Exotic pet fanatics know that half of successfully caring for one of these special creatures is feeding them good food! Feeding an exotic pet appropriately is an extremely important part of their care, and each species has different needs in this area. At Paws, Purrs & Exotics Animal Hospital we are proud to be a resource for you to help care for your pet successfully.
Keys to Feeding an Exotic Pet
When it comes to providing the best diet possible for an exotic pet, knowledge is power. You should be able to answer a variety of questions about your friend’s dietary needs including:
- How often should your pet eat?
- How much should your pet eat?
- Is your pet an herbivore, omnivore, carnivore, or insectivore?
- Are there any foods that might be toxic or harmful to your pet?
- What types of foods should make up the majority of your pet’s diet?
- Does your pet need fiber?
- What vitamin deficiencies or excesses might your species be prone to?
- What foods should be limited?
- Should your pet eat a commercial food?
- What about treats?
Answers to these basic questions will definitely get you off on a good start. Stumped on any of the answers? Give us a call so that we can help!
You Are What You Eat
Proper exotic pet nutrition has some basic requirements, no matter what species you are caring for. All pets need:
- Vitamins & minerals
- Carbohydrates (digestible and/or fibrous)
These requirements can be quite varied between species. Carnivores like ferrets, for instance, will need a lot more protein than a rabbit who requires large amounts of fibrous forage such as hay to thrive.
Some species need large volumes of food, whereas others are much more efficient. There are also specific nutritional needs as well. Guinea pigs, for example, need to consume Vitamin C in their diets.
Malnutrition is not uncommon in exotic species kept as pets. This is simply due to the fact that their owners are not well educated on what to feed. A bird for example may fill up on calorie-dense seed and not get needed nutrients from fresh fruits and veggies. Rabbits may overindulge on pellets and miss out on needed fiber.
A well fed exotic pet is a healthy one. It is our responsibility as the caretakers of these unique and special species to do our due diligence in obtaining the knowledge necessary to help them thrive.