Have you been thinking about adopting a small rodent as a pet? Lots of American households keep small rodents, such as Guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils, mice, and even rats as pets. It is more common than you might think! It is important to find a South Coast veterinarian that will help you to care for these pets. For example, Guinea pig care and feeding is much different from anything you might be used to with a cat or a dog, so it pays to consult with an expert. Annual check-ups, nail trims, and preventive treatments are all part of providing a safe and healthy life for your new pet.
If you are considering small rodents as pets, make sure to take the time to read about the needs and requirements of each species before making a decision. Some pets require more hands-on care, cleaning, and nutritional balance than others, so your lifestyle, experience with small pets, and ability to get the things you need will influence your ability to take care of certain pets. For example, a hamster might be just fine hanging out in his cage all day, but a rat might require more “outside the cage” time hanging out with you and being a part of the family. Make sure you know what you’re getting into before you sign on to be a caretaker for small rodents as pets for their lifetime.
Care & Cleaning Tips
When it comes to rodents, cleaning is essential. Females are more clean and less “smelly” than males, which can have a musky odor or may mark the cage with urine more often. The entire enclosure should be cleaned every week, and the bedding should be replaced every 3-5 days. All food dishes and water bottles should be cleaned daily to ensure that your pet stays healthy. Make sure to use pet-safe cleaning supplies to disinfect the enclosure properly. Ask your local South Coast veterinarian for tips on cleaning and be sure to get winter tips for small pets to keep them warm and safe year-round.
Healthy vs. Sick
How will you know if your small pet is sick? Healthy rats and fancy mice should have coats that are sleek and glossy, not wet and dirty. They should be naturally active and curious. If you notice any small rodents as pets that are sneezing, wheezing or have a lot of eye and nose discharge, it’s time to visit your local veterinary office. Other signs of sickness can include a lower body weight, diarrhea, hunched posture, and a bloated abdomen. Make sure to ask your veterinarian about other signs to watch for so you can bring your pet in right away if something is wrong. A good vet can help you with tips that will keep your pet healthy, such as rabbit or Guinea pig care and feeding advice.
Rodents are Social Animals
The one thing that you need to know about keeping small rodents as pets is that rodents are naturally very social animals. Having two is always better than one, unless you accidentally get a male and female, but didn’t plan on having babies! Do not mix rodent species, such as rats and Guinea pigs or mice and hamsters together. It is better to have two females in a cage together than two males, as the males may fight. In some cases, some rodents may “hang out” with and be friends with larger pets, such as cats and dogs, but each animal is different. Be careful about introducing different species of animals together to make sure that everyone is safe and no one gets injured. If you have any questions about how to do it properly, make sure to ask your South Coast veterinarian.
Bring Your Small Pets to Anchor Animal Hospital
For spring, summer, fall and winter tips for small pets or to learn more specifics, like Guinea pig care and feeding or habitats for small rodents as pets, make sure to schedule an appointment with your South Coast veterinarian for a check-up. Give us a call at 508-996-3731 to speak with one of our team members. We can answer any questions that you might have about the services that we provide and give you information about our emergency care services. Since 1975, Anchor Animal Hospital has proudly served the South Coast area, providing quality veterinary care for cats, dogs, Guinea pigs, rabbits, ferrets, and pocket pets.