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Holiday Hazards for Birds

December 15 2018

The holiday season is here! If you have a pet bird, you’ll want to take some precautions to keep your little buddy happy, healthy, and safe at this time of year. The holidays can be dangerous for our feathered friends! Read on as a local McHenry, IL vet lists some dangers for pet parents to be aware of.


Keep your winged pal in mind as you are decorating. Many seasonal plants, such as mistletoe, holly, ivy, lilies, and yew, are poisonous to Polly. Pine needles are dangerous as well: they’re often sharp enough to injure birds. Tinsel, ornament hooks, and electric lights are also on the dangerous items list, and can be particularly problematic for birds that are attracted to shiny things. Wreaths, ribbons, and ornaments are also unsafe.


Polly has extremely sensitive lungs, and can get sick from inhaling things that are perfectly safe for us. Those seasonal scented candles are actually toxic to your adorable pet! Cooking fumes, perfumes, aerosols, and potpourri burners are also dangerous to birds, as are cigarette smoke and the smoke from fireplaces. Keep your colorful little friend in an area with clean, fresh air.


Food is a big part of many seasonal celebrations. It’s perfectly fine to give your winged buddy a special snack of her own. Just be sure to only offer your cute pet things that are safe for her. Never give your pet bird chocolate, avocados, garlic, onions, caffeine, alcohol, or anything fried, sugary, or fattening. Seeds, popcorn, and pasta may be good options. Ask your vet for specific recommendations on safe and unsafe foods.


Polly is a creature of habit. Any disruption to her usual schedule can make her feel scared or anxious. Even changes to the usual décor can be unsettling. Visitors can also make some of our winged pals uneasy. Watch your colorful pal closely for signs of stress. Some common ones are unusual vocalizations, restlessness, and reduced appetite, but there are many more. If you know or suspect that your cute pet is frightened, cover her cage or temporarily move her to a quieter room. Just be sure to spend lots of time with your little buddy, so she doesn’t feel lonely.

Happy Holidays from all of us here at Richmond Veterinary Clinic, your local McHenry, IL animal clinic. Please feel free to call us anytime!