Dr. Laurie Hess is our resident exotics expert and contributes regularly on the Pet Health Network. For more from Dr. Hess, find her on Facebook!
Think only dogs and cats will be spoiled with cool new pet products this year? Think again! As I saw last week at perhaps the largest pet product tradeshow in the US – Global Pet Expo – in Orlando, Florida, there is a lot of neat stuff out there not only for feline and canine friends, but also for birds and exotic pets. At this truly gargantuan show (that spans 11 football fields!), among all the cat and dog leashes, collars, pet beds, tick repellents, and literally thousands of new animal drugs, there were a handful of new and different items that really caught my eye.
1. The Reptile Lunch Box and Vita-Bugs
It's easier to feed your reptile with these pre-packaged containers of insects for reptiles from Timberline Fisheries. Marketed as “fast food for reptiles,” the Reptile Lunch Box is a cute little plastic box looks just like a tub for berries you’d find in the supermarket, but instead of being filled with berries, it contains 2 dozen crickets and a gut-loaded (vitamin-enriched) food source to sustain them until it’s time to feed them to your pet. On the market already, the Reptile Lunch Box makes feeding your reptile easy and neat, without the need for adding nutrients to the insects before you feed them; plus the little box keeps all the insects contained and less likely to escape into your house. Vita-Bugs, coming later this year, are also small, self-contained boxes of crickets, mealworms, or superworms – all common food sources for reptile species – that have been raised on a new, patent-pending vitamin and nutrient enriched feed that provides complete nutrition to the insects so that it can be passed along to your pet, without the need for further gut-loading the insects. Never before has feeding your reptile been so tidy and simple!
2. Catty stacks
The modular climbing boxes from Cat House System that were originally designed for cats are actually great for ferrets, rabbits, and rodents, too. These simple boxes clip together and stack both vertically and horizontally to provide hours of fun for your pets as they hop in and out of the portals. Plus, the boxes are made of corrugated cardboard, so if your pet decides to chew on them, they are non-toxic. While the boxes are marketed for cats, I have encouraged the company to come up with a slightly smaller version for exotic species. Available in several muted colors, these boxes will match any décor and do not stand out as an eye-sore as some other climbing apparatuses do. Since they’re biodegradable, when it’s time to dispose of them, you’ll stay green. They looked like so much fun, I wanted to start climbing!
3. Mimic Me voice recording unit
This small, high quality, battery-operated voice recording device from Prevue Pet Products allows you to record words or phrases in your own voice to play back to your parrot. Your message repeats 12 times at either 10 or 15 minute intervals until you shut it off. The unit can play different messages at different intervals and has the ability to store an unlimited number of messages. It’s a great way to teach your bird new words even if you’re not around all day to speak to him.
4. Senior Bird Nutri-berries from Lafeber’s
These berries are meant to meet the needs of older birds that are not as active, are gaining weight, and have different digestive needs. Looking just like the familiar Nutri-berries parrot owners know and love, Senior Nutri-berries have the added benefits of containing 61% nutrient-packed pellets, 26% tasty grains, and 13% vitamin-enriched fruits and herbs. Plus, they are balanced in Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids – important free-radical scavengers and disease fighters – that are recommended for birds, just as they are for people. They also contain milk thistle and ginger (as anti-inflammatories and to lower cholesterol), dandelion greens (to support bone health and liver function), and glucosamine (to ease joint pain). Soon to be released this spring, Senior Nutri-berries will be available in a smaller size for little parrots and a larger size for big guys. If your bird was raised on Nutri-berries and is now in his or her golden years, Senior Nutri-berries will be a perfect and easy food to transition to.
5. Carnivore Plus Premium Ferret Diet from Marshall Pet Products
Known for years as a producer of their popular ferret diet, Marshall Pet Products has taken it a step further in developing this new premium ferret diet with added protein. Ferrets are carnivores, and many of the ferret kibbles on the market today contain excessive carbohydrates (including grains) and lack essential protein. Marshall’s recognized this in developing this new product that not only is higher in protein, but also is grain-free and is balanced in omega 3 and 6 fatty acids. It is sure to be a hit with any flavor-discerning ferret.
What will you spoil your exotic pet with this year?
If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian – they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.