Budgies like sweet treats. Some pet owners give honey and peanut butter as their occasional treats for training purposes or any other reasons. But how about the ever-famous chocolate? Can parakeets safely consume chocolate?
Since your budgies are not aware of the appropriate and inappropriate foods for them, as a pet owner, you are responsible for making sure that they are eating the right foods that contain the nutrients they need for everyday consumption. But why are chocolates not for your pet parakeet when it contains some of the nutrients they need?
Can Parakeets Eat Chocolate?
Can your budgie eat chocolates? Chocolates can be harmful or fatal to your parakeets. It can cause “chocolate poisoning” to your pet bird. A bar of chocolate usually contains the chemical theobromine from cacao plants, which can’t be digested by many birds. This can severely affect the digestive system of your parakeet, which could lead to vomiting, diarrhea, or death.
So, before you open a bar of chocolate in front of your pet birds, think about its effect to their health in case they ingest it without you knowing it.
What Happens When Parakeets Eat Chocolate
Vets would NEVER encourage feeding chocolates to your parakeets as well. Even in small portions, this sweet treat can be toxic to the little budgies. Pet owners should be cautious about the treats they are giving to their birds.
Parakeets love to eat their treats. However, chocolates are an exception. Just as humans can’t overeat chocolates, parakeets cannot and should not be allowed to eat these sweets.
Eating with your feathered companions is a great way to socialize them. If you are eating chocolates and your budgies see that you are enjoying every bite, they would probably make noise that indicates that they want it too, so if you eat in front of them, make sure that it is some of their appropriate food like fruits and vegetables.
Survival Rate When Parakeets Eat Chocolate
There is a very slim chance for parakeets to survive long enough when you allow them to eat chocolates. Even though it contains some nutrients they need, you should consider its downfalls also. The disadvantages can overpower its benefits when budgies eat chocolate.
Be careful with your actions and decisions, especially with their treats. As we all know, chocolates are classic favorite sweet treats for anyone. It is irresistible because of the taste and satisfaction it gives but it can also put your bird’s life in serious danger.
Contents of Chocolate
This chocolate is made with powdered, liquid, or even condensed milk. It contains cocoa beans and cocoa butter sugar. The amount of cocoa liquor and milk that must be present is regulated strictly by law. In some countries, if there is a high level of milk present in the chocolate, it is considered a household milk chocolate. In the United Kingdom and Ireland, the milk chocolate should only be 20% as a minimum requirement of total dry cocoa solids.
The rest of the European Union implemented a minimum of 25%. In the United States, 10% of cocoa is only allowed in a milk chocolate bar. When you ask a known chocolate establishment, the lower the cocoa content, the cheaper it is to manufacture. The commercial milk chocolate has 90% sugar and added preservatives. It is one of the reasons milk chocolates have a not-so-good reputation among other types of chocolates. If you had noticed, craft chocolates have a higher price than commercial ones. It is because craft chocolate milk bars contain 35% to 55% of cocoa. They have more quality ingredients inside. Compared to other types of milk chocolate, the craft one contains the healthiest contents.
White chocolate is one of the favorite treats that contains cocoa butter, milk powder, and sugar. In 2002, the FDA implemented the standard content for white chocolate. It should only contain cacao fat, nutritive carbohydrates sweeteners, milk solids, and other ingredients which has nothing to do with nonfat cacao solids. The reason behind its color white is it does not contain any cocoa liquor, and it takes the color of cocoa butter that results in a caramel-like color. Just like milk chocolate, these white ones are another asset of commercial chocolate brands. Some of these white chocolates are mix with a sweet flavor that contributes to the sweet taste of the candy.
In the United States and European Union, white chocolates should only contain a minimum of 20% cocoa butter and nothing above 55% of sugar or other sweet additives. Most of the chocolate companies follow the minimum requirement of 20% cocoa butter to save costs. Craft chocolates put the amount of cocoa butter to 30% to 40% that made it nutritious.
Dark chocolate is when you mix fat and sugar with cacao. It requires 15% of chocolate liquor. In European Union, they implemented 35% cocoa solids that make it taste not very pleasant. The semisweet dark chocolate should have low sugar content. The bittersweet chocolate contains chocolate liquor that is why there is an added sugar, more cocoa butter, and vanilla. Compare to semisweet, bittersweet has less sugar and more alcohol. The quality can stay up to two years if properly stored.
It is known as bitter or baking chocolate that contains pure chocolate liquor. This treat is an unadulterated chocolate: the pure, ground, roasted chocolate beans give it a rich, dark chocolate flavor. It is for baking and other products that contain sugar and other ingredients. Raw chocolate, also known as raw cacao, is often dark and contains at least 75% cacao.
Why Is Chocolate Bad For Birds?
Chocolates are naturally toxic for birds. Some would mistakenly think that chocolates can be good sweet treats for their pet bird. In reality, they are not. It might poison the bird. Even just small portions of chocolates can cause harm to the bird.
Chocolates have both theobromine and caffeine that can cause increased heart rate, tremors, and early death. When you have dark chocolate, it has higher amounts of cacao. It means it’s more toxic to your pet. When a bird gets poisoned by chocolate, it affects its digestive system directly. The nervous system will also be affected as the toxins spread across the body, potentially leading to death.
- The toxic chocolate ingredient that is bad for your bird is the alkaloid theobromine.
- Just like other animals, birds cannot quickly metabolize theobromine.
- It is not only in the chocolates, but tea and soda drinks contain cocoa which is not appropriate for your bird.
Should you observe that your pet is acting strange through their behavior or actions lately, do not hesitate to get immediate avian veterinary attention. These birds may accidentally eat chocolates near them. So, better be careful and be aware of the things that surround them. Put the chocolates away from your pet and let them eat just the right food for them.
What to Do if Your Bird Ingests Chocolate?
As an owner, you must regularly check your pet bird. You can notice if there is something wrong with their actions. A weak bird cannot hide symptoms. You can acknowledge it from your parakeet’s behavior. If you are guilty that you have chocolates near your bird and saw them showing signs they accidentally eat the goodies, you should seek immediate medical attention from the veterinarian.
Even the tiny portions of chocolates are toxic for birds. Without any hesitations, take them to the local veterinary regardless of how much they have eaten. Remember that the symptoms typically appear within 10 hours of ingestion. In case you saw your bird consuming chocolates, grab the chocolate and do not wait for symptoms to show up before seeking medical attention. You would not know it may be already late as the toxins can spread fast in the bird’s system.
Prevention is better than cure. To avoid this tragic situation, keep the chocolates away from your pet bird. It is essential to check the food labels of the foods before feeding your bird as cocoa is not only present in the content of chocolates, it can be in other foods without being aware. Read the labels before you feed unusual foods.
You may be wondering how a veterinarian can treat chocolate toxicity. It depends on the amount of chocolate your bird eats. Another one is the time of ingestion and current condition during the present time of visit. If you witness everything from the time they eat the chocolate up to observing the symptoms, tell that everything to the veterinarian. When they know the complete details, they can provide more comprehensive care and treatment.
What Other Foods Are Poisonous To Birds?
1. Salt and Fat
We are all delighted to pinch salt in our meals if we find it tasteless, and birds love it too. They will enjoy eating meals with salt. However, too much salt can lead to dehydration, excessive thirst, kidney failure, and even sudden death.
Like fatty foods, when they eat large amounts of nuts, meat, and butter, it can lead to obesity that can affect the arteries. It makes some birds prone to stroke and heart disease. When you have small birds, they are more likely to have a high risk even in just a single bite from high-salted foods and fats.
Although avocados are healthy for humans, they are not for birds. The avocado leaves have fatty acids called persin that can cause respiratory disease, heart failure, and death, as reports said.
Other bird species are safe to eat avocados. However, no one can guarantee that this fruit is for birds. With the potential result of eating avocado, you better think wisely and decide to avoid avocado, especially Guatemalan avocado that we can see in the local markets.
It is a fact that avocado is toxic to most birds. Most of us are unaware of how dangerous avocado can be because we are stuck in the norm that this fruit is highly nutritious. Humans can eat avocados without issues, but for birds, it is a big problem.
How can you not love coffee, tea, and soft drinks? They are one of the tastiest beverages that ever existed. But then again, if you have birds, better to avoid caffeinated drinks. Even a single sip of the drinks can have harmful effects on your feathered companion. It can cause hyperactivity, an increase in heart rate, and arrhythmias.
What can be worst aside from these is cardiac arrest. Avoid offering these tasty drinks to your bird and stick with fresh and clean water. If you are wondering what drinks can be their treat, you can give fruit juice or shake. To ensure a fresh-quality drink, get a blender and mix two fruits appropriate for their diet. Birds would like it.
4. Onions and garlic
It’s not a surprise that these fiery veggies end up on the list of foods that birds should avoid. It is not just the birds. Some animals should not be allowed to eat onions and garlic like dogs and cats. Onions have sulfur compounds. When birds swallowed onions, it is painful to their mouth and esophagus.
These onions can also cause ulcers and red blood cell rupture that can lead to anemia. Garlic, on the other hand, contains allicin. It is another chemical that causes sudden weakness and anemia. Instead of garlic and onions, alternate it with hot pepper as it is rich in Vitamin A.
5. Fruit pits and apple seeds
While fruits are generally nutritious food, some of them are not safe for birds. Apple, pears, peaches, apricots, cherries, plums, and nectarines are fruits that have seeds and pits that contain cardiac-toxic cyanide compounds. So, it is essential to remove those seeds and pits before you give them to your pet.
Other seed fruits such as citrus fruits, grapes, tomatoes, melons, berries, pumpkins, and pomegranate are all safe for your bird. You don’t have to worry about anything.
Final Thoughts: Can Parakeets Eat Chocolate?
Taking precautions when it comes to what your budgies eat is critical for their health. You have to remember that you can’t be careless, especially when talking about their diet. Feeding them what seems to be a casual food for you could end up being poisonous to your parakeets, such as chocolate.
For your parakeet’s well-being, avoid feeding chocolate to your pet. Instead, give them peanut butter, pasta, honey, and millet. These treats contain high amounts of proteins and carbohydrates that are both beneficial nutrients for these birds. Avoid eating chocolates while they are around. Keep your parakeet as healthy as always.
Hezekiah is a pet lover since birth, according to his parents. He started writing for the Pets Checklist in 2020. He is fond of playing with and taking pictures of different friendly animals around his neighborhood. He loves to read and write articles about pets, science, and music.