Rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, ferrets, chinchillas, sugar gliders, hedgehogs, gerbils, rats, mice and other small rodents are fun pets to keep. As long as they are kept healthy, provided with a warm home, given plenty of attention and fed a good diet they are fairly easy to keep happy. Some small animals, such as guinea pigs, are particularly suitable for a young child’s first pet allowing them to share responsibility with you for the pet’s upkeep.
Today’s Pet has a great collection of small animals available both for sale or adoption. You’ll have to decide which way to go. Most of the pets we have available for sale will be babies. If you choose to help adopt from our RE-HOME group, you will find that most of our pets will be a bit older. You can check out the pets available for adoption here.
Before you purchase or adopt you will need to consider your new pets housing, health and feeding requirements. The single biggest outlay will be his new home. If you adopt, a home may come with your pet. You want to make sure that the home is of adequate size for your pet as he approaches maturity. Because rodents have what is called “open routed teeth,” they are major chewers. You will need a cage that supports their chewing habits and Hamsters and Gerbils are escape artist. A poorly designed cage or an absented minded owner may find and empty cage one morning.
Diet is also extremely important. You will need to provide the same diet that Today’s Pet is currently feeding your new pet. Change of diet can disrupt his digestive system. If you want to change later, do it gradually after he's all settled in at home a few weeks. Most pets would appreciate a few treats each day also. With rabbits and guinea pigs you want to give them lots of timothy hay. Little know fact: timothy hay should be 75% of the diet for these guys. Only 25% of their diet should be pellets. Next is fresh water and lots of it. Don’t try to skimp on a water bottle that you have to fill several times a day. A dish is fine, but remember that most small animals don’t have good table manners, and the water ends up in the bottom of the cage.
Again, you want to choose the same bedding that Today’s Pet uses in his cage. We recommend Care Fresh or Soft & Comfy. Both are made from recycled paper material. They are clean, dust free and hypoallergenic. Be careful about using pine shavings. Some pets may have difficulty with the dust and never use cedar. This can be toxic to many small animals.
Last, you want to keep the little guy happy in his new environment. A wheel would be great, maybe a run-a-bout ball, lots of things to chew on and a house to call his home. Remember, he’s going to chew on the house, “it’s what they do.” Wood or plastic will be fine but it won’t look like new for long. If rodents don’t have enough things to chew on their teeth can soon over grow causing eating problems and possible death. So make sure you have lots to keep the chewing to a satisfactory level.
With the proper housing, feeding and health care your pet will give you years of enjoyment and quickly become your best friend.