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Healthy Pet Care Tips

Exotic Pets: What You Should Know Before Purchasing

Small exotic mammals can make great pets - as long as their owners understand their specific needs when it comes to daily care, health and nutritional requirements, and other needs. In this post, our PetVet Care Centers vets list some popular small exotics and explain what you should consider before buying.

Popular pets in this category include:

  • Ferrets
  • Rabbits
  • Guinea pigs
  • Chinchillas
  • Gerbils
  • Hamsters
  • Mice
  • Rats
  • Pigs
  • Hedgehogs

Is it a good idea to get an exotic pet?

Deciding whether your family is ready for an exotic pet takes serious consideration and objective assessment. In the hands of an overexcited child or someone without the proper knowledge of exotic animals, these pets can become stressed or even injured.

For example, hedgehogs roll themselves into tight balls. They can easily be injured if they are attacked by cats or if children try to “uncurl” them.

Research is always key when deciding which pet is right for you and your family, and this is doubly true when considering exotic pets.

Well before you purchase, you’ll want to research the animal’s needs when it comes to facilities, food, supplies and other elements, and ensure you buy from a reputable source.

Also check your state, county and/or municipal laws, as some require a license or permit depending on the exotic pet you are thinking of purchasing. Contact your state and local departments to find out whether the animal requires a permit, or if there are facility inspections or requirements.

How do I get an exotic pet?

The answer to this question will be different depending on where you live, the type of animal you’re considering, and which resources are available locally.

Some pet stores, rescues, shelters and breeders sell these small exotic mammals. Purchase from a reputable, knowledgeable and conscientious seller, and ensure the pet you choose is healthy.

What kind of care does my exotic pet need?

Exotic and pocket pets have unique dietary, nutritional and environmental needs. Owners of these unique creatures should also keep in mind that because exotic pets are prey species in the wild, so they will often instinctively hide signs of illness until it is quite advanced. This is why preventive veterinary care is so critical.

Soon after you welcome your exotic pet to your home, you should take him or her to a vet with specialized training in caring for exotic animals, so they can have a first full physical exam.

Many of our PetVet Care Centers member vets provide skilled veterinary care for small exotic mammals such as ferrets, rabbits, guinea pigs and other pocket pets. They have the training and experience needed to care for small mammals, and can give you the information you need to keep your small companion happy and healthy.

Whether you need preventive care or your pet is not feeling well and specific health concerns must be addressed, our exotic mammal vets are here to help. Each is highly skilled at restraining pets without causing additional stress. It’s our goal to provide you - and your pet - with a stress-free visit.

During a routine appointment, your vet will perform a thorough physical exam and recommend appropriate preventive care. They will also take time to answer any questions you may have about your pet’s health.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Do you have specific questions about exotic pets or their veterinary care needs? Many of our PetVet Care Centers vets are specially trained in the care of exotic companion animals such as ferrets, hedgehogs and rodents as well as other pets including birds and reptiles. Find a PetVet Care Center veterinarian hospital near you and book an appointment for your pet today.

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