Unfortunately, potential dangers to a pet bird don’t stop with the furniture and accessories. A variety of fumes can overpower your cockatiel, such as those from cigarettes, air fresheners, insecticides, bleach, shoe polish, oven cleaners, kerosene, lighter fluid, glues, active self-cleaning ovens, hairspray, overheated nonstick cookware, paint thinner, bathroom cleaners, and nail polish remover. Try to keep your pet away from anything that has a strong chemical odor, and be sure to apply makeup and hair-care products far away from your cockatiel.
To help protect your pet from harmful chemical fumes, consider using some “green” cleaning alternatives, such as baking soda and vinegar to clear clogged drains, baking soda instead of scouring powder to clean tubs and sinks, lemon juice and mineral oil to polish furniture, and white vinegar and water as a window cleaner. These products keep the environment a little friendlier for your bird, and these simple solutions to cleaning problems often work better than higher-priced, name-brand products.
Marathon cooking sessions may result in overheated cookware or stovetop drip pans, which could kill your bird if the cookware or drip pans are coated with a nonstick finish. As it burns, toxic fumes are released that can kill a beloved pet bird. You may want to consider replacing your nonstick cookware with stainless steel pots and pans, which you can treat with a nonstick cooking spray to make cleanups safe and easy. By the same token, the self-cleaning cycle on some ovens can create harmful fumes for pet birds. Use this cycle only if you have opened the windows around your bird’s cage to let in fresh air. (Make sure your cockatiel’s cage is closed securely before opening a window.)
If you’re considering a remodeling or home improvement project, think about your cockatiel first. Fumes from paint or formaldehyde, which can be found in carpet backing, paneling, and particle board, can cause pets and people to
become ill. If you are having work done on your home, consider boarding your cockatiel at your avian veterinarian’s office or at the home of a bird-loving friend or relative until the project is complete and the house is aired out. You can consider the house safe for your pet when you cannot smell any trace of any of the products used in the remodeling.
Having your home fumigated for termites poses another potentially hazardous situation for your pet cockatiel. Ask your exterminator for information about the types of chemicals that will be used in your home, and inquire if pet-safe alternatives, such as electrical currents or liquid nitrogen, are available. If your house must be treated chemically, arrange to board your bird at your avian veterinarian’s office or with a friend before, during, and after the fumigation to ensure that no harm comes to your bird. Make sure your house is aired out completely before bringing your bird home, too.