Adopting a bird or small mammal may seem like an easy job, but in reality, it comes with a significant amount of responsibility and effort.
The bond you'll build with your furry, feathery, or hairless family member can be truly fulfilling, bringing you a lifetime of love and happiness.
However, before you bring your new family member home, there are essential steps you need to follow. One way to ensure their well-being is by looking into pet insurance. Prepare yourself by taking these important measures to ensure a smooth transition and a delightful relationship with your new companion.
Regardless of the pet you choose to adopt, be it a bird, rat, guinea pig, or any other small animal, it's important to understand that they will demand a considerable amount of care and attention. Birds and small mammals, in particular, are known for their playful and energetic nature throughout their lives. Building a strong bond with them requires both time and patience on your part.
Here are some factors to keep in mind before you adopt:
When it comes to adopting a new family member, whether it's a bird, small mammal, or any other pet, it's important to understand that it takes time for both of you to adjust. Once you bring your furry or feathery friend home, here's what you should do to ensure a smooth transition and a happy future together.
Every species is different when it comes to sleep habits and diet, so you should consult your vet on what type of food and healthy habits work best for your pet.
When it comes to potty training, birds and small mammals are generally easy to train:
Socializing your pet can take a few weeks to a few months, depending on their situation. All animals respond well to positive reinforcement, treats, and praise. Be gentle with your pet and reward their good behavior while ignoring unruly behavior or giving them their own space until they have cooled off. Older and abused pets can also learn new tricks and behavior, but you'll have to be extra patient and gentle with them.
Introduce your pet to new environments, people, and other pets slowly and with supervision. Playtime and playdates are a great way to get them used to other people and pets.
Get your pet used to a regular sleep schedule. Birds, in particular, need at least 12 hours of sleep to keep them from nesting and potentially laying eggs. Covering their cage with a blanket at night can help maintain this routine.
You can get them used to activities such as baths by presenting them with lots of rewards. Birds usually love taking baths in shallow bowls and will do so on their own after becoming more comfortable. Small mammals may need to be coaxed and get rewarded with extra treats to get into a body of water. Pro tip: rats and ferrets are good swimmers and enjoy diving for treats like sweet peas.
This is also the ideal time to get them used to traveling in a carrier, which you can line with soft blankets, perches, and their favorite toys.
It's crucial to take your new pet to the vet as soon as possible for a wellness checkup, vaccinations, and, in the case of small mammals, spaying or neutering. This procedure can help prevent health issues like mammary tumors and territorial marking.
During the vet visit, take the opportunity to discuss any breed-specific or underlying health concerns your pet may face in the future. For instance, rats are prone to respiratory illnesses and mammary tumors. Your vet can provide valuable tips on prevention and management.
Don't hesitate to ask your vet for recommendations on food, treats, bedding, and other essentials for your pet's well-being.
Finding a veterinarian who specializes in birds and exotic animals is vital to ensure the best care for your pet. Take the time to research nearby vet offices and seek recommendations from family, friends, shelters, or rescues to find the perfect fit for your avian or exotic companion.
You should also look for an emergency clinic with 24/7 availability in case your pet falls seriously ill and your main clinic is closed.
No matter the reason -- emergency, illness, accident, treatment, or wellness appointment -- vet care bills are expensive.
Pet owners may struggle with covering high vet bills, and many times, they are put in the devastating position of choosing between potentially life-saving treatment for their pet or going into debt.
We believe that every pet parent should be able to give their pets the best care possible. Pet insurance is one way to help reduce the costs and make treatments and checkups more affordable.
The best time to get pet insurance is as soon as you adopt your pet. Pet insurance providers offer the most affordable quotes and comprehensive coverage when your pet is young and healthy since most providers typically exclude pre-existing conditions and might exclude necessary coverage for health issues when your pet is aging and ill.
Along with unconditional love and attention, your new family member will need some important supplies:
No matter the type of pet you bring home to become part of your family, it's important to make sure they receive the best care. Regular vet visits can help ensure they live a long, healthy, and happy life, and pet insurance can help cover the costs of care.
Want to learn more about pet insurance coverage? Look to our top providers here.
Coverage for avian and exotic pets is harder to find (currently, only Nationwide offers it) but it can help you cover treatments, procedures, check-ups, and more. The best time to buy pet insurance is when thay are young and healthy, which ensures you'll receive the best coverage.
There are some important steps you'll have to make after you bring your new pet home, such as buying essential items (food, cage, carriers, toys, blankets, etc), begin training and socializing, and make an appointment with the vet to get an overall assessment of their health.