This common artificial sweetener, found in sugarless gum and many diet foods, causes hypoglycemia, liver damage and possible death in dogs and other animals. While the effects of this sweetener haven’t been studied in detail in birds, birds have a faster metabolism than many other species and might therefore be very sensitive to the toxic effects of even small amounts of this chemical. Therefore, it’s best to avoid exposing birds to xylitol, altogether.
Birds should not be offered chewing gum, as it can stick to their feathers and skin, and overweight birds should be fed low-fat fruits and vegetables, rather than diet products, to help them lose weight. Xylitol may be a sweet option if you’re dieting but should be avoided in your bird’s meal plan.
A big part of socializing a parrot is having the bird out of its cage at meal time, and offering the bird food while you’re eating can certainly make your bird feel that he or she is part of the flock. Sharing food that hasn’t been in your mouth (which contains bacteria and yeast foreign to birds) and that is non-toxic to birds can be a great way to build trust with your pet, make him or her feel comfortable in home, and provide an activity you can all share in. Remember, though, if your bird should ingest any of these potentially toxic items, you should contact your veterinarian immediately to see if treatment is warranted.