General Veterinary Care for Your Pocket Pet

Pocket pets are named as such because they are cute and small, but not all pocket pets will fit into your pocket! This broad category of animal companion includes mice, rats, gerbils, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rabbits.

Equipment, feed, and bedding for these pets is widely available at pet and discount stores, but it is helpful to learn about the care and needs of your pet in advance of bringing it home. An inadequate cage, inappropriate bedding, or the wrong feed can be harmful or even deadly, so preparation is essential.

A safe, roomy cage is essential. Choose one with a solid floor, adequate ventilation, and room enough for your pet to run and play easily. Purchase absorbent, non-toxic bedding material from the pet store designed specifically for your pet. Shredded paper can be used but realize that any ink, once wet, can run and stain fur and caging materials.

Clean and sanitize the cage, exercise wheel, and other equipment every week with a mild bleach solution. Feed and water containers must be cleaned regularly as well. Change bedding a couple of times a week or as often as necessary to keep the cage fresh.

Purchase good quality commercial pellets recommended for your specific pocket pet, and follow the directions for feeding. We do not recommend commercial treats or pelleted diets containing seeds or other treats. Your pocket pet may select the seeds or treats over the pellets, causing malnutrition. Always offer fresh grass hay, such as timothy, to rabbits and guinea pigs. Of course, a constant source of clean, fresh water is essential.

Contact our office the day you bring your pocket pet home to schedule a wellness exam and benefit from our guidance. While pocket pets generally do not require vaccinations, regular veterinary check-ups are important. Your tiny pet’s health can change quickly without obvious symptoms. Avoid undetected diseases and complications with regular wellness care.

Visit the small mammal series offered by the experts at the Veterinary Partner website.

Read the article pocket pets 101 on the AAHA website.

The pocket pet connection is a great source for information about pocket pets such as hamsters, mice, rats, guinea pigs, sugar gliders, and more.

Read House Rabbits 101, the House Rabbit Handbook, or answers to faqs such as litter-training, diet, housing, and toys for your companion rabbit at the House Rabbit Society website.

Learn more about raising rabbits at the American Rabbit Breeders Association website, an organization dedicated to the promotion, development, and improvement of the domestic rabbit and cavy.

Read the CDC guidelines for preventing salmonella from passing to you and your family.