Happy Holidays! Over the next few weeks, many people will be picking, buying, and wrapping gifts for their loved ones. Dogs and cats often find themselves with lots of toys, treats, and beds at this time of year. But what about smaller pets? If you have a rabbit, Guinea pig, hamster, or gerbil, or another small pet, read on! As your Marion, IA vet, I enjoy working with small and exotic pets. I list some great gifts for pocket pets below.
Many smaller pets, such as bunnies, have open-rooted teeth. These guys must chew quite a bit. Otherwise, they can develop painful dental issues. You can make chew toys out of many household items, such as the cardboard tubes from toilet paper rolls. Plain paper, cardboard, and certain types of wood are also safe. You’ll find some great suggestions online. Toy balls are a good bet for ferrets and hedgehogs. Just don’t give your pint-sized pal anything with sharp edges, small parts, or dangling threads. You’ll also want to avoid anything coated in varnish, glitter, paint, or dye.
A new habitat is a great gift for many pets. When it comes to cage size, bigger is always better. Look for something with a solid floor, as wire floors can be dangerous. (They also don’t hold substrate.) Minimum recommended cage sizes vary depending on what kind of pet you have and how many pets you have. Ask your vet for specific recommendations.
Many smaller animals are burrowers by nature, and really enjoy exploring mazes and tunnels. If you get store-bought ones, make sure they are big enough so your pet can’t get stuck. You can also make your own out of shoeboxes or PVC pipe.
Some smaller pets, such as Syrian hamsters, absolutely must live alone. However, many pocket pets, like Guinea pigs, are very sociable, and are actually happier with a friend to play with and cuddle up to at night. Just be sure to do some research on introductions. Also, keep only same-sex pairs together.
Exercise wheels are lots of fun for smaller pets. This is a great way for tiny pets to get some exercise! Opt for a solid one, as wire wheels can be dangerous.
As your Marion, IA vet, I want to wish all of you a wonderful holiday season. Call me anytime!