A hamster peeking out of a little log.

Imagine a hamster on a wheel; spinning and spinning… Repeating the same thing over and over and over again and still getting nowhere. This is a feeling that we can all identify with at some point in our lives and one that tends to drive us all a little batty. 

The same can be true for our pets and our pocket pets, in particular. While dogs and cats can definitely get a little stir crazy, at least they have the house to roam in, pets and loves, and the chance to get outside. Pocket pets, however, don’t always have these advantages, resulting in a myriad of health and behavioral problems, including those stemming from mental health issues.

The pocket pet veterinarians at Elmhurst Animal Care Center know that our clients love their animals big and small. With that in mind, considering pocket pet mental health is an important way to show your tiny friend healthy and happy and, most of all, that you care.

Stir Crazy Sweethearts

While being a pocket pet may seem like a pretty sweet gig, it can become readily apparent that life in the confines of a cage is not all that ideal. 

Unless you make a concerted effort to support the natural instincts and behaviors of your pocket pet by enriching their environments and offering consistent and loving interaction with you and your family, your tiny buddy may be doomed to circling the proverbial hamster wheel day in and out.

Besides wanting to do better for your pet, there are some very important reasons to be sure that your pet’s mental health is supported. Lack of proper care and stimulation most often leads to behavior issues which may include things like:

  • Increased aggression towards humans or other pets
  • Biting
  • Destructive behavior
  • Overgrooming
  • Appetite changes
  • Pica

Having a happy pocket pet is an important goal. And, with proper enrichment and socialization, your little sweetie can and will be a healthier and more engaging companion. 

Playing Your Part When it Comes to Pocket Pet Mental Health

A big factor in proper pocket pet care is understanding the needs, and wants, of the species you have chosen. Not all pocket pets have the same care requirements or have the same needs for interaction and enrichment. 

When welcoming a new pet into your home, whatever it may be, it is always advisable to schedule a wellness exam for your pet to better understand your new family member’s needs. 

Yes, even pocket pets need veterinary wellness care and an initial consultation and exam can go a long way in understanding the care your little buddy will need.

Be sure to ask and understand the following:

  • What type of cage or enclosure is best for your pet
  • Whether your pet will thrive with or without companions of the same species
  • Which toys or chewing surfaces you should provide
  • If your pet likes human interaction and can, possibly, get along with other pets in the home
  • Whether your pet can safely roam outside of its cage or go outside (supervised, of course)
  • What dietary requirements your pet has and which foods you should absolutely avoid

Elmhurst Pocket Pet Veterinarians

As a pocket pet owner, our pocket pet veterinarians advise you to provide environmental and social enrichment. Providing and rotating out toys, providing interesting and engaging features in their homes, and being sure that your friend has a friend if they need one are all part of being a great pocket pet parent.