Category Archives: Pets

Small Mammals – Can they Make Good Pets?

The small mammals category includes creatures such as rabbits, hamsters, guinea pigs, gerbils, rats and chinchillas. These can make excellent pets for children and adults alike, giving you companionship without being as demanding as a dog or a cat. But what are the real benefits of keeping these animals as pets?

  • Companionship. Your pet will always be there for you, keeping you company whenever you want them to. As long as you love them and give them attention, they will love you back.
  • Give children a sense of responsibility. Having a pet can be a great way for a child to learn what it’s like to be responsible. You can’t get much more serious than being responsible for the health and comfort of an animal. It is a very good life lesson for them.
  • Relatively cheap. Of course, any animal can have health problems and may have veterinary costs. The costs of keeping a small mammal will generally be quite low though, as their food and bedding will be quite cheap.
  • Friendly. Small mammals are cute and friendly. Make sure you are able to spend time with them and enjoy their company.

However, do bear in mind that there are some negatives to pet ownership.

  • Always think very, very carefully before buying a pet. Some small mammals can live for around 7 or 8 years, so it’s a long time to make that commitment.
  • You will always have something else to think about if you are going away, as you’ll need to find someone to look after your pet.
  • You need to have enough time to spend with your animals. This is especially true for pets like rats, as they are very sociable and will need quite a lot of attention. They can become depressed if they don’t have companionship, so make sure you are committed before you buy a pet.

Taking Your Dog to Training Classes

Training your dog is an essential part of keeping this type of animal as a pet. It bring so much more to the relationship and allows you to take your dog out and about without the worry that it will misbehave. Some people train their dogs as puppies, but it’s always possible to train a dog later in life as well, especially if it has been rehomed and needs some extra attention. Here are some of the most important things you will get out of dog training:

  • A better relationship with your pet. It’s easy to become stressed and angry when your dog constantly misbehaves. Training helps solve this so you can concentrate on all the good parts of being a dog owner.
  • Mutual respect. Training a dog teaches them how to have manners. Owners love their dogs and want to treat them well, so it’s good when a dog reciprocates.
  • No sense of fear when taking your dog out for walks. You will be able to let your dog off the lead and let it socialise with other animals
  • Trust. You will work with your pet in a whole new way, creating a real partnership. Classes teach you to build a loving and trusting relationship with your dog.
  • Fun. The training classes themselves can be great fun, and you will be able to have an even more enjoyable time with your dog once he or she is properly trained.

Choosing to Keep Fish as Pets

Fish can make wonderful pets for many people. They are relatively low maintenance and won’t cost you a fortune to buy or to look after. Here are some of the reasons why you should consider keeping fish as pets:

  1. They are easy to keep clean. You will need to carry out partial tank water changes and keep the sides of the tank and gravel clean. This is much less work than other small pets that live in hutches.
  2. Fish tanks look lovely in your home. You can make a real feature of them in any room. Choose a decorative tank that is large and practical for your new pets as well as attractive for your house.
  3. Once you’ve made the initial investment, they are cheap to look after. Fish food and ongoing tank maintenance aren’t expensive.
  4. They don’t require a lot of care or attention. You won’t have to take fish for walks or make sure they have company. If you go away it’s easy to get someone to look after them, and actually, they can also go a while without food.
  5. They make wonderful pets for children. They will begin to learn to respect animals and to have a sense of responsibility, without giving them the overwhelming task of looking after a puppy or kitten.

Please do bear in mind that fish will still require specialist equipment, such as a suitable tank and filters. If you choose tropical species, you will also need to ensure that the water is the correct temperature. Ask the pet shop you’re buying from for further advice.

Deciding Which Type of Pet is Right for You

Having a pet is a big commitment. Many pet owners understand this and go into the process of buying a pet with a clear idea of how much work will be involved. However, some people aren’t so sure. They may never have owned a pet before or they might be thinking about buying a new type of pet. Here are some key considerations when deciding on the type of pet you should buy:

  1. How much time do you have to dedicate to it? Pets such as dogs and cats will need a lot more attention than a hamster. Although cats are very independent, they will still need human company in a way that a smaller pet will not. Think about how much time you realistically could dedicate to your animals.
  2. Do you have children? If so, they will form a major part of your decision. When buying a larger pet, make sure you know its temperament and introduce it to the children before taking it home to see how they get on.
  3. Are you able to afford expensive vet care? Larger animals will require spaying, neutering, microchipping and vaccinating which can cost a lot of money. There’s always the possibility that any animal might get ill and need veterinary care, but by choosing a smaller animal it should cost you less.
  4. Are you aware of the kinds of specialist care the pet will need? Nobody should ever buy a pet until they’ve done their research. If you’re even slightly unsure of what will be required, do some more reading around the subject before you even consider buying an animal.

Teaching Your Pet Bird to Talk

It can be great fun to own a pet bird which can talk. Some of the birds which will learn the quickest are African grey parrots, budgies, parakeets and hill mynas. There are some things which you can do to assist your pet in learning to talk and help them along the way.

Start by teaching them simple food items which they eat on a regular basis. Just like dogs and cats, birds can learn to associate descriptions with objects, so even if they’re not able to talk yet, they will be able to recognise words. Tell them what you are feeding them each time, and if they begin to make any noises which resemble a food item, reward them with that kind of food.

Say words enthusiastically. Birds can differentiate between tones of voice and you’re more likely to be successful if you sound upbeat. Be careful though, as this also means that birds might pick up other words which you say with gusto. If you shout ‘ouch’ when you stub your toe, for example, they can be very susceptible to learning phrases like this. They might also learn swear words or insults!

Birds can learn from each other, so if you have more than one let them spend plenty of time together. This is a skill which helps them in the wild and they may learn quicker from each other than they would from you. Very soon you could have your own mini flock of parrots and budgies which can chat away to each other.

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