Can you imagine living out your entire life in one room? It sounds crazy, but this is often what we ask of our birds and exotic pets. Environmental enrichment is so important for every species. Without it, behavior and health problems often arise.
Shiloh Veterinary Hospital is all about keeping our pet patients happy and healthy. While environmental enrichment is vital to this goal, it is also important to do it safely. Keep reading for ideas for safe toys for birds and exotics that are sure to keep them engaged.
Things to Think About
Our less traditional pets are definitely not short on personality. Many of them are quite curious and even mischievous. When thinking about environmental enrichment for them, it is important to take into account how they view and experience the world.
Most birds and exotics explore with their mouths. This makes it essential to look at any toys or objects in their space with a critical eye. Be sure to steer clear of toys and other additions that:
- Have small parts that can be chewed off and swallowed
- Can easily be chewed apart and is not intended to be digestible
- Contains ingredients that are potentially toxic/not designed to be put in the mouth
- Are not specific for the size/species of your pet
- Have strings or loose pieces that could entrap your pet
Potential toxins, digestive upset, strangulation, and even foreign body obstructions can be devastating when toys aren’t safely selected.
Safe Toys for Birds and Exotics
Thankfully, there are plenty of options out there that are great, enriching items for pets. Our favorite safe toys for birds and exotics include:
- Swings and perches, especially for larger birds
- Sturdy ropes for larger birds to gnaw on (best used under supervision)
- Recycled, size appropriate, PVC-free baby toys for birds
- Cardboard boxes for hiding and playing
- Cardboard tubes for tunneling
- Wooden block or chew sticks for small mammals
- A size appropriate Nylabone
- Fabric hammocks for ferrets, guinea pigs, and chinchillas (avoid adornments or loose strings)
It is also important to not overwhelm your pet. Put a few toys and objects in the enclosure and then rotate them out every few days. You will get to know your pet’s favorites and be better able to pick new toys over time.
Enriching your pet’s environment can make such a big difference. Safe toys for birds and exotics can help you to enjoy your pet more and help them to live better lives. What’s not to like? As always, if you need help with your pet, feathered, furred, or scaled, we are here to guide you. Give us a call any time for advice about safe toys, good husbandry, or anything else you have questions about.