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3 semi-unusual pets and why people love them

(NC) From cuddly to rambunctious, cats and dogs are the most common pets. But, of course, they are not the only ones. Here are three other types of popular pets, why people love them and what everyone should know about them.

Often dubbed “mini dinosaurs” due to their evolutionary history, parrots, canaries and finches are cherished pets for their colourful plumage. Keeping outdoor birds like chickens is also becoming more popular. Fresh eggs anyone?

But birds are also susceptible to avian flu, which is highly contagious and has caused global outbreaks leading to mass disease and death in poultry. Importing a bird from a country other than the United States requires an import permit to help prevent foreign animal diseases such as avian flu from coming into Canada.

Outdoor birds, like chickens, are at risk of getting avian flu from wild birds. If you keep chickens in your backyard, they should be kept away from wild birds, and you should protect their food and water to ensure they don’t get contaminated.

Many are drawn to the unique appeal of reptiles, which offer a departure from conventional pets in part due to being quiet and dander-free. But it’s important to remember they’re ultimately wild animals without the longstanding domestication history that cats and dogs have with humans. They can also carry salmonella, posing a risk to human health. To minimize this risk, always wash your hands thoroughly after handling them, avoid close contact and keep them out of kitchen areas. Providing a dedicated enclosure with carefully monitored temperature and humidity levels is crucial for their well-being.

Rising in popularity, people adore pigs’ curly tails, cute snouts and their friendly, playful personalities. They’re also remarkably intelligent, capable of learning tricks and solving puzzles. But as with birds and reptiles, pigs also have major care needs.

Not only can they be extremely stubborn and destructive (think of a 200-pound toddler), they eat voraciously and need outdoor space to root around. Pigs also require important biosecurity measures to protect them against diseases like African swine fever (ASF). This viral illness cannot be transmitted to humans, and is not a food safety risk, but it is most-often deadly for pigs.

Although Canada is ASF-free, it’s important to keep pet or livestock pigs away from wild ones. The virus can spread through contact with their excretions, potentially contaminating shoes. Additionally, never give pigs meat scraps, as a small bit of the virus in contaminated meat can spread ASF.

Pets add plenty of joy and meaning to our lives but, before choosing any type of pet, be sure you thoroughly understand their needs so you can decide if they are a good fit.

Find more information about how to keep pigs safe from ASF at

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