Gerbils – The Best Pet Option for Young Children

If you have young children under foot begging for a puppy, you’re likely concerned that even after they’ve promised to feed it, walk it, and clean up after it, you’ll in fact be the one taking care of the poor creature. Then you’ll have a furry child to add to your brood.

As a dog person – allergic though I am – I’m an advocate of children growing up with one (maybe even 2) but that said they are a lot of work, and where younger kids are concerned they may not be the best option. As kids get older and can appreciate that a dog or cat requires a lot of care and work, and is in fact a member of the family once adopted, this idea may be more appealing. However, if your tiny loved ones are just that, tiny, but you still want them to have a pet to love and learn to care for (with your guidance of course), let me make a case for gerbils. But before I do, let’s run through a few other pet options that may seem appealing but may not be as suitable for a host of reasons.

Other small animals and their drawbacks

I suppose before I assume your little critters will want one of the furry and cuddly variety, I should address the cold-blooded sort. Personally I like snakes and lizards well enough, but I wouldn’t necessarily want one living in my house. Also, young children are very tactile and many of these creatures need to be handled carefully or don’t necessarily like to be handled at all. Beyond that, their set-up can be expensive and difficult to maintain. As reptiles can’t regulate their own body temperatures it is crucial that their domiciles are maintained at a certain constant temperature. Their diets can also be tricky. For these reasons it is very easy for them to fall ill if not watched closely for signs of distress.

Now onto our fluffy friends. Bunnies are some of the cutest animals around but experts will tell you that they are not good pets for young children. They are prone to biting, even with a lot of gentle handling and “training” to get them used to being pet and cuddled. Of even greater concern is the fact that they are a lot more fragile than they look. Rabbits have very delicate bones and even older children and adults need to be conscious of how they pick them up, handle them, and replace them to their homes. They also need a lot of care, and can be a lot of work to clean up after to keep their cages neat and odour-free.

Guinea pigs have a lot of the same pitfalls as bunnies. Though they actually need a lot of love and attention which may seem like a match made in heaven for kids who want nothing more than to bestow hugs and kisses upon them, it’s a lot more work than one would think. If you have one guinea pig, you must spend at least a couple of hours a day taking it out of its home and playing with it. If you have two (highly recommended as they are very social and get lonely), they still need to be taken out of their cage at least once a day for an hour or more for play time. They also require a lot of different toys to play with and places to hide and explore to keep them happy and healthy. Once again diet is crucial and clean-up can be a job unto itself. The benefits are well worth it – ask any guinea pig lover – but that’s a lot of work for anyone.

Rats (if they don’t creep you out) are very social but the downside once again is that they require a lot of attention and care. Mice are great but they are lightning-fast, pee a lot, and need a lot of things to climb and play on to be happy. They are a great option though, as they are easy to care for in terms of diet, don’t require a lot of attention from you if they are kept in pairs or groups, and don’t require a large cage. And, the more you give them to play with, the more entertaining they become. I would definitely rank them in the number two spot.

Hamsters, though one of the cutest little critters around, aren’t all that easy to take care of. Diet is simple, and again they don’t require a large cage (though with any animal the more space you can give it, the happier it will be). They do however need to be trained to be held without freaking out or biting, they are fragile, and they pee a lot too which means their bedding needs to be changed regularly. There are also different types of hamsters and each type has different requirements to be healthy and happy. Some can and should be housed in multiples, others need to be solitary, like Teddy Bear hamsters. And though this should be intuitive and applies to any pets you may have, don’t house both sexes together or you will end up with more pets than you bargained for. Hamsters (any type) would be better for a slightly older child with a little more patience.

Gerbils really are a great option

We now come to gerbils. They should be housed in groups of at least two or more females to keep them happy as they are very social little munchkins. They are fast but they won’t bite and they can be trained easily to get used to being held. They don’t seem to mind too much if a child comes along, startles them, and scoops them up without warning. The only time a gerbil has even so much as nibbled on my finger was when I forgot to wash my hands after making a peanut butter-and-jam sandwich – who could blame the little guy?

Gerbils are desert creatures which means they drink less water than other furry animals and thus they pee far less. This means their bedding stays cleaner longer and they should never have a smelly cage for you to deal with. They also love to dig and burrow but introduce a wheel into their environment and once they figure it out it will be their new favourite toy!

Their diet is simple (you can buy a two-kilo bag of gerbil food at your nearest Walmart for $4.00 and it will last two gerbils quite a while) and so is their home set-up. The only thing I recommend you don’t do is buy one of those Habitrail hard-plastic homes for them. They love to chew and will make cracks in the plastic eventually, but this doesn’t mean they are difficult to house. You may like the look of the store-bought sanctuary but trust me, they don’t care. All they want to do all day is burrow and run on their wheel, and maybe box a little – this is typical of gerbils, especially sisters like the gerbils I have, Lola and Yvette. They may squeak and fight but so long as they cuddle up together at bedtime, you know they’re fine.

I bought my little duo the biggest Rubbermaid container I could find, filled it with recycled cardboard bedding (also available at Walmart and pet stores of course) – as wood chip bedding is not safe or healthy for any animal as it can cause respiratory issues – a wheel, a $5 wooden hut, food, and a water bottle and they’re in hog heaven. They live an average of one to 3 years and mine have already passed the 3-year mark!

A reminder – lots of space is key to your new pet’s welfare

As an animal lover I am a huge advocate of making sure you do all of your research before adopting a pet of any kind. This is essential to ensure that everything from their bedding to their food and home set-up is appropriate and of the highest quality.

Another crucial issue is space. Commercial cages aren’t that big and pet store “experts” will be only too happy to direct you to a cage with all of the bells and whistles and convince you that this will keep your new pet happy, but this is not the case. Again, if you do your research you will find that commercial cages are made to be big enough to house the appropriate animals and give them room to move around a bit, but that doesn’t mean they’re adequate by any stretch of the imagination.

Imagine if someone had you in a cage for almost twenty-four hours a day. The issue is that manufacturers need to make cages that are easy to ship, can be easily stacked once they reach the pet store, and can be sold at an outrageous mark-up for what is little more than heavy wire and/or plastic. Down the road when the kids are older and you decide you may want to graduate to one of the animals I have mentioned, have a look online for easy and inexpensive DIY pet homes. It if often more fun to design and create your own habitat and this way your pet will have all the room it needs and then some. This will be evident in its behaviour and you’ll all reap the benefits of a happy, healthy, and playful new addition to your family.

Can’t Find Zhu Zhu Pets in Store? Buy Zhu Zhu Pets Online

You aren’t the only person that can’t find Zhu Zhu pets in stores? These mechanical little hamsters are the hottest gift of the 2009 Christmas season. I have searched every WalMart and Target store within a 100 mile radius of my home but the shelves are always empty. I have even asked store associates about them but all the say is they will put out more when they come in (I know they have a secret hiding spot in the storage area in the back for them)!

So why can’t you find Zhu Zhu pets in stores? It is a serious case of supply and demand. The company is controlling the supply of these little creatures in order to get an increased market share. The low demand creates a frenzy and increases the companies sales because people view these toys as hot items that are very scarce. This creates a frenzy where people buy them without thinking about the purchase because they know these are so hard to find.

So in you can’t find Zhu Zhu pets in stores, where can you buy them? The easiest and simplest place in on line. If you search eBay or Amazon, you will find there is much more of a supply of these hamsters, which definitely beats trying to find them in the stores. The downside is the aren’t selling at the suggested retail price. I have seen some for sale close to their regular price but many are being sold for 3 to 4 times their original price. I know this may be hard to accept but it is a reality and if you really want to get these for your kids, then you might just have to pay the extra for them (I know I am guilty of paying the extra for ones for my daughter)!

If you are serious about getting your child ones of these electronic hamsters for Christmas, you need to act soon. Don’t waste your time trying to find them in stores because there is a very good chance you will not be able to. Pay the extra money and save yourself the time of looking, plus you will be able to see that smile on Christmas morning when your children open presents and get the most sought after gift this season.

Pet Medications Via Online Pet Pharmacy

You may be having a pet at home whether a dog, cat, bird or even a rabbit, but if your pet is unwell then it will break your heart. When you got your pet home for the first time, it was a beautiful moment, one that you will cherish for long but you can’t overlook the fact that they are as much prone to diseases as we are. That is why it is important to have a basic pet health insurance, which can take care of the vet’s fee and some of the basic medications or pet medicine.

A standard pet health insurance will cover the basic procedures and also the cost of pet prescription medicine. The main advantage of this insurance is that you will not have to worry about the inflated medical bills and the expensive dog medicine especially when he/she falls critically ill. One the other hand, you can also buy some of the pet prescription from various online pet pharmacies.

Pet medication depends on the type of illness. The most common problem with dogs includes fleas, gingivitis, cataract and dehydration. Various types of skin allergy, joints pain, anorexia, and ear infections are also quite common. You can find pet medication related to almost all the diseases and illnesses for dogs, cats and other pets at an online pet pharmacy.

Another important reason why you can buy dog medicine from an online pet pharmacy is because of the cost. Most of the online pet pharmacies offer discount pet medicine, which will help you to save cost if your pet is constantly suffering from various problems or skin ailments caused by ticks and fleas. If you are buying medicine worth hundreds of dollars in a year from your local pet pharmacy store then by visiting online stores you can find cheap pet medicine.

The second advantage that you will have is that for common problems like ticks and fleas, you can visit an online pet pharmacy to find the right medicine. There are many online stores that provide the basic medications for ticks and you can compare the prices as well as the discounts available and then buy. You can buy it from the comforts of your home knowing that it will be delivered right to your doorstep.

At times, it is difficult to find a pet prescription medicine like heartgard or sentinel, advantix, interceptor, cosequin and others. But they are easily available at discount pet medicine stores online. And that is not all, you will also find different brands of medicine for a single ailment, which can help you choose the right one. Some of the online dog medicine stores offer free shipping if you purchase an X amount of medicines.

So don’t let your pet suffer just because the pet prescription medicine is not available at the local store. His or her life is as important as yours and time is of essence. You can always buy the same medicine at a cheaper rate from the numerous online pet stores.

Best Pet Supplies

People show so much love for their pet that they go overboard in buying pet supplies. Not only does it cost you unnecessary expenses, your home with so much pet supply but you will fill clutter which most of it your pet will never even use.

So buy wisely and get only those pet supplies your pet really needs. Below given are some ideas. Water and Food bowls. Your pet will use these bowls for many years, so do not skip. Buy in stainless steel as they last longer and are very easy to clean. Plastic bowls may be cheap, but it is very difficult to clean as it becomes old and many times it looses it shine and color. Pet food does not react stainless bowls.

Grooming pet supplies: Grooming supplies are available at online stores. Used correctly and regularly, it can help to stay your beloved pet huggable and clean.

Traveling pet supplies: If you travel often together with your pet, you may need special supplies such as well-ventilated, hard-sided kennels & harnesses. Also you may need a bag to carry your pet’s meds and grooming supplies wherever you go. And if you are traveling by car, you can get an adjustable car seat for your pet.

Toys are good for your pets. Your cat or dog can enjoy even some simple available play toys like old socks. But if you can afford you can get your pet some fancy toys. It will keep your pet busy while you may attend to some important issues. And remember, active toys will let your pets exercise while they also have fun. But you must be careful to choose only those toys that are safe for them.

Today pet supply stores everywhere are getting better and better. They are becoming an important dependable source for all pet needs like pet medicines, pet accessories and pet food. Pet are allowed in pet stores. So take your pets inside the stores to make sure that whatever accessories you have bought fit them perfectly and look good on them and see if your pet likes your choice.

Pet spas: You may now get you pets cleaned and groomed right inside some pet supply stores. Some stores offer cat nail clipping or free dog shampoos also.

Online stores: Some Pet supply stores have online website presence from where you may purchase from the comforts of your home. Forget the traffic, heat / cold or even long checkout times. Just log on to the net, order, pay online by credit card and your pet supplies will be delivered to your home. One advantage of online shopping is that you can check out several websites to compare stuff and prices with just few clicks. Online prices are also very competitive and some even provide you with free shipping if you meet their minimum order requirements.