screen-shot-2016-11-28-at-3-34-54-pmThe stockings are hung and the presents are ready. You may not have a puppy in the box for your family, but you got a pocket pet that is allowed for your apartment. You bought it at the pet store and got everything they said. Your family is excited to add a new member to its fold. Did you research your choice before you brought them home? Do you know most pocket pets require special diets, care, and need to see the vet regularly? Here are some things to think about as you’re looking at those cute button eyes.

After your new pet is introduced to your family, get them scheduled to see your veterinarian as soon as possible. There may be some things that could improve their quality of life that the pet shop didn’t mention. Also many pets bought from pet stores may have underlying problems that you won’t recognize but your veterinarian will. The veterinarian can also lead you to good websites, books, or articles to keep up with your pet’s ever changing needs.

Many species have different requirements for food consumption, such as how often and much they eat. It may seem like the all in one bag of food you bought is what is best for your new friend, but many of these small critters require some fresh food daily. Checking in with your veterinarian can help you make the best decision on where to look for your pet’s foods, as well as what these delicate animals should not be fed.

When getting your new pet out for the first time to meet the family, be aware of how stressful and scary situation this can be for them. If not used to human handling, they may react in a negative manner such as biting or scratching. Take it slow, be gentle, and keep your voice soft and easy. They are so small and quick so make sure that children are supervised when handling them. If it doesn’t go well the first time make a plan to gradually desensitize them to handling and contact.

The habitat that your pet lives in can be as plain or as elaborate as you make it. But just like any other pet, they need environmental enrichment to keep them mentally stimulated and healthy. This will help them become better pets and more tolerant of handling. There are many household items that can give your pet hours of entertainment, such as simply giving them a toilet paper roll to run through, push around, or even chew on. Hidden treats are a great way to add excitement to their day as well. Keep up on a plan to add or change something in your pet’s habitat regularly to keep them happy and healthy.

When it comes down to owning a pet, whether cat, dog, or something small that stays in a terrarium or cage, they all have specific needs for a healthy life and learning all you can will help you help them. Enjoy owning a pocket pet that none of your friends have, but make sure to check in with your veterinarian with any questions big or small. Many require more upkeep then expected so ask us about what you are thinking of getting and let us inform you of what you may be looking forward to as a new pocket pet owner.

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