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: www.examiner.com

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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!