Tag Archives: gerbil

Great things come in small packages!

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Caring for Small Animals

If your child wants a pet and you’re not sure that your family is ready for a dog or a cat, you may want to start ‘small’ and add a guinea pig, hamster, or a rabbit to your family. Small animals make great companions for both young children and adults. The Healthy Pet Care Specialists at Global Pet Foods stores can help you with adopting a small animal.

While it may seem that small animals are easier to care for than dogs or cats, small animals still need daily care.

It’s important that your small animal gets used to you and other members of the household as soon as you bring them home. They also need to become accustomed to being handled. If your child is going to be the ‘primary’ caregiver, ensure that they are involved with the pet right from the beginning.

Feeding your new pet a small treat is a great way to have them warm up to you. When they’re comfortable with that, you can carefully pick them up with one hand supporting the bottom, the other over the back. Hold him for a short time at first, and then gradually increase your time with him. The best way to safely approach rabbits is to start by stroking the top of their head. Do not offer your hand to a bunny to sniff in the same way that you would to a dog, because most seem to find this gesture offensive and may attack (lightning fast lunge with a snort). Most bunnies don’t like to have the tips of their noses or chins touched. Their feet also tend to be ticklish.

Teach your child to be very gentle with their new pet.

We often overlook the importance of providing daily activity for small animals – guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils and rabbits – because they seem to enjoy the comfort of their cages. But they need companionship and activity for their overall health and wellbeing too. If you have multiple small animals, they will enjoy playing together. Small animals will also provide great entertainment when they start moving outside of their cages.

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All small animals should partake in both physical and mental exercises every day. Most of the activities will relate to their burrowing and chewing instincts. A running wheel is the most important piece of equipment to ensure that hamsters or guinea pigs get daily exercise. Hamsters typically run a distance of about eight miles per night. TIP: Buy a running wheel without an axle if your pet has a long tail.

Another popular toy that provides great exercise, mental stimulation and entertainment is a polycarbonate plastic ball. Your small animal will love the freedom and exercise as their legs give the ball motion to roll around the room. This allows them to be outside of their cage, and ensures they can’t escape! Your pet can overexert itself, so give them a rest after 15 or 20 minutes of being in the ball.

Small animals have natural burrowing and tunneling instincts, so a great option to facilitate this is tunneling equipment. Although cardboard tubes from toilet paper and paper towels can be used, they will end up being shredded quickly. Buy a cage that is equipped with tunnels. Even ferrets are very curious and will love playing in tunnels (appropriately sized, of course!). Please ensure that the diameter of the components are the right size for your pets. It’s also important that the components are easy to remove and reassemble because you’ll need to clean and disinfect them on a weekly basis.

Some small animals, such as ferrets and rats like to climb. Adding bird perches, bird swings and climbing branches to their cages will encourage this. They may get chewed up, but that’s part of your pet’s play too!

Gnawing is a favourite activity for small animals. To help maintain your small animal’s dental health, ensure that you provide chew toys. There are vegetable flavoured or plain wood chew toys in a variety of shapes, colours and sizes available, as well as hard alfalfa cubes. Some pets, like bunnies, guinea pigs and chinchillas must chew. Their teeth keep growing just like your hair and fingernails do. Gnawing is how they keep their teeth trimmed. With trim teeth, they can keep chewing their food. Without chew toys they will chew on the food bowls and even on their cages. Hamster’s teeth grow continuously, so your pet will need to chew – a lot – to keep their chompers in tip-top condition.

Harnesses and leads work well with ferrets. Even bunnies and guinea pigs can be harness-trained when they are young. Harnesses Imageand leads allow you to take your pet outside and keep them from getting away from you and from getting into things. Most harnesses can be adjusted to fit the size of your small animal.

Be sure to provide the appropriate food for your small animal and water every day. Check the cage for chewed or damaged areas, where your pet could escape. Remove any old food and check the toys to be sure they are still working and in good condition. Your small animal’s cage should be kept in a safe and comfortable area in your home; cages should not be placed in drafty areas or in direct sunlight.

Before bringing a new pet home, it’s important that you and your family are prepared for the responsibility in caring for any animal.  The Healthy Pet Care specialists at Global Pet Foods stores across Canada can provide you with more information and educate you and your family in caring for small animals.   You’ll find a wide variety of products that are suitable for small animals in our stores.  We can help you select the right products that are appropriate for your pet and provide you with guidance on caring for your small companion.

We are Canada’s Healthy Choice for Pets!  Find a Global Pet Foods store near you at http://www.globalpetfoods.com/store-locations.

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Filed under Education, Pet Care, Small Animal

Is it time for a Pet Wellness Consultation?

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Many pet parents have questions and concerns as follows:

  1. What’s the best food for your pet?
  2. Is your dog or cat overweight?
  3. Is your pet shedding?
  4. Does your dog have difficulties with stairs?
  5. Is your cat or dog drinking enough water?
  6. Is your pet getting enough exercise?
  7. How do you care for your hamster (or other small animal or bird)?

Our Healthy Pet Care Specialists can answer these questions and more. We have the expertise to recommend the best brand of pet food, supplement, treat, toy, or any other pet product – along with great pet care tips – so that your companion pets are healthy and happy!

If you have any concerns about whether you are providing your companion pet with the best care and feeding them the best food, please schedule a Wellness Consultation with the Healthy Pet Care specialists at your neighbourhood Global Pet Foods store. The Consultation takes approximately 30 minutes to complete, which allows us to get acquainted with you and your pet. We recommend that you bring your pet with you to the store so that our Healthy Pet Care Specialists can see your pet, which will help them to identify any obvious issues, such as dry skin, issues with their teeth, or other problems.  We will discuss all of your pet care needs and offer you the following:

  • Evaluate your pet’s diet (food and supplements) to ensure that it’s suitable for their age, activity level, and that it address any special needs such as their weight (ie. overweight or underweight), dental health, joint issues, where they have allergies, etc.
  • Information related to vaccination concerns.
  • Parasite and Flea and Tick prevention information.
  • A grooming and general care plan
  • Exercise recommendations.

Discuss any other concerns based your pet’s individual situation.  We may recommend  a food change, adding a supplement to their food or water, or recommend a topical treatment that can clear up any health issues quickly which will help to improve your pet’s quality of life.

You want the best for your pet.  We do too.  We know that being a pet parent can be challenging when your furry child isn’t eating or experiencing health issues. Whether they suffer from allergies, dental issues, joint stiffness or a myriad of other health problems, we understand that you just want to help them. We pride ourselves on being pet nutrition and pet care specialists and we will use our knowledge and expertise to help you find the right solutions for your companion pets’ needs.

While we recommend that you visit a licensed veterinarian on an annual basis, there are many issues that can be cleared up with a visit to a pet specialty retailer such as Global Pet Foods.

Educate and empower yourself with this valuable pet care consultation and receive product and pet care recommendations to help you make better informed decisions for your pet’s health now and in the future.  And the best part about this is it’s free!

To find a Global Pet Foods store near you, visit http://www.globalpetfoods.com/store-locations.

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Filed under Cats, Dogs, Education, Healthy Pets, Pet Care, Pet Food