Make sure that hamster is pleasant earlier than adopting


Q: How can we discover a good hamster for our daughter? A buddy of hers has a hamster that bites, and we don’t 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 evening and sleep in the course of the day — and plenty of of them nip, you might wish to select one other species of pocket pet to 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 persona.

Most hamsters within the U.S. are Syrian hamsters, additionally referred to as golden hamsters. Since they are typically 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 buddy to not prepare 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 vitamin and different care.

For instance, most of a hamster’s weight loss plan needs to be rodent block or pellets and contemporary water. Don’t feed rodent celebration mixes as their seeds and nuts comprise 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 couple of times every week.

Leisure is necessary, 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 needs to be stable so your hamster received’t break a foot by getting it caught within the wheel.

Q: I lately adopted a small mixed-breed spayed feminine pet named Cupid. She’s lovely apart from one disgusting behavior: She eats her personal and different dogs’ poop if I’m 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 necessary 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 “go away 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 nervousness can promote coprophagia, so provide secure chew toys and different types of environmental enrichment. When you 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 weight loss plan and month-to-month deworming are also important in stopping coprophagia. Feed twice each day at constant instances 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


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