Small animals like gerbils, guinea pigs, and hamsters are incredibly cute, without a doubt. With itty-bitty whiskers and teeny-tiny squeaks, they are just as capable of stealing our hearts as any other furry, four-legged pet. And while the idea of caring for a pocket-sized pet may sound super fun and fairly easy, a great deal of careful consideration is necessary for successful ownership.
In other words, pocket pet care can be a fantastic experience, but it does require daily effort and planning.
The concept of keeping a pocket pet in a shoe box or dresser drawer is an antiquated one. Whether you hope to adopt a rat, mouse, gerbil, hamster, guinea pig, chinchilla, degu, or sugar glider, it is important to prepare proper housing for them.
Their cage or enclosure must be adequately sized to provide optimal movement. Depending on your pocket pet, you may decide on a taller or wider cage. It must be thoroughly disinfected on a regular basis, so your pet’s cage must have a solid and sturdy bottom. Keep their cage off the floor and out of reach of small children and other pets.
Comfy, Warm, Clean
An essential component of pocket pet care is bedding. Soft, clean bedding is a comfort to these animals, and enables them to nest. Supply them with nontoxic, dust-free, and absorbent bedding, and be careful that they don’t try to eat it.
Every week, the entire cage must be disinfected and new bedding added. Twice a week, exchange their used bedding for fresh supply.
Pocket Pet Care & Diet
To maintain overall health of your pocket pet, feed them nutritious, species-specific food. Fresh fruits and veggies are often preferred, but steer away from unhealthy, pre-packaged snacks. Your pocket pet may need extra help with fiber supplements or vitamin C. Our team is happy to help you find the right products for your unique pocket pet. Clean, fresh water that hangs from the inside of the enclosure is critical.
Keep ‘Em Moving
Pocket pets thrive when given daily opportunities for mental and physical stimulation. Hiding places, tunnels, wheels, and movement balls are all great additions to the cage. Be sure they cannot chew on toys or become trapped inside them.
You may opt to take your pocket pet outside. This can be exciting for your pet, but please never leave them unsupervised.
Don’t Forget the Vet
Just because they’re small doesn’t mean that routine veterinary care won’t benefit your pocket pet. Regular attention to their teeth, coat, skin, diet, and more can go a long way toward sustaining long term pocket pet care. Wellness checks every 6-12 months can keep them parasite-free and feeling great.
If we can assist you further with pocket pet care questions or concerns, please let us know. Our team at Paws, Purrs, & Exotics Animal Hospital is always here for you!