Disclaimer: Petinfo4u.com is provided as a free pet care resource and is not intended to replace veterinary care, advice or treatment. Your first resource should always be your veterinarian.
Copyright Petinfo4u.com 1999-2013
Rabbit Fun - Got any old phone books laying around? Believe it or not, phone books make great toys for rabbits. If accidentally eaten, the paper is digestible and the ink is soy based and non-toxic. Your rabbit will love tearing and shredding it.
Hamster Hair Loss - Hair loss is very common in hamsters. There are a number of reasons why hamsters lose their hair including; old age (the most common), mites or fleas, exercise wheels (hair being getting caught) and vitamin deficiencies.
Hair loss due to old age starts to happen around 1 1/2 to 2 years of age. It is generally seen starting around the face, neck and chest. If you think your hamster's hair loss is due to old age...providing the best possible diet and vitamin supplements will help your hamster's retirement years.
Hair loss due to mites or fleas is generally seen in the stomach and hind quarter area because of the itching and chewing. Mites and fleas can be given to your hamster from other pets in the household as well as brought in by bedding material. A close examination of your hamsters will reveal little white or red mites or black fleas. Treatment can be found at your local pet store....be sure to read the instructions carefully. Treatment must also include completely cleaning the cage and replacing bedding twice per week for two weeks to get rid of any hatching eggs.
Hair loss due vitamin deficiencies can easily be cured by providing the highest quality diet and supplementing the diet with water soluable vitamins found at any pet store. Be sure to provide calcium in your hamsters diet to help prevent bone problems and cage paralysis. Calcium can be found in broccoli, peas, yogurt chips, milkbones (yes, for dogs), corn flakes, etc.
Any change in behavior, appetite or skin condition can be the first sign of illness....please see your vet if you notice any changes in your pet's "norm".
Biting Hamster? - We recently received a lot of emails regarding hamsters that bite...hamsters from pet stores are generally not tame. Remember that it can take up to a month for your new hamster to become tame. Here are some tips to help your hamster acclimate to handling;
This method should take approximately a week to two weeks. Patience is the key. The more you handle your hamster the more tame it will become.
Ferret Nails - Having a hard time trying to corral your fuzzy for a nail trimming? Suzanne Kehr of Cincinnati Ohio who has 10 years experience with ferrets has the following tip:
1. Get clippers and Linatone ready (a fatty acid dietary supplement which ferrets love). Hold your ferret in your lap on his back.
2. Apply a little Linatone to your ferret's chest or stomach area.
3. When your ferret's attention is focused on the Linatone, grab the paws and trim away. If Linatone runs out, just reapply.
Suzanne, thank you for your great tip!
Small Animal Calcium Treat - Providing calcium in your small animals diet is very important to reduce bone development problems, hind-leg paralysis, cage paralysis, and also help heal broken teeth and injured limbs. You can easily provide this nutrient in a great treat that your pet will love. You can try either a regular dog milk bone soaked in milk or hard type breads soaked in milk. Offer this treat at least once per week as well as adding vitamins to their drinking water to ensure proper health.
Hamster/Rat Teeth - Hamsters, rats, and most small animal teeth can quickly become overgrown and cause problems if not kept healthy. You can help your pet keep his teeth healthy by providing gnaw toys. One of the best gnaw treats is actually for dogs....the milk bone. Your pet may chew on one for up to a week. Other ideas include; rawhide bone, uncooked spaghetti, and unfinished and untreated wooden blocks or shapes found at craft stores.
Hamster Hairbrush - Hamsters are known as self-groomers meaning that they do not need much help in the grooming department. However, the long-haired hamsters may require some grooming to keep their hair from knotting. These hamsters are known as Teddybear hamsters which are actually the long haired version of the Syrian hamsters. One of our visitors, Ed Flores, recommended using an infant hairbrush to keep your hamster knot free. You can purchase hamster brushes at your local pet store but they can be expensive. We recommend trying an unused soft toothbrush (use a new toothbrush because hamsters are sensitive to smells).
Hamster Toilet - We made a new discovery at the APPMA Show (Pet Products Show)... Who would have ever thought of a hamster toilet? It makes perfect sense...no more cleaning "potty corners" and having that awful urine smell. Lixit Brand has designed a cute hamster toilet (pictured below). It is designed of sturdy plastic that can easily be bleached at cleaning times. You can use regular clay kitty litter which should be replaced completely and regularly. Best of all it keeps the pine litter urine and feces free. Lixit says: "your hamster will naturally prefer to go in the cat litter rather than the pine, just like a cat". We suggest that you put some soiled pine in the hamster toilet so your hamster gets the idea. Look for and ask for this new product at your local pet store.
Hamster Exercise - There is a little known health problem that can affect hamsters living in a small cage and who do not receive enough exercise. It is called Cage Paralysis. Cage paralysis is caused by a lack of exercise and a cage that does not allow for the foraging habits of hamsters. Hamsters in the wild are gatherers, meaning they forage for food and bring it back to their dens. This allows them to get lots of exercise going back and forth between their food source and their den. Symptoms of cage paralysis include; hind-leg paralysis, dragging their hind quarters, and lethargy. This health problem can be easily avoided by adding an exercise wheel to the cage. The exercise wheel should be plastic with solid flooring (no wires). Stay away from wire wheels that can cause serious foot injuries. Another treatment is to add a bigger cage. The best hamster cages provide several areas for the hamster to live. They usually contain a separate feeding and sleeping room and have lots of tubes for ample exercise. Vitamin supplements are also recommended. You can pick-up water soluble vitamins in the small animal department of your local pet store.
Feet Problems in Rabbits - Rabbits are very susceptible to developing sores on their feet if they are housed in correctly. Most rabbit cages are made from wire mesh. This wire mesh can be very hard on a rabbits legs and feet if not given something to sit on. To combat this problem, provide a wood board or piece of Plexiglass to cover at least half of the cage flooring so your rabbit has a way to get off the wire mesh.
Sugar Glider - Hind Leg Paralysis - We discovered this common sugar glider ailment and thought it a worthwhile tip to pass along. Hind Leg Paralysis is caused by a deficiency in the sugar gliders diet of Calcium and Vitamin D. If the body of a glider is missing Calcium (essential for bone growth), the body will begin to draw Calcium directly from the bones, weakening them. Vitamin D is needed because the body cannot absorb the Calcium directly. Vitamin D is used by the body to turn the Calcium into bone. To keep your glider from getting this potentially lethal problem be sure that you are feeding a high quality sugar glider diet high in Calcium and Vitamin D. You can also add water We discovered this common sugar glider ailment and thought it a worthwhile tip to pass along. Hind Leg Paralysis is caused by a deficiency in the sugar gliders diet of Calcium and Vitamin D. If the body of a glider is missing Calcium (essential for bone growth), the body will begin to draw Calcium directly from the bones, weakening them. Vitamin D is needed because the body cannot absorb the Calcium directly. Vitamin D is used by the body to turn the Calcium into bone. To keep your glider from getting this potentially lethal problem be sure that you are feeding a high quality sugar glider diet high in Calcium and Vitamin D. You can also add water soluble vitamins.
Digging - Rabbits - In the wild, rabbits build dens by digging. Digging is a natural instinct that may be hard to control. If you have a problem digger, we recommend you set aside a special box just for digging. Since rabbits are easily potty trained, they can also be trained to use a "digging box". This special digging box should be deep enough to provide some tunneling (try a covered cat box). Fill the digging box with dirt one week and shredded newspaper the next. For an added bonus, hide special food treats so your bunny will get the idea. Training your rabbit to use the digging box employs the same methods as potty training. Be consistent and remind your rabbit frequently where the digging box is located.
Scurvy or Vitamin C Deficiency - Since guinea pigs do not produce their own Vitamin C, they must rely on their diet to provide sufficient amounts of Vitamin C. Most commercial pellet food for guinea pigs is specially formulated with extra Vitamin C. However, due to shelf-life and other environmental factors, the amount of Vitamin C available for your pet is very small. Therefore, you should always supplement your guinea pig's diet with Vitamin C rich foods such as kale, broccoli, oranges and dandelions. If you suspect your guinea pig may be deficient in Vitamin C, the symptoms include lameness, sore joints, rough hair coat, poor bone and teeth development. You can immediately change your pet's symptoms by supplementing his diet with Vitamin C rich foods. If you suspect your guinea pig has a Vitamin Deficiency, your vet should be consulted immediately for treatment.
Night Feces - Rabbit – Did you know your rabbit excretes a special form of "poop" at night that is called Night Feces. This special feces is meant to be eaten by your rabbit. Night feces is high in Vitamin B and Vitamin K. This a normal and necessary process for your rabbits health. It helps your rabbit gain the full benefits from their diet. Normal feces (during the day) is hard and round, whereas, night feces is soft and sweet smelling. Your rabbit may be seen eating this night feces directly from his bottom. Do not worry because this is a normal process.
Urinary Tract Health in Guinea Pigs – Older guinea pig males can be susceptible to blocked urinary tracts. Symptoms of a blocked urinary tract are difficulties in urination, pain, irritability, and blood in the urine. Treatment involves antibiotics, a urine acidifier, and manual removal of an obstruction or blockage. A special diet can help to prevent future episodes. Please check with your veterinarian if you see any of these symptoms.
Wet-Tail in Hamsters – This condition is associated mostly with diarrhea that has a strong pungent and foul odor. Your hamster may also show signs of inactivity. Wet-Tail develops in a hamster that is under a lot of stress. Stress to a hamster can be a change in environment such as fluctuating temperatures or to much handling during their sleeping period (daytime). This condition, if not treated can be fatal. If your hamster exhibits these signs, take him immediately to your veterinarian. Because a hamster with wet-tail has extreme diarrhea, your hamster can become quickly dehydrated. Treatment usually involves rehydration and antibiotics.
Biting Problems in Rabbits – Hormones play a large part in the biting pattern of adult rabbits. If your rabbit is biting, charging, and mounting your fee, this is generally caused by hormones. The treatment for this and other aggressive sexual behavior is spaying and neutering. Rabbits who bite also respond to dominance discipline. Rabbits are timid and should never be yelled at or hit. When your rabbit trys to bite, reach behind his head and press it gently but firmly to the floor. This is telling your rabbit you are dominant and the boss. Rabbits are also territorial and can become aggressive when you suddenly stick your hand into their territory. Try leaving the door to his cage open and let your rabbit come out on his own. Be sure to close the door behind him. Let your rabbit sit on the floor next to you, in your territory, and gently stroke him. Wait before picking your rabbit up until he is comfortable with the attention you are giving him.
Skin Problems in Guinea Pigs – Bare patches of hair can be attributed to a lack of amino acids or fatty acids. Symptoms are loss of hair and dry scaly skin. This is easily treated with a daily dose of corn oil in their diet. You can mix this in with their pellets or try mixing with their water, making sure to change the water daily.
Training - Rat Rats are considered very intelligent and can be easily trained. They can be taught to sit on your shoulder and even do tricks. A food reward and repetition is the best way to train your rat. Food rewards can consist of cheese and hot dogs.
Hibernation in Hamsters – If you hamster appears lethargic, has less appetite and has behavioral changes, it may be due to your hamster going into a hibernation period. Lowered temperatures in their environment can bring on hibernation. Simply increasing the temperature a few degrees will bring your hamster around to normal activity. If the symptoms continue, take your hamster to your veterinarian to see if there may be another cause for the changes.