Though you won’t likely be taking them on walks or teaching them to fetch, pocket pets can be some of the most loving and lovely companions you will ever have the joy of caring for. Making certain you do everything that you can to ensure a happy and healthy life for your pets should be a priority for any pet owner. At Village Vet of Urbana, we are always happy to provide what information we can!
Pocket pets such as hamsters, guinea pigs, and gerbils need checkups and medical care, too! Call (301) 228-0681 or contact us online to schedule an appointment with our specialized pocket pet care team!
General Care Tips for Pocket Pets: Hamsters, Guinea Pigs & Gerbils
To keep track of the overall health of your pet, you must connect with a knowledgeable veterinarian. Preferably one that caters to pocket pets and has extensive knowledge of them. Here are some simple tips for keeping your pocket pets happy and healthy:
- Choosing appropriate pocket pet feed – Hamsters and gerbils are somewhat straightforward, but remember that guinea pigs are strictly herbivores. No meats, no cheeses, or any other snacks not specifically designed for guinea pigs! Fresh fruits are fine, and guinea pigs love them.
- Exercise – Though we often associate these pets with being a little rounded, boredom can have a severely negative impact on the health of a pocket pet. Appropriate toys, exercise tools, tunnel systems, and even separate play-specific caging can all help tremendously.
- Grooming and hygiene – Most breeds can keep themselves fairly clean when it comes to fur care. However, it is critical that bedding and cages be kept as clean as possible. Weekly cleanouts and shavings replacements are highly recommended.
Detecting Boredom in Hamsters, Guinea Pigs & Gerbils
Boredom is one of the largest dangers to small animals and rodents. They’re less vocal than other pets, which can make assessing mental health tremendously difficult. Spotting a bored pet can be done, however. Generally speaking, if a rodent or small mammal is bored, they will become more aggressive or might be mean to other pets caged with them. In severe cases, bored pocket pets might self-mutilate.
Common Hamster, Guinea Pig & Gerbil Health Problems
These general signs of trouble should always be met with immediate contact with your pocket pet’s vet.
- Wet-tail – Wet-tail is a stress-induced condition that is present in many rodents, hamsters and gerbils included. The condition is often spotted by matted fur, changes in behavior, frequent oversleeping, and refusal to eat.
- Vitamin deficiencies – A diverse diet is important for any pet, and pocket ones are no different. Vitamin C, in particular, can be a frequent deficiency. Incorporating infrequently served fruits, dark greens, and bell pepper can be a great way to ensure your pet receives adequate vitamin C.
- Hairballs – Hairballs are a more serious issue in small mammals because, unlike cats, they can’t simply vomit them up. A high fiber diet should keep hairballs under control.
- Fur and ear mites – Frequent checks for dry, patchy, or inflamed skin can tell you whether your pocket pet is suffering through mites. We also recommend mite checks during your regular veterinary visits!
Professional Hamster, Guinea Pig & Gerbil Care in Urbana, MD
Village Vet of Urbana is a full-service veterinary facility that is more than capable and happy to help you keep your pocket pets happy and healthy! Whether you need to schedule a routine visit, you want to establish care for your gerbil or hamster, or you need immediate medical care for your pets, we are always here.
Schedule an appointment with Village Vet of Urbana now, or call (301) 228-0681!