In this article, we will cover some basic steps to consider when setting up a pet habitat. It can be quite daunting, especially for a new small pet owner. Take some time to first understand your pet’s needs and go from there. With that, we will give you a few tips to keep in mind before setting up a habitat.
- Provide pets with adequate space
Giving your pet a lot of space is very important. We recommend employing a cage that at least six times (or more) your pet’s size. Your pet would love it if you could purchase a beautiful rabbit hutch or hamster cage equipped with additional amenities. Do not make the mistake of purchasing the first cage that you come across. Instead, try to find something that is long-lasting and spacious. Remember to always do your research.
If small animals are caged in cramped areas, it could lead to an array of problems. A sense of claustrophobia experienced by animals can cause stress, disease, aggressive behavior, shedding, and many other problems. For example, if you were setting up a baby bearded dragon habitat and purchased a small 10 gallon tank, you will need to upgrade in the future. Your pet will grow and needs that additional space!
- Refrain from using wires or mesh
Your pet’s feet/paws are sensitive and could sustain injuries due to wires or mesh which could ultimately cause infections. Consult your vet and use materials that are suggested by them. Hay, food-grade bedding, shredded papers, and recycled pulp are commonly used by many pet-owners.
However, you must consider the fact that this decision must be made based on the kind of pet you have. For instance, an owner of a hedgehog might want to go with paper-based bedding. But your prickly friend might suffer from respiratory problems if you use wood shavings. If your pet is diagnosed with specific illnesses, diseases, or allergies, that must be considered as well and a different type of bedding might be useful.
- Understand your pet’s personality and habits
It is imperative to monitor your pet’s behavior to provide appropriate care and develop an optimal habitat. You may notice that the cage may need some rearrangement or major alterations in some cases. Your pet may prefer sunny spaces, or conversely, they may abhor such spots. You may learn that your pet either likes their cage to be slightly elevated or the exact opposite!
It is a good idea to give particular treats to your pet if you notice that they’ve been demonstrating good behavior. Make sure that you know what treats they love!
If you know and understand your pet well, you will find that it is easier to administer their meds and clean their cages. For instance, if you know that they might pounce at the opportunity to bite or scratch you, you can be better prepared to deal with it. Or, you may simply need to put out a treat or give them extra attention to lure them out.
- Cozy is ideal
It is important to make sure that the habitat that you create for your pet is cozy and inviting. If required, get a bed specific to your pet’s category or a warm blanket. A comfortable towel may also be appreciated by your pet.
You may also want to incorporate a few toys in the habitat. For instance, a hamster would love a hamster wheel. An emotional support rabbit, on the other hand, might prefer chew toys or apple sticks or anything else that can help them utilize their teeth and wear them down. In fact, many animals love to chew on things, and in fact, chewing objects ensures that their oral and dental health remains perfect. Water bowls or water bottles are also important elements in a habitat. We recommend employing a hanging bottle, to make sure that the source of fresh water stays away from food and feces, thereby remaining clean for long.
- Be thorough
Being thorough is important, regardless of what you are setting up – an aquarium, a rabbit hutch, a den for your hedgehogs, or any other area appropriate for your pet. Clean everything frequently and do not compromise on the thoroughness of this process. Use a 4:1 vinegar-water solution to clean the cage.
Take some time to develop a connection with your pet. Several factors such as patience, frequent playtimes, general bonding, and softly interacting with them will help you get closer. Before you begin to cuddle them, approach them slowly, and try waiting for them to come to you.
Always be gentle and use both your hands to pick up your pet. Even when placing them on the floor, do it gently. Do not pick them up while they are sleeping. Think about it. You wouldn’t like being woken up either.