by Heike Ewing Ott
Is chocolate really toxic to parrots and other animals or is this just one of those rumors that gets spread around on the Internet? The following article takes a balanced look at the subject of chocolate toxicity. Written by a former vet assistant and breeder.
It is correct that very small amounts of chocolate will not kill your bird.
However, chocolate IS toxic — equally so to mammals, birds, and humans. It takes approximately 1 pound of chocolate to kill 7 pounds of dog, cat, bird, human, ferret, etc. By this ratio, the average human would have to eat about 19 or 20 pounds of chocolate to be affected!!…..but a 5 pound Yorkie is in serious trouble if it eats most of a 1-pound box of chocolate candy.
Your quaker or other small bird, however, is in danger if it eats only 1/2 – 1 oz. of chocolate, depending on its weight. However, MOST of the chocolate we eat is not pure chocolate, or cocoa, so there is some leeway. The vet I used to work for sometimes gave Buddy the Mealy Amazon an m&m, which he dearly loved, but warned me that a whole m&m was too much for one of my mini-macaws, who are close to quakers in size.
Note: At least part of choc’s toxicity is due to caffeine…which most people don’t realize it contains. Coke, Pepsi, Mountain Dew, tea, coffee, etc. should also not be given to birds for the same reason.