Is Your Cockatiel at Risk? Discover What Can Kill or Harm Them

One of the most significant hazards to your cockatiel’s health is Teflon and other non-stick coatings found in cookware and appliances. When heated, these coatings release toxic fumes that can cause acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) in birds. Symptoms of ARDS include difficulty breathing, wheezing, coughing, and lethargy. In severe cases, it can be fatal.

It is crucial to keep your cockatiel away from the kitchen when using non-stick cookware or appliances. If you notice any signs of respiratory distress in your bird, take them to an avian veterinarian immediately.

Candles, Air Fresheners, and Other Fragrances

Many household fragrances, including candles, air fresheners, and essential oils, can be harmful or even toxic to cockatiels. These products contain chemicals that can irritate their respiratory system, leading to coughing, sneezing, and difficulty breathing. Ingesting these substances can also cause digestive upset and other health problems.

If you must use fragrances in your home, make sure to keep them out of reach of your bird and use only high-quality, bird-safe products. Consider using natural options like fresh flowers or herbs instead.

Houseplants and Flowers

While some houseplants and flowers can be safe for birds, many are toxic and can cause serious harm or even death. Common toxic plants include lilies, azaleas, daffodils, and oleander. These plants can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and even organ failure in birds.

Make sure to research any plants or flowers before bringing them into your home and keep them out of reach of your bird. It is also a good idea to provide your bird with safe, non-toxic plants to chew on.

Food and Drink


Avocado is a popular and healthy food for humans but can be extremely toxic to birds. The flesh, skin, and pit of the avocado contain persin, a toxin that can cause respiratory distress, heart failure, and death in birds. Symptoms of avocado toxicity in birds include difficulty breathing, lethargy, and sudden death.

Never feed your cockatiel avocado or any food that contains avocado, such as guacamole.


Chocolate is another common food that is toxic to birds. Chocolate contains theobromine, a stimulant that can cause vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, and even death in birds. Dark chocolate and baking chocolate contain higher levels of theobromine and are more toxic than milk chocolate.

Always keep chocolate and other sweet treats out of reach of your bird.


Caffeine is a stimulant found in coffee, tea, chocolate, and many soft drinks. Like chocolate, caffeine can be toxic to birds and can cause restlessness, heart palpitations, and even death.

Never give your cockatiel caffeinated beverages or foods.


Alcohol is another substance that can be toxic to birds. Even small amounts of alcohol can cause lethargy, disorientation, and difficulty breathing in birds. Ingesting larger amounts can lead to coma and even death.

Never give your cockatiel alcohol or any food or beverage containing alcohol.

Medications and Chemicals

Human Medications

Many human medications can be toxic to birds, even in small amounts. Common medications that can be harmful include aspirin, acetaminophen, and ibuprofen. Symptoms of medication toxicity in birds include vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, and liver failure.

Never give your cockatiel medication without consulting an avian veterinarian first.

Cleaning Products

Many household cleaning products contain toxic chemicals that can be harmful or even fatal to birds. Bleach, ammonia, and other harsh chemicals can cause respiratory distress, skin irritation, and other health problems in birds. When using cleaning products, keep your bird in a separate room and make sure the area is well-ventilated.

Consider using natural cleaning products or bird-safe alternatives instead.

Outside the Home

Pesticides and Herbicides

Pesticides and herbicides can be extremely toxic to birds. Exposure to these chemicals can cause respiratory distress, neurological problems, and even death. If you use pesticides or herbicides in your yard, make sure to keep your bird indoors and away from the treated area.

Consider using natural pest control methods or bird-safe alternatives instead.

Wild Birds and Other Animals

Your cockatiel may be at risk of disease transmission from other birds and animals. Wild birds can carry diseases like avian influenza, which can be fatal to pet birds. Other pets like cats and dogs can also pose a risk if they are not properly supervised around your bird.

Make sure to keep your bird away from other animals and seek veterinary care immediately if you suspect your bird has been exposed to a disease.


In conclusion, many everyday household items and substances can be harmful or even fatal to your cockatiel. It is crucial to be aware of these hazards and take steps to protect your bird from them. By keeping your bird away from non-stick cookware, fragrances, toxic plants, and harmful foods and chemicals, you can help ensure their health and happiness. Always consult with your avian veterinarian if you suspect your bird has been exposed to a harmful substance.

ThePetFaq Team