A significant portion of traditional pet owners also care for exotic animals. This means in homes populated with cats and/or dogs, there could also be any number of birds, lizards, reptiles, arachnids, rodents, amphibians, fish and more. It is wonderful when people embrace the myriad responsibilities of each species (each with their own complex needs), but exotic pet care isn’t always fully understood or embraced prior to adoption. The good news is that with thorough preparation and research, lifelong health and happiness is possible for exotic pets. The team at Oakhurst Veterinary Hospital is here to show you how to understand the important aspects of exotic pet care.
The Needs of the Wild
Exotic pets have the same needs in your home as they would in the wild, even if they were bred in captivity. As such, caring for these nontraditional pets can be a bit challenging.
The basics of exotic pet care include:
- Habitat. Keeping an exotic pet happy hinges on a safe, supportive enclosure. As they grow over time, you may need to invest in numerous homes for them. Depending on your exotic pet, they enjoy a home that mimics their natural habitat. Some pets require extra heat and humidity, others need places to burrow or climb. Many exotic pets are nocturnal and are incredibly active at night. It is crucial to consider if you can fully provide the right space for them to thrive. We also encourage you to think about whether or not your exotic pet would benefit from having company or a solitary existence.
- Diet. Exotic pets have highly specialized nutritional needs. Fortunately, most commercial pet foods make it easy to purchase exactly what exotic pets need. Be sure that they always have access to clean, fresh water. Never make processed foods available to them. Some pets must be fed live bait or benefit from gut-loaded prey, facts that cannot be undervalued.
- Medical attention. While we don’t provide exotic pet care, we can refer you to an excellent specialist. They can help guide you to the right products and methods for your unique pet. Regular visits can help ward off illness and keep them healthy for longer. Birds need beak, nail and wing trimming; rodents need their teeth and nails trimmed.
Learning Curve of Exotic Pet Care
Some pocket pets, such as mice, can live for a couple years, whereas some bird species can live for two decades. Before adopting an exotic pet it’s worth questioning how their potential lifespan could be affected by your own lifestyle. If you anticipate any big changes to your living or financial situation, your exotic pet could be directly impacted.
Releasing exotic pets into the wild is never a good option. If you need to surrender or rehome your exotic pet, please call us at (732) 531-1212.
Love the Pet You Live With
Exotic pet care isn’t always for experts, but it’s more complicated than people might think. Indeed, exotic pets are commonly misrepresented as low-maintenance or easy to care for. In fact, exotic pet care can be extremely complicated. With routine veterinary attention, a nutrient-rich diet, enriching environment, and plenty of love, an exotic pet can enjoy a happy, healthy life.