How to decide on a hamster that’s much less inclined to chew you

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Q: How will we discover a good hamster for our daughter? A good friend of hers has a hamster that bites, and we do not need that. Additionally, do hamsters want vaccinations?

A: Veterinarians typically discuss with hamsters, gerbils, mice, rats and guinea pigs as “pocket pets.” As a result of hamsters are nocturnal — they’re energetic at night time and sleep through the day — and lots of of them nip, you might need 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 mild 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 totally 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 good friend to not prepare play dates for theirs.

Hamsters and different pocket pets don’t require annual vaccinations the way in which cats, dogs and ferrets do, however they need to see the veterinarian for an examination yearly. Your vet can spot issues early, when remedy is more than likely 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 recent water. Do not feed the rodent social gathering mixes as their seeds and nuts comprise an excessive amount of fats and too little protein and calcium.

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

Leisure is necessary, too. Hamsters get pleasure from tube-shaped toys like cardboard rest room paper rolls, plastic hideaways that double as sleeping areas, mazes and train wheels. The working floor of the train wheel must be stable 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 apart from one disgusting behavior: She eats her personal and different dogs’ poo if I am not fast sufficient to cease her.

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 follow 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 necessary to rule out bodily causes. 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 get rid of her feces instantly. Educate her to “depart it” so she’ll bypass different dogs’ excrement with out approaching. Reward her and reward her with a deal with when she turns away.

Boredom or nervousness can promote coprophagia, so supply secure chew toys and different types of environmental enrichment.

You probably have a fenced yard, stroll Cupid elsewhere not less than 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 day by day at constant occasions so you possibly can predict Cupid’s habits.

If these measures fail, make an appointment with a board-certified veterinary behaviorist.

Lee Pickett, VMD, practices companion animal medication in North Carolina. Contact her at

[email protected]

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