Pet birds are all the rage currently. They are among the best pets for people of all ages because they are highly intelligent, friendly, need minimal grooming, and can comfortably live in small spaces.
Conures are among the popular bird species for pet owners. These are medium or small-sized birds with adult lengths of 9-12 inches that belong to the parrot family.
They are natives of South America and are quite playful and colorful. Depending on the species you choose, you can teach your conure to talk. Conures can live for up to twenty years.
The right diet makes an essential part of your conure’s care and should be among the essentials on which you focus. The bird is an herbivore. Its diet should comprise 70% specialized pellets, fruits, vegetables, and a small quantity of fortified seeds.
Clean chlorine-free water is also crucial in the conure’s diet. Treats should be no more than 10% of the bird’s feeds. With this knowledge, conure owners at times include chocolates in their pet treats.
Conures should, however, not eat chocolate because the high toxin and sugar content in it poses a high health risk for them.
The following information will help you understand why chocolates should not be part of your conure’s treats.
Is Chocolate Toxic To Conures?
Yes, chocolate is toxic for your conure. This is because it is made from the cacao plant that contains a methylxanthine known as theobromine.
Though this alkaloid is easy for the human digestive system to break down and causes the good mood associated with chocolate consumption, it is toxic for small animals like the conure.
This is because the digestive systems of small animals are relatively short, and the theobromine will not be completely broken down as it passes through them. This translates to high theobromine levels in blood circulation.
As a diuretic, vasodilator, and stimulant, theobromine in conures can harm the heart, kidneys, and central nervous system. It goes without saying that the effects on these organs can result in an excruciating death for your pet.
Hyperactivity, heart arrhythmias, seizures, and vomiting are the common signs of theobromine toxicity in your pet bird.
Is White Chocolate Toxic For Your Conure?
Yes, white chocolate is toxic for a conure. White chocolate is generally made of cocoa butter, sugar, and vanilla. The cocoa butter in it contains less theobromine compared to cacao.
With this information, some pet owners think that white chocolate is safe. While this can work for other small animals, remember that your conure is a very lightweight animal.
As such, even the smallest amount of theobromine can have fatal effects on it. Some white chocolate brands contain no cocoa butter.
They are nonetheless still not recommended for conures because their high sugar and milk content is fatal for your pet bird.
Can A Conure Die From Eating Chocolate?
Yes, conures can die from eating chocolate. Thus, the expression ‘death by chocolate’ is for conure owners, a serious caution rather than a symbolic one. Dark chocolate is particularly toxic for your pet bird because of its high theobromine content.
For instance, a conure weighing 100-200grams can die after ingesting only 15-20 gram of dark chocolate. A 2007 release of the New Zealand Veterinary Journal documented the case of a kea parrot that died after consuming only 0.7 ounces of dark chocolate.
A necropsy of the bird revealed it had died from theobromine toxicity of 250mg/kg. With the kea parrot being in the same family as the conure, you can appreciate the high risks associated with chocolate for your pet bird.
Can Conures Eat M&Ms?
No, your conure cannot eat M&Ms because this candy has chocolate. The original variety of the candy has its filling made of milk chocolate and is sold nowadays as the plain variety.
The peanut M&M variety contains a peanut filling coated with milk chocolate. The chocolate filling and coating in M&Ms are as fatal when consumed by your conure as when you give them a plain chocolate bar.
The candies also contain a lot of sugar that your pet bird’s digestive system cannot handle.
What to Do If Your Conure Eats Chocolate?
Despite your best efforts to protect your pet, it can still accidentally nibble on chocolate. If you suspect your conure has ingested chocolate, you should get emergency avian vet care at once.
This is essential even if your pet exhibits no signs of theobromine poisoning. The symptoms of theobromine poisoning will typically appear about ten hours after a conure eats chocolate.
Before going to the vet, you can get in touch with the ASPCA (Animal Poison Control Center) for guidance on some first aid measures.
The supportive care of a pet bird that has taken chocolate includes the induction of vomiting and the administration of intravenous fluids or activated charcoal. With these steps, your conure can survive the effects of theobromine poisoning.
Its survival nonetheless primarily depends on how much chocolate the bird has eaten, how soon you get your pet bird to a vet after ingesting chocolate, and the care modalities instituted.
Now that you are well-informed on what chocolate can do for your pet conure with the above guidelines, you should take appropriate steps to protect your bird. Here are some steps worth considering:
- Check food labels before feeding a conure to ensure the food contains no cacao.
- Wash your hands after eating chocolate before handling your pet bird.
- Clean up any chocolate spills in your conure’s environment.
- Store all chocolate in a safe place away from your bird.
- Avoid eating chocolate around the conure since it can snatch it.
Pet conures have diverse dietary needs through different stages of their lives. Birds that are stressed, injured, raising young ones, or laying eggs often have special needs.
You should always seek a vet’s opinion on the ideal foods to include in the diet of a conure at these stages. With the best feeds, you will uphold the highest levels of health in your conure and guarantee its extended lifespan.