Care & Feeding of Pocket Pets
Rabbits, hamsters, gerbils, rats, mice, guinea pigs, and ferrets are all pets that owners bring to Union Lake Veterinary Hospital for treatment. These pets tend to have an average life span of two to eight years, and as a result, they often don’t require as much veterinary care as larger animals. Except for ferrets, vaccinations are not needed or required for these pets.
This does not mean that such pets never require veterinary care. An annual visit to a veterinarian for a checkup will provide an opportunity for your pocket pet to be checked for any changes that may affect his or her health. In addition, you should also bring your pocket pet to a veterinarian as soon as he or she shows any sign of illness. However, pocket pets often mask signs of illness, and visible symptoms usually indicate that the disease has reached an advanced stage where delaying medical attention can be fatal.
In addition to an annual veterinary exam, you can help your pocket pet to remain healthy through proper nutrition, keeping him or her in a clean cage with sufficient room, and providing clean water. The best types of food are high-quality commercial pellets, which provide the nutrients your pocket pet needs to stay healthy. These foods are available in many pet supply and other stores.
Your pocket pets should have access to drinking water in their cages 24 hours a day. Except for rabbits, where a bowl of water on the cage floor is sufficient, a sipper bottle that hangs on the side of the cage is recommended for other types of pocket pets, as it is a more sanitary alternative.