Taking exotic pets outdoors: precautions & cautions

It’s spring! Time to bring your pets outside to get fresh air and sunshine – But wait! Things to remember before bringing your exotic pet outdoors:

– Furry mammals, like rabbits and ferrets, are susceptible to flea and tick infection, just like cats and dogs. So, if you plan on taking your bunny or ferret outside, you should make sure it has a flea and tick preventative on it first. Not all flea and tick preventatives used on cats and dogs are safe on exotic animals. Check with us at the Veterinary Center before using any medication on your exotic pet so we can be sure to prescribe only the preventatives appropriate for exotics.

– When out pets go outside in spring, all those lush green leaves and buds look so yummy. But many outdoor plants can be toxic to your pet. It’s better to be safe than sorry. If you bring your bird, ferret, rabbit, rodent, reptile, or other exotic animal outside, be sure to prevent access to all outdoor plants. Even safe plants can have chemicals on them from fertilizers or pesticides that are potentially toxic. When you bring your pet outside, better to bring a snack from home!

– While most pets enjoy an outdoor time, it’s very important that before you take your animals outside, you take proper precautions so that they don’t escape or get injured. Mammals such as rabbits and guinea pigs should be kept in enclosures with sides high enough to prevent them from getting out or from predators from getting in. They should never be left unsupervised outside, even in enclosures, as it takes just one swipe from a wild animal (even through a cage) to kill these vulnerable pets. Also, since these pets are very susceptible to overheating, it’s essential that they be given shade and plenty of water. Even reptiles that thrive at warmer temperatures should never be left in direct sunlight for long periods of time, as they can overheat and become dehydrated, too. In addition, if you’re thinking of bringing your birds outside, be sure to clip his wings first; just one gust of wind, and he could sail away forever. Don’t rely on “flight suits” made to tether birds on a leash; they can easily slip out of these and fly away. Finally, regardless of what kind of exotic pet you have, if you’re going to take him outside, you should really have him microchipped. Microchipping is a simple procedure in which we place a small chip containing a code under the animal’s skin that can be read by a universal scanner kept by most vets and shelters. Microchips help assure that if your pet does get away, you’ll get him back home safe and sound.

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About Veterinary Centers for Birds and Exotics

If you have been looking for specialized care for your bird or exotic pet, look no further! We have you covered. At our unique animal hospital, we provide care to birds and exotics ONLY—no cats and dogs! We are the only bird and exotic veterinary hospital with a full-time, board certified bird specialist, Dr. Laurie Hess. Dr. Hess, who, with her two associates, Dr. Amanda Marino and Dr. Amanda Dewey, are the only full-time veterinarians in Westchester County who are residency-trained in bird and exotic medicine and surgery. Call to schedule an appointment for your pet!