Monthly Archives June 2012

Warm weather tips for exotic pets

Summertime – time to go outside in the sunshine, enjoy the fresh air, picnic with friends, and enjoy our pets. All sounds wonderful, until a pet becomes ill or injured. How can we prevent summertime mishaps with our pets? Here are a few tips:

1. If you have a rabbit, guinea pig, chinchilla or other furry creature that is not used to being outside in the heat, be sure to provide him or her with plenty of shade and lots of fresh water so that he or she doesn’t overheat in hot weather. Most importantly, don’t ever leave your furry pet in an unventilated car in the summer sun; he or she will surely overheat and could easily die.

2. If you plan on bringing your exotic pet outside, be sure to keep him or her in a safe enclosure so that he or she doesn’t escape or isn’t attacked by wild animals. Remember, ferrets can wriggle out of harnesses very easily, and even slow moving reptiles can move quicker than you’d imagine through the grass and hide. Most importantly, NEVER leave your exotic pet unattended outside, no matter how safe you think he or she is.

3. If you have a bird, be sure to have his or her wings clipped, or you risk losing your bird with even just one gust of wind. You never think it’s going to happen, but all it takes is just a second, and your bird will be gone. It happens every summer, and most of these birds are lost forever. Wing trimming is like a haircut; it’s not painful and grows right back in a few months. So if you take your bird outside only during summer, if you’re uncomfortable with the process, have the wings trimmed only during warm months.

4. If your small furry pet (bunny, guinea pig, chinchilla) normally lives outside in a hutch or another enclosure, be sure to keep his or her litter and bedding dry and clean this summer. Flies like to lay eggs that develop into larvae (maggots) in damp, soiled environments, and these larvae love to live in moist folds of skin and small wounds on pets living outside. So, leaving used litter or bedding around for long periods may lead to serious, sometimes life-threatening skin infections in your pet.

5. If you are planning to travel with your pet this summer, whether it is by car, plane, or train, you may want to consider having your pet microchipped. Generally, microchipping is a simple, one-time procedure that we perform in birds and mammals, and it can be the only way to link a pet to its owner so that the pet can be returned home. If you’re not sure whether microchipping is right for your pet, be sure to talk to your vet.

Follow these basic safety tips, and you and your exotic pet should have some great summer fun!

photo credit:

What to do before bringing your new ferret home, by Serena Fiorella, Licensed Veterinary Technician

You’ve done your research and decided that a ferret is right for you. What do you do now? Before bringing you new companion home, you must ferret proof your house!

Here are a few things you should know about ferret proofing. Personally, I don’t let my ferrets have free run of the house, because there are way too many things for them to get into. Behind the fridge, under the stove, in the dishwasher (yes, it has happened) and even through the dryer vent, to name a few. Ferrets get into anything and everything, especially if you don’t want them to. If they can get their head through an opening, they can get their body through it. This is very important! These are just some of the things that I am paranoid about.

Pick one room, and turn it into a ferret play land. Whatever room you choose, make sure you check heating ducts and old radiators for anywhere they can possibly squeeze through. You may think they can’t fit, but they can! After you have deemed the room safe from escape, look around. Can they get in your closet? Into your shoes? If they can, they will dig in them. They are also fond of flip-flops because of their delicious chewy texture. Are there any hanging wires? Wires are a toy for them and another soft thing to chew. Are there any holes in the mattress? They will definitely get into them and dig until they drop; then, inevitably, they’ll fall asleep while you are frantically running around looking for them. If you have a cat or a dog, you also have to be mindful that their toys don’t end up in the ferret’s room. Latex toys are particularly bad. Soft rubber is definitely a delicacy to ferrets and can cause an intestinal obstruction if ingested. Be sure to provide your ferret with plenty of indestructible toys without small parts that they can tear off and swallow. Once you’ve removed all of the dangerous toys, now you have to inspect the furniture. Are there things they can climb up on and fall off of? Can they jump from the night table to the dresser? If they can, they will most certainly knock everything off and hide whatever treasures they find.

Okay, I think you get the picture. Now for a final check. No escape routes? Check. Nothing they can chew and swallow that isn’t edible? Check. No valuable items exposed that might be scratched or ruined? Check. Nothing high that they can jump off of and hurt themselves? Check. If you can confirm you’ve done all of these things, you have finally ferret proofed your house; now you can bring your new baby home and have some fun!