Getting Off the Hamster Wheel: Pocket Pet Mental Health
The image of a hamster on a wheel is a powerful one. Repeating the same thing over and over and getting nowhere is a feeling that we can all identify with. When we think about this image, it becomes apparent that we need to do a better job for our pets.
The pocket pet veterinarians at Naperville Animal Hospital know that our clients love their animals great and small, and thinking about pocket pet mental health is an important way to show that.
Stir Crazy and Out of Control
Being a pocket pet might seem like a pretty easy gig. You sit around all day in an enclosure safe from predators, nibble on food and treats that magically appear at regular intervals, and enjoy attention from a loving human. What’s not to like?
If you think a little bit, though, it can become quickly apparent that being an owned pocket pet may not be all that wonderful under certain circumstances. Unless your human makes a conscious effort to support your natural instincts and behaviors and to enrich your environments, you 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
- Destructive behavior
- Appetite changes
A happy pocket pet is an important goal. Any pet with proper enrichment and socialization is a healthier and more fun companion.
Your Responsibility in Pocket Pet Mental Health
A big factor in proper pocket pet care is understanding your chosen species well. This is no different when it comes to pocket pet mental health. Species differences can make a big difference in the health and enjoyment of your pet.
Be sure to ask questions and understand:
- The best type of cage or enclosure for your pet
- If your pet will thrive best with or without companions of the same species
- What toys or chewing surfaces you should provide
- If your pet likes human interaction and what kind
- What dietary requirements your pet has
As a pocket pet owner, it is also your responsibility to provide environmental and social enrichment. You may wish to do things such as rotating toys and features within the enclosure and providing shelters and hiding places or dust baths as appropriate for the species.
Your pet may also benefit from supervised time outside the enclosure, changes of scenery, and opportunities for exercise.
Naperville Pocket Pet Veterinarians
When welcoming a new pet into your home, the pocket pet veterinarians at Naperville Animal Hospital advise you to schedule an appointment with us so that we can help you to understand your new family member’s needs.
Don’t forget that your little friend is depending on you for all of these needs. You play an important role in pocket pet mental health. Don’t let your pet down when it comes to ensuring an enriched and full life.
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