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Tips & Tricks for Bonding With Your New Small Animal Pet & Introducing a Companion

Playtime and socializing are an essential part of being a small animal pet parent. As with everything when it comes to your new pets, start gradually. Once you’ve let your new furry friend adjust to their new home then you’re both ready to have some playtime! >>> Read more about getting a new small animal pet Whether you are going to just sit together and cuddle or let them roam a bit on their own, always make sure your space is ready and safe for playtime. Put away anything you don’t want your pets to get into or chew on like electrical cords, and keep loud noises to a minimum, close open windows and doors so they do not escape. When picking up your new pet, use both hands and be sure to support its bodyweight. Be gentle but firm, holding its feet against your body, and take care when you put it back down on the ground. Always supervise young children to make sure they are handling them gently. Have toys, tubes and a hidey place available to them, as well as a few small fresh treats. DO go slowly with socialization. Start with sitting beside them and letting them sniff you – once they get used to you, you can start to pet them and eventually pick them up. Try limiting initial handling to a few minutes at a time. DON’T ignore signs of distress. A scared bunny may cower, squeal or grunt and thump the ground with its feet, while a nervous guinea pig might wee on you, and a frightened hamster may try to bite. If your pet displays any of these behaviors, put them back in their habitat and try another time. Be patient and in no time they will be interacting and snuggling.   Tips for introducing companion pets Most small pets except hamsters are social and need a companion. In a perfect world, you would be adopting your rabbits or guinea pigs at the same time. The smoothest transition is likely with littermates, previously bonded pairs, or babies, but that may not always be an option. Neutered males and females often make great pairs, as does two females, but we would advise against more than one male cohabitating as they can become aggressive or compete for resources. When you bring your companion home, do not put them straight in your other pet’s habitat. Once again, it is very important to move forward gradually! Start by placing two habitats near each other so they can adjust to each other’s presence without feeling threatened. Allow them to swap scents by putting a bit of bedding from each habitat into the other. Then you can progress to physically introducing them in a neutral space, like a different room than they are used to or a playpen, without lots of distractions in the environment. Provide them with places to hide if they are nervous, but with two open ends so they don’t get cornered. And offer them some fresh veggies as a distraction and so they may associate positive feelings with each other. Keep these initial introductions supervised and short, around 15 minutes, you can gradually build up the duration as long as they remain happy together. At every step on this process, make sure to monitor their behavior closely! Look for signs your animal is happy. These are the clues you need to see to progress to the next step. Look for behaviors like grooming each other, squeaking to each other, sniffing each other, spending time close together and ‘popcorning’ for guinea pigs or binkies for rabbits. These are good signs! Don’t be alarmed if your rabbits try to mount or chase one another, this is to be expected and as long as the other doesn’t become aggressive they are ok. If your pets show no signs of aggression and have taken to each other, then you get the green light to allow cohabitation. Just make sure their habitat is large enough for two or more. The bigger the better!
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Bringing home your new small pet: best care tips for hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits & more

Did you know small animals can make a wonderful pet?Small pets are a great way to teach responsibility, are usually affordable, work well in smaller homes and spaces, and most are generally easier to care for than larger pets. With proper care and attention, they are a wonderful addition to the family. We can’t wait to share a few tips on how to provide a loving home and the very best care.  When deciding on what kind of small pet to get, keep in mind you may need to get at least two. Guinea pigs and rats for example are very social and need a buddy. Hamsters however are better with just one. Also consider how much space you have for their home and play. Hamsters are solitary, nocturnal, independent and love to burrow and run on their wheel at night Guinea pigs are gentle, sweet and sociable so they need a companion/buddy, and can make an ideal first pet Rabbits are also gentle and sociable, best with a companion, and can be trained to use a litter box Rats are very smart and social and can learn fun tricks  Before you bring your new pet home, it's best to get their new home all ready for a happy homecoming. It's much easier and less stressful if you purchase supplies and get everything setup before you bring them home. Small Pet Supply Checklist   It will vary slightly by animal but generally these are the basics you need: Pet carrier for transportation home and vet visits  Appropriate large habitat with ample room for your pet to play and plenty of space for everything they need – Bigger is Better! It's fun to watch them burrowing and building tunnels or popcorning in the bedding.  Avoid wire bottomed cages, as this poses a risk of injury for their small and delicate feet  Plenty of carefresh soft, absorbent paper bedding for nesting and burrowing. It’s unscented, no soggy mess, easy to clean up, with lots of fun colors to choose from Food & water dishes that won't tip over or a water bottle that hooks on the side Appropriate food including fresh hay, pellets, treats, fresh fruits and vegetables, dark leafy greens Toys and accessories to keep them busy! It’s so much fun to watch them exercise on their wheel or run through a tunnel: Wood, wicker, cardboard, etc for chewing and entertainment and to wear down their teeth Tunnels or wheels for exercise, make sure the wheel is large enough to avoid back injury, no wires or mesh Hidey House: small pets need a place to seek shelter and feel protected. Small litter box and carefresh rabbit & ferret litter (for rabbits, ferrets or any small pets that use a litter box) Appropriate grooming tools Sand bath for those pets that cannot be bathed in water Playpen for safe social time  It's all about the location   Now that you have all the supplies, it’s time to have some fun setting up their home. Make sure to put their habitat in a well-lit area out of direct sunlight, with good ventilation, not too hot or cold.  Remember that most small pets are social creatures and will enjoy being able to observe you throughout the day; however, hamsters are more nocturnal and can get a little noisy at night running on his wheel!  Start by putting 2-6 inches of carefresh bedding in their habitat, or even more bedding off to one side or corner to give them ample space to burrow or nest—gerbils and hamsters will especially love you for this!  Then add all the accessories, being sure to secure the water bottle or water dish. Be creative!  Now you are ready to bring home your new pet!  Bringing them home   Your pet will need time to adjust to their new home. Keep your interactions to a minimum for the first few days, changing out their food and water when they are sleeping—give them time to feel safe.  Sit nearby and speak gently to them, letting them adjust to your presence and the sound of your voice. Observe them for any odd behaviors and contact your vet if you notice anything concerning.  As soon as your little ones are more used to their new home, start socializing with them and playing with them, a little more each day. Some small animals do not like to be held a lot but they may enjoy lots of soft petting – guinea pigs and rats even purr!  Be sure to handle them very gently. Small children should always be supervised.  Hamsters will squeak out of pure joy when being fed, running on a wheel, or receiving a new toy to play with, and guinea pigs make the cutest noises when they are happy.  Now you can provide the very best care and have FUN with your new small pet! 
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Easy Spring Cleaning Tips for All Cat Parents

It’s that time of year where flowers bloom, birds start chirping and we start looking forward to spending more time outdoors. Unfortunately, the country is currently facing a time of isolation due to COVID-19, which is causing us to spend even more time at home. We may not be happy about it, but think about all of the happy cats!Now that you find yourself with more time at home and less to do, are you thinking about doing some deep spring cleaning to pass the time? You may be catching up on laundry and cleaning out closets, but don’t forget your cat! Now is a great time to find all of those missing cat toys, improve your cat’s litter box area or clean up that lingering cat hair — don’t worry, we all have it!   Toys — where did they all go?!: We all love spoiling our kitties with toys they can catch and chase, but as you probably know, those toys can easily go missing. Make your cat’s day and consider taking the time to find all of the hair ties, springs and catnip filled toys that have fallen victim and gone missing under the couch, refrigerator or stove. If you need help reaching those toys in hard to reach places, a broom can help extend your reach! After you’ve completed your search, place all of the toys in one area and make it a mission to collect all of the newly missing ones each week. Your cat will be happy because he’ll always have something to play with, and you’ll be happy because you won’t have to keep buying more toys when the others go missing. If you want to take it one step further, thoroughly inspect each toy as you find them. Is it broken or dirty? If so, then take the time to fix, clean or toss them in the trash, if necessary. When cleaning cat toys, we recommend using a vinegar and water solution. If a particular toy is still in good condition but your cat doesn’t use it, consider donating to your local shelter. Litter — is it time for a switch? Giving your cat’s litter box area a deep cleaning isn’t always fun, but you’ll feel so much better once it’s done. Start by removing all litter boxes from the area and grab your trusty hand vacuum (or an old fashion broom and dust pan works too!) and sweep up any remaining litter pieces. If your litter boxes are on tile, vinyl or hardwoods go the extra step and wipe down the area with a floor-safe disinfectant spray or wipe.While your litter boxes are out of the area, now is a great time to completely empty all remaining litter and fill the empty boxes with ökocat. ökocat is the perfect choice if you’re looking for a cleaner, healthier cat litter for your home. One of the best parts? It can last up to 7 weeks with regular scooping, so you won’t have to deep clean as often. In addition to being a cleaner, healthier cat litter option, also includes key benefits found most important to cat owners when choosing a litter: Stops odor before it starts: Wood fiber naturally prevents enzymes from bonding with liquid and waste to stop the creation of ammonia. Clumps solid for easy cleaning: Precision-cut fiber absorbs liquid on contact to form solid clumps for easy scooping and cleaning. 99% dust free for a healthy home: Clean wood fiber is screened & de-dusted for a cleaner pour. No dirty clay dust. NO artificial fragrance, NO synthetic chemicals, NO toxic dyes, NO GMO’s 100% sustainably sourced, responsibly rescued Biodegradable & Flushable for fast, easy clean-up or can even be composted Naturally lightweight for easy carrying and pouring Doesn’t attract bugs like some food based litters Cat Hair — we all have it!: You know what warmer weather brings? More shedding… 🙀 All of us cat owners struggle with keeping up with the cat hair that floats around our houses. You’re not alone! Take this time to catch up on cat hair removal. This could mean giving your couch a thorough vacuuming, replacing the air filter in your furnace or finally taking the time to move that piece of furniture that’s typically hard to sweep underneath and/or behind. To stay ahead of the cat hair, you can also help your cat by brushing them often with a deshedding tool, which means less hair floating around your house. You’ll be surprised by how much hair it gets, and your cat might enjoy it, too! Another thing you can do to help your cat continue to live its best life as the weather warms up is to start treating for fleas and ticks early, especially if they go outdoors. Set up a time to meet with your vet to make sure you have everything needed to keep your cat and home pest free. As we try to enjoy spring and make the most of our increased time at home, we encourage you to take the time to make cleaner, healthier choices for your cat, your family and your home. Let us know other unique ways you’re making your cat’s life easier and cleaner if there’s something we didn’t cover!
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