Exotic Pet Husbandry

Posted on by Shangzhe Xie, DVM

Any pet that is not a dog or cat can be classified as an exotic pet, which means that there are countless species of exotic pets out there. Many exotic pet owners are very knowledgeable about the husbandry and diet needs of their pets because there are also numerous resources available for gaining the knowledge. These resources, however, do not always agree with one another. The following are a few guidelines for exotic pet owners, or potential exotic pet owners, to help get the most accurate information for their current or next pet:

1) Start by gaining more information about the particular species of exotic pets. The most important information includes the natural history of the species, its native geographic location, the climate of its native geographic location, its diet in the wild and its habits in the wild. Unlike dogs and cats, which have undergone generations of domestication, most species of exotic pets were not bred for the purpose of being a pet. The closer the environment you provide is to their natural environment, the lower the chances of them becoming sick as a result of poor diet and husbandry.

2) Compare different sources of information and highlight differences in recommendations provided by these sources. The source that bases its recommendation on the point above is more likely to be accurate.

3) When in doubt, consult with a veterinarian. Veterinarians have access to sources of information, including exotic pet medicine textbooks and contact with exotic pet medicine specialists, which could be invaluable.

I’ll be writing about specific information on proper care of each broad category of exotic pet species in future posts, so check back soon!

About Shangzhe Xie, DVM

Shangzhe Xie, DVM, graduated in 2008 from Murdoch University in Perth, Western Australia, and completed a Master of Veterinary Studies in Conservation Medicine from Murdoch University in 2010. Dr. Xie worked at Banfield Pet Hospital of Burbank, Ill., from July 2010 to June 2012 and expanded the clientele to include exotic species. He also served on the Banfield Exotic Pets Care Guidelines Committee in 2011. He is currently working relief at veterinary facilities in and around Singapore and Australia while waiting to begin a PhD program. View all posts by Shangzhe Xie, DVM →


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