Q: How can we discover a good hamster for our daughter? A pal of hers has a hamster that bites, and we don’t need that. Additionally, do hamsters want vaccinations?
A: Veterinarians typically consult with hamsters, gerbils, mice, rats and guinea pigs as pocket pets. As a result of hamsters are nocturnal — they’re energetic at evening and sleep in the course of the day — and lots of of them nip, you might wish to select one other species of pocket pet on your daughter.
Nonetheless, if she’s dedicated to having a hamster, look first at your native animal shelter or pocket pet rescue group. The adoption counselors know every hamster’s temperament and can assist you choose a delicate one with a candy character.
Most hamsters within the U.S. are Syrian hamsters, additionally known as golden hamsters. Since they are usually nippy, particularly when not absolutely awake, your daughter ought to at all times be light and guarantee her pet is able to work together so the hamster learns to play properly. Most hamsters are solitary, so advise your daughter and her pal to not prepare play dates with theirs.
Hamsters and different pocket pets don’t require annual vaccinations the way in which cats, canines and ferrets do, however they need to see the veterinarian for an examination yearly. Your vet can spot issues early, when therapy is probably to achieve success, and can advise about vitamin and different care.
For instance, most of a hamster’s weight loss plan ought to be rodent block or pellets and recent water. Don’t feed rodent occasion mixes as their seeds and nuts include an excessive amount of fats and too little protein and calcium.
Supply a small quantity of hay every day to make sure ample fiber consumption. Give tiny parts of fruits, leafy greens and different greens a few times per week.
Leisure is essential, too. Hamsters get pleasure from tube-shaped toys like cardboard bathroom paper rolls, plastic hideaways that double as sleeping areas, mazes and train wheels. The working floor of the train wheel ought to be stable so your hamster gained’t break a foot by getting it caught within the wheel.
Q: I not too long ago adopted a small mixed-breed spayed feminine pet named Cupid. She’s cute apart from one disgusting behavior: She eats her personal and different canines’ poop if I’m not fast sufficient to cease her.
Generally I snuggle along with her and begin to kiss her, solely to be repelled by her poopy breath. What ought to I do?
A: Cupid has coprophagia, Greek for consuming (“-phagia”) feces (“copro-“).
Whereas everybody’s in favor of recycling, coprophagic canines take the observe a step too far. For one factor, canines that eat feces additionally ingest no matter parasites and microscopic worm eggs are current in it.
The reason for coprophagia, or coprophagy, is often behavioral, however it’s essential to rule out bodily causes for Cupid’s behavior. Ask your veterinarian to look at her and do lab work. Take a recent fecal pattern for parasite testing.
In case your veterinarian guidelines out bodily causes, Cupid’s coprophagia might be behavioral.
Stroll her on a leash and eliminate her feces instantly after she defecates. Train her to “depart it” so she’ll bypass different canines’ excrement with out approaching it. Reward her and reward her with a deal with when she turns away from her personal and different canines’ feces.
Boredom or nervousness can promote coprophagia, so provide protected chew toys and different types of environmental enrichment. If in case you have a fenced yard, stroll Cupid elsewhere a minimum of as soon as every day. If she should exit in her fenced yard alone, match her with a basket muzzle that has a stool guard.
A nutritionally sound weight loss plan and month-to-month deworming are also important in stopping coprophagia. Feed twice every day at constant occasions so you’ll be able to predict when Cupid will defecate.
If these measures fail, make an appointment with a board-certified veterinary behaviorist.
Lee Pickett, VMD, practices companion animal drugs in North Carolina. Contact her at https://askthevet.pet.