Have you ever thought about adopting a small furry creature other than a cat or a dog? Our local animal shelters Surrey Animal Resource Centre and Delta Community Animal Shelter often have pocket pets looking for new furrrever homes. Question is: Are these little critters the right fit for you and vice versa?
They may be pint-sized compared to dogs and cats (unless we’re talking about a Flemish giant rabbit) but bunnies, guinea pigs and rats require just as much commitment, love and care as any other pet. Before bringing a new furry family member into your home – make sure it will be the best decision for both of you! Here are some basic stats:
Lifespan: 8-10 years
Housing: If you are willing to bunny-proof your home (these guys love to chew EVERYTHING) a free-roaming indoor rabbit is ideal! It is not necessary to keep your bunny locked in an outside hutch. If you must use an enclosure, use something big enough that your bunny can stretch upright and have plenty of space to run back and fourth and (very importantly) offer a few hours of out-of-the-cage-time every day.
Temperament: This will vary! One thing is for sure – you will not be disappointed because rabbits have tonnes of personality.
Diet: Grass hays (timothy is the most common), vegetables (dark, leafy greens in particular) +/- timothy pellets (which should be limited to 1/8 cup per day, if at all)
Some Common Medical Issues: GI Stasis (guts stop moving, causing bloating and inappetance), dental problems, abscesses, obesity
Lifespan: 5-7 years
Housing: Provide a large cage (that may include different levels) so that your guinea pig can run, hop and play. Guinea pigs do very well in same-sex groups of 2 or more so you may want to consider adopting more than one at a time. Take your guinea pig out of the cage every day (or even better, multiples times per day) for cuddle or playtime.
Temperament: Some are brave, some are a bit more shy but most of them are gentle little creatures. You’ll love learning about what each of their little sounds mean – from purrs, to chirps and squeals!
Diet: Timothy grass, dark leafy vegetables, pellets and a vitamin C supplement
Some Common Medical Issues: Respiratory infections, dental problems, tumors or abscesses, vitamin C deficiency
Lifespan: 2-4 years
Housing: A large, tall cage is ideal for climbing. Rats are social creatures and do well in pairs or more (same sex only or you’ll have lots of little ratties in no time!). Make sure to take your pet rat out of his/her cage several times per day for fun and interaction.
Temperament: Curious little creatures! Rats are great pets with a lot of character packed into those tiny little bodies.
Diet: Fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds daily with rodent food from the pet store.
Some Common Medical Issues: Chronic upper-respiratory disease, tumors, dental problems