How Do I Know When my Exotic or Pocket Pet is Sick?

It’s a common misconception that exotic pets and pocket pets are easier to take care of than a more traditional pet. Exotic and pocket pets tend to eat less and take up less room, but that doesn’t mean they don’t require just as much time, energy, and love as a dog or a cat.

Part of responsible pet ownership is bringing your pet to the veterinarian if they are ill or injured. Knowing how to tell when your exotic or pocket pet is sick is the first step in getting them the care they need. 


Exotic Pet Care: Easy vs. High Maintenance

All animals require a specific set of circumstances in order to survive and thrive. Dogs, cats, and other domesticated species tend to be relatively simple when it comes to care. They’ve evolved along with us, and we’re familiar with what it takes to keep them happy and healthy.

Although exotic pets tend to be smaller and appear easier to maintain, this is usually not the case. Before you adopt an exotic pet, it’s important to do your research. Exotic pet care can be tricky, and some animals are easier to maintain than others. Figuring out what a pet needs and how that will (or will not) fit into your lifestyle is critical.


Your Go-To Guide for Essential Pocket Pet Care

pocket pet carePocket pets have grown in popularity over recent years, due to changing household dynamics, allergies, and improved access to these special animals. Hamsters, gerbils, mice, rats, guinea pigs, chinchillas, ferrets, rabbits, sugar gliders, and even hedgehogs round out the list of common pocket pets. Being small is certainly part of their charm, but the basics of pocket pet care are still a big responsibility.

The Pet Experts at Elmhurst Animal Care Center offer the following tips to ensure the brightest future for your pint-sized friend.


Everybody Loves Some Bunny: Tips for Rabbit Care


Flemish Giant. Rex. Mini Lop. Angora. Himalayan. If any of these names ring a bell, you probably enjoy rabbits. And really, when one looks into the nose-twitching face of an adorable, intelligent rabbit, it’s hard not to get a kick out of them. Rabbits make quiet, curious, and docile pets, and once you get a handle on rabbit care methods, you can hop alongside your bunny for the next 5-8 years.

Bucks and Does

Perhaps surprisingly, baby bunnies are actually called “kittens” and are produced by mating males called bucks and females called does. Known worldwide for their prolific breeding abilities, rabbits can mate at about 6 months old. The pregnant doe gives birth 30 days later to a litter of 4-10 kits.


For the Birds: What to Know About Bird Ownership

Eclectus parrot and Bassett Hound

Birds are beautiful creatures. Their colorful plumage and quirky personalities can captivate us in the blink of an eye and easily tempt even the staunchest of skeptics into pet ownership. But birds are more than beautiful. They are emotional, intelligent creatures with needs few consider before making the leap into bird ownership.

Selecting a Pet Bird: Don’t’ Be a Bird Brain

Like all pets, a bird should never be an impulse buy. Birds require a level of care that, unfortunately, many would-be bird owners never consider prior to taking the plunge. We cannot encourage you enough to research the specific needs of the bird you are looking to adopt and be certain that you can provide your bird with the life he or she deserves.

Birds are very clever animals and can become easily bored if their needs are not met. For a bird to thrive as a pet, he or she needs to receive the same love and attention you would give any animal member of your family. Birds need time and interaction with their humans, as well as an enriching environment and plenty of training to keep them stimulated since they can become bored and depressed.

To keep your pretty bird happy, be sure it has the proper size cage. You’ll want to find something that is big enough for it to move (and fly) around in and have some fun. Provide your bird a variety of perches, ranging from high to low and public to private. Likewise, providing your bird with plenty of games and toys to explore and play with (both in and out of the cage) will keep your bird happy as well.

And, of course, be certain to keep your bird’s cage clean and free from droppings. Birds take pride in their appearance and environment. A messy cage means an unhappy bird.

Bird Seed

Contrary to popular belief, there is no such thing as a balanced seed diet for birds. Much like us, if you give a bird a plate of food it is always going to be the bird’s instinct to pick and choose his or her favorite bits out and leave the rest. Unfortunately (and not surprisingly), it’s common for the bird to pick out the “candy seeds,” and leave the nutritional seeds as refuse.

For this reason it is advised that your bird should be eating a formulated, pelleted diet (similar in consistency to dog and cat foods) that will ensure he or she is receiving all the nutrients required of a longer and healthier life.

Birds of a Feather …

Aside from meeting your bird’s emotional and intellectual needs, it’s important to know your bird’s personality as well.

As many domesticated birds were once, in their genetic past, common prey for Birds of Prey and other predators, it is a bird’s instinct to mask their health issues when they are ill or injured. Changes in your bird’s eating habits, appearance (being unkempt), activity levels, vocalization, and droppings are all telltale signs that there may be an issue with your bird’s health. But many bird owners miss these signs because they are not familiar enough with their bird’s “normal behavior.”

Other Aviary Things to Consider

  • Life span. Birds have long life spans. Parrots, for instance, can live 30 to 90 years depending on their size and type. Designate a willing future owner should something happen to you.
  • Flight. Birds do fly away when given the opportunity. An open window and untrimmed wings up the odds of never seeing your pet bird again. Be diligent.

If you have any questions about your bird’s health or behavior, or would have any questions about bird ownership you would like to discuss prior to adoption, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We would be more than happy to schedule you and your pet an appointment or answer any questions you may have.