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I'm actually seriously considering getting a pet and have no idea where to start.

(46 Posts)
PeaMcLean Sun 06-Jul-08 17:46:25

I've never had a pet before. DS would like something and I think it might be good for him.

Can't have a dog as we're never around during the day. I'm allergic to cats. Fish are boring.

So. Hamster / rabbit / guinea pig.

How do you make sure the rabbit isn't got by the foxes? Do you have to have a guinea pig with a rabbit? Don't they get lonely otherwise?

And hamsters. Is it best to have two? Are they really easy to look after?

And how easy do you find it to get someone to agree to look after them when you're on holiday?

Elmosgirl Sun 06-Jul-08 17:48:53

You shouldn't keep guinea pigs and rabbits together because of size difference guinea pigs can get badly injured. Is best to have two guineas or two rabbits.

They are easy to look after but need lots of time cleaning out the cage and being handled, rabbits will also need a large run and not just a hutch.

PeaMcLean Sun 06-Jul-08 17:51:42

Thats interesting - I thought they were good together [ignorant]

When you say lots of time, how long do you spend with yours?

And if I care remotely about the garden is it madness to let the rabbit run around in it? There's plenty of grass to nibble but I'll have to keep it away from stuff I'm trying to grow.

lucyellensmum Sun 06-Jul-08 18:03:05

get a rat, they are relatively easy to keep although do need more space than a hamster. They are intelligent and benefit from the interaction, they are actually easier to handle because you can avoid the teeth bit. Depending on what type of hamster you get you should keep them alone as they fight. Russian and chineese hamsters can be kept in pairs but they bite and never really get tame.

Rats are lovely, and can be really affectionate and funny.

Get a rat grin. You can keep them in pairs or alone.

I don't much like seeing rabbits as small childrens pets, its all nice in the summer etc when they are in the garden and the child enjoys playing with and handling, in the winter its a case of stick in a hutch and forget about - not great for the rabbit and despite best intentions, 90% end up like this

Oh, did i mention, Rats make really great pets

lucyellensmum Sun 06-Jul-08 18:04:08

we had two giant rabbits, they DESTROYED our garden, even the grass!! forget about growing anything remotely edible if you have bunnies.

goblinvalley Sun 06-Jul-08 18:20:51

I agree with lucyellensmum - rabbits take up a lot of time and consideration. They are fab - i have two - but i got them for me grin My ds (5) loves them very much, but they are not really easy to handle and pet for a child (or adult).

As for the garden, forget it. I have a fence that goes around my garden to stop the rabbits from getting to my plants. But, saying all that - i love my rabbits and wouldn't be without them. But apparently i spoil them, free range of the garden, a shed and a heated pad for their house when it gets cold grin

Hamsters are not so good for children. Nasty tendency to bite with unsure handling, and mine gets up when my ds goes to bed !

No idea on rats, but i have heard that they can be great pets - not sure if i could get past the tail wink

LuckySalem Sun 06-Jul-08 18:23:31

I agree rats would be brilliant but you DO have to have pairs OR spend a HUGE amount of time with them.... We had 6! grin

Hamster are really skittish so DS won't really be able to "pet" them.

Rabbits can be very hardwork, same with guinea pigs...

I can't think of any others i'm afraid.

LuckySalem Sun 06-Jul-08 18:24:10

Gerbils? They can be a bit more handleable but again they can be skittish.

heronsfly Sun 06-Jul-08 18:49:01

We have got
2 cats
2 rabbits
1 hamster
1 cockatiel

My heart really belongs to the cats,the rabbits are lovely but do need a lot of care,and dont look a me lovingly when I feed them or clean them out [and its always me,never the dc that they are supposed to belong too].
The hamsters sweet but only really wants to play when we are all asleepgrin
Have you thought about a bird,ours is very tame and affectionate but hates my dh he shouts and squeaks every time he seess him.

SqueakyPop Sun 06-Jul-08 18:52:23

Yuk to rats.

My aupair has just left with her three rats (planned departure, we didn't chuck her out).

They seemed nice enough, but they did chew my year old carpet and stunk up the room. I think they must have wee'd on the carpet as there was a definite ammonia smell.

We've wet-vacked and Febreezed, and have 7 weeks months for the smell to fade.

PeaMcLean Sun 06-Jul-08 19:21:25

OK, this is useful. In that it's convincing me that a pet isn't a good idea. DH wouldn't tolerate having either a rat or a bird in the house, so between his phobias and my allergy, we're not great pet people.

How much time do you actually spend looking after your rabbit though? Is it 5 minutes a day minimum, or half an hour, or what? I completely agree with not wanting to neglect the bunny during winter, and am wondering if we can really spend that much time with it when we're hardly in the house.

didsnbump Sun 06-Jul-08 19:36:54

When you say your hardly in the house what do you mean.

I know lots of people who have dogs and work all day. They are just very well house trained.

U would just need to take a couple of weeks holiday when you first got a pup to house train it!!

PeaMcLean Sun 06-Jul-08 20:51:29

The house is empty from 8.15 to 5.30. For some reason I'm not keen on the idea of a dog being on its own that long - they seem such sociable creatures, doesn't seem fair.

And again, DH doesn't like dogs cos they slaver... And you have to pick up their huge poos in the park. No, definitely not a dog LOL

goblinvalley Sun 06-Jul-08 21:52:09

I spend probably 1/2 - 1 hour a day with my rabbits. This is for cleaning their home, brushing/checking them daily in summer, feeding and spending time with them. If you got a single (which i don't recommend) then you would have to spend more time, so that they didn't get lonely.

As you can see, i am mad about my rabbits grin

You could get away with spending less time, but unless you get a couple/trio in a large shed/run combo for company - i think that a lot of rabbits end up with a pretty miserable existance sad

How old is you ds? What about volunteering at a rescue centre?

heronsfly Sun 06-Jul-08 21:52:58

Im not home much in the week between 9 and 4,
bunnies get fed,watered and checked early evening,if nice they also get put out in run for a few hours,you have to be careful of the heat,we have lost one in the past on a very hot day,they seem fine in the frezing cold though.
We do a total clean out once a week and a quick scrape once a day,I also check them before going to bed,and first thing in the morning.

PeaMcLean Sun 06-Jul-08 22:13:34

Hmm. That's quite a commitment...

Stick insects? grin

LuckySalem Sun 06-Jul-08 22:13:55

What about a lizard?

heronsfly Sun 06-Jul-08 22:38:47

What about a giant african snail ? we would really like a couple of those.

LuckySalem Sun 06-Jul-08 22:41:32

A turtle?

SubRosa Sun 06-Jul-08 22:57:56

Guinea pigs are no trouble and rarely bite. Some of them love being cuddled, others can be skittish and easily frightened.

They only need cleaning out approx. 3 times a week and are useful, as they eat up all your salad/veg leftovers.

Blu Sun 06-Jul-08 23:11:55

I would favour guinea pigs over rabbits. Rabbits are expensive to maintain (injections every year, vets advise neutering, need lots of space), ours are temperamental and hate being petted, and they don't do that lovely excited squeaking that gps do when you feed them!

lucyellensmum Mon 07-Jul-08 10:14:18


They are pretty much incontinent though and tend to dribble small amounts of wee. But you gotta love em, they soooo funny.

I had a rat that had the run of our house. She was so tame and lovely, she would quite happily bolt up my arm and steal my tea grin and then curl up in the crook of my neck and go to sleep. I could call her any time and she would come running and charge up my trouser legs. DD let her go one day when my dad was babysitting

kreamkrackers Mon 07-Jul-08 14:20:57

french lop? My frenchie is a lovely rabbit. He is so friendly and laid back. He is fantastic with the children and our dog. We're going to be getting him neutered and getting him a girlfriend as I want another. IMO they're the best rabbits to get if you want a rabbit, they're a gentle giant!

butwhybutwhy Mon 07-Jul-08 14:22:41

Go to pets at home.
Some of them are selling big giant house rabbits.

You wouldnt have the fox problem then.

wannaBe Mon 07-Jul-08 14:32:09

rats are vile. vermin.

We've just got a rabbit - I also have dogs, cats and birds.

Ultimately any pet that needs handling etc is going to take up your time.

I really wouldn't get a dog if you're out of the house for long periods - no matter what people say it really isn't fair.

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