Birds are curious creatures and commonly mouth strange objects. If they find the taste appealing, they will swallow all sorts of dangerous materials. Especially If you have free-flying birds, be aware that one of them may come in contact with a poison. Any product labeled poisonous for humans should be poisonous to birds.

Suspect poisoning if you observe:
  1. Bird chewing or contact any poisonous substance.
  2. Opened, chewed or spilled containers of any poisonous substance.
  3. A foreign substance noted on the feathers.
Signs to watch for:
  1. Sudden onset of regurgitation and diarrhea.
  2. Convulsions.
  3. Sudden onset of breathing difficulties, coughing.
  4. Depression.
  5. Shock.
First Aid for poisoning

Remove the poison to prevent further Ingestion. Keep the bird quiet and warm. Get Immediate veterinary core. Bring a sample of the suspected poison, any vomit, along with the most recent droppings.

If no veterinary care is immediately available, the bird is conscious, and you are sue that the poison was ingested and not lust played with, the following medication can be given to coat the digestive tract and help prevent absorption of the poison.

Try one of the following

  • Raw egg while mixed with Kaopectate or Pepto-Bismol
  • Activated charcoal mixed with a few drops of mineral oil and enough water to give a pasty consistency.

Dosage depends on the size of the bird:

  • Canary or Budgerigar: 0.15 – 0.3 cc (3- 6 drops)
  • Cockatiel or other small parrot: 1 – 2 cc (1/5 – 2/5 tsp)
  • Large Parrots: 3 – 6 cc (3/5 – 1-1/5 tsp)

NOTE: These can be given slowly with a plastic eye dropper or may have to be force-fed with a tube. If any problems are encountered with the administration, STOP IMMEDIATELY.

Alcoholic beverages Garden sprays Permanent wave solutions
Ammonia Gasoline Pesticides
Antifreeze Gun cleaners Photographic solutions
Ant syrup or paste Hair dyes Pine Oil
Arsenic Herbicides Plants (see plant list)
Automotive products Insecticides Prescription medicines
Bathroom bowl cleaner iodine (also non-prescription)
Bleach Kerosene Rodenticides
Boric acid lighter fluid Rubbing alcohol
Camphophenique Model cement Shaving lotion
Charcoal lighter Muriatic acid Sliver polish
alnitest tablets Mushrooms Snail bait
Copper and brass cleaners Nail Polish Spot removers
Corn and Wart remover Nail Polish remover Strychnine
Detergents Oven cleaner Sulfuric acid
Disinfectants Paint Super glue
Drain cleaners Paint remover Turpentine
Epoxy glue kit Paint thinner Weed Men
Furniture polish Perfume Window wash solvent

NOTE: The nearest Poison Control Center can also be contacted. They have been organized to help all poison victims. All available information on virtually every toxic product is kept at these centers.

Bird-proofing a home is much the same as child-proofing, except there is no such thing as out of reach.


This is a common cause of poisoning in pet birds and deserves special mention. Lead is found in such things as leaded windows (stained glass, etc.) toys containing lead, curtain weights, some costume jewelry, lead pellets from pellet guns, lead fishing weights and paint containing lead.

Signs to watch for: depression, weakness, regurgitation, wet droppings (frequently bloody), convulsions, uncoordinated behavior, head tilt.

If lead poisoning is suspected, contact your avian veterinarian immediately. X-rays should be taken if lead is present, it can be seen in the digestive tract in most cases.


Teflon-coated pots and pans used for cooking have become commonplace in most contemporary kitchens. They are designed for moderate cooking temperatures. When these pans are accidentally left on the stove and the temperature becomes very high, the Teflon will burn and In the process will give off strong fumes. These fumes can rapidly spread throughout the house and are often deadly to birds. Birds die within 15-20 minutes and, unfortunately, there is no cure. However, some supportive care and oxygen therapy may be beneficial. Non-stick burner drip pans should never be used as these can overheat under normal usage.


The most common cause of insecticide poisoning In pet birds occurs when owners spray or “fog” the house for fleas. Since birds have such sensitive respiratory tracts, if they are brought back Into the home too soon after spraying, poisoning can quickly occur. To avoid any problem when spraying, take the bird out of the house. Do not bring It bock in for 24 hours and not until the house has been well aerated by opening the doors and windows for sufficient Interval. Consult your avian veterinarian for the safest and most effective logger to use. If signs of poisoning occur, contact your veterinarian.

  1. Feed a nutritional complete diet. Food and water should always be fresh. All fruits and vegetables should be thoroughly washed before serving.
  2. Before giving your bird any medications, consult your avian vet.
  3. Many household products are potentially poisonous and should not be left open where a bird can reach them.
  4. Do not use any products with strong fumes such as cleaning solutions around your bird.
  5. Do not use any fungicides, or rodentcides around your bird. If you must, consult your avian veterinarian first as to which are the safest products and how to use them.
  6. Do not leaves your bird near house plants. Both of you will be grateful
  7. Do not leave any cigarettes or other tobacco products around where your bird can get them.
  8. The kitchen area presents special problems, especially for free-flying birds. There can be cleaning solutions left open, strong fumes, open pots of bolting water and excessive heat.
  9. At first sign of any abnormal behavior, contact your avian vet immediately.