Small Animals
"Too often parents buy small pets and fish for their children as learning tools, but those pets are even more fragile than cats and dogs," Beart explains. "The average lifespan of a hamster, for example, is about 3 years. In many homes, the pet hardly ever lasts more than a few months." Here are some helpful tips that'll ensure the safety and longevity of your small pets:


Hamsters
•They tend to be active at night and asleep during the day. For that reason, you'll want make sure your pet's exercise wheel isn't a squeaky one.

•Provide at least 2 inches of bedding to allow for normal burrowing behavior. Use shredded tissue or paper, or clean processed corncob. Commonly used cedar chips are associated with respiratory and live disease in rodents. Clean cages and refresh bedding at least once a week.

•Many hamsters must be kept in cages by themselves after the age of 10 weeks. Adult females are especially hostile to one another, so do your homework before you consider grouping.

Guinea Pigs
•Their bodies cannot produce Vitamin C, so you'll have to supplement it with an appropriate product from your pet supply store.

•Guinea pig's teeth grow constantly, so chew toys are essential.

Rabbits
•They actually learn litter box habits quickly and easily. Keep in mind that they like to chew and may hide in small, dark spaces. When you allow your pet time out of his cage for exercise, consider cord protectors, securely cover ducts and vents, and always locate your pet before sitting down and opening and closing recliners.
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