It’s that time of year where we are able to enjoy the great outdoors a little more. Summer barbecues, relaxing by the pool, and evening walks are the highlight of the season for many of us. But what about our pets?
For dogs and even cats, spending some quality time outdoors is fairly easy to accomplish. What about those of us with less traditional critters in our families? At Paws, Purrs, & Exotics Animal Hospital we know how important these family members are and want you to be safe when taking pocket pets outdoors.
Assessing the Risks
Small mammals are easily stressed prey animals that face many dangers when heading outside of your home. Take into account the following risks:
- The elements – Just as with any pet, temperature extremes, humidity, and weather conditions can be difficult to navigate and limiting time outdoors in the height of the summer heat is a good idea.
- Predators – Hawks, raccoons, coyotes, and even neighborhood dogs and cats can be a danger to pocket pet species.
- Parasites – Fleas, mites, and other parasites are a higher risk for pocket pets when outside.
- Stress – While you might enjoy sitting outside, the sights and sounds around a confined prey species can elicit stress for the animal.
Of course, many small mammals enjoy being outside and it can be a very enriching experience for them. Rabbits in particular benefit from the fresh air and sunshine. The decision to take your pocket pet outside is one that should be looked at on an individual basis.
Taking Pocket Pets Outdoors
If you do decide to venture out with your pet, be sure to do so as safely as possible. Follow our safety tips for taking pocket pets outdoors:
- Limit trips to 10-15 minutes at a time
- Never leave them unattended
- Keep their enclosure out of direct sunlight
- Keep fresh water available at all times
- Avoid extreme temperatures
- Use a secure and locked enclosure
- Avoid grass or areas that may be chemically treated
- Check your pet upon return indoors for fleas, ticks, and other parasites
Bunnies can even be taught to walk on a leash and harness, which can be a fun way to get some fresh air if your pet enjoys it.
We strive to be your primary resource for the care of your pocket and exotic family members. When in doubt about whether to take your pocket pet out, please call us. We can help you determine what the risks versus benefits are and what precautions you need to take.