There are many options available for families who still want the companionship of a pet but dont want the more traditional cat or dog as a pet. Guinea Pigs, hamsters, gerbils or mice are all pets that can be brought into your family without as much upheaval as a dog or cat can cause. They are great pets for families who have never had a pet before and would like to make their first venture into pet ownership.
These animals can all become very accustomed to being handled, and once they are used to it will come to enjoy their time out of their cages playing with their owners or letting you pet them while watching television. Frequent, gentle handling is critical, offering a few favorite treats that are only available while being held will also help.
In preparation for bringing home your new pocket pet you will need a cage that will allow plenty of room for exercise, nesting, food and water, and going to the bathroom. More complex cages are also available that offer different rooms with tunnels connecting them that allow your pet to explore and separate their nesting, sleeping and bathroom areas. Provide plenty of nesting material, shredded, ink free paper, hay, or hardwood shavings will all work. In addition, you will need a weighted food bowl (one that wont tip when your pet climbs in and out of it) and a water dispenser. You must also have chew toys (wood is best) available for your pet because rodent teeth grow continuously you must give them something to chew on to wear their teeth down. An exercise wheel, and a tunnel or cave for privacy will also make your pet happy.
Some pocket pets can be training to use only one corner of their cage and a small litter box can be placed there to make cage cleaning simpler.
Every day your pets cage will need a quick cleaning. Droppings and wet or soiled bedding will need to be removed as well as any uneaten fruits and veggies (your pet may hide some of his or her favorites so check in corners or in their cave for any stashes). Once a week the full cage will have to be scrubbed and disinfected. You can use a very mild bleach solution for this (a tablespoon or two of bleach in a regular sized spray bottle fill the rest of the way with water). Once you have bleached the cage rinse with plain water and line with new nesting materials.
A pocket pet can be a great addition to almost any family, small in size, small in care requirements, big on fun and companionship.