Rabbits, Guinea Pigs and Hamsters are some of the most common small animals that are kept as pets in the UK. Having a pet to look after can be great fun and very rewarding, but it does come with responsibilities. By law you must care for your pet properly, this means providing somewhere suitable for them to live, a healthy diet, opportunities to behave normally, the provision of appropriate company and ensuring that they are well. View the Animal Welfare Act

. We have put together a few tips on how to care for your small animal but for a complete guide visit the RSPCA website www.rspca.org.uk

Food & Drink

At Mason Cash we have designed and developed our bowls so that they are the perfect size for your pet. Made from stoneware, our bowls keep food and water cooler for longer as well as being heavy enough to keep the bowl in place while your furry friend is eating.

Our handy guides below show what food and drink you should provide for your Rabbit, Guinea Pig or Hamster each day. Never feed Rabbits or Guinea Pigs lawnmover clippings.

A Rabbit’s daily food & drink ration should include:

  • Fresh, clean drinking water which is always available
  • Good quality hay and/or grass which is always available
  • An adult-sized handful of safe washed leafy greens such as cabbage, kale, broccoli, parsley & mint.
  • A small, measured portion of good quality commercial rabbit pellets or nuggets.

A Guinea Pig’s daily food & drink ration should include:

  • Fresh, clean drinking water which is always available
  • Good quality hay and/or grass which is always available
  • Fresh grass/vegetables such as leafy greens.
  • A fresh portion of grass-based guinea-pig pellets
  • As a treat you can give a small amount carrot or a quarter of an apple. Don't feed them sugary treats as these may harm your Guinea Pig.

A Hamster’s daily food & ration should include:

  • Fresh, clean drinking water which is always available
  • A compound pelleted ration or a mixture of different seeds. Commercial rations are formulated to meet their biological needs.
  • For variety, small quantities of greens, cleaned root vegetables or pieces of fruit such as apples can supplement the ration. Do not give your pet rhubarb or grapes as these can be poisonous.

Home Comforts

Pets need a comfortable, clean, dry environment to live in that is safe, secure and hazard-free. It must be large enough for them to stand fully upright on their back legs and stretch out fully when lying down. An area where they can exercise and a place for them to shelter when they feel scared are also necessary. Hamsters are nocturnal and need a lot of room when they are active at night – so buy as big a cage as possible, ideally one that is multi- leveled with a plastic base and wire sides that allow them to climb around the bars of the cage.

Small animals need enough bedding to keep warm, especially in the case of rabbits and guinea pigs that are kept outdoors. You should cover the base of your small animal’s cage with a thick layer of bedding material such as dust-free wood shavings. They also need suitable insulating bedding materials such as dust-free hay and shredded paper.

House Training

Your pets toilet area(s) should be cleaned every day. The whole home should be thoroughly cleaned regularly, approximately once a week.

Cleaning is potentially stressful for pets so after cleaning, a small amount of the old unsoiled bedding and nesting material should be placed back into the toilet area and shelter as this will smell familiar to them and help to reduce the stress caused by cleaning.

Only non-toxic, pet-safe cleaning products should be used and the housing should be dry before your pet is placed back in it.

Exercise and Play

Rabbits

Rabbits need regular and frequent opportunities to exercise every day. They are most active at dawn, dusk and overnight so permanently attaching an exercise area to their shelter gives them the space and choice that they need to exercise whenever they want to. Platforms allow rabbits to scan their environment for threats and can help them to feel safe. Toys allow rabbits to perform normal behaviours such as digging, chewing, chin marking and investigating. Toys could include shredded paper, cardboard boxes and large tunnels.

Hamsters

Hamsters need lots of space to exercise and enjoy having objects to play with such as small boxes, wooden chew blocks and cardboard tubes. They need a good quality running wheel with a large diameter e.g one intended for rats. It must be a solid structure and axel-free for their safety; ideally with a non-slip surface.

Guinea Pigs

Guinea pigs are active animals, during the day and night and need frequent opportunities to exercise. You should provide safe toys to play with/chew, and regular opportunities to play with other friendly guinea pigs or people. They like to tunnel so it’s a good idea to give them pipes and deep areas of hay. Make sure that tunnels are large enough for the guinea pig.