Tips to Properly Care for Your Exotic Pet to Keep It Healthy

Updated on December 15, 2021

Bringing an exotic pet home is surely exciting, but are you aware of the things you need to do to keep it healthy?

Many people have started considering getting small mammals, reptiles, and birds as pets because of their uniqueness. They can be fun to have, but many pet owners are not prepared and aware of the special care needs that these animals have. We have put together a few points for you to follow so your exotic pet can be properly cared for and feel healthy and happy in your home.

Environmental Needs

Common pets like dogs and cats can be comfortable in the same climate as your home, but an exotic pet requires a specific habitat to be healthy. Many exotic pets fall ill or even die due to being housed in an inappropriate way. Exotic pets need an environment with controlled temperature, humidity, and lighting. Many exotic pets require objects inside their habitat to enable them to climb, hide, sunbathe, or perch so they can remain physically and mentally fit. 

Toxicity is something you need to be aware of when getting an exotic pet. They must have the proper substrate and bedding so that their cleanliness is maintained and toxicity is prevented. You also will need to house them in the right-sized aquarium or cage as they need to be able to move about to remain healthy and active.

Nutritional Needs

Each species of exotic pets has varied requirements when it comes to nutrition. But there is one thing they all have in common: If there is a vitamin and mineral deficiency in their diet, or if it is unbalanced, it will have tragic outcomes for all species of exotic pets. Commercial diets for exotic pets are widely available, but you must be careful while choosing them as they can be inappropriate, especially  if you feed them exclusively. 

Exotic pets are categorized as carnivore, herbivore, or omnivore. Based on this, you may supply them with a diet consisting of rodents, insects, hay, fresh fruit, leafy greens, or worms. You should pay special attention when buying pet nutrition online. 

Reliable online stores such as can be a good source of balanced nutrition. Be observant if your pet is feeling sick due to a change in drinking and eating habits. Contact emergency veterinarian services instantly at the first signs as exotic pets can deteriorate quickly.

Taking Preventive Care of Your Exotic Pet

When it comes to preventive veterinary care, exotic pets are often overlooked. However, it is important that you provide routine veterinary visits for your exotic pets to make sure they are healthy. While at a vet, you will need to discuss how to arrange the habitat so that your pet can have a healthy place to live and receive the proper care required to be happy. The vet will help to identify any infections caused by parasites or other health issues. 

You can also learn about how to detect normal or abnormal behavior and the appearance of your exotic pet. A vet can also clue you in about diseases specific to your pet’s species and how to identify the related warning signs. Services such as nail trimming and beak or wing trimming are also provided at the vet’s station.

Grooming Needs of Exotic Pets

All species have specific grooming and self-care behaviors that are pretty well defined. Rabbits bathe their faces, and birds preen their feathers, while chinchillas need to be dust-bathed regularly. You need to know about the common behaviors of your pet and keep an eye out for any changes. 

Your pet might have a medical condition that needs to be addressed by a veterinarian, which might cause it to self mutilate by either over-grooming or neglecting to groom. Don’t delay bringing your pet to the vet if you notice such behavior.

How to Handle or Restrain Your Exotic Pet

A common reason most exotic pets need to visit the vet is injuries suffered from applying inappropriate restraints or mismanaged handling. Your pet might try to escape restraint and get injured in the process due to being squeezed or dropped. 

These injuries can cause fractures, internal injuries, or even death. This is the same reason why you should supervise all interactions any children have with your exotic pet.

The Exotic Pet Hygiene 

Humans may contract some diseases from exotic pets, such as E coli, aspergillosis, ringworm, salmonella, and cryptococcus. To reduce the risk from husbandry-related illnesses, you need to keep the environment for your pet clean at all times. 

You need to regularly disinfect the toys, bowls, cages, litter pans, enclosures, and other objects using enzymatic cleaners that are pet friendly. You should remove your pet from the area before starting to clean. 

To prevent getting contaminated, you shouldn’t eat or drink in the pet area. Refrain from touching your eyes or mouth after you have handled pet waste and soiled bedding, and wear gloves for added safety. Remember to wash your hands thoroughly after you are done cleaning.

Mental Stimulation and Exercise to Keep Them Fit

Everyone needs to have adequate mental and physical activity to maintain their well-being, and exotic pets fall into that category as well. The best way to reduce stress and anxiety with your exotic pet is to provide them with an environment where they can freely express their normal behavior. 

Exotic pets normally scratch, hide, chew, dig, forage for food, and climb or perch. So create an enclosure where they will be able to carry out these activities. Predator pets will appreciate the strategic feeding if you hide their food throughout the enclosure. 

Puzzle toys that make your pet go through some effort and manipulation to access food may help reduce behavior problems in your pet. Letting them be socially active is a good way to keep them healthy. Some species of exotic pets thrive in groups and bond easily with a companion. Before adding new pets, make sure you know which species get along with each other. Not all pets get along, so it must be checked in advance.


Exotic pets are not necessarily low maintenance, but if you are willing to do your research, it will be worth it getting one. The process of learning how to care for an exotic pet can be a very rewarding experience. So get well informed of how to care for your exotic pet so that it can have a long, healthy, and happy life with you.

Throughout the year, our writers feature fresh, in-depth, and relevant information for our audience of 40,000+ healthcare leaders and professionals. As a healthcare business publication, we cover and cherish our relationship with the entire health care industry including administrators, nurses, physicians, physical therapists, pharmacists, and more. We cover a broad spectrum from hospitals to medical offices to outpatient services to eye surgery centers to university settings. We focus on rehabilitation, nursing homes, home care, hospice as well as men’s health, women’s heath, and pediatrics.