5 Tips: How to Keep Your Exotic Pet Cool

Small animals deserve hot-weather tips too.  Sometimes we forget about them, because most of them come from deserts or tropics, and they don’t always show their discomfort.  If you’re warm, odds are your exotic pet needs a reprieve from the heat as well.  Even when it’s cool outside, direct sunlight can overheat pets.  Check out these five easy tricks to keeping your exotic comfortable in extreme weather.

 

Ice Toys

Most pets love a good ice toy!  Take a few of their favorite fresh foods, mix with water, freeze, and voila – a Hamster Pop.  Try using veggies that your pet loves, and mix with some fruit and favorite toys.  Your pet will either spend all day trying to break into the ice pop, or just lay down next to it.

Try using different shapes to create the ice pop.  Rabbits like large ice toys that they can lay next to, and guinea pigs will do the same.  Cupcake tins, bundt cake tins, and food storage containers are all great options.

Ventilation

Small pet habitats need constant ventilation.  However, drafts can make small pets ill.  Use fans and space to move the air around the cage, but not in it.  So a ceiling fan in the room works, so long as the downdraft doesn’t go in the cage.  A box fan in the window provides ventilation, and a powerful floor fan can keep your whole home cool.

In hot weather, try to keep pets in cages that have open sides or open tops.  Wire cages, or home-made cages with wire hardware cloth, help keep pets cool without air conditioning.  Pinterest has tons of great ideas for make-your-own cages.

Water

All exotic pets need water, and especially in hot weather.  Even desert creatures, like gerbils and hamsters, appreciate having water handy.  Check water levels twice a day, and provide cool water during the hottest weather.

If you’ve used up all the ice toys, putting cold water in a pop bottle works to keep your pets cool.  Pets will snuggle up next to a pop bottle and use the condensation to stay cool.

Shade

Even if you keep your exotic pets indoors, direct sunlight can cause overheating.  Many exotic pets live in glass aquariums, and can get very hot.  You can protect an aquarium by putting fish tank liner on the outside, so the sunlight stays out.  Alternately, choose a location for the pet’s cage that isn’t in direct sunlight, even for just a hour a day.

Outdoor exotic pets, like rabbits or guinea pigs, should be provided with an area that remains in full shade, but isn’t just their burrow.  Use a shade cloth over an end of their pen so they can stay in both shade and ventilation at the same time.

Feeding

Fresh fruits and veggies provide many important benefits.  Chilled or frozen fruits & veggies provide something cool.  They also provide an important source of hydration.  Keep as many chilled fruits & veggies available for your pets as they need.

Remember too much fresh produce can cause digestive upset, so ration safely depending on your pet’s species.

Do you have trouble keeping your exotic pets cool?

What have you used to keep them comfortable?

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