Here at ParrotWebsite.com, we have talked a lot about what foods parrots can and cannot eat.
We haven’t however, dove into anything about the safety of how those foods are cooked.
More specifically, I’m talking about cookware.
Any chef or home cooking enthusiast will tell you that not all cookware is made equally.
There’s a lot of different types of cookware out there, and some of them are actually safer for use than others.
Non-stick cookware, stainless steel cookware, copper cookware, glass cookware – there’s so many different types of cookware out there.
But what cookware is safe for parrots?
And what cookware is not safe for parrots?
Many different types of cookware are safe for parrots. Stainless steel cookware, copper-clad stainless steel cookware, copper cookware, corningware cookware, glass cookware, aluminum cookware, and cast iron cookware are all safe for use when cooking.
Here are some links to the some different types of cookware that are safe.
Here is a stainless steel cooking set on Amazon that doesn’t have non stick coating.
Likewise this copper set also on Amazon is pretty good
There is one type of cookware that is not safe – non-stick cookware.
What is it about non-stick cookware that is unsafe for parrots?
And what is Teflon poisoning?
How does it affect parrots?
Today we will answer all of these questions and more – so let’s not waste another minute!
- 1 Why is non-stick cookware unsafe for parrots?
- 2 What is Teflon?
- 3 How hot does Teflon need to be before it becomes an issue?
- 4 What does Teflon Poisoning Look like in Parrots?
- 5 Why are parrots so susceptible to Teflon Poisoning?
- 6 Are there any other factors that increase the risk of Teflon Poisoning?
- 7 What should you do if you think your parrot may have Teflon Poisoning?
- 8 Is Ceramic Cookware safe for use around my parrot?
- 9 Is Stainless Steel cookware safe for use around my parrot?
Why is non-stick cookware unsafe for parrots?
Non-stick coating cookware is coated with a polymer known as polytetrafluoroethelyne (or PTFE for short).
When in room temperature, this is not harmful to parrots.
But when heated, PTFE can be toxic.
To be more specific, the PTFE in non-stick cookware releases gas fumes when heated.
Though these fumes are unlikely to kill a human, many people have reported flu-like symptoms shortly after being exposed to them.
There’s also a lot of debate as to whether non-stick cookware is even safe for human use.
What isn’t up for debate, however, is that non-stick cookware can be toxic to parrots.
If used to cook parrot food, or if used to cook when a parrot is in the same room, it can be extremely dangerous and could even lead to death.
What is Teflon?
Teflon is a brand of cookware that is known for its non-stick coating.
It was invented in 1946 by Dupont, but has recently been deemed as less safe than other forms of cookware.
Not only does Teflon release PTFE fumes, but it’s coating is also brittle which results in flaking.
When flaking happens during cooking, this flaking ends up in our food and can be hazardous to our health and the health of our parrots.
Keep in mind, however, that even though Teflon is the most well-known name brand of non-stick coating cookware, it’s not the only name brand that contains PTFE.
Analon and Circulon are two of the most well-known non-stick cookware brands out there, but there are others as well.
Always be sure to check labels before purchasing any cookware for your parrots.
How hot does Teflon need to be before it becomes an issue?
The truth is, no one actually knows how hot Teflon must be before it releases harmful fumes.
Some people feel that anything around the 560 degree mark can be harmful.
With that being said, others believe that Teflon and other non-stick coatings can release harmful fumes at much lower temperatures than this.
For this reason, you should just avoid Teflon and other non-stick brand names as much as possible.
And remember, it’s the fumes from the non-stick coating that are dangerous.
This means that you don’t actually have to cook parrot food in the pan for it to be harmful to your parrot.
Even cooking your own meal in Teflon cookware can be dangerous.
For this reason, if you have a parrot, avoid Teflon and other non-stick brands altogether.
Even cooking in another room could cause illness.
What does Teflon Poisoning Look like in Parrots?
If you have used Teflon to cook in the same home that you have a parrot, your parrot could suffer from what is known as Teflon Poisoning.
When the gasses from the non-stick coating are released into the air, a parrot’s lungs can start to fill with their bodily fluid causing them to have difficulty breathing.
In many cases the end result can be death.
Why are parrots so susceptible to Teflon Poisoning?
Parrots have extremely efficient lungs.
Because they fly, their lungs have to take in a lot of oxygen.
While this is normally a good thing, it makes their lungs very sensitive and susceptible to toxins that are released into the air.
The smaller the bird, the more susceptible they are to poisoning and the less gas it takes to cause harm.
So what does it look like in parrots?
If your bird has Teflon poisoning it may experience symptoms of:
Sneezing and wheezing
Random/abnormal blinking patterns
Loss of coordination
Inability to stand
And in worst case scenario, sudden death
If you have recently cooked with Teflon and notice your parrot with any of the above symptoms, take them to a veterinarian immediately.
Failing to do so could result in a fatality.
Remember, you don’t have to actually feed your parrot food from the cookware for it to be toxic.
Cooking alone will release the fumes, potentially causing harm to your bird.
Are there any other factors that increase the risk of Teflon Poisoning?
Yes. The risk of Teflon poisoning in parrots is increased if:
The cookware is overheated.
Even the simple act of preheating the pan can release toxic fumes.
The cookware is old.
Over time, Teflon ages and deteriorates.
As this happens, toxins are more likely to be emitted.
The cookware is damaged.
The risk of toxic fumes being emitted is increased when there are dents, scratches, or holes in your cookware.
What should you do if you think your parrot may have Teflon Poisoning?
Turn off your source of cooking immediately and remove the heated cookware from your home.
Open all windows within your home, especially within the room your parrot resides.
Turn on any fans and allow for as much ventilation throughout the home as possible.
If possible, take your parrot outside until the home has aired out.
Once you have removed your parrot from the source, take them to the veterinarian immediately and explain the situation.
Even if your bird is not showing any outward signs of poisoning, Teflon poisoning can turn deadly very quickly.
A veterinarian will need to treat your parrot with things like oxygen and antibiotics to reduce any fluid buildup in your parrot’s lungs. If treated quickly, there is a high likelihood that your parrot will survive.
Is Ceramic Cookware safe for use around my parrot?
Yes. Just make sure that the ceramic cookware you are using is relatively new. Older ceramic cookware can start to chip, which can cause harm to your bird.
Is Stainless Steel cookware safe for use around my parrot?
Yes. Stainless steel is safe for cooking your parrots food, and doesn’t come with any chipping or fume concerns.
In conclusion, you need to be careful with what you use to cook your food when you have a parrot.
Most cookware is safe, but anything with a non-stick coating can release toxic fumes that can cause harm to your bird.
If you are worried that your parrot is experiencing Teflon poisoning, or if you have recently used non-stick cookware in your home, contact a veterinarian immediately to have your parrot checked out.
It could cause fluid to buildup in their lungs – but you could save them by taking them to a veterinarian.