5 Things You Don’t Know About Cockatiels

Cockatiels are phenomenal birds and perhaps the most popular bird I see in my veterinary practice these days. Why are these little animals so beloved? Here are five facts about cockatiels that may surprise you. 1. Cockatiels make great first pets — feathered or otherwise. Without a doubt, cockatiels, which are one of the smaller species of pet parrots, are the first bird I recommend for new pet owners or families, especially those with elementary school-age
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Why Does My Rabbit… Not Eat Hay?

Many healthy rabbits will turn up their noses at hay because they are offered excessive amounts of pelleted food. This is because most rabbits prefer pellets to hay. Rabbit pellets are predominantly made of carbohydrates, and like most people, rabbits love their carbs and will choose them over fiber (hay). The general rule for healthy adult bunnies is no more than one-quarter cup of timothy hay-based pellets per 5 pounds of body weight each day.
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Why Does My Bird… Like to Hide Under the Paper in Her Cage?

Many birds like to hide under cage paper as part of normal playful behavior. Commonly, female birds will hide under cage paper when they are reproductively active and trying to build nests. Hiding is of no concern at all unless birds become obsessed with this behavior and with egg laying to the point that they are not eating or drinking or interacting with their owners. Should this behavior last more than a day, the bird’s
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Why Does My Rabbit… Eat His Poop?

It may seem gross, but rabbits normally eat some of their feces once a day, either early in the morning or late at night. These special feces are called cecotropes, or “night feces.” They are produced through fermentation of food in the part of the rabbit’s digestive tract called the cecum. Cecotropes are soft feces that are nutrient-rich and are passed out of the body like normal stool but then are re-ingested later by the
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Video: Want a Pet Snake? Here’s What You Need to Know

Snakes may not be your typical cuddle buddies, but as snake owners will tell you, their pets recognize them and respond to their voices. They’re fascinating animals, but they have very specific environmental and dietary needs that must be met to keep them happy and healthy. If you’re considering a snake as a pet, here’s what Dr. Laurie Hess says you should know before you bring one home.
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How to Keep Your Bird Safe During the Holidays

Holidays can bring a great deal of happiness to both people and pets. But holidays also bring potential dangers to our feathered friends. Though injuries and accidents happen all year long, they seem to occur more often during the holidays. Here are some tips to help you avoid some often overlooked holiday hazards. 1. Say No to Candles Candles and birds are dangerous on more than one level. First, avian respiratory tracts are extremely sensitive
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A Guide to Dental Care for Exotic Pets

February is National Pet Dental Health Month, and just like dogs and cats, did you know that exotic pets need dental care, too? In general, most pet owners don’t brush their animals’ teeth, so tartar can build up, and their pet’s breath can become malodorous. Over months to years, excessive tartar accumulates leading to gingivitis, periodontal disease, and tooth root infection. Bacteria can accumulate in their mouths, eventually traveling through the bloodstream to settle in
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Video: Want a Pet Hedgehog? Here’s What You Need to Know

The popularity of the hedgehog — a small, spiny-looking mammal in the insectivore family — appears to be increasing. When they are handled often and socialized, hedgehogs can make adorable, loving pets who can learn to recognize and bond closely with their owners. At first, it may be easiest to handle your hedgehog with a towel (as we do in the video below) to protect your hands from his sharp spines. Once he gets used
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Are Guinea Pigs Good Pets? Here’s What to Know Before You Bring One Home

Guinea pigs can make great pets, especially for families with children who are looking for an interactive, low-maintenance animal. They tend to be affectionate, hardy and fairly easy to care for. Before you rush out and buy or adopt a guinea pig, take time to learn about their care, so you can be sure a guinea pig is right for you. Dr. Laurie Hess shares what you need to know in the video below.
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Video: What You Need to Know About Keeping Birds as Pets

Birds, such as parrots, canaries and finches, are highly intelligent and can be wonderful pets. Their beauty and intelligence make them very popular, but it’s not uncommon for new owners to be surprised by the degree of daily care and attention these animals require to be happy and healthy. Before you purchase or adopt a bird who may live dozens of years, consider Dr. Laurie Hess’ advice to make sure a pet bird is right
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What to Consider Before Adopting a Parrot, Rabbit, Guinea Pig, Iguana or Other Exotic Pet

When people hear about adopting pets from a shelter, they naturally think of dogs and cats. However, exotic pets of all kinds can be found at shelters, too. From parrots to rabbits, guinea pigs to iguanas, even potbellied pigs — there is a shelter for nearly every species. Exotic pet shelters and rescues can be found worldwide. A likely place to start looking for one in your area is to search the Internet or, better yet,
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Top 5 Things Toxic to Birds

Birds can be like toddlers: They are both very oral and like to check things out by putting them in their mouths. Just like children, when pet birds are out unsupervised, this habit of tasting things can get them into trouble. As an avian veterinarian, I treat birds every week for getting into toxic substances. Though some foods and objects are clearly potentially toxic to birds, there are others that might not be so obvious.
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