falling into a boiling pot when you’re cooking
  • Falling into a tub or sink full of water and drowning
  • Stepping on the bird
  • Sitting on the bird while they’re on a couch or chair
  • Active ceiling fans can hurt your bird
  • Glass doors or windows (birds can crash into them if they don’t understand the concept of glass)
  • Licking dirty phone screens that carry germs and bacteria
  • Their own nails can pose a danger when they’re too long as they can get caught in toys, clothing, and the cage.
  • Open doors or windows will allow your bird to fly out into the dangerous wild. Ensure all windows and doors are closed while your birds are out of the cage
  • A new bird coming from the pet store has the potential to spread illnesses to the birds you already have. Don’t let newly adopted birds interact with your birds until they’ve been seen by an avian vet
  • Your own unwashed fingers can spread germs and pretty much anything else to your bird, making them sick
  • Overheating from the sun, UV light, or heating appliances
  • Bar spacing on the cage can be a hazard as birds can get their heads stuck between the bars
  • Clipped wings can pose a risk to birds as they can’t escape danger or recover from a fall. Clipped birds can also develop muscle atrophy due to a lack of wing muscle use.
  • Hot light bulbs from lamps can burn your bird’s feet if they land on them
  • Rope toys (Birds are known to chew and eat fibrous materials from rope toys, which can cause crop impaction)
  • Regular bird toys can also be dangerous if there are any loops or loose materials that can entangle, restrict, or choke them
  • Mould & fungi growth within the home. They may also contaminate improperly stored foods, which is hazardous when fed to birds
  • Sharp objects have the potential to impale or seriously injure your parrot


After going through all the lists, I hope you’ve learnt at least one new hazardous household item that you need to keep away from your bird.

If you’re concerned about any fumes or toxins that aren’t on these lists, keep these 3 points in mind:

  1. Anything that has a strong smell is likely dangerous for birds
  1. Anything that is toxic to us humans will almost always be harmful to parrots
  1. If you can smell it, so can your bird

If you believe your bird has been exposed to dangerous fumes, materials, or foods, please contact your local avian vet ASAP. Most vets have a 24-hour emergency line that can be a lifesaver in threatening situations.

Thank you for reading.

Click here to learn how to boost indoor air quality so it’s safer for you and your parrots

household hazards to parakeets
(Arthur, My cockatiel)


Categories: General Care


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