Catherine Scott explains about responsible small furry pet ownership

April 14, 2021

Share this Post

April is National Pet Month and a time to focus on responsible pet ownership. You might think owning a small furry pet like a hamster, guinea pig, gerbil, or chinchilla, is pretty straight forward, and whilst it’s true that small furry pets may need less time and input than cats and dogs, the fact that they are confined means you are fully responsible for all their needs, so it is important to find out what those needs are before taking on a new pet.

Head nurse Catherine Scott has this advice:

Responsible pet ownership – caring for small furries:

  • Healthcare: Other than rabbits, your small furry pet won’t need annual vaccinations, but they will benefit from annual or annual health checkups. If you spot unusual behaviours, lumps or bumps, or a reduced appetite, you should contact your vet for advice.
  • Nutrition: Do some research into what a healthy and balanced diet looks like for your particular species of pet. Diet is very important for oral health too as small furries need the right type of food to look after their teeth.
  • Enrichment: Boredom and loneliness can lead to self mutilation and health issues. Enrich your small furry pet’s life with regular human interaction, toys to play with, and challenges that mimic those they’d experience in the wild… Give them obstacles to move, climb on, and chew through to make themselves a comfortable home. Remember though, most small furries are nocturnal and should not have their daytime sleep disturbed.
  • Handling: Getting your small furry pet used to being handled is important so that you can enjoy some quality time with them, clean out their housing without causing them stress, and (both you and the vet) can check them over without upsetting them, or being bitten.
  • Company: If you’re able to, it’s a good idea to keep small furry pets in pairs for companionship. However some species do prefer to live alone so research which, if any pairings work best for your species, and if they are social species,  talk to a vet about neutering.
  • Environment: Whether an indoor cage or outdoor hutch, your pet’s housing should be warm, well ventilated, and safe from predators. Give them a comfortable bed and somewhere to hide out too.
  • Hygiene: Remove soiled bedding and droppings daily. Give bowls and toys a weekly clean. Once a month, remove everything and clean it (including the housing itself) with warm soapy water if possible or a pet-safe cleaning spray.

Get in touch with our nursing team if you have any questions about your small furry friend.

Strictly Necessary

These cookies are required for our website to operate and include items such as whether or not to display this pop-up box or your session when logging in to the website. These cookies cannot be disabled.


We use 3rd party services such as Google Analytics to measure the performance of our website. This helps us tailor the site content to our visitors needs.


From time to time, we may use cookies to store key pieces of information to make our site easier for you to use. Examples of this are remembering selected form options to speed up future uses of them. These cookies are not necessary for the site to work, but may enhance the browsing experience.


We may use advertising services that include tracking beacons to allow us to target our visitors with specific adverts on other platforms such as search or social media. These cookies are not required but may improve the services we offer and promote.

Change Settings

Welcome. You can control how we use cookies and 3rd party services below

Change Settings Accept
Learn how we use cookies