The First Night
If they are handled when they are not settled, or scared, they may fear bite or just behave unpredictably (eg jumping, running away etc), so leave them alone for the first day to adjust. Cages will need to be cleaned out at least weekly, using a good disinfectant. Pine shavings are the best substrate, or some of the newspaper cat litters are also good.
Ensure wild animals do not have a chance to visit, as they can carry diseases. Babies generally have not been exposed to disease, so are much more easily infected. If you leave your cage outside, ensure the wire is small enough so the wild animals cannot enter the cage such as hawks, kookaburras, cats, snakes and other pets that may be interested in small moving animals. If in doubt, do not leave outside unsupervised. Be careful that they are not exposed to draughts, as that will make them sick very quickly and also be sure they are not left in full sunlight, as they can die of heat stress. Ensure they have a hidey hole to retreat to.
Bad Behaviour & Cage Mates
If they are naughty, put him back into the cage for a time out period. Always supervise your rodent with birds, as your rodents will attack without provocation. They quite often chew on toes and even wings, especially if the birds are asleep. Never leave them unsupervised with birds or having access to the bird???s cages. Never put different species in the same cage, or even unsupervised in the same room, as they do not generally get on (rats will prey on mice etc.). Rodents may become territorial, especially males, and new pets should be introduced with caution. It is not a good idea to introduce a new adult male with another one, as they will often fight. If you wish to add a new pet to your current pet???s home, clean out the cage thoroughly with specifically made disinfectant, so it smells new and your current pet will be less likely to be territorial. It may not always work, so ensure you are prepared to keep 2 separate homes or have a way of dividing the cage into two sections, if they do not get on. Baby mice and rats can frequently squeeze out of small areas, so if you purchase a baby, ensure the mesh and any other openings are small enough to prevent escape. Ensure whereever you allow them to roam; there are no items such as baits or poisonous plants for them to chew on.
Rodents are like small children, and can get boisterous and cranky. If he is getting over excited or aggressive, put him back into the cage for a time out period. Do not handle rodents if you hands smell like food, as they will grab the ???food item??? and hold on harder if it is perceived that the food will be taken away, resulting in a bite. Rodents are attracted to salt, so ensure that your hands and any other body parts you offer are clean, as they will lick and perhaps even nibble on salty items. Never put your fingers in a strange rodents cage, as rodents can become territorial, even to you. Putting your finger through the bars of a cage will quite often result in a bite also, even for the friendliest of rodents. Rodent bites can be nasty as they have very sharp teeth, and the bite will bleed profusely. Apply betadine or any other good antiseptic to any bites or scratches immediately, to prevent any infections from developing. It is a good idea to contact your doctor for advice, as rodents can also carry diseases such as tetanus.
Rodents can be bathed, and it is very good for their skin and coat. If done frequently, they may actually look forward to it! Chose a specially designed small animal shampoo, as if you use a generic human or dog/cat shampoo it will irritate their skin. After shampooing and rinsing off, you can then condition their coat also, especially for long haired pets. This will impart a nice shine to the coat, and for long haired animals make it more manageable for brushing. Dry off with a towel, and then you may like to blow dry them. Ensure that the dryer is not set too hot, as they have sensitive skin and can be burnt easily. Teeth and toe nails constantly grow, so you will need to clip them or get them clipped if their diet or surrounds do not allow natural wear. Overgrown teeth can result in insufficient nutrition and quite often, if not treated, can result in death. Clipping nails must be done carefully and only the tip taken off, as if clipped back too far, it will hurt and the nails may bleed. Specially designed nail files are available, which may be safer than clipping if you are unfamiliar with it. There are specially designed grooming utensils especially for your new rodent, which have been specifically designed to be suited to their size and skin types, they are located in our small animal section. Some shampoos suited to small animals are also located in the dog/cat shampoo section - they will be specially marked suited to small animals.
Worms can be passed onto humans, so it is important to keep all of your pets wormed, including rodents. Rodents need to be wormed every three months. Worming is very easy, it is a liquid that is based on molasses and most rodents love it! It is administered by syringe, an amount determined by body weight. It is very important to keep up with worming, as a large burden of worms can cause weight loss and inefficient absorption of nutrients resulting in health problems (eg scaly skin, deformity). In tropical climates worms and other parasites thrive. Rodents get worms from seed, fruit and vege, visiting pets, YOU (on you hands etc), grasses, and branches. It doesn???t matter how careful you are, the eggs are always in the environment. Mites and lice can also be a problem. Incessant scratching, scaly skin and hair loss can all be signs. You can apply appropriately diluted Fido???s rinse concentrate once a week, or a suitable mite and mange spray can also be effective. Mange mite is a burrowing mite that can be a nuisance. The Animal Science Mite and Mange spray may be effective. If this does not control it, you will need to take your pet to see a vet for alternative prescription treatment. Ringworm is actually a fungus, and can manifest itself as a roundish patch that is hairless. If in doubt see a vet to diagnose ringworm: it is very contagious to people and pets alike. Pet stores generally do not keep effective treatments for ringworm, and are best advised by a vet. Fighting is often a cause for patches of hair loss also. Scabs and scratches will quite often be present in this case, and often can be solved by separating the animals out and treating with diluted betadine. Males quite often will fight, especially if they can smell a female. Quite a few parasites can be passed onto humans so it is a good idea to prevent instead of cure.
Feeding & diet
You will need to monitor his/her eating, and ensure that all the foods are being eaten. Do not change the food daily, as only choice items will be consumed, leading to an imbalanced diet. Hard foods, such as corn and other grains are important to assist with the wearing of the teeth. A balanced diet includes items such as small animal mixes, fruit, vegies, specially designed small animal pellets, and meat products. Small animal mixes are not a complete balanced diet, and need to be supplemented. Overfeeding, especially of the ???favourite??? items, such as sunflower seeds and biscuits, can cause human problems such as obesity, and even diabetes! Try fresh fruit and vegies immediately, but don???t over do it!! Introduce it into the diet gradually, as sudden diet changes can cause diarrhoea. Try carrot, broccoli, spinach, fresh or frozen corn, apple and roasted peanuts. Dark green vegetables are excellent sources of minerals, as are the orange, yellow and red fruits. Items such as lettuce and the light coloured areas of celery are very high in water content, and have very little nutritional value. They can also be given small quantities of dog biscuits as a treat. They are a good source of protein. Cooked fish and chicken and chicken bones are also a good source of protein. Avoid cat food and cheese, as this will make them odoriferous. If your rodent does not immediately take to new foods, try mixing them with egg and biscuit or the grain mix.
Ensure that any fresh or cooked foods are removed from the cage after a few hours, so they don???t spoil. Feed cooked foods and meats only under supervision, as rodents have been known to stash items for later. The following should never be fed to rodents: chocolate, caffeine (tea and coffee), rhubarb or avocado, as they are toxic.Starchy foods such as potato should aslo be avoided. If you would not eat it (too old, sour etc), don???t give it to your pet.
Calcium & Vitamin Supplements
Calcium is very important for all rodents. You will need to supplement with either a vitamin & mineral lick stone and water soluble vitamins. Lick stones can be attached to the side of the cage for hygiene purposes. Rodents, especially Guinea Pigs, commonly have vitamin C difficencies and should be fed vitamin supplements or foods high in vitamin C to avoid this, such as capsicum, spinach, broccoli etc.
Rodents are not generally playful creatures; their favourite hobbies would be eating & sleeping. Mice in particular like a wheel and most will happily spend most of their waking time running on it. If introduced at a young age some rats and guinea pigs will use wheels and if encouraged to do so, can reduce the chances of obesity. Generally mice and rats enjoy scaling heights and exploring however most guinea pigs are scared of heights. Chewing is a natural habit for all rodents. Chew toys to encourage wearing down of teeth are a good idea and may also discourage chewing of cages. Hides for rodents are essential as they are predominately nocturnal and these can reduce stress.
House Dangers ??? some obvious and not so obvious dangers
Knives away, and drain the kitchen sink, as rodents can drown or get burnt in the hot water.
Keep the lid on cooking pots, and keep them away from Teflon appliances. Teflon fumes are extremely toxic as, it causes irreparable damage to their lungs.
Be careful of houseplants, as often they are toxic, and of course are very inviting to chew on!
Fish tanks, power cords, fans, open ovens, hot stoves are other items for concern.
All rodents love chewing, so put away any valuable or poisonous items.
Do not smoke near you rodent, as nicotine is also toxic.
Be aware of baits and poisons and keep rodents away from these.
Sometimes, with the stress of changing environments, rodents can get diarrhoea. If he/she does, it can be treated with ???sulpha??? remedies, if the rodent looks otherwise healthy. Diarrhoea can also be an indicator of worm infestation or coccidia, to name a few. These can be transmitted to humans! If you have recently purchased the rodent, contact us first! We want to know if you have any trouble.
- Small animal mix
- Cage band/cover
- Mineral/ vitamin block
- Chew toys
- Cage cleaner
- Feed/ Fruit/ Water dishes
- Exercise wheel
- Grooming utensils/ shampoo
WHY PET HQ ?
Pet HQ is not a franchise, we are a locally owned and independent business that is unique to Townsville. By shopping at Pet HQ you are supporting Townsville local businesses, thank you.
Pet Industry Association Member
As a member of PIAA, Pet HQ does not condone puppy farms and we are dedicated to the sourcing of our puppies from responsible breeders that are subject to independent audit each year. By registering our puppies with PIAA we also ensure that any puppy purchased from our store that becomes unwanted or abandoned, at any age, is re-homed. See here for more information.