Your parrot enjoys being with you, at your side where you go, interested in what you do, mimicking you, doing the things you do, and trying to get into everything you have. So, when you take have a drink of anything, it makes sense that they will also want to have a taste of it, no matter what it is. And you may want to share with them, but there are a few things that parrots cannot ingest, whether unhealthy, or even toxic. As a responsible pet owner, it is important know which things you may get to enjoy but cannot share with your beloved parrot.
One of the beverages that you may enjoy, and your parrot may share a particular interesting in enjoying alongside you is soda. Many parrots are drawn by the bubbles of carbonation and the sweet smell, and of course, anything you are drinking, including soda. But before you share your bubbly sugary drink with your parrot, you should check if it is safe for them to consume.
The answer is to this question is… a definitive no. It is not healthy or safe for you to share your soda with your parrot. You should not offer your parrot soda as a drink, or even to have a sip or taste.
Many of us know that soda isn’t healthy for us, but there are specific reasons why our feathery friends should stay away from the fizzy beverage. This article will explain in detail why it isn’t a good idea to allow your parrot to drink soda, including carbonation, caffeine and sugar, and some of the healthy alternatives your parrot can drink.
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What makes soda bad for parrots?
Caffeinated drinks such as soda, as well as coffee and tea may be tempting to share with your parrot, but even a few sips of these beverages can be extremely dangerous to your feathered friend. Parrots who consume too much caffeine can be in extreme danger for extreme shaking, seizures or even heart attack and death.
Though not technically toxic for your parrot to consume, it is still not healthy or good for them. Soda is filled with sugar, caffeine and other chemicals. Both caffeine and excessive sugar are present on some of the lists of items parrots should never have. Soda and other carbonated beverages should be avoided because birds cannot handle carbonation well.
However, if you parrot has an accidental sip of soda it will not be the end of the world or instantly cause harm, however parrots really should not ever be drinking soda because the risk is too high.
Can the caffeine in soda be fatal for parrots?
Yes, as scary as it is to hear, if caffeine is consumed by your parrot it can be toxic and even leads to many troubling illnesses in your feathered friend. Caffeine consumption can be poisonous to all birds and so your parrot should never drink caffeinated drinks like soda. Even in small doses caffeine can lead to parrots having aggressive behaviour or making them act a little erratic and crazy.
Some of the effects caused by the toxicity in caffeine for birds is an erratic/ increased heartbeat, arrhythmias, seizure, hyperactivity, aggression, and even cardiac arrest. In fact, if a parrot consumes too much caffeine in something like soda it could potentially be toxic enough to kill your parrot.
The caffeine in soda belongs to a chemical class of alkaloids that are also found in coffee, tea, and in chocolate. These alkaloids can cause central nervous system stimulation in parrots, diuresis, which is the flushing of fluids through the body, and cardiac muscle stimulation.
Toxic dosages for birds are not well established. Some people claim that larger birds can occasionally have a drink of soda because due to their larger bodies they can process and metabolize the caffeine better, but this is anecdotal evidence and not proven. Since we are unsure of the toxic dosages in birds, an owner definitely should avoid all caffeine found in soda.
What about the sugar in soda, is it bad for parrots?
Sugar is less straight forward than caffeine. Rather than potentially being deadly, as caffeine can be, sugar is unhealthy. Foods with high sugar content should be avoided in a parrot’s diet, and soda is mostly sugar. Although not technically toxic, any food filled with high concentrations of fat, salt, and sugar can cause serious health problems in birds. Sugar simply isn’t healthy for anyone, but especially parrots.
It is important to know why exactly the sugar in soda is bad for parrots. Sugar itself is not necessarily a bad thing, particularly in low quantities and in moderation. Parrots do consume sugar in the wild, specifically by eating a lot of fruit, and in fact those natural sugars can provide a great energy source for a bird with an active lifestyle and a high metabolism. The natural sugars found in fruits are filled with essential vitamins, minerals, fiber and enzymes that are not present in soda. The reason that soda is bad for parrots is because of what kind of sugar it is made with, which is not like the sugar in fruits.
Soda, many fruit juices and sports drinks are sweetened with added sugars such as sucrose or high fructose corn syrup which are refined sugars. Refined sugar has been processed in a certain way to create them so that they actually contain no nutrients at all. Because the nutrients a parrot needs to keep a healthy metabolism have been removed from refined sugar, a bird’s metabolism will have to sacrifice its own nutrients in order to metabolize the refined sugar in soda. A parrot’s immune system can actually be weakened by the high consumption of sugar. White blood cells are negatively affected by excessive quantities of sugar in the blood.
Refined sugar also causes to rapid weight gain in parrots and can lead to an unhealthy and chubby bird. Though sugar won’t immediately hurt your bird, over all it isn’t good for them, just as it isn’t good for humans either.
Could parrots drink diet soda instead?
Many people choose to drink diet soda instead of regular soda so that they can enjoy a sweet and fizzing drink without having to consume hundreds of calories and can avoid drinking a large dose of sugar, so you may be wondering if diet soda instead would be a good choice for your parrot?
The answer is no. Many studies have shown that despite seeming to be healthier, diet soda is no better than regular. Diet soda uses artificial sweeteners, such as saccharin or aspartame which would be detrimental for your parrot to consume in high quantities or frequently. Diet soda could cause your parrot to develop serious health condition such a diabetes, fatty liver disease, heart disease or even stroke.
Is carbonation bad for parrots?
The carbonation in drinks like soda is made from carbon dioxide and can be quite harmful to parrots, because they can’t actually burp. Because birds can’t burp the gas from carbonated drink have to leave their systems another way and can upset their stomachs, cause discomfort, hurt them, and do damage. There is a myth that because birds can’t burp that the carbonation will make their stomachs swell up, even explode or something else exaggerated. Despite this popular myth, this is not the case at all, but it can hurt their stomachs.
If your bird does happen to accidently have a drink of soda when you aren’t looking, small amounts really shouldn’t hurt too much, and shouldn’t upset their stomachs greatly, but overall it should be avoided.
Though technically not toxic to parrots, soda should be avoided, even though they may be very eager to try some if you’re drinking any near them. The caffeine present in soda is the real concern for parrots, because of the toxicity and the damaging side effects of too much caffeine consumption, including an erratic heartbeat, aggression and even possible death. As well the high sugar content, and carbonation should also be avoided in a healthy parrot’s diet.
It is best to keep to giving your birds water and possibly a few occasional sips of safe drinks, such as fruit drinks like apple or cranberry. If you’re having something to drink that your parrot wants to share, but you know they shouldn’t have any, choose a safe substitution such as diluted fruit juice. Water, fruit juice and even watermelon that don’t have added sugar are perfect beverages for your parrot to enjoy on a regular basis while you have a soda.