If you own a fancy rat, mouse, hamster or any other small, caged furry pet, they will probably soon pick up on the excitement of the Christmas period and want to get involved! It can be very rewarding and entertaining too to get your small pet a Christmas present and involve them in the festivities with you, but it is vitally important to keep smaller pets safe at Christmas, and take care to ensure that nothing that you bring into the home or do with your pet may be dangerous to them.
In this article, we will share some tips and advice on keeping your pet rodents safe and happy this Christmas. Read on to learn more!
First up, don’t be tempted to decorate your pet’s cage, either inside or out, as this is never a good idea! Anything that interferes with the normal layout or items within the cage may upset your pets, and also, pose a potential hazard to them. Remember that hanging tinsel around the cage on the outside will likely also mean that your pets can grab it and pull it into the cage, and if you hang tinsel or other decorations above the cage on the ceiling, this is apt to shed strands that may well end up inside of the cage too.
Confident, tame pets such as fancy rats may be very excited to come out and play once you’ve decorated the house, and will want to investigate everything that is new! However, playtime for smaller pets outside of the cage needs to be managed carefully, particularly if the room that they play in will be decorated or different from normal.
Never leave your pet out unsupervised in the room, and don’t lose track of where they are! Don’t let your pets loose in a room with tinsel or fake snow decorations, as both of these things can pose a potential risk to their health. Also, if you have a real tree, remember that pine sap is toxic to small rodents, and so, they should not come into contact with it.
Also, if you have strings of light on your tree or around the room, it is all too easy to overlook this new addition, and forget about the trailing electrical cables that come with them, and the potential dangers of these! If you want to let your small pet have fun and enjoy the Christmas spirit, it is a better idea to select a few safe items of decoration and take them into an otherwise plain room to let your pets explore, rather than letting them loose in a room that is full of potentially dangerous things, or a lot of new obstacles that your pet can hide in!
It is wise to make sure that your pets are safely closed away when the present opening is going on, as small rodents will easily get lost in the piles of wrapping paper, and may not be seen for days-or they may risk being stood on.
Once you have opened your presents, you might wish to pick a couple of plain empty boxes and rustly paper and take them into your pet’s room and let them out to play in them, under supervision!
You can of course also buy your special pet their own present to enjoy on the day too-favourite morsels of food or a new toy usually go down well!
Make sure that your pets are fed and watered at the same times as they are used to over Christmas as well, and that their general care is not neglected.
Prepare some special treats for your pet to eat ahead of time if you wish to, but make sure that you decide upon these in advance and check that they are safe for your pet rather than deciding on food on the fly, before you have the time to check out its suitability.
Even when you pick excellent treats for your pet, remember that too much of a rare treat may lead to stomach upsets, which will not make for a very merry Christmas!
Try to keep the room that your small pets live in quiet and calm, and not the room that is the focal point of the holiday. Don’t allow a range of strangers to get your pets out of the cage or try to interact with them, and if your guests do want to see your pets, make sure that this only happens if your pets are ok with it!
Remember that little rodents will not really understand what is going on around them, and will become stressed with too much activity or a lot of strangers around.
Whilst the usual household routine will tend to become disrupted over Christmas, do what you can to keep your pet’s routine the same as normal, which means feeding and playing with them at the usual times, and of course, keeping the cage clean and hygienic.
Dedicate some time each day to socialising with your pets as normal and ensuring that they are ok, and keep a check on them throughout the day to ensure that they have enough food and water.