Small Animal Starter Supplies | Lifestyles



Cats and dogs can get a lot of attention, but small pets can add as much to a household as their larger counterparts. Small in size but no personality, hamsters, guinea pigs, ferrets, reptiles, mice, etc.

The American Pet Products Association’s National Pet Owner Survey found that 7.9 million households had birds, 6.7 million had various small animals, and 4.7 million included assorted reptiles. Pet-sitting company PetBacker says 9 percent of Canadians own pets such as fish; birds; small mammals, such as hamsters; and reptiles. They may be smaller, but these animals still need a variety of equipment.

Environment

Most small pets spend the majority of their time in a cage or aquarium. In this environment, animals will need litter or some type of cage liner. Wood chips and shavings, shredded newspaper or hay are often used. Reptiles and amphibians may have special needs to help regulate temperature. Gravel, stones and rocks can be used. Always consult with a veterinarian or a pet supplies expert regarding the proper environment setup for a small pet to ensure the health and welfare of the animal.

Toys and other equipment

Small animals need items to provide mental stimulation and physical activity. These items don’t need to be complicated or expensive. A gerbil or hamster may appreciate an empty toilet paper tube to browse. Some animals like to run around in plastic balls, while others will just dig and dig in the litter. Tube mazes or hiding places can also do the trick. Birds love hanging mirrors and other colorful toys that they can perch or peck on.

Nutrition

Food is another consideration when starting out with small animals. They may not eat as much or as often as a dog or cat, but they also have specific dietary needs. For example, the Banfield Pet Hospital claims that overeating is a big problem with hamsters, so look for quality hamster food and avoid snacks and treats. Hamsters tend to hoard food, so they can take in food that they really don’t need. Some lizards eat mealworms, crickets, or other insects. Research which fresh foods can be mixed with commercially produced foods for optimal health.

Bowls, bottles or snacks will also need to be purchased to meet the dietary needs of small pets, offers pet retailer Petco.

Veterinarians can be a great resource for caring for small pets.


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