Nutritional Diets for the Exotic Pets


Over the last several years, the demand for petting exotic pets is increasing. Keep scrolling to get insights about providing them with a balanced diet.

While the reign of dogs and cats as the most popular pets continues, a small subset of exotic animals is gaining popularity amongst pet owners. Admired for their unique sizes, engrossing characteristics, and fascinating abilities, exotic animals like birds, snakes, lizards, monkeys, tigers, cheetahs, and rodents have become common household pets for many families in the recent decades. However, like cats and dogs and any other common pets, these exotic ones also require proper balanced nutrition and enrichment to thrive.

The details of each animal’s nourishment may differ from the traditional ones, but with proper attention, care, and commitment from their owners, these unique pets can also live their best lives in their newly found homes.

Exotic animal nutritionists have tirelessly researched and studied several health concerns to establish a balanced diet for domesticated exotic pets. While all animals need energy and nutrients in metabolizable form, diets must always be controlled and provided in the proper format to accommodate specific digestive systems, tastes, and feeding methods. Thanks to this research and development, it is not uncommon to find Dubia roaches for sale online to meet the protein needs of bearded dragons.

The optimum standard to evaluate the qualification of a diet for a given exotic species include reproductive success, growth, and longevity.

Source: The Mercury News

Treats for your exotic partner

The National Research Council (NRC) has developed minimum nutrient standards for domestic animals that can serve as a guide when establishing targeted nutrient requirements for your exotic pet. For a variety of tropical species, diets may be tailored to provide foods consistent with their domesticated environment.

However, the nutrient requirements provided by NRC should only be used as guidelines because the goal of domestic livestock producers is a bit different than the goal of household animals. The exotic animals should be fed a more maintenance diet, specifically analyzing their needs and circumstances. The NRC standards may be used as a guideline for determining nutritional adequacy for the majority of mammals and birds, though they can be specifically enforced. According to diet formulation for reptiles and amphibians is made much more complex by the absence of domestic animal models.

Additionally, their metabolic rates change rapidly in response to variations in their habitat’s atmospheric temperature. Once the nutrient concentrations for the diet are confirmed, you can select the types of ingredients, quantities, and frequency of feeding based on the behavioral attributes and physical needs of the species. The foods that are being fed should always be fresh. Spoiled or moldy foods can create severe health issues. Topping off their food with treats frequently should be avoided because uneaten food on the bottom will go stale. The dishes for their food should be cleaned thoroughly before serving them their meal.

Source: Elite Veterinary Care

Steer clear of cafeteria-style feeding because pets are like kids. They will never choose a balanced diet over “junk foods.” Normally, a homemade mixture or a nutritionally completed commercial food that can’t be sorted out should make up most of the diet, and ingredients consisting of meat, fruits, and seeds being only a small portion of the diet routine. Feed them in the morning, with other foods offered during other meals of the day to improve their digestion of pelleted diets. Both diet products should be measured, and the actual consumption during feeding should be registered like small dubia roaches.

On the contrary, most meats, seeds, and grains are a poor source of calcium, and excessive consumption can lead to calcium deficiency. For a balanced distribution, a diet containing 12% to 15% calcium should be fed. A few other sources for calcium include cuttlebone, ground calcium carbonate tablets, and oyster shells.

Obesity is a bigger and common problem than insufficient intake. Exotic animals can become overweight rapidly when high-quality diets are offered regularly, specifically when their movements are limited. Adult and growing pets should be weighed on a regular basis, about four times per year, to detect any changes. If it is not practical to weigh four times per year the bodyweight score index (BSI) should be included.

If your pet starts to display any health issues, consider the diet for any imbalances, toxicity, or deficiencies. The current diet plan should be computer analyzed for evaluating the nutrient concentrations. The ingredients should then be changed according to the analysis of the health problem. Dietary intake should be evaluated three times a year to prevent diet drift.

Source: Oddly Cute Pets

Necessary supplements

Even though many pet owners rely on nutritionally complete feeds to avoid supplementation, occasional supplements should still be part of the equation. At first, the nutrient content of the running diet should be examined to determine if any supplements are needed or should be discontinued. However, owing to the owners’ negligence, the nutritional components are rarely examined.

If any nutrition deficiency is found, the specialist will prescribe a specific supplement Overdose of supplementation can be as harmful as insufficient dosage can be due to toxicity and imbalanced nutrient contents.

Source: Vetericyn

Water intake

Water intake should be recorded routinely, especially in animals with no renal function, in birds and lizards with a probability of gout, and in animals who live under high temperature or low humidity where there is a chance of losing water through evaporation. Some species of exotic animals are less tolerant to salt, so make sure you know the salt content of the water they are drinking. Pets who are fed dry feeds will require more water than those who are fed liquid diets. Fresh drinking water should be available for the animal at all times.

When in the wild, many animals consume much of their water through their foods. When dry foods are consumed, these animals do not receive proper hydration. Many free-ranging small tropical lizards receive water from their food and accumulated rain droplets. When these animals are kept as pets, they are less likely to drink readily potable water. On the other hand, birds usually don’t drink water when in nature, but they do when held captive. Despite all changes, clean waters should be available for your pet at all times.

Humidity is another reason to maintain the hydration of your cute pets. For many reptiles, daily misting with warm water is an important source of hydration that should not be overlooked.

Source: Fear Free Happy Homes

A few tips to remember.

It can be tempting to just buy pellets of Vitamin A you see in the pet stores; most pets require more nutrition than what these pellets can provide. You can try feeding your exotic pet these foods in addition to pellets:

  • Fish love to eat a myriad of bottom dwellers like mealworms and krill.
  • Birds, pocket pets, and reptiles are a fan of fresh veggies and fruits.
  • Rodents and birds love nuts, twigs, and berries.
  • Reptiles enjoy feeding on a variety of insects.
Source: Fishkeeping Forever


Never forget to do your research before you start feeding a diet to your beloved pet. Trying to feed too much “safe food” can backfire, and some foods or parts of food can be fatal. Do not rely completely on commercial food, and always consult your veterinarian. Don’t forget to share cute pet photos on Instagram.