Why guinea pigs, hamsters, and other small furries make great pets
April 14, 2022
As part of National Pet Month (April 1st – May 2nd), Best Friends Vets are celebrating the lives of small furries by sharing why our nurses believe they make excellent additions to many households. That’s right, we are talking about rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils, mice, rats, chinchillas, and all other small furry pets.
Join in with our celebrations by sharing photos of your adorable small furry pets on our Facebook page using the hashtag #ChristchurchSmallFurries
If handled the right way (and regularly) from an early age, small furries can become extremely friendly and loveable pets. Read our nursing team’s thoughts on them below.
9 reasons to love small furry pets
1. They are cute, funny, adorable, and can make truly wonderful companions for children and adults alike.
2. They don’t take up much room other than a cage or a hutch, and a safe, enclosed space to run around in – rabbits & guinea pigs need some sunlight hours to aid digestion.
3. They are generally less expensive to keep than cats, dogs, and other larger pets in terms of housing, food, veterinary care, and holiday sitters.
4. They can be fairly easy to keep, although it is important to research what your particular species likes to eat, and their housing, enrichment, and companionship needs.
5. They don’t need walking for hours around the park, but they do need exercise on things like hamster wheels, rolling balls, and in an enclosed run.
6. You can have lots of fun creating DIY activities and boredom busting toys for them.
7. Grooming rabbits and guinea pigs can be therapeutic for you both.
8. You can grow some of their food in your back garden, keeping costs low and helping the planet. Make sure to give them non-toxic greens in addition to hay and specially formulated pellets if that’s what they need to thrive.
9. Taking care of small pets can teach children about responsibility and caregiving.
Do small furry pets have ‘issues’?
Like all pets, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils, mice, rats, and chinchillas come with their own set of health and care issues. These small pets might not be right for every family, home setup, or budget, so be sure to research thoroughly before buying. If buying for a child, think about how long the species typically lives for and how long before your child goes off to university or leaves home!
Best Friends’ nurses have also put together a list of things to be aware of when thinking about getting a small furry pet:
- They may bite and move quickly, and are skilled escape artists
- Larger pets see them as prey and may attack them given the opportunity
- Some species need to live in pairs; rabbits and male guinea pigs need to be neutered in mixed gender pairs or groups (female guinea pigs over 7 months can have first-time birthing issues)
- Many species are nocturnal – research, invest in earplugs, or re-locate the cage at night
- You will need to make sure they are not too hot or too cold as the seasons change
- Cages/hutches need cleaning out regularly to prevent deadly flystrike amongst other issues
We hope you found our nursing team’s advice helpful. Pop over to our Facebook page to share your small furry pet photos, or to ask us questions about these wonderful creatures if you are thinking about becoming an owner.
Remember to use our hashtag #ChristchurchSmallFurries