While the most common pets in the U.S. and Canada are cats and dogs, other small mammals, reptiles, birds, and exotic pets are beginning to gain on more traditional options. Because of their unique needs (such as breed-specific housing and dietary requirements), pocket pet care can be perceived as more challenging. However, these special animals can be wonderful additions to any household when certain health and wellness essentials are addressed.

Under the Sun

Pocket pets refers to a group of small mammals that includes this list (with links to basic care instructions for most):

Other alternative pets that we commonly see and treat are lizardssnakesturtles, tortoises, and non-venomous reptiles. If you’re interested in adopting a different type of pet not listed here, please give us a call. We may be able to help you find what you’re looking for and help you care for a unique pet.

More Pocket Pet Care Tips

Each species has its own set of pet care guidelines, but most include:

  • Housing – This is a huge element of pocket pet care. The right enclosure (whether it’s a hutch, pen, cage, or aquarium) must be dry, warm, and clean with sufficient ventilation and lighting for your pet’s specific needs. Problems related to poor conditions may include respiratory distress or digestive issues, such as diarrhea. Bedding should be chosen carefully and never allowed to cause choking or GI obstructions if eaten.
  • Eats – Providing the food recommended for each type of pet is a great way to ensure optimal weight, minimize allergic reactions, and reduce malnutrition. Many species require special ratios of different components, such as calcium or phosphorus.
  • Teeth – Much of the food you give should help with dental care, such as chew sticks to reduce overgrown teeth.
  • Safety –  Pocket pets and exotics must be kept safe from any possible risk. Ferrets are notorious for slinking behind large appliances or inside furniture. If you let your special pet roam the home, please be sure to eliminate any threats, such as electric wires, choking hazards, and large predators.
  • Fun – Pocket pet care also hinges on stimulating your pet’s keen senses. Play is the best way to do this. Be sure to supply a lot of various toys.

All in Good Fun

Union Lake Veterinary Hospital is proud to offer our many years of experience treating pocket pets and assorted alternative pets. We look forward to the opportunity to provide general wellness support once a year to discuss the ways we may help you sustain overall health. Ferrets are required to have certain vaccinations, and zoonotic diseases are a primary concern with many of the above-listed species.

Whether it’s an exotic hoof stock breed like pot-bellied pigs or non-venomous snakes like ball pythons, our veterinarians offer a truly specialized approach to health, wellness, longevity, and quality of life.