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Setting Up Your Pocket Pet’s Cage

November 1, 2017

Smaller pets, like gerbils, hamsters, and Guinea pigs, have many charming qualities, and can make very cute and lovable little pets. These little guys are not difficult to care for, which is one reason they are often picked as children’s pets. However, it is very important to make sure your furry buddy is comfortable in his cage. In this article from Arapahoe Animal Hospital, your Boulder, CO vet, serving Louisville and surrounding areas, a Louisville, CO vet discusses setting up a pocket pet cage.

Choosing The Cage

Do some research before picking up your furry pal’s cage. Look up the minimum recommended size cage for your pet, and get something that is at least that size, though bigger is better. This will vary depending on what kind of animal you have. For Guinea pigs, you’ll want a cage that is at least 7.5 square feet. Hamsters need at least 3 square feet. To ensure proper ventilation, pick a cage with a screen or mesh top. Avoid cages with wire or mesh flooring, as they aren’t safe, and won’t contain substrate.


Different types of pets have slightly different substrate needs. For instance, you can use a soft fleece blanket to line a Guinea pig cage. Gerbils, on the other hand, need substrate they can dig through, so you’d want to layer a gerbil cage with substrate and grass hay. Avoid pine and cedar substrates, which are toxic to small animals. Ask your vet for recommendations.


Mazes, tunnels, and exercise wheels are very popular with pocket pets. Choose solid exercise wheels, as wire wheels can be dangerous. It’s also important to add a hidey-hole, dishes, and lots of suitable chew toys. You can make playthings out of cardboard or paper, or repurpose wooden objects, such as wooden spoons or children’s blocks.


Choosing the right location is very important! If you have dogs or cats, don’t put the cage right on the floor. Your tiny furball will feel frightened and anxious with Fido and Fluffy peering into their home! Avoid putting the cage in direct sunlight, or near a vent, heater, or fireplace. Your pet will probably be happiest in a quiet corner where they can see and hear you, but aren’t surrounded by activity.

Please contact Arapahoe Animal Hospital, your Boulder, CO vet, serving Louisville and surrounding area, anytime. We’re here to help!