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Monthly Archives: November 2020

Pocket-Sized Pals: The World of Small Pets

What is a Pocket Pet?

A pocket pet can typically be described as a tiny, on-the-go, pocket-sized furry friend that might love to snuggle in your shirt or pant pocket. There are many different types of small pets to own, and can be a great addition to any family. However, just like any other pet, they have unique needs including housing and dietary requirements. You’ll want to research pet or feed stores that cater to your specific type of small pet. Some pocket-pets have a lengthy lifespan, so do as much research as possible to be 100% certain you’re prepared to commit to caring for your little friend properly for years to come.

For anyone interested in keeping little animals for pets, there are a few essential questions to consider when researching:

  • What type of accommodations will the pet require?
  • What are the specific dietary needs?
  • How much exercise and interaction do pocket pets need?
  • When will the pocket pet be most active?
  • What type of veterinary care will the pet need?

Types of Small Pets & Their Needs

In the United States, some of the most popular small pets to own are rats, guinea pigs, hedgehogs, chinchillas, ferrets, and sugar gliders.

Rats – When you first hear “rat,” you probably don’t think of keeping these little animals for pets. However, they are quite intelligent and surprisingly clean creatures. Their docile demeanor can make them an excellent fit for families with children. They’ll need a large, wire cage with multiple-level platforms for all of their climbing and exercise needs, as well as a hammock or nesting box for them to cozy up in during nap time. They primarily eat commercially formulated pellets along with the occasional fresh fruits and vegetables as treats.

Guinea Pigs – These are some of the more social types of small pets, and they don’t require much more than a well-ventilated wire cage topped with bedding or a soft towel. They eat mostly hay grass and a controlled amount of species-specific pellets. Additionally, vitamin C-rich foods like kale and bell peppers may be recommended by your veterinarian as they do not produce enough vitamin C independently. It’s also essential to provide wooden blocks or treats to chew on to prevent their teeth from overgrowth.

Hedgehogs – These prickly creatures may not make the best pocket pets per se, but they’re still great to have at home nonetheless. They’re shy and often like to hide and burrow. They typically prefer little human handling, and they need a large wire cage lined with bedding. As insectivore-omnivores, they’ll enjoy a mealworm or cricket and pellet combo for dinner with occasional fruits and vegetables as snacks. The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) states that due to their sharp spines, hedgehogs must be sedated for veterinary exams when they receive wellness checks, teeth cleaning, and nail trimming.

Chinchillas – Although very shy and quiet, they often do well when housed with another chinchilla. They’re nocturnal, so they typically sleep through the day just like rats, so a hammock or nesting box is ideal. For diet, much like guinea pigs, they consume mostly hay with a controlled amount of pellets. One unique thing about these types of small pets is that they need dust baths weekly. You’ll need to provide a tray or short box filled with chinchilla dust – made to absorb dirt and oils from their fur. Volcanic dust works wonders, and it’s quite a sight to see them tossing their little bodies around in it!

Ferrets – These furry fellas are very sociable animals and can make great pets, especially if socialized and handled well from a young age. They’re very smart, fast learners, and have personality traits similar to those of cats and dogs. They’re fairly low maintenance, just like cats and can also be trained to use a litter box. They love to roam and climb so a multi-level cage or open space would be best. They also love a soft place to snooze so providing extra cushion or a hammock is perfect.

Sugar Gliders – These are highly social, nocturnal creatures, so they should be housed in groups. If they aren’t receiving adequate interaction with people or other sugar gliders, they can become depressed or develop unwanted behaviors. They require a tall, wire cage filled with branches and various levels for their roaming and flying needs. Just like hedgehogs, they love their insects – but despite their sweet name, avoid feeding any sweet treats or large amounts of fruit.

These are just a few of the many awesome small pets to own. Gerbils, mice, and hamsters are a few more among the best pocket pets to consider. When it comes to welcoming one of these tiny creatures into your home, it’s essential to have a veterinary resource familiar with pocket-sized and exotic animals and their care.

Check out our locations that treat Pocket Pets to find one near you: 

The sooner you learn the basic care necessities for these pets, the sooner your front pocket can be occupied by your new best pal!


Not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding the medical condition of your pet. If you think your pet has a medical emergency, call or visit your veterinarian or your local veterinary emergency hospital immediately

It’s Always a Happy Thanksgiving With Pets

Five Reasons to Be Thankful for Pets

Across the country, on Thanksgiving Day, it’s a common tradition for families to come together to prepare and enjoy a delicious, home cooked meal. Often, before digging in, they’ll go around the dinner table and take turns stating something they are thankful for, and although they may not be sitting at the table, we encourage you to take a moment to give thanks to all of the amazing things that animals give us, too.

There’s no question that pets are great companions that provide us with unconditional love, motivate us to be healthier and help us unwind, and give us a much-needed laugh at the end of a busy work day. But those are just some of the thousands of reasons to be thankful for your cat, dog, and all other animals alike. Here’s a list of five more:

Nonjudgmental. Your pet won’t make fun of your clothes, they will kiss you even when you have bad breath and might even dance along with your terrible dance moves. Pets are great companions because in their eyes, you can do no wrong.

Non-Demanding. Pets don’t ask for much besides food, water, and a safe place to call home. Sometimes they demand more belly rubs or extra treats, but is that really too much to ask for considering all of the things that animals give us? They’ll be the easiest to shop for come Christmas time, that’s for sure.

Best Food Critic. In your pet’s opinion, you are an excellent cook and they probably wouldn’t turn up their nose at a dish that you’ve prepared. But – it’s important to keep the Thanksgiving feast on the table, not under it. Luckily for them, these homemade treat recipes we shared for National Cook for Your Pets Day  are easy enough to whip up for Thanksgiving, too!

Great Listener. You can laugh with them, joke with them, cry with them, spill your secrets to them – they will always listen. Unless you tell them to get off the couch, or stop scratching up the baseboards, or stop stealing and hiding your only good socks, then it seems to go in one ear and right out the other.

Body Warmer. Not only will they happily binge watch an entire Netflix series with you but they’ll cozy up right next to you – or right on top of your feet – and keep you nice and warm when the fuzzy socks or plush blanket just aren’t cutting it.

You’ll never feel alone in the presence of your pet, they’re always thrilled to see you, they’ll comfort you when you’re feeling low and always keep the secrets you can’t share with anyone else. Not only do they warm our feet, they never fail to warm our hearts so be sure to show your gratitude. Keep them close this holiday season, and you’re guaranteed to have a happy Thanksgiving with your pets.

National Cook for Your Pets Day

Home Cooking for Pets

The origin of National Cook for Your Pets Day remains somewhat of a mystery, but there’s absolutely no question that it’s been picked up nationwide by many pet parents who believe that there should be a special day, at least once a year, dedicated to treating our beloved companions to an extraordinary –  yet safe and nutritious – home cooked meal. If you’re thinking about participating, remember that maintaining a steady, consistent diet of quality food as discussed with your veterinarian is very important to your pet’s overall health.

Things to Consider with Home Cooking for Pets

Pet nutrition can be a challenge, especially for those looking to practice the art of cooking for their pets beyond this national holiday. According to the folks at the American Kennel Club (AKC), when done right, home cooking for your pets can offer a number of benefits like diet management, appeasing picky eaters, bond-building, combatting food intolerance issues, concern over food recalls, and so much more. Thankfully, AKC developed a list of some common mistakes to avoid when trying out home cooking for dogs and cats:

  • Not Using Trusted Sources
  • Not Preparing Balanced Meals
  • Relying on Multiple Diets to Create “Balance”
  • Using Unsafe/Unhealthy Ingredients
  • Straying From the Recipe
  • Understating the Impact of Dietary Changes

One important point the AKC makes is that while there are a great deal of benefits for whole-ingredient based diets, this serves only as a suggested alternative to commercial pet foods, not a required one. Owners should be aware of ingredient quality of commercial foods, and although they are not the most exciting of meals, they are still made to be complete and balanced. Regardless of which method you choose, just be sure that you are catering to your pet’s individual health, nutrition needs, and consult your veterinarian before switching to a homemade diet as you may unintentionally deprive them of necessary nutrients.

Try a Homemade Treat when Cooking for Your Pets

As an alternative, try making a homemade treat to celebrate National Cook for Your Pets Day!  During the workweek, after a long day at the office it might be tough to find the time or energy to whip up baked goods for your pet… but luckily for your furry friend, this holiday falls on the weekend and we’ve found a couple recipes in the hopes of saving you that extra step.

If it’s tips on how to cook for your cat that you’re searching, look no further than these homemade treats from Jennifer Coates, DVM at PETMD. The best part about home cooking for your pets is that you are 100% in control of what goes in them, and these limited ingredient kitty treats are a purr-fect example of that!

If it’s your canine companion you are interested in treating, pun not intended, these treats from AKC are sure to make them drool. Whether it’s National Cook for Your Pets Day or any day of the year for that matter, it can be fun to try out a vet-approved treat recipe to spoil your pet and it will surely be a satisfying nod to your cooking when you find them reaching (or pawing) for more!

Just keep in mind that providing nutritious, nutrient-rich meals is important for the health of your pets and switching your dog’s diet suddenly can cause an upset stomach – so while many home-cooked pet meals have ingredients that are nourishing, it might be best served as a holiday treat rather than a daily menu item.

If you’re interested in celebrating this holiday be sure to consult your veterinarian to discuss options for preparing healthy treats or meals to meet your pet’s particular health needs, age, and lifestyle.

Not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding the medical condition of your pet. If you think your pet has a medical emergency, call or visit your veterinarian or your local veterinary emergency hospital immediately.