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12/08/2010 11:49:22 AM by Thespoilingone   Send Message to Thespoilingone  1474  views, category: Pet care, safety and insurance view all blogs

                    

I guess, the first thing to do would be to define Pocket Pet.  A pocket pet is just like it sounds. It is a pet that could fit in your pocket. They include Syrian hamsters, dwarf hamsters, gerbils, rats and mice. There are many others that are not as common, some of them are degus, jirds, short tail opossums, pygmy marmosets and many more.
In this series of blogs, I am also including some of the larger small pets. These include guinea pigs, ferrets and chinchillas. Again there are many more smaller pets around this size and I will include as many as I can, during the series.

Here are some questions to ask yourself:
  • Are there any pet restrictions for the area I live in? The laws, regulations, restrictions and permitting are different by state and in some states by county. If you rent there may be even more rules.
  • How much time will I have to spend with my pet? The above mentioned pets and the others that fall into this category, require your time. They will need to have a clean habitat, fresh food and water, exercise and just plain attention from you. If you are an extremely busy person, travel a lot or are just rarely home, then a small pet may not be right for you.
  • Do I have the room to house my new pet? While the majority of the above pets are very compact, they do still require a place to live. Most can be housed in fairly small cages but others require larger ones. Many of these animals need to be placed in specific areas in the home too. Most will need to be protected from drafty or overly hot spots, need to be either near the core of the homes main activity or away from it depending on the pet or may need a specific spot to protect it from other pets.
  • Will other pets I already have get along with my new pet? This one is important. While I rarely had any issues with this one, some types of animals just do not get along. I raised a variety of pocket pets, so many were raised up together as littermates. I had mice, hamsters, rats and guinea pigs that, Yes, all got along, but they were always around each other. Other pets like birds, dogs, cats and reptiles can be a serious threat to your new small pet.
  • Do I have or will I be able to find a vet to treat this animal if the need arose? Even our tiniest pets can become ill and can need to see a vet. Many vets have little experience with our smaller pets. Make sure you plan ahead.
  • How long will is my new pets life span? This will vary quite a bit. Some, like the mice and dwarf hamsters will only live a couple years while, others like the ferrets can live around 10.
  • Do I know the basics about this animal such as what it eats, what type of habitat it needs and time out of cage it requires each day? They all will vary. Some pets like the Syrian hamsters are nocturnal, some like rats are extremely social while some like degus and chinchillas need dust baths. There are many different things that each specific type of animal will require.
  • Last but most certainly one of the most important. If the pet is for a child, is that type of animal a good choice for the age and maturity level of your child?  Some of the smaller breeds of animals may not be a good match for your child simply because they are both small. Yes, cost wise, they are far less expensive then getting the child a pony, but often times the child is not mature enough to do well with a very small pet. A good rule of thumb is the smaller the pet, the more delicate it would be if squeezed instead of petted. Many of the tiniest pets will become scared easily and may then bite that child every encounter after they have been scared. Use common sense here. I often recommended rats for younger kids. (by younger I mean at least 5) Rats are incredibly social, rarely biters like some of the others and will bond closely to 'their person'.

These are just a simple starting guideline. Dogs and cats are not the only animals taken to shelters on a regular basis. Many times it was due to not knowing what they were getting into prior to getting that pet. These smaller pets can be harder to place due to many having a shorter life span or misconceptions about them. Making sure you are certain one of these animals would make a good pet for you is a great place to start.



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