When people think about adopting small rodents as pets, such as hamsters, gerbils, or mice, they don’t often put a lot of thought into their needs concerning habitat and nutrition. The reason for this is likely the modern pet store, which features a group of animals for adoption alongside a variety of cages and pre-packaged foods that are intended to make setting them up in your home a lot easier. However, easy is not always the best way. Many of these animals require a vastly different setup concerning habitat and care for small pets. Did you know that you can take a small rodent to the veterinarian for pocket pet care in Southcoast Massachusetts? Anchor Animal Hospital in Dartmouth is one such veterinary clinic that sees pocket pets in addition to the typical cat and dog clientele.
Choosing the Cage
This is a serious part of bringing home small rodents as pets. Take some time to learn what they like, and what they don’t, before you make a purchase. Many animal experts recommend that you buy the cage and get everything set up before you adopt a pet so they will have the proper habitat and care for small pets waiting for them. Instead of choosing the recommended cage setup at the pet store, research the type of enclosure that will suit your desired pet best. Make sure to pick a cage that will provide them with plenty of space for feeding, water, sleeping, exercise, and waste. Many small rodents will urinate and defecate in a specific area to keep it away from food and water. Some can even be litter box trained, so keep that in mind.
Avoid enclosures that have wire or mesh, which can hurt your pet’s feet. Make sure to choose bedding that is recommended by a veterinarian for pocket pet care in Southcoast, such as recycled pulp, shredded newspaper, or even food-grade bedding products. What works for one type of pet might be dangerous to another. Wood shavings are known to cause respiratory issues for some pets, while others may require specific bedding due to their other behaviors and tendencies. When you choose the cage, begin to put together a complete habitat, including a sleeping area, feeding tools, bedding, and exercise or other stimulating activity items. Again, do your research and learn all you can about the type of pet that you want to adopt. There is a huge difference between the needs and interests of a Guinea pig compared to that of a rabbit, hamster, or gerbil.
Keeping It Clean
Once you have the habitat set up ready for your small rodents as pets, make sure to have a plan of action for keeping it clean. You will need to gain your new pet’s trust before they willingly allow you to handle them, which is necessary for cleaning. You will want to start observing them, learning about their preferences, and begin to handle them right away. Learn how to thoroughly clean the enclosure and which products can be used safely. Many pet experts recommend a 4:1 solution of vinegar for cleaning, especially the flooring area, which can become quite messy. However, you may want to ask the vet at Anchor Animal Hospital in Dartmouth during your pet’s first checkup. Even if you do not bring your pet in, you can call and ask for advice concerning veterinary checkups, nutrition, and care. It is essential to find a vet that will provide services to support habitat and care for small pets in your area.
You will want to learn a few things to get started:
- Cleaning schedule for the enclosure – weekly, biweekly, etc.
- How frequently the bedding should be replaced entirely
- How often the water bowl or bottle should be sanitized and cleaned
- When the food dish should be sanitized and cleaned
- If toys should be tossed out or thrown away after a period
- What to look for that might indicate the pet needs a bigger or new enclosure
Proper Nutrition and Feeding
The next thing you will want to do is create a feeding schedule for your new pet. Many small rodents as pets are nocturnal, which might mean that feeding should be done in the evening, to ensure that everything is freshest for when they will be the most active. However, depending on your personal schedule, you might want to at least check on the status of food and water in the morning before leaving for work or school to ensure that your pet does not do without these basic needs. Primary feeding can be done in the evening before the sun sets, but a morning checkup is a good way to go. Learning the kind of food that your pet needs can also be a challenge. While most people think that a dry food product or mix is the best route, your veterinarian might have other suggestions regarding habitat and care for small pets. Fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as certain grains, might be a better option, depending on the species.
If you have a small pet and require pocket pet care in Southcoast, consider contacting our team at Anchor Animal Hospital in Dartmouth. We have proudly served clients in the Southeastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island areas for many years. Give us a call at 508-996-3731 to speak with one of our team members or to schedule a veterinary appointment.