It is no secret that at Paws, Purrs & Exotics Animal Hospital, we can’t get enough of pocket pets! These pint-sized, adorable mammals are a lot of fun to own. If you have never had one before, it isn’t too hard. And, the rewards are great! Read on to learn about the basics when it comes to pocket pets.
Pocket Pets 101
Pocket pets are small, household mammals, such as gerbils, hamsters, guinea pigs, rats, mice, chinchillas, degus, and sugar gliders. While we tend to group them into this broad category, it is important to remember that they are each an individual species with unique needs.
The biggest hurdle when it comes to pocket pet ownership is to do your research before taking the plunge. Proper care and husbandry are a huge component when it comes to enjoying these small pets and helping them thrive. If you are thinking of getting one, be sure to let us know so that we can get you off to a great start.
Caring for Tiny Critters
Caring for pocket pets is not entirely different from caring for a dog or cat. Take the basics into consideration:
Housing – Different pocket pets have different space requirements and housing needs. Some, such as sugar gliders, need the opportunity to climb, while others need plenty of space to hide.
Nutritional needs – Individual species have very specific needs. Understanding this for your pet of choice can make or break things. For instance, guinea pigs need a source of vitamin C in order to stay healthy, and rabbits need safe resources for chewing to keep their teeth in great shape.
Social habits – Certain species may do better with a friend, like guinea pigs. It is also essential to consider that some species, chinchillas, for example, may be more active at night. Pocket pets like rats enjoy human interaction and handling, while others prefer to be left alone.
Medical needs – Pocket pets need veterinary care, too! Most species need to visit us at least once a year, while others, like rats and rabbits, need more frequent visits due to their need for dental care. Likewise, aging pocket pets often need more medical attention. Spaying and neutering are often an important part of pocket pet ownership, particularly if you have more than one of the same species.
When it comes to owning pocket pets, it is critical to have a veterinary resource that is familiar with pocket pets and exotics. Not to worry! Our expert staff is here to answer your questions and help you enjoy these amazing creatures. There is a pocket pet for just about everyone, and we are happy to assist you in finding the right choice.