Guarantee Hamster Is Pleasant Earlier than Adopting, by Lee Pickett


Q: How can we discover a good hamster for our daughter? A buddy of hers has a hamster that bites, and we do not 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 plenty of of them nip, chances are you’ll need to select one other species of pocket pet in your daughter.

Nevertheless, 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 persona.

Most hamsters within the U.S. are Syrian hamsters, additionally referred to 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 buddy to not organize play dates with theirs.

Hamsters and different pocket pets don’t require annual vaccinations the best way cats, dogs and ferrets do, however they need to see the veterinarian for an examination yearly. Your vet can spot issues early, when therapy is most definitely to achieve success, and can advise about diet and different care.

For instance, most of a hamster’s food plan must be rodent block or pellets and contemporary water. Do not feed rodent get together mixes as their seeds and nuts include an excessive amount of fats and too little protein and calcium.

Supply a small quantity of hay each day to make sure satisfactory fiber consumption. Give tiny parts of fruits, leafy greens and different greens a few times per week.

Leisure is vital, too. Hamsters take pleasure in 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 must be strong so your hamster will not 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 aside from one disgusting behavior: She eats her personal and different dogs’ poop if I am not fast sufficient to cease her.

Typically 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 dogs take the apply a step too far. For one factor, dogs 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 vital to rule out bodily causes for Cupid’s behavior. Ask your veterinarian to look at her and do lab work. Take a contemporary 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 get rid of her feces instantly after she defecates. Train her to “depart it” so she’ll bypass different dogs’ excrement with out approaching it. Reward her and reward her with a deal with when she turns away from her personal and different dogs’ feces.

Boredom or anxiousness can promote coprophagia, so supply protected chew toys and different types of environmental enrichment. When you have a fenced yard, stroll Cupid elsewhere at the very least 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 food plan and month-to-month deworming are also important in stopping coprophagia. Feed twice each day at constant occasions so you possibly can 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

Photograph credit score: mordilla-net at Pixabay


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