Toronto Veterinarians - Pet Wellness Network

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Contact Willowdale Animal Hospital

Open 24 Hours, Year Round

256 Sheppard Ave. West
Toronto, ON M2N 1N3
(416) 222-5409

I see all kinds of animals in the Downtown Animal Hospital, everything from giant dog breeds to teddy bear hamsters and one thing I always try to emphasize is that every type of pet requires their own very specialised kind of care. Often, even within the same species there can be vast distinctions in the type of care different breeds require. For example, how you care for a Husky should be very different than how you care for a Chihuahua.

We need to keep this in mind when caring for pocket pets too. Pockets pets include rabbits, mice, rats, chinchillas, hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs, and ferrets. More than just cute, furry companions, pocket pets require the same level of care that you give your cat or dog but just in different ways. While these types of pets do not require vaccinations you should still bring them in for yearly check-ups. The life span of these animals is relatively short, which means it is all the more important to be regular with their check-ups and catch any issues early on.


A healthy diet and exercise is just as important to these pets as it to any other. Ask your vet about what they recommend for food. Most pet stores will have food pellets specifically for your animal. You should never mix food across pets. Keep guinea pig food for guinea pigs and ferret food for ferrets. Although the food may look and smell similar each is loaded with specific nutrients for a particular animal. For example, chinchillas require more plant fiber than other pocket pets do and keeping them on a balanced diet that is formulated for them is the best way to prolong their time with you.


Finally, don’t forget your cuddly bunny also needs exercise. You may not need to take your pocket pet for walks, but it is important that you give them the time and room to exercise. Any cages should leave enough room for the animal move around with ease and to change posture without difficulty (this includes, standing on their hind legs). If you are taking your pet out of their cage make sure they are in a safe area or, if you are using a rolling ball make sure there is a safety lid securely in place.


Above all remember, love your pet and give it the care it needs and it will be sure to bring you years of joy!


For more information on pocket pets feel free to give us a call and we’ll be happy answer any of your questions.


Yours in pet care,

Dr. Lu Vihos

Downtown Animal Hosptial

After Hours Petcare Service