10 Unhealthy Foods That Can Poison Your Bird

unhealthy foods

Birds are social creatures, which is why many owners allow their pets to share meals. While sharing a meal with your bird is great fun and can have a positive impact on your pet’s emotional health, many common human foods can be harmful or even deadly to your bird. Owners should know which foods they can share with their birds and which pose a serious risk.


Chocolate is a wonderful treat to share with human family members, but it can be harmful or deadly to your bird. Chocolate poisoning first affects the bird’s digestive system, causing vomiting and diarrhea. As it progresses, the bird’s central nervous system is attacked, leading first to seizures and eventually death.

Apple seeds

Apples and other rosaceous plants such as cherries, peaches, apricots, and pears contain trace amounts of cyanide in their seeds. Although apple fruit is good for your bird, be aware that there may be pesticides in the skin of the fruit in addition to the toxic seeds. 

Thoroughly clean and core apple pieces you share with your bird to avoid exposure to these toxins.


Although responsible bird owners would never offer them an alcoholic beverage, there have been cases in which birds in the wild have contracted alcohol poisoning from being served cocktails unsupervised. As in humans, excessive alcohol intake can be fatal.

Alcohol affects the organ systems of birds and can be fatal. If alcohol is served in your home, you should keep your bird safe and confine it to its cage.


Although all creatures need regulated amounts of sodium in their bodies, too much salt can cause many health problems in birds, including excessive thirst, dehydration, kidney dysfunction, and death.

Be aware of the number of salty foods your bird eats.


The peel and pit of this popular fruit are known to cause heart problems and ultimately heart failure in pet birds. Although the toxicity level of avocados is controversial, it is generally recommended to play it safe with avocados. Keep guacamole and other avocado products as far away from pet birds as possible.


Mushrooms are a type of fungus and are known to cause digestive disorders in birds. The caps and stems of some varieties can cause liver failure in animals.5 Do not allow your bird to eat raw or cooked mushrooms.

Tomato Leaves

Like potatoes and other Solanaceae plants, tomatoes have a tasty fruit that is a treat for your bird. However, the stems, tendrils, and leaves are very toxic to your pet.

If you offer your bird a tomato as a treat, make sure it has been properly cleaned and cut, removing the green parts so your bird does not come in contact with the toxins. Because of their high acidity, tomatoes are not the best choice; there are many other vegetables you can give your bird. 


Caffeinated beverages such as soft drinks, coffee, and tea are popular with people, but allowing your bird to drink these beverages can be very dangerous. Caffeine causes heart dysfunction in birds and has been linked to increased heartbeat, arrhythmias, hyperactivity, and cardiac arrest.

This will satisfy both your bird’s taste buds and nutritional needs.


Although limited amounts of onion or garlic powder are generally considered acceptable as flavorings, overconsumption of onions causes vomiting, diarrhea, and many other digestive problems in pet birds. Prolonged exposure has been shown to cause a blood disorder called hemolytic anemia, followed by respiratory distress and eventually death.

Dried beans

Cooked beans are a favorite treat for many birds, but raw and dried beans can be very harmful to your pet. Raw beans contain a toxin called hemagglutinin, which is highly toxic to birds.

To avoid exposure, thoroughly cook the beans you share with your bird, and do not leave dried beans in an easily accessible location. 

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