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Top Tips for First-Time Small Pet Ownership: Rabbits, Guinea Pigs, and Degus

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Top Tips for First-Time Small Pet Ownership: Rabbits, Guinea Pigs, and Degus

Welcoming a new pet into your home is like opening a book filled with pages of joy, companionship, and the potential for a few challenges along the way.

For those beginning their journey of caring for rabbits, guinea pigs, or degus, this guide is your roadmap to a harmonious life with your new furry friend as their needs aren’t as simple as you may initially think!

Let’s dive in to our guide and explore how to provide the best care for these delightful small pets.

Rabbits

Space to Explore

Imagine having the urge to hop and play but nowhere to go. That’s a no-go for rabbits. These energetic companions thrive in environments where they can leap and binky to their heart’s content.

The recommended enclosure size for two average sized rabbits is 3m x 2m x 1m high. It is also widely encouraged that rabbits live in pairs as they’re social animals.

A large, secure enclosure is just the start; most bunny owners will let their small animal free roam across their homes, or under supervision in their garden. Always ensure that when your animals are in an outside space, that your garden is predator proof and free of toxic plants.

Nutritional Needs

According to the experts at HayDay: “Small animals are herbivores that thrive on a plant based grass-led diet. Hay should make up 85-90% of a rabbits diet, and be offered at free choice”

An egg-cup full of pellets and a handful of leafy greens will add variety and essential nutrients to diversify your rabbit’s diet. Remember, a well-fed rabbit is a happy and healthy rabbit, for life.

Social Butterflies

Despite their quiet nature, rabbits are incredibly social animals and form deep bonds with their owners and other bunnies, once bonded. Interactive playtime not only keeps them physically fit and encourages them to eat more, but it also keeps them mentally stimulated.

From handmade enrichment toys from cardboard to hay bags and rollers, the options to entertain your bunny are endless.

Guinea Pigs

Vitamin C Essentials

Guinea pigs have a unique requirement for Vitamin C, as their bodies don’t produce it naturally. Incorporating Vitamin C-rich foods into their diet is non-negotiable for preventing scurvy.

Beyond vitamin C-rich pellets, feeding fresh leafy greens and other suitable vegetables can be a source of both essential nutrition and diversity to their diet.

Friendship Matters

Loneliness can be detrimental to guinea pigs. These creatures love the company of their own kind, so consider adopting in pairs or groups. Watching their interactions and developing relationships is a heartwarming experience that also keeps behavioral issues at bay.

Habitat Hygiene

Keeping a guinea pig’s living space clean is so important for their health and happiness. Opt for absorbent, dust-free bedding and establish a regular cleaning routine to prevent respiratory issues.

You must also feed guinea pigs an unlimited amount of high quality hay, and always replenish their water regularly. A clean home equals a happy guinea pig.

Degus: The Curious Climbers

Chew and Gnaw

Degus have an insatiable need to chew due to their ever-growing teeth. Providing a variety of high quality hay (such as Timothy Hay and Meadow Hay) will prevent dental problems and digestive issues, and keep them entertained for long periods of time. Try presenting their hay in fun ways, plus as an owner, it’s fun to watch them tackle a new chewing challenge!

Sand Bath Bliss

Unlike their furry counterparts, degus prefer a dust bath to keep their coats clean and oil-free. A shallow dish filled with chinchilla dust, available a few times a week, allows them to indulge in their natural grooming habits. It’s not only essential for their hygiene but also incredibly cute to witness.

Dietary Care

With a tendency towards diabetes, degus requires a special diet low in sugars. High-quality hay, specific pellets, and fresh vegetables should form the basis of their meals. Steering clear of fruits and other sugary treats is vital for their long-term health.

Universal Tips for Pet Ownership

Regardless of the species, all pets need regular veterinary care from a specialist exotic vet. These professionals understand small animals’ health and dietary needs. Regular check-ups with a vet who specialises in exotic pets can catch health issues early, ensuring a long and healthy life for your pet.

Understanding that each pet is an individual with its personality and needs will enhance the bond between you. Gentle handling, daily interaction, and observation will help you learn their likes, dislikes, and how best to care for them.

In Conclusion

The journey of small pet ownership is filled with moments of pure joy, laughter, and learning. By providing the right care, living environment, diet and plenty of love, you’re setting the stage for a wonderful long life with your new companion.

Embrace the unique challenges and delights that come with caring for rabbits, guinea pigs, and degus. Welcome to the rewarding world of being a pet parent!

SEE ALSO: Bringing CBD Edibles into Thailand: Essential Information for Tourists

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