Looking for advice on caring for pets such as rabbits, guinea pigs, ferrets, or hamsters. Want to learn how to prevent your horse from being lost or stolen. Our animal care experts have compiled helpful information on these topics and more.
For more information about Rabbit, Horse, and Other Pet Care, Click Here.
Nothing compares to the kinship experienced in an equine-human relationship. So, it’s no wonder that many equestrians yearn for a horse to call their own, a familiar face peering over the stall door—ears pricked and muzzle outstretched for a treat—day after day.
But buying or adopting a horse isn’t an endeavor to take lightly. Before making the decision, you should understand all of the pitfalls of the journey you’re embarking on, and be honest with yourself regarding your abilities, your financial situation, your level of interest, and your time constraints.
Become a responsible, educated horse owner with the help of these resources:
- How to adopt or buy a horse
- How to care for a horse
- How to protect your horse
- How to relinquish your horse
- How to feed your horse
- Where responsible horse breeding fits in
More tips and information can be found in our book The Humane Society of the United States’ Complete Guide to Horse Care.
Animals like their routines and moving from one home to another or from a shelter to a permanent home can be stressful for any pet, including rabbits. By preparing everything ahead of time, you can help ease the process for your new rabbit.
Get ready for rabbits
Here’s a quick checklist for what to do before you get your new bunnies:
- Set up your rabbit’s “rabbitat” in a quiet, out-of-the-way area with one or more litterboxes (and safe litter), water bowl or bottle, and safe chew toys.
- Rabbit-proof any areas of your home to which your rabbit will have access in order to prevent injuries, but don’t forget to supervise him when he’s not contained.
- Check with the shelter, rescue, or foster home ahead of time to find out which types of hay and vegetables your rabbit really likes and have them on hand.
- Try not to handle your rabbit too much during the first few days. You can allow your rabbit to check you out by sitting on the floor and letting her come to you.
- Keep the environment as quiet as possible.
- Let your rabbit get used to his new home before introducing them if you have other pets, like cats or dogs.
- If you already have one or more resident rabbits, keep your new rabbit separate from them until you can do introductions in a neutral location.
- If you’re adopting multiple rabbits at once, keep an extra close eye on them. The stress from a change of venue can result in fights, even with rabbits who have been bonded for years.
It can be tempting to acquire a guinea pig on impulse. After all, these little guys have a lot of appealing qualities; they’re small, gentle, and personable, just to name a few.
A great starter pet, right? Not necessarily. Here are some important questions to consider before you dive headlong into a relationship.
Where should you get a guinea pig?
Instead of creating more demand for guinea pigs by purchasing one from a pet store, please visit your local animal shelter to adopt one … or more! Most shelters now accept small animals who need new homes, and you will have the satisfaction of saving a life.
How much time do you have?
Guinea pigs need time out of their cage every day. Whether this time is spent stretching their legs and exploring new environments or cuddling in your lap, daily interaction and attention are essential for a guinea pig’s well-being.
Guinea pigs need to be groomed regularly. Shorthaired breeds can be maintained with a once-a-week brushing while longhaired breeds require daily grooming.
A guinea pig’s cage should be thoroughly cleaned on a weekly basis and spot-cleaned every few days. If you don’t appreciate the smell of a dirty cage, consider how your guinea pig—who spends nearly all of her waking hours just centimeters above her bedding—feels about stinky living quarters.
Is a guinea pig right for your family?
If you’re getting a guinea pig for your child, think carefully about how this animal’s care will fit into your family’s schedule over the long haul.
- Can your son or daughter incorporate pet ownership into a busy after-school schedule and evening and weekend commitments?
- Are you willing to shoulder responsibility for your pig’s care if your children drop the ball?
- If you have other pets, are you sure your guinea pig will get enough attention?
Do you have young children?
Young children often lack fine motor control and self-restraint, which means they may inadvertently drop a guinea pig, squeeze him, or scare him into biting. Guinea pigs require a gentle touch and may be easily startled by sudden movement and loud noises.
The adoption fee or purchase price for a guinea pig is typically small, but there are significant startup costs and ongoing needs to anticipate. The initial purchase of equipment and supplies is likely to include:
- Large cage or modular enclosure
- Bedding material
- Hidey box
- Food dish
- Water bottle
- High-quality pellets
- Timothy hay
Are you prepared to spend at least several hundred dollars a year on your new friend (not including regular veterinary costs) if your guinea pig needs to be treated for a common condition like mites or requires emergency veterinary care?
Are you willing to hire a pet sitter or board your pig when you go on vacation?
Are you willing to consider adding a second guinea pig?
Guinea pigs are social animals who do best with the companionship of another pig. Preventing a solitary guinea pig from becoming lonely and bored is a tall order, even for someone committed to spending a significant amount of time with his animal every day.
Do you know if you’re allergic?
Some people are allergic to guinea pigs. These allergies are a reaction to proteins in the animal’s saliva and urine (contrary to popular belief, the culprit isn’t hair or dander, although they often transmit these allergens during handling and close contact). Hay and wood shavings can also cause allergies.
If you’ve never lived with a guinea pig, test the waters by visiting a household that includes one or spend time handling adoptable guinea pigs at your local humane society (you might meet your new best friend in the process). More about allergies to pets »
Guinea pigs live an average of five to seven years. This lifespan is longer than many other small pets such as hamsters, gerbils, mice, or rats, all of whom live only a few years. If your life is in transition, a guinea pig may be more portable than a dog or a cat, but remember that five years or more is a significant period of time.
Information provided by
The Humane Society of the United States is the nation’s largest and most effective animal protection organization
To learn more about Pets and Animal Daily Care please visit the Human Society website : http://www.humanesociety.org/
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