Holiday Hazards

In hopes that your holiday season will be the safest, happiest time of the year, we have listed a few things to help keep everyone safe during this hectic time.

Plants & Trees: Your bird should not be allowed to chew on the Christmas tree whether it is a live tree or artificial. Unless you know FOR SURE that your live tree has not been treated with any chemical or pesticide it's best to keep your bird at a safe distance. Also be aware that mistletoe berries, holly berries and Poinsettias are generally considered highly toxic plants.

Decorations: Although tinsel of today does not contain any lead, don't let your bird chew on it. Also be aware it can tangle around tiny toes, legs or other body parts. Beware also of fake snow or tree flocking, tree ornaments and garlands. Be sure all electrical cords for holiday lights as well as extension cords to hold all the extra goodies, are safely out of your bird's reach.

Aromas: Most candles contain essential oils which can be very toxic to birds when burned. Usually, the better the candle smells, the more dangerous it is. Better to simply enjoy the look of holiday candles scattered around, rather than burning them anywhere near your bird. Also be aware of the dangers of potpourri and pine scented sprays to make your home smell like the outdoors. You can make our own wonderful holiday smells by simply adding some cloves and cinnamon to water in a simmering pot. Just be sure the simmering pot does not boil dry and always unplug it when you leave the house.

Fireplaces: Although your bird may have his own Christmas stocking hanging by the fireplace, make sure the wood you burn is safe. Some Yule logs and holiday fire starters may contain heavy metals such as lead, arsenic and such. Make sure the room is well ventilated if you warm up your home with a nice holiday fire.

Gifts: Every bird just loves Christmas presents. Be sure to wrap your bird's presents only in plain paper and not fancy Christmas wrappings which may contain toxic substances. Or better yet just place his new goodies in a plain lunch bag, fold down the top and let him have fun tearing into the bag.

Edible Goodies: First and foremost, be sure to keep your bird away from all the kitchen fumes. Remember Teflon-coated or any nonstick cookware should never, never, never be used in a home with birds. This type of cookware contain polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) which is lethal to birds often causing death within only minutes. Many self-cleaning ovens are coated in PTFE also. Share only the healthy foods you prepare and keep the extra goodies at a minimum. No matter how much your bird begs, he really doesn't need any of the extra sweet or salty holiday goodies. Do not give your bird (or allow anyone else either) alcoholic beverages, coffee or chocolate. Keep some birdie treats on hand to help your bird feel included with all the family.

The Others: If you entertain a lot during this festive time, you may want to designate a quiet place in a bedroom where your bird can be moved while there are lots of family and friends visiting. This can be the stress-free zone (and you might want to take a break there occasionally yourself). Also remember cigarette smoke can cause respiratory problems in birds.

We hope you and all your feathered friends enjoy a safe and happy holiday season.