pocket pet guinea pig

At Oakhurst Veterinary Hospital, our focus lies on the health and well being of dogs and cats. Many of our clients have exotic and pocket pets at home, though, and it is important not to forget these less traditional critters. Besides routine care, pocket pet mental health is a real need and one that you can really improve on in your home. Little pets need support, too!

The Importance of Pocket Pet Mental Health 

If you have a pocket pet or exotic species, you are probably already aware that husbandry is the cornerstone of your pet’s care. Things like proper nutrition and environment can make a big difference when it comes to your pet’s health and happiness. 

Pocket pet mental health is also important. When we don’t take good care of our pet’s mental state, problems can ensue. Health and behavioral problems that can ensue from boredom and stress can include:

  • Biting and aggression towards people
  • Bar chewing
  • Overgrooming/feather plucking
  • Possessive behavior
  • Decreased appetite 
  • Overeating
  • Aggression between animals
  • Pica
  • Digging
  • Destructive behavior

Doing your part can help to circumvent these types of issues.

Providing a Happy Life

Supporting pocket pet mental health starts with understanding the species that you are caring for. In order to keep your pet stimulated and enriched, you must take into account the normal environmental and social needs your animal would have in nature.

Enrich your pet’s environment in a safe and species-friendly way, considering things like:

  • Your pet’s enclosure (size, design)
  • The location of the enclosure in your home
  • Companions (is your pet a social species?)
  • Hiding locations
  • Dust baths if your species likes them
  • Rotating toys and other stimulating objects
  • Supervised time out of the enclosure as appropriate
  • Stimulation with music and visual things, especially for birds
  • Interaction with people
  • Toys and chewing options
  • Training and other opportunities for learning

Making an effort to be sure that your pet of choice has a lifestyle that provides social, mental, and sensory stimulation can make a big difference. Pets, whether they be a dog, cat, fish, reptile, bird, or hamster, deserve to live a life that provides them with the opportunity to be happy and healthy.
Our team is always happy to help pets, no matter the species. While we don’t care directly for pocket pets and exotic species, please feel free to ask if you have questions about your pet’s care. Animals are our business, and we are happy to help in any way we can.