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So you’ve chosen a rodent as a pet, great! Before bringing your furry friend home, there are a few things you need to get set up to make sure they’re happy and comfortable in their new surroundings. The first thing you’ll want to purchase is a cage, to keep your pet safe and secure in. Cages come in a range of shapes and sizes, but space should be the most important feature. Rats are best kept in large rat cages with multiple levels so they can climb and explore, whilst guinea pigs like to run around and have access outdoors, hutches are ideal for this type of pet. Hamster cages should be well ventilated and warm o that your pet doesn’t become stressed or ill from a draft, whilst guinea pig hutches must be waterproof to keep your pet safe from the wet weather if kept outside.
Next up, your pet will need somewhere to sleep. Make sure you provide comfortable bedding and accessories such as houses and hides. The majority of rodents are active during the evenings and will sleep for most of the day so they need to have somewhere they can feel safe enough to doze. Bedding for rodents must be safe to eat, dust-free and absorbent to soak up their urine. Rats, hamsters and guinea pigs need to be deep cleaned on a weekly basis and spot-cleaned daily to prevent urine and faeces from building up.
Other pieces of equipment you may need are those that entertain and stimulate your pet. Rat playpens, for example, allow you to exercise your rat outside its cage whilst keeping them safe. These are an ideal way to allow you to clean out their main cage, just transfer them to their playpen and they will be kept busy whilst you spruce up their living areas.
Hammocks and climbing frames will give your rats something to climb on and sleep in whilst ramps and tunnels are fun for guinea pigs to race through. Hamsters love to dig so placing digging towers will encourage this natural behaviour whilst keeping mess to a minimum.
How will you feed your pet? Food bowls, water dishes or bottles and places to provide hay (depending on the type of pet you have) are also important pieces of equipment. Food dishes need to be heavy, easy to clean and durable as your pet is sure to nibble on them! Rats love to search for their food, so hiding their treats in toys will keep them happy and stimulated in their cages. Guinea pigs need access to fresh hay, daily. Suspending this in hay nets or feeding bags prevents their food from becoming soiled on the floor of the cage.
You will also need to supply fresh, clean drinking water for your pet. If you choose to use a water dish, much like a food dish, these should be made from materials that are heavy and hygienic. Ceramic water bowls are ideal as your pet will be less likely to knock over and spill their water, whereas stainless steel bowls are easy to clean and prevent rust and bacteria from growing on their surface.
Water bottles are a great idea for rodents, but again, the materials that they are made from are very important. Glass, steel and aluminium water bottles are easier to clean than plastic and a resistant to their chewing. Water bottles must attach to the cage securely as if they slip or fall over, they will leak and leave your pet’s cage water-logged. You will need to ensure that the nozzle of the water bottle sits where your pet’s mouth naturally falls, so they don’t struggle to take a drink.
Do you have everything you need for your new pet rodent? The FirstVet shop has all types of essential rodent products from cages to treats, bedding to toys at affordable prices and from big-name brands so you can rest assured you are buying the best for your pet. When buying online you can also take advantage of our 2-5 weekday delivery, free shipping over £39 and our 30-day return policy.