What You NEED To Do To Create a Safe Home for Small Pets

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

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Two domesticated rats sitting on their owner's lap

So your children have been BEGGING for a hamster or guinea big and you've finally caved in.....

And I bet you're feeling pretty nervous because there's a lot of things that COULD go wrong like the little guy escaping, chewing through the wall, and eventually leaving a smell behind when he expires. 

Yea, it's gross, but it happens.  That's why it's very important to do a few things for any small animal you get in your home and there's plenty of reasons why.

 Chihuahua getting along with a domesticated rat on their owner's lap

1. Keep them safe from other pets that are potential predators.  My dogs get along great with my rats and I've had them around cats and reptiles and everything went fine but my dogs are also tiny so the likelihood of them taking down a rabbit bigger than them is slim to none.  But if you have a medium or large breed dog - just know that your little critters may bring out their hunting instinct.  If you have cats, they can climb and somehow get themselves on top of even the tallest curio cabinet, so if you plan to have small critters they need to be either in a room where other pets can't get to them, or up high where your pet can not jump. 

2. Always keep small critters contained when outside of their cage.  One of the most enjoyable things about small critters as pets is that they are so entertaining to watch when you let them OUT of their cage.  But all it takes is one distraction on your cell phone, and suddenly they're nowhere in sight.  Now, if you have kids, the devastation you'll hear in their crying will be enough to teach you a lesson from that.  If you let your rabbits hop around while you watch TV, make sure there are no doors to the outside world that are open, including cat and dog doors.  If you have mice, hamsters, or rats, consider a small animal playpen from Chewy.  

Not only does it keep them contained in one area while you watch them from above, but it keeps the area where they do their business contained as well. Plus you can use these to block off areas of your home you don't want them to get into if you do give them run of a room.

3. Providing fresh water is crucial to their survival.  I unfortunately have to make this point because it's not like a dog or a cat that cries and lets you know their water bowl is empty.  Sometimes people forget to refill water bottles for bunnies and mice and these little guys can get dehydrated fast and that can mean DEVASTATING consequences.  Always have fresh water in their bottle and check it every other day.  If your pet seems to go through a bottle quickly, consider hanging a second one or getting one jumbo sized bottle.

4. Be mindful of cords. When I was a little girl I had a pet rabbit and my parents had to get a special wrap to put around all the cords in my bedroom because Pumpernickel would chew through them in a matter of seconds. 

 Not only can your pet get ELECTROCUTED from doing that, but it can ruin your electronics in your home.  If possible, keep cords up off the ground.  You can also get a bitter tasting spray from pet stores that deters animals from nibbling.
2 Domesticated hooded rats on their owner's lap

5. Teach kids how to safely handle tiny pets.  Everything on a rat or mouse's body is miniscule compared to your Golden Retriever and if your kids (or ANY kids) are too rough, things can break.  Wanna hear a horror story? When I was a young girl I had a pet gerbil.  One night, he was being really loud in his cage, so I picked him up by his tail.  It broke off and I screamed bloody murder!! My mom and dad came running in, and we looked around in some books (this was before the ability to google everything from your fingertips) and learned that the tail won't grow back, and you should never hold them by their tail.  I did know that, I swear, but I grabbed him too close to the end when I should have grabbed him at the base near his butt.  I will never forgive myself for that and I still feel bad to this day.  Teach kids how to hold small animals safely so the animal can't get hurt, and your kids won't get bit. 

Expert tip: Never handle any critter with the smell of food on your hands.  You're asking to get bit, I promise you that!

Now that you have the tools and knowledge you need to create a safe home for your family AND your pets, go ahead and educate them so you can start enjoying your newest addition!

What small pets does your family have?

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  1. OMG that gerbil story!

    I had hamsters as a kid and a few goldfish. We have a dog and our daughter has learned to pet and play with the dog in a healthy way. I hear you on the water though. I do notice we get busy and sometimes her bowl is empty, hopefully not for long. I try to fill it to the brim when I do. We contain the dog to the kitchen on tile floor when we are gone it's a small space and nothing she can get into. It has worked well for us.

    1. LOL that gerbil incident scared me man!!!!It's totally okay with the water. I don't even leave water out for my dogs all day. I give it to them with breakfast until I leave for work, and then when I get home and give them dinner and then I put it up at like 8 pm. If u leave it out all day they'll drink and drink and have to pee a ton. If they're not running around and exercising its not like they're getting dehydrated. Plus, pixie wines like a baby and shrieks when she wants me to put it down haha


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