The holiday season can be an exciting time for people and their pets. However, the holiday season can also be challenging. From unfamiliar house guests to extreme weather events, unexpected circumstances can arise during the holiday season and threaten the safety of an exotic pet. Keep reading for six tips to help keep your exotic pets safe during the holidays.
Safety Tips for Your Exotic Pets
Although most exotic pets live indoors with us, we still need to consider their safety when winter sets in and the holidays are upon us. If you are the parent of an exotic pet, you'll want to consider the following six ways you and your pet can thoroughly enjoy the holiday season while avoiding holiday-related pet emergencies.
1. Be extra careful when traveling with your exotic pet.
It is best to avoid taking your exotic pet outside during the holiday season and throughout the winter months. However, travel is sometimes unavoidable, especially if you need to bring your exotic pet to the vet or a pet sitter. Be sure to take the appropriate measures when traveling. That includes providing shelter for your exotic pets and shielding them from the elements.
Warm up the car ahead of transport and avoid making extra stops on your way, as leaving your exotic pet alone in a vehicle is not advisable. When traveling, treat your exotic pet the way you treat a newborn.
If traveling with a reptile, use a warmed container to maintain your pet's required temperature zone. A reptile will rely on its environment to maintain a healthy body temperature.
2. Always bathe birds inside during the winter months.
Companion birds should be regularly bathed for good health. However, you should never bathe your exotic bird outdoors in the cold winter months. Whether you mist, spray or shower your bird, do it earlier in the day. That will allow plenty of time for them to dry. Always bathe your bird in a warm room, like the bathroom, and give them time to dry before moving them to cooler spaces. If your pet is comfortable with it, you can use a hairdryer on the lowest setting to speed up the drying process.
3. Reptile parents should be mindful of room temps in winter.
House temperatures can drop significantly in the winter months, so you'll want to assess and adjust a reptile's heat source accordingly. Using a digital thermometer to measure the reptile's cage, especially at night, will help you to measure and maintain proper temperatures. If temperatures fall below the recommended range, provide an additional radiant heat source, like a heat lamp.
Remember that hot rocks and heating pads are insufficient for raising the temperature and that reptiles rely on ultraviolet light. Any lights should shine directly on your reptile. Whenever you set up a new light, recheck all temperatures to ensure it's not too hot.
4. Human holiday treats are inappropriate for all pets.
The holiday season is when humans often indulge in high-fat, salty, and sugary foods, carbonated, alcoholic, caffeinated beverages, and sweets, like chocolate, but none of these treats are appropriate for pets. Make sure anyone that comes in contact with your exotic pets during the holidays knows and respects that.
5. Be mindful of your pets when guests are around.
Many houses are bustling with activity around the holidays, and it is not uncommon for there to be more company than usual, including young children, around your pet. An exotic pet can become easily stressed by increased traffic in your home or by strangers reaching into their cages. Your pet may act out and bite in response to these stressors, or a stranger could inadvertently injure your pet trying to hold them or pick them up.
Always be present when guests interact with your pet, or keep your pets away from the holiday festivities altogether. It may even be a good idea to get your exotic pet out of the house by using a respected boarding service.
6. Keep holiday decorations out of reach from your exotic pets.
Rabbits, ferrets, birds, and other exotic pets are notorious for chewing. Around the holidays, you'll want to be mindful and ensure that your pet does not chew on any electrical cords, ribbons, or decorations, which can be particularly dangerous for exotic pets.
If you light candles or incense around the holidays or if you will be hosting parties where people are smoking, remember that the smoke can be harmful to pets. Pets are also at risk from carbon monoxide poisoning, so check that your carbon monoxide detectors (and your smoke detectors) are functioning correctly for your and your pets' safety.
Protecting Your Pets This Holiday Season
During the holidays or any time of year, for that matter, it is essential to be prepared in the case of an emergency involving your exotic pet.
· Always have your veterinarian's phone number on hand.
· Identify the closest 24-hour emergency veterinary service.
· Have access to a pet sitter if you need to leave your exotic pet home unexpectedly.
You'll need to take extra steps around the holiday season to research and note any holiday hours that may affect the services listed above.
Following these tips, you and your exotic pet can enjoy many happy and healthy holidays together. Happy Holidays!