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Small Animal Care Tips

Housing

When deciding what kind of home your pet will live in there are several things to take into consideration. First the size of the type of animal that you are going to get and the size that it will be when it grows up to an adult. Next if you are getting a wire cage, make sure that your pet can not squeeze in between the bars. If the cage has a wire bottom, make sure the spacing is close enough so that your pet’s feet do not slip through. If you get a cage that is plastic remember that some animals love to chew! It is not uncommon for an animal to chew their way through the plastic and escape. This is very dangerous to your pet. When choosing the size of the cage, remember that you will also need room for food and water dishes, a place to sleep and space to run around and play.

Bedding and Lining

You will also have to decide what kind of bedding to use on the bottom of the cage. Looking for bedding with the following: absorbs moisture, helps eliminate odors, biodegradable or digestible. Some common types of bedding are: pine, paper pellets, aspen, recycled wood products, corn cob and walnut shell. When choosing a type of bedding it is best to stay away from any that have aromatic oils. This type of bedding can cause upper respiratory problems in small animals. It will also help to read the label to see if your pet is listed.

Sleeping Hut

Your pet would love to have an enclosed hut to sleep in. For smaller animals a plastic hut is acceptable. For larger animals there are huts that are made out of timothy hay and can be used as their sleeping quarter as well as for chewing enjoyment. If you have a single pet, the hut diverts your pet from chewing on the cage which is a negative behavior and becomes a positive behavior.

Dishes for Food and Treats

All food bowls and water bottles should be attached securely to the side of the cage. Other types of dishes can cause problems. For example, bowls that sit at the bottom of the cage can easily be tipped over, or your pet can easily spoil the food/water by kicking their bedding into the dish. It is best to use dishes made out of ceramic or hard plastic.

Feeding

You should give your pet fresh food and water every day. Every pet is different, so be sure to do your research on what kind of food your animal requires. Also check to see what kind of fresh fruits and vegetables are safe for your pet. Not all animals require fruits and vegetables everyday; some should only be given this type of food occasionally. You pet will enjoy treats. Make sure the kind of treat that you get is for the type of pet that you have. Do not over do it with the treats!

Exercise

All pets need some type of exercise. Small animals all require some type of gnawing toy such as vegetable flavored or plain wood chew toys in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors. Bunnies, guinea pigs and chinchillas must have chew toys to avoid teeth from over growing. Smaller animals also require an exercise wheel or exercise ball to run around with. The following web site has additional tips on how to provide exercise for small animals: Doctors Foster and Smith

If you choose to take your small animal outdoors it is highly recommended that they are trained at a young age so that they will be accustomed to wearing a harness and leash.

Veterinary Care

You should find a veterinarian that specializes in small animals. To find a vet in your neighborhood, you can ask your local pet store or breeder. When visiting your veterinarian, for your pet's safety, always provide them a carrier. It is best to establish this relationship with your vet before an emergency happens.