Have you recently adopted a tiny pet, such as a hamster, gerbil, or Guinea pig? These little guys are pretty adorable, and really do make charming little animal companions. One thing that many smaller animals have in common is a need to chew. This is because little animals usually have open-rooted teeth, which never stop growing. Pocket pets won’t wear their teeth down on tough roots the way their wild cousins would, so they’ll need lots of chew toys. Fortunately, you don’t have to break the bank buying your tiny pal’s playthings. A local Champaign, IL vet suggests some homemade options below.
Cardboard is great for chewing on! The tubes from toilet paper or paper towel rolls make good chew toys. Cut them into rings and reassemble them into small balls, or stuff them with hay or herbs. You can even make tunnels or castles out of small boxes. Just make sure not to offer anything with tape, string, or staples.
Paper crafts are a timeless favorite with kids, but it turns out that many pocket pets also enjoy them. You can keep it simple, and just offer your pint-sized pal shredded copy paper or crumpled-up paper balls. However, if you want to go further, you can make origami trees, snowflake chains, or other shapes.
Many wood items are fine for pets to chew on. There are a few caveats here, though. First and foremost, do plenty of research, to make sure that the type of wood you offer is safe. You’ll want to avoid hardwoods, such as pine. The oils are often toxic to small pets, and may make your little buddy sick. If you use real branches, take care to clean and disinfect them before handing them over.
Incorporating treats into your miniature friend’s toys is a fun way to brighten up your furry friend’s day. You can use twine and clothespins to string leafy greens between two chairs, or crumple up a piece of paper around a little snack.
These are just a few things that you—or your kids—can do for your pint-sized pal. You’ll find lots more great ideas online. Just take care to stick with safe options. Don’t give your fuzzy buddy anything that is covered in decorative coating, such as varnish, stain, glitter, or dye. Items with sharp edges, small parts, ropes and cords, and/or breakable pieces are also unsafe. Ask your vet for more information.
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