Pretzels are undoubtedly one of the guilty pleasure snacks to munch on. Generally, there are two types of pretzels available soft and hard and both of them are amazing. The crunchy crackers with brittle texture and a dash of salt make pretzels hard to resist.
We buy them according to our taste and enjoy munching while watching our favorite movie. With our pet parrot beside us, we wish to share some of the bits and pieces with them. But the main question is can parrots eat pretzel?
To know whether parrots find pretzels amazing as much you do or is it even safe for the avian creatures, read down below!
Are Pretzels Good Or Bad For Parrots?
Every avian being is different from another. Some of the birds have a greater ability to cope up with salt and water while others cannot. The same is the case with parrots, these are garden birds and they are poor in coping with salty foods.
Pretzels are commonly a savory snack with a sprinkle of salt over it. But, it doesn’t mean these crunchy, glazed crackers are bland, they do have a considerate amount of salt in them.
Just like chocolates, avocados, onions, and garlic are toxic to parrots. Likewise, pretzels fall on the same list. The only reason is the salt. This is why pretzels are not good for parrots.
Risk Of Feeding Pretzels To Parrots
No matter which type of pretzels you prefer, either soft or hard, none of them are suitable for parrots just because of the high amount of salt it contains.
These snacks were solely invented for humans to enjoy. There are a lot of other snack options that are comparatively safe for parrots.
If your parrot has picked up pieces of pretzels from your food chances are it might not like it and spit it out, which is good. Otherwise, if you have caught your pet eating pretzels it can cause salt toxicity.
What Does Salt Toxicity Means?
When parrots consume salt, more than they should, it creates a condition called salt poisoning or salt toxicity. In medical terms, it is also known as water deprivation sodium ion intoxication.
As the latter name suggests, in this condition water deprivation occurs. The high level of sodium draws out water from the cells. As a result, it creates an imbalance of electrolytes and fluids in the small bird and causes many health problems like:
If your avian friend has consumed salt in large amounts, there are high chances that they might excrete excessively, which is known as polyuria. As a result, the essential fluids are no longer retained by the parrot’s body leading to dehydration.
When sodium chloride tends to draw out almost all the water from the cells, the body stops producing urine. It results in kidney stones which are painful for your little friend.
If these stones are not treated on time it affects the regulation of electrolyte concentration and body fluids that can lead to kidney failure.
The liver is an important part of the organ system. When there is an abnormal accumulation of fluid inside the body and your kidneys cannot get rid of the salt which is trapped inside. This creates a condition of liver cirrhosis, also known as ascites.
If this salt is not excreted out on time it builds up in the abdomen that causes swelling. In severe cases, ascites can lead to death.
Symptoms Of Salt Poisoning In Parrots
If you suspect that your parrot might have taken a bite from your pretzel while it was out of its cage, you will not see the adverse effects immediately. However, look for the following symptoms to ease your tension and for the betterment of your feathery friend!
- Excessive urination
- Excessive thirst
- Fluid discharge from the beak
- Accumulation of discharge around eyes
- Shortness of breath or dyspnea
Eating a lot of salt makes your parrot thirsty the whole day which leads to excessive urination. In severe cases, diarrhea can occur as well. All these symptoms can lead to another one, called lethargy.
If you are not sure how diarrhea in birds looks like, well let us tell you. If your bird has more water droplets than stool components, then it is time that you should visit a vet.
When pets are sick due to any reason, a kind of discharge builds up around their eyes which is a clear indication that something is up with your pet.
If your bird is having breathing issues, you will notice that they dip their tail on every breath. Coughing and wheezing are also some further symptoms related to breathing problems.
If you notice any of the above symptoms in your pet, take it to the vet immediately as salt poisoning can be lethal if left untreated.
Can Parrots Have Unsalted Pretzels?
Such pretzels may not contain salt but there are some other ingredients like sugar which are also not a good idea for parrots. Consumption of high-fat foods can result in the build-up of cholesterol in the walls of arteries, known as atherosclerosis. It can also cause heart diseases and strokes.
Secondly, sugar is one of the main ingredients that cause obesity in humans as well as animals including birds. Birds who gain weight are more likely to become dull and lethargic. Parrots are pretty playful and natural and seeing them weary and tired all they are not something you will enjoy as a bird owner.
Therefore, it is best if you keep salted and unsalted both types of pretzels out of reach of parrots.
Pretzels are not the only snacks that contain salt. Chips, popcorns, crackers also contain a large amount of it and neither of them is suitable for your pet.
Pretzels aren’t something that your parrot needs for a living, they can do well without them. However, if you are willing to share some of your snacks with them, raw vegetables and fruits are a better option. Not only are they safe, but also beneficial for your avian friend.