Owning a rabbit, guinea pig, or hamster has become an obvious choice for so many households. Especially after the pandemic, lots have ‘panic bought or ‘stock-piled on pets to keep them company (however vulgar that sounds). Like the message ‘a dog is for life, not just for Christmas, small pets need attention and maintenance. Yes, they are less hassle and demanding than a dog, but they still require regular tending.
Minimizing The Mess
One of the first things to consider before buying a guinea pig or hamster is the type of bedding for their indoor cage. Most small pets require soft under-footing while also having places and caves to hide, being natural burrowers. Often, people resort to sawdust and hay; however, having grown up in a household where the mess resulting from this type of bedding was awful, there is a better option. This option is fleece liners. What fleece liners can do, is provide a soft layer for your pet’s feet while also soaking up the pee and ensuring it doesn’t leak onto the floor below. And, the thing is with this option is that they are cheap to buy.
Alternatively, if you would prefer to choose your own fabric (which I definitely would) consider making them get that creative side out! The thing is with this, is that, again, this is a cheap option. All you need is a waterproof material, such as a shower curtain, an absorbent layer, like an old towel, and a fleece of your choosing. For the fleece, you could use an old throw or blanket you no longer use. Now, this bit is the most important part. You must get the order right, or it won’t work in absorbing all of your small pet’s poop and pee! Firstly, measure your cage, and cut all the materials to this length and width, adding a couple of centimeters for the seam.
Once all the material is cut out, lay down the waterproof layer on the floor and place the towel (absorbent layer) on top. Sew these two together, leaving a hand’s width unsewn to flip it when you are completely done. After that, add your fleece layer! Lay it on the top of both of the sewn layers, and, again, leave a hand’s width. Now, you are done! Flip your cage liner inside out, and you will be left with a perfectly sized and comfortable liner for your pet’s cage.
The fleece liners need to be washed every three days or so and replaced, as the pee gets absorbed and makes it naturally stinky, as cages get. To alleviate the smell, consider leaving windows open to keep the house fully ventilated. If you have dodgy windows which are hard to open, look at getting them replaced by visiting Renewal by Anderson.
Having multiple hiding places is integral to a small pet’s cage, as they frighten easily and need safe places to hide. I suggest buying a wooden burrow, big enough to fit your pet in, which is also safe for them to gnaw on. This way, they can hide in it as well as strengthen their teeth. In addition, it can be used to sleep in, as a safe place for your small pet to reside.
In terms of tunnels, small animals love them. They are so necessary for any small pet’s cage. Having gone through countless numbers of straw tunnels, buy a fleece or cotton one, as this will last for longer and can go in the washing machine along with the liners. These cannot be gnawed on, so last for longer. In terms of cost-efficiency, these are definitely the best option.
Your pet also needs a comfy area to sleep in. I don’t know about you, but I’ve seen all of those Pinterest pictures of the perfect cage for your small pet. And, often, it is difficult to make your cage look like this. However, they love hammocks or beds, which are fluffy alternatives to straw or hay. These can be purchased online, and add that extra little detail to your cage to make it instagrammable.
Keeping Them Cool in Warm Weather
Over the summer holidays, as well as sorting out your household for the new academic year, you must ensure your small pets do not overheat in the hot weather. Naturally living in hot environments does not necessarily mean that you can keep them in the heat for long periods of time. There are many ways to keep your pet cool over these summer months. For starters, and this one is especially for long-haired guinea pigs or rabbits, regularly brush their fur to get rid of the excess. Doing this ensures your pet will not overheat. Also in terms of their cage, consider the addition of an ice block wrapped in a towel. This way, your pet can lie up against it and keep cool.
For the shopping list, consider purchasing a cooling mat as well. Place this under their bed or by the food so that they can sit on it and their bellies can keep nice and cold. Topping up their water bottle twice daily will also help with this, as, just like us, cold water cools us down much faster than lukewarm water.
In conclusion, there are many things to consider before purchasing a small indoor pet, such as a rabbit or a guinea pig. There are several essential purchases needed to keep your small pets comfortable and happy. Especially in the hotter months, always keep a close eye on your pet. Yes, they are small, but their needs are the same as any animal. Owning a pet is no small task. Although they have a shorter lifespan than dogs, small pets need to, and there are cheap and affordable ways to meet them.