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Can anyone recommend a small pet for us?

(43 Posts)
rainbowinthesky Tue 23-Aug-11 15:45:19

We already have a dog but are looking to get a small pet for dd. Something along the lines of guineapigs etc. As a child we had all manner of small, furry animals but lived in teh country with lots of outdoor space.
We do have a garden and a covered area in teh garden but can also keep indoors. We dont have a lot of space indoors.
I dont want something nocturnal and it would be nice if it had a "character" so could bond in some way with us iykwim.

Any suggestions? TIA

purplepidjin Tue 23-Aug-11 15:55:55

I love my house rabbit, if you're confident that your dog wouldn't chase it?

Unneutered/speyed and unsocialised hutch bunnies can have quite vile teenage years, so there are hundreds in rescues all over the country that were dumped by inexperienced owners. A reputable rescue will be able to tell you whether your set up is right for one of their rabbits or not. They will also have socialised the rabbit for you...

I don't have any problems with my 6mo pet shop blush bunny, but then he was neutered at 12w and lived in the house with us and the cat from 5w so is used to being handled and having people and other animals around.

He's litter trained (well, he wees in the box and only poos in the area around it. Must tackle that job soon!!) and they are generally easy to train because they naturally only go in one spot. You just have to encourage them to use the spot you chose, ie the litter tray wink

He's got a lot of personality, hops up on the sofa for cuddles, climbs on your feet to get attention (especially if he's hungry) and likes eating vegetables - very handy when DSIL is on the phone trying to get 4yo DNephew to eat his... "Eat your broccolli, rabbits like broccolli" type of thing!!

rainbowinthesky Tue 23-Aug-11 15:56:50

Our dog has no experience with small animals.

weegiemum Tue 23-Aug-11 15:59:37

Guinea pig is perfect.

"We" have 2 (they're mine, I got them for Mother's Day!). Perfect but do need to be inside in the winter (depending on where you live, we're in Scotland so imperative).

Friendly, bond with you, have real individual characters. Love 'em.

rainbowinthesky Tue 23-Aug-11 16:06:35

I am not sure we'd have enough space for a run if the weather is bad inside for guinea pigs or rabbits although I am considering guinea pigs. It soudns like the rabbit would need quite a lot of time outside the hutch? Might be difficult depending on teh dog's reaction?
What about chinchillas?

candytuft63 Tue 23-Aug-11 16:06:56

I am with weegiemum - guinea pigs are perfect housepets.
They are handleable, clean, squeaky and have the cutest twitchy noses. We have 3 and all are distinct personalities.Rabbits are lovely, too, but they can move pretty quickly and can be hard to catch. GPs cant escape as easily.
Frankie, Bonny and Spike are a joy to keep, honestly !

candytuft63 Tue 23-Aug-11 16:10:35

Chinchillas are pretty, but nocturnal.They can also be quite shy and sort of delicate in nature.You will need to buy special pellets for them and dust for their baths. Had one a few years back, I prefer GPs but thats just my personal opinion.

Madlizzy Tue 23-Aug-11 16:12:04

Rats are brilliant pets. Entertaining, learn their names, can be litter trained and love to play. A pair is better, as they're sociable creatures and like nothing more than being handled and played with.

rainbowinthesky Tue 23-Aug-11 16:14:36

Chinchillas seem to come to life around 6pm which would suit us as it the time dd gets home. How are they with dogs?

rainbowinthesky Tue 23-Aug-11 16:15:24

I would certainly consider a couple of rats but dd not so keen. Will talk to her about them as an option.

Marne Tue 23-Aug-11 16:20:11

We have had quite a few small pets and the dd's have got fed up with them after a few months leaving me to feed, clean and play with them. TBH the easiest pet we have had is the cat, he comes and goes through out the day, does his buisness outside and pleases himself (much easier than rabbits, mice and hamsters).

rainbowinthesky Tue 23-Aug-11 16:20:59

Would do a cat but ds and I are allergic to them.

sixpinetrees Tue 23-Aug-11 16:22:28

Either rats or chickens.

Marne Tue 23-Aug-11 16:23:15

What a shame sad, i'm allergic to rabbits.

I have a friend who keeps rats, they seem really good pets, very sociable and easy to look after. Dd1 is after a fish tank but i'm not sure i can trust myself to keep them alive (looks tricky).

Mibby Tue 23-Aug-11 16:31:39

Ive had rats and chinchillas and rats are vastly better for kids. Much more friendly, trainable, easy to handle, easy to feed. Chinchillas are cute but nervous, quite nippy, very particular about diet and seem to be generally more fragile. Rats tolerate slightly rough handling, owners on holiday, pet shop running out of their usual brand of food etc much better

JenaiMarrHePlaysGuitar Tue 23-Aug-11 16:31:39

A corn snake. Although clearly they're Super Slinky Animals rather than Super Furry ones.

rainbowinthesky Tue 23-Aug-11 16:38:30

Couldnt do a corn snake or snake of any kind. I am trying to get over my instinctive shudder at rats as it is however reading this thread and the archives it seems that rats are indeed very good pets.

rainbowinthesky Tue 23-Aug-11 16:39:35

dont think the neighbours would be keen on us having chickens! Plus what about foxes?
Does anyone know how rats and dogs get on?

rainbowinthesky Tue 23-Aug-11 16:54:44

Getting quite excited now at the thought of rats and have read out comments to dd who is keen too. DH though is dead against it as they are "rats". Hmm, will need to work on persuading him.

JenaiMarrHePlaysGuitar Tue 23-Aug-11 17:08:35

The thing that's put me off having rats (having had one in the past) is that they need quite a lot of stimulation and space in order for them to be happy.

I do think they make good pets though, if you're prepared to give them the time.

rainbowinthesky Tue 23-Aug-11 17:27:43

How long do they live for? THose people who "had" one - did it die or did you have to rehome it? IF so why?

moosemama Tue 23-Aug-11 17:45:12

Lots of information about keeping rats here.

We had pet rats years ago and they were fantastic, real little characters, bags of personality, really friendly (no biting, unlike hamsters etc). Mine had a bond with our enormous long-haired German Shepherd and used to stretch out and go to sleep either on her tummy or back depending on how she was lying. Ours all lived for around 3 years, some a little more, a few a little less.

If we had the space I would definitely have some as pets for me our dcs.

There are often lots of rats that need rehoming at rescue centres as well, so you could offer a home to a homeless rat, rather than going to a pet shop for one.

Awomancalledhorse Tue 23-Aug-11 17:56:46

I know it's a bit of an arsey* suggestion (considering it's for your DD), but would you consider getting something very small, very cheap, that requires not as much attention as a bun or g.pig, with a shortish life span, like a hamster/gerbil?

That way if DD does get bored of it, you've not got to spend 4 hours a day supervising the rabbit outside/cleaning poo.
And if she is totally besotted with it, once it dies you could always 'upgrade' to a rabbit or g.pig.

*arsey in the way I've worded it!

We had loads of super furries as children, our rats would normally live for 5-7 years. Longest we ever had a hamster live for was 3.5, gerbils (only had 2) both died at 2-ish. Mother spent her entire life cleaning pet cages!

mo3d Tue 23-Aug-11 18:03:22

I would recomment gerbils. We had 2 and they lived for over 3 years. They even use a little toilet so you don't have to clean out the whole 'cage' every week, just the little toilet every day.
Ours were very friendly. We bought a gerbilarium for them to live in, which is a aquarium at the bottom and a cage at the top. They burrow in the wood chip in the aquarium bit. Very cute!

HeidiHole Tue 23-Aug-11 18:06:35

My rats are currently 2 years and 2 months old and still alive. think life expectancy is 2-3 years. They are the best pets IMO.

They don't bite, they are clever, cute and sociable.

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