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The Basics of Exotic Pet Care

From the feathered to the scaled, exotic pets (often called “pocket pets”) have captured the hearts of many pet owners. However, along with their special qualities comes extra care requirements that must be heeded to keep them healthy and happy. In fact, we end up seeing many exotic species when their specific nutritional or housing needs have been misunderstood.

To help keep your exotic in optimum health, we’ve compiled some basic information to eliminate some of the confusion around exotic pet care.


Up First: Know Your Pet

Although cats and dogs have their own unique needs, taking on an exotic pet requires specialized understanding. There is no one-size-fits-all approach since a rabbit is going to need different things than a ferret – and certainly different needs than a snake or a bird. Therefore, your first order of business is to read up about your special fur friend.

Some of the information you’ll want to cover includes:

  • Diet
  • Housing
  • Mental enrichment (toys, wheels, mirrors, tunnels, etc.)
  • Forms of exercise
  • Social needs (some pets thrive in pairs or groups)
  • Bedding
  • Common health problems (many exotics have issues with dental health)
  • Lifespan

Although many exotic pets are quite common and therefore legal, it’s worth mentioning there are many pets up for purchase that may or may not be allowed, depending on the state. That’s why it’s important to know the local laws around exotic pet ownership if you desire a more unusual animal.

Last but not least, it’s absolutely vital to your pet’s well being that you seek a veterinarian who has experience with exotic pets or pocket pets. At West Park Animal Hospital, our team provides all the essential preventive care services your pet needs (including surgery and exotic boarding).

Exotic Pet Care: The Importance of Wellness

Like dogs and cats, our goal for exotic wellness care is to keep these small pets looking and feeling their best. We also use diagnostics and other tools to detect any changes in health before they become problems. Because the signs of illness can occur suddenly in small mammals, it’s very important to maintain regular checkups and to respond quickly when any signs of illness are observed.

Given the fragile nature of some of these furry pals, we strongly suggest at least twice-yearly exams. During your pet’s wellness exam, we can answer any of your questions about daily care and make recommendations about diet, enrichment, and other factors that may benefit your small mammal companion.

If we can answer any questions about exotic pet care or if you’d like to schedule an appointment, please give us a call.

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