In the United States, exotic pets are any animals other than cats and dogs. This includes rabbits, birds, ferrets, reptiles, amphibians, guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils, hedgehogs, mice, rats and more. Caring for these animals is often more complex than caring for cats and dogs. It's important to understand their unique needs and provide them with the right diet and environment.
At BEVS Exotics Department, we believe that before having an exotic pet, you should inform yourself about what you should feed your pet, how it should be housed, what type of environment to provide it and if it should be alone or would be better off as a couple. We also recommend scheduling a new exam with our exotic pet service soon after you have a new pet to make sure it is healthy and to discuss diet and breeding. Even the slightest behavioral changes can raise a lot of questions for pet parents. Maintaining a relationship with a veterinarian who is trained to care for exotic species helps establish a healthy baseline for when your animal has a problem. LagoLearn has taken the innovative approach of placing rabbits in their own class, rather than considering them part of the exotic species spectrum.
Erin Harrison from the Ontario Veterinary College (OVC) argues that rabbits are so common that they are not exotic pets. It's important to research what these animals need to eat to thrive, and there are many good books available on proper breeding for many exotic pet species. Talking to your veterinarian who treats exotic pets is also a good source of dietary recommendations. Like dogs and cats, these exotic pets need adequate nutrition, an appropriate environment and enrichment to thrive. Exotic birds, reptiles and small mammals have precise dietary requirements for healthy and happy lives. When exotic pets are not feeling well, it is often difficult to know until the situation is critical, so it is necessary to go to the vet regularly.
Exotic animals have evolved to live in specific habitats with different environmental conditions, dietary requirements and behavioral patterns. The care of exotic pets differs from that of the most common pets and, for that reason, BEVS is fortunate to have the increasingly frequent presence of Dr. Exotic animals in shelters often need special care that many are not prepared to provide. In addition to being cared for when sick or injured, exotic pets also need regular veterinary care specifically designed for them. Exotic carnivorous pets such as ferrets and hedgehogs may need regular teeth cleaning and care to remove tartar and plaque just like dogs and cats do. We value the smaller size, different needs and fascinating characteristics of these exotic animals including rabbits, hamsters, birds and reptiles.
Most veterinary schools have excellent exotic medicine departments in their university hospitals although the interface with the basic curriculum has not yet been established. It's important to talk to your veterinarian who treats exotic pets for dietary recommendations as well as regular check-ups. Like dogs and cats, these exotic pets need adequate nutrition, an appropriate environment and enrichment to thrive. When it comes to caring for an exotic pet like a bunny, it's important to understand their unique needs in order to provide them with the best possible care.