Can Parrots Eat Onions? (Avian Vet Reviewed)

Last Updated on March 14, 2024 by Ali Shahid

Parrots can not eat onions 1. Onions are harmful to them, and even a small amount can lead to illness, with a sufficient quantity potentially causing death. Onions contain sulfur compounds that can cause irritation in a bird’s mouth, esophagus, or crop, resulting in ulcers and potential rupture.

The sulfur compounds in onions hinder the formation of healthy red blood cells in parrots, leading to a blood disorder known as anemia and, ultimately, death. While the effects of consuming onions may not be immediate, it is crucial to seek advice from a veterinarian promptly.

Parrots should never be given onions, including garlic and chives, due to their toxic nature. It’s essential to keep parrots away from all forms of onions, whether cooked or raw, including shallots, garlic, and chives, as well as any food containing onion.

Indications that a parrot may have ingested onion include sitting at the cage’s bottom, reluctance to fly and collapse. If a parrot has consumed onions, it is imperative to take the bird to an avian vet immediately, as time is of the essence and can determine whether the parrot survives or succumbs.

Can Parrots Eat Onions?

What are the symptoms of onion toxicity in parrots?

Experiencing onion toxicity can be tough for parrots. Watch out for signs like vomiting, tiredness, loss of appetite, diarrhea, faster breathing, tongue color changes, sadness, low energy, pale or yellow gums, and difficulty breathing – it could even be deadly in serious cases.

If your feathered friend accidentally snacks on some onion, the impact might not show right away, but it doesn’t mean they’re okay. Rush to your avian vet without delay. If you spot any of these symptoms or suspect onion munching, get your parrot to the vet pronto. Time matters; it’s the difference between your parrot making it through or not.

How long does it take for onion toxicity symptoms to appear in parrots?

Based on my findings, it might take about a week for signs of onion toxicity to show up after your parrot eats onion. But here’s the deal: if your parrot accidentally snacks on some onion, the effects might not kick in right away. Don’t assume everything’s fine; get in touch with a vet pronto.

Keep an eye out for symptoms like vomiting, lethargy, loss of appetite, diarrhea, faster breathing, tongue color changes, mood swings, low energy, pale or yellow gums, and struggling to breathe – and in severe cases, it can even be fatal.

If you are even a bit suspicious that your parrot had an onion feast or if you notice any of these symptoms, don’t waste time – rush your feathered friend to the avian vet. Time matters; it’s the difference between your parrot pulling through or not.

 How can you prevent your parrot from eating onions?

Here is some advice, based on what I’ve found, to keep your parrot safe from the dangers of onions:

  • Distance onions from your parrot: Onions can spell trouble for parrots, even in small amounts. In fact, enough onion could be fatal. So, it is crucial to keep onions away from your feathered friend.
  • Create a no-onion zone during your kitchen activities: When you’re dealing with onions in the kitchen, ensure your parrot stays away. Remember, it is not the onion fumes that are harmful, but the actual eating of them that poses a risk.
  • Watch out for other Allium family members: Garlic and leeks share the same risky compounds as onions. So, it is wise to keep all three veggies far from your parrot.
  • Keep a close eye on your parrot: Stay vigilant for any signs of trouble. If your parrot shows symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, or a loss of appetite – classic signs of onion toxicity – seek immediate veterinary help.
  • Secure potential toxins out of your pet’s reach: To avoid any accidents, make sure onions and other potential hazards are kept well out of your parrot’s reach.

Following these steps can go a long way in ensuring your parrot’s well-being and keeping them happy and healthy.

What to Do if my Parrot eats an onion?

Taking swift action is crucial if your parrot has consumed onions to safeguard its well-being. Onions pose a serious threat to parrots, potentially leading to a life-threatening condition called hemolytic anemia. Here is a step-by-step guide on what to do if your parrot has ingested onions:

Immediate Steps:

  1. Contact a Vet: Reach out to a vet immediately for expert guidance on the situation.
  2. Monitor Your Parrot: Keep a close watch on your parrot for any signs of distress or unusual behavior.
  3. Do Not Delay: If a substantial amount of onion has been consumed, take your parrot to the vet clinic without delay. Time is crucial in such cases.

Avian Vet’s Treatment:

  1. Toxin Removal: The vet may perform a crop wash (or crop lavage) to flush the toxins from your parrot’s system and prevent further absorption.
  2. Vomiting Induction: In certain situations, the vet might induce vomiting to eliminate the onion from the digestive tract.
  3. Aftercare Instructions: If the treatment is successful, the vet will provide aftercare instructions, including a nutritious diet to replenish lost nutrients and minerals.


  1. Avoid Cooking Around Parrots: Exercise caution when cooking around parrots, as specific cookware and cooking fumes can be harmful to them.
  2. Keep Onions Away: Ensure that onions, garlic, and leeks are kept out of reach to prevent accidental ingestion by your parrot.


To put it simply, parrots should steer clear of onions, whether they’re raw or cooked. Onions can be harmful, causing a dangerous blood disorder known as anemia, which may lead to fatal consequences for your bird.

If you suspect your parrot has consumed onions or observe any concerning symptoms, prompt action is essential – take your pet to an avian vet without delay. Additionally, exercise caution by keeping your parrot away during your onion-related kitchen activities to ensure their well-being.


  • Ali Shahid

    Ali Shahid is a veterinarian by profession and an animal lover. He loves to give expert opinions about different animals. He has worked in top organization of birds like Bigbird Feed and Poultry Research institute. He loves birds, especially parrots and has great experience in different parrot farms.

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