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© Cornwallis Veterinarians Ltd. 1956 | Emergency call : 902 - 678-2731  |     cvet@eastlink.ca  |     sitemap
Pockets Pets

Owning a small pet like a hamster, gerbil, domestic mouse or a domestic

rat can be very rewarding. They can be an easy pet to have and maintain,

and seem like an ideal pet for a young child, but there a few things that

should be thought of to keep them to the best of their health and well being

and to enjoy them in your household.

One thing to note is most small animals like mice, rats, hamsters, and gerbils are mainly nocturnal or most active during the night.  This can be rather disturbing with having a pet in the bedroom at night, as they will be playing in their enclosure and can be noisy. Some of the most important choices you can make for your pet will be the food and enclosure that they will live in.  Housing for mice, rats, and hamsters should include nesting materials and boxes, tunnels and running-wheels.  They like exploring their environment so spreading out their food in the bedding and throughout the cage can keep them active.  The cage for hamsters should be made of a hard material and have rounded corners to prevent chewing, as hamsters will chew on anything with edges. They can chew trough wood, soft plastics, and soft metal.  The bottom of the cage should be made of hard plastic and be able to be cleaned easily. The bedding material should be thick to allow burying and burrowing of the pet.  There are many bedding ideas, and the main recommendations would be a non-smelling hardwood like aspen shavings, or a paper-based product like CareFRESH©.  Pine shavings have phenols (what gives the scent to the wood) and have been associated with being toxic to some small animals.  Good ventilation and drying out pine shavings (kiln dried pine shavings) are better and can help decrease the toxicity with this bedding.  Cedar shavings are quite toxic to small animals and should not be used.  Bedding should be changed once weekly. There are many different foods available for small animals.  It is better and easier to feed specially formulated extruded pellets as they are a balanced diet for the animal, compared to the seed, grain, nut, fruit and pellet diets that are available.  These products are suitable as treats but not as the primary diet. Pet rodents and hamsters often selectively eat only one ingredient (e.g., sunflower seeds), when offered mixed-seed and grain diets.  This can lead to obesity, vitamin deficiencies, and other health related issues.  Other treats can be little sugarless cereal pieces such as Cheerios©, fresh fruit or a small piece of bread.  Water should be always available.  It can be in a small bottle or a dish, but should be replaced daily, even if the container is not empty. If you notice a change in your pet's normal behavior, such as any personality changes, hair loss, sneezing, head tilt, eye or nasal discharge, or abnormal growths, it is recommended that your veterinarian examine the pet. Additional resources: Guinea pigs: www.guineapigcages.com Hamsters: www.pethamstercare.com Rodents: http://www.veterinarypartner.com
© Cornwallis Veterinarians Ltd. 1956 | Emergency call : 902 - 678-2731  |  cvet@eastlink.ca  |  sitemap
Pockets Pets
Cornwallis Veterinarians Ltd. Cornwallis Veterinarians Ltd. Cornwallis Veterinarians Ltd. Cornwallis Veterinarians Ltd.

Owning a small pet like a hamster, gerbil, domestic

mouse or a domestic rat can be very rewarding. They can

be an easy pet to have and maintain, and seem like an ideal pet for a

young child, but there a few things that should be thought of to keep

them to the best of their health and well being and to enjoy them in

your household.

One thing to note is most small animals like mice, rats, hamsters, and gerbils are mainly nocturnal or most active during the night.  This can be rather disturbing with having a pet in the bedroom at night, as they will be playing in their enclosure and can be noisy. Some of the most important choices you can make for your pet will be the food and enclosure that they will live in.  Housing for mice, rats, and hamsters should include nesting materials and boxes, tunnels and running-wheels.  They like exploring their environment so spreading out their food in the bedding and throughout the cage can keep them active.  The cage for hamsters should be made of a hard material and have rounded corners to prevent chewing, as hamsters will chew on anything with edges. They can chew trough wood, soft plastics, and soft metal.  The bottom of the cage should be made of hard plastic and be able to be cleaned easily. The bedding material should be thick to allow burying and burrowing of the pet.  There are many bedding ideas, and the main recommendations would be a non- smelling hardwood like aspen shavings, or a paper-based product like CareFRESH©.  Pine shavings have phenols (what gives the scent to the wood) and have been associated with being toxic to some small animals.  Good ventilation and drying out pine shavings (kiln dried pine shavings) are better and can help decrease the toxicity with this bedding.  Cedar shavings are quite toxic to small animals and should not be used.  Bedding should be changed once weekly. There are many different foods available for small animals.  It is better and easier to feed specially formulated extruded pellets as they are a balanced diet for the animal, compared to the seed, grain, nut, fruit and pellet diets that are available.  These products are suitable as treats but not as the primary diet. Pet rodents and hamsters often selectively eat only one ingredient (e.g., sunflower seeds), when offered mixed- seed and grain diets.  This can lead to obesity, vitamin deficiencies, and other health related issues.  Other treats can be little sugarless cereal pieces such as Cheerios©, fresh fruit or a small piece of bread.  Water should be always available.  It can be in a small bottle or a dish, but should be replaced daily, even if the container is not empty. If you notice a change in your pet's normal behavior, such as any personality changes, hair loss, sneezing, head tilt, eye or nasal discharge, or abnormal growths, it is recommended that your veterinarian examine the pet. Additional resources: Guinea pigs: www.guineapigcages.com Hamsters: www.pethamstercare.com Rodents: http://www.veterinarypartner.com
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Pockets Pets
Cornwallis Veterinarians Ltd. Cornwallis Veterinarians Ltd. Cornwallis Veterinarians Ltd. Cornwallis Veterinarians Ltd.

Owning a small pet like a hamster, gerbil,

domestic mouse or a domestic rat can be

very rewarding. They can be an easy pet to

have and maintain, and seem like an ideal

pet for a young child, but there a few things

that should be thought of to keep them to

the best of their health and well being and

to enjoy them in your household.

One thing to note is most small animals like mice, rats, hamsters, and gerbils are mainly nocturnal or most active during the night.  This can be rather disturbing with having a pet in the bedroom at night, as they will be playing in their enclosure and can be noisy. Some of the most important choices you can make for your pet will be the food and enclosure that they will live in.  Housing for mice, rats, and hamsters should include nesting materials and boxes, tunnels and running-wheels.  They like exploring their environment so spreading out their food in the bedding and throughout the cage can keep them active.  The cage for hamsters should be made of a hard material and have rounded corners to prevent chewing, as hamsters will chew on anything with edges. They can chew trough wood, soft plastics, and soft metal.  The bottom of the cage should be made of hard plastic and be able to be cleaned easily. The bedding material should be thick to allow burying and burrowing of the pet.  There are many bedding ideas, and the main recommendations would be a non-smelling hardwood like aspen shavings, or a paper-based product like CareFRESH©.  Pine shavings have phenols (what gives the scent to the wood) and have been associated with being toxic to some small animals.  Good ventilation and drying out pine shavings (kiln dried pine shavings) are better and can help decrease the toxicity with this bedding.  Cedar shavings are quite toxic to small animals and should not be used.  Bedding should be changed once weekly. There are many different foods available for small animals.  It is better and easier to feed specially formulated extruded pellets as they are a balanced diet for the animal, compared to the seed, grain, nut, fruit and pellet diets that are available.  These products are suitable as treats but not as the primary diet. Pet rodents and hamsters often selectively eat only one ingredient (e.g., sunflower seeds), when offered mixed-seed and grain diets.  This can lead to obesity, vitamin deficiencies, and other health related issues.  Other treats can be little sugarless cereal pieces such as Cheerios©, fresh fruit or a small piece of bread.  Water should be always available.  It can be in a small bottle or a dish, but should be replaced daily, even if the container is not empty. If you notice a change in your pet's normal behavior, such as any personality changes, hair loss, sneezing, head tilt, eye or nasal discharge, or abnormal growths, it is recommended that your veterinarian examine the pet. Additional resources: Guinea pigs: www.guineapigcages.com Hamsters: www.pethamstercare.com Rodents: http://www.veterinarypartner.com