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Some people keep their pet birds in the kitchen. It's a natural gathering place for family, friends and pets. But bird owners should be aware that there are potential dangers in the kitchen, too. Cooking fumes, smoke and odors that have little or no effect on people can seriously sicken and even kill some pet birds, often quite quickly. Dr. Karen Rosenthal, DVM offers tips to keep pet birds safe.

1. Always keep your pet bird out of the kitchen while cooking.
Many veterinarians urge pet owners to keep their birds in a room other than the kitchen. But if the kitchen is your bird's favorite place, always move it to another room before cooking.

2. Never leave heated cookware unattended.
Sadly, bird fatalities can result when both birds and cooking pots or pans are left unattended in the kitchen - even for just a few minutes. Cooking fumes from any type of unattended or overheated cookware, not just non-stick, can damage a bird's lungs with alarming speed. This is why you should always move your birds out of the kitchen before cooking.

3. Never preheat your cookware on high heat.
If accidentally overheated, non-stick cookware can emit fumes that may be harmful to birds, as can any type of cookware preheated with cooking oil, fats, margarine and butter. This is why you should always move your birds out of the kitchen before cooking.

4. Always turn on the exhaust fan or open a window before cooking.
It's important to make sure that your kitchen is properly ventilated. In addition to cooking fumes, birds are highly sensitive to a variety of other fumes such as: aerosol sprays, non-stick sprays, perfumes, any source of smoke, pesticide sprays, glue, paints, self-cleaning ovens and cooking gas.

Dr. Karen Rosenthal, DVM MS, an Avian Veterinarian and Director of Special Species Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, recently discussed safety and care for domesticated birds. Click here to read Dr. Rosenthal's information on avian health and safety.

For more information on helping safeguard your pet bird from dangers in the kitchen, the following brochure is available with tips by Dr. Karen Rosenthal. The brochure is endorsed by the Association of Avian Veterinarians(AAV) and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). "Breathing Easy: Safeguarding Your Pet Bird from Dangers in the Kitchen."

Domesticated Birds