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Main West Animal Hospital Tips for Feeding Your Pocket Pet

June 1, 2014

You’re planning to introduce a pocket pet into your little household zoo. While several species’ habitat and care needs are similar, each pocket pet has its own food requirements. When you see your Pelham veterinarian for your little guy’s physical exam, you’ll ask some targeted nutrition and feeding questions.


Gerbil Food Choices

Supplement your gerbil’s pelleted food with occasional fresh fruits and vegetables. Carrots, dark greens, broccoli, and carrots are good additions. Treat your gerbil to daily fresh water from a drip container. Next, decide how to feed your gerbil. Use a heavy ceramic food dish, and remove leftovers before they spoil. Or, sprinkle the food on your gerbil’s bedding so he can eat and store the food according to his foraging instinct. Then you’ll get to play hide-and-seek to find the leftovers before they rot.


Rat Do’s and Don’ts

Check your town’s pet store for quality pelleted rat kibbles. If rat chow isn’t available, ask your vet if you can feed your pet a high-quality, low-fat dry dog food. Mix the dog kibbles with bits of a grain/seed blend. Don’t ever feed your rat candy, corn, carbonated and caffeinated beverages, onions, or chocolate. Peanut butter, taffy, and junk food are also on the forbidden list. Make sure your rat has on-demand fresh water from a sturdy bottle.


Hoarding Hamsters

Hamster pellets are readily available; and so are spinach, lettuce, carrots, and apples, in small quantities. Banish parsley, apple seeds, green tomato pieces, sprouting potatoes, and raw beans; these foods are poisonous to hamsters. Use a drip container to provide daily fresh water. Choose morning or evening feedings, but make sure your hamster always has food available. Because hamsters hoard their food, don’t assume they’ve run out of food if the bowl is empty.


Guinea Pigs’ Pellets & Produce

Supplement guinea pigs’ pellets with essential Vitamin C contained in diced veggies, such as kale and cabbage, and fruits. Avoid oranges and other sugar-loaded citrus fruits. Once a week, feed your piggie carrots, sweet potato, or zucchini. Add new veggies and fruits slowly to head off diarrhea. If that happens, ramp down the fresh produce for several days, and reintroduce it in very small amounts. Fresh, clean drip-container water is a necessity.


When your pocket pet has his next physical exam, your Pelham vet will be pleased to see a well-fed little rodent who’s a welcome member of your family.