Special Needs


Moving a small animal from place to place, even in a cage, is highly stressful to them. Except for vet visits and a permanent move, it isn’t worth the risk of traveling with them. When you do need to take them out, use a carrier. Be sure it has plenty of substrate material so your pet can burrow and include a hiding/sleeping box where it can feel safer. Also be sure to attach a water bottle so that your small animal doesn’t dehydrate before you return it to its cage. Try to be mindful of your pet’s natural rhythms as well. If you have a nocturnal rodent, schedule your vet appointments for late in the day or the evening so that your pet’s normal routine is altered as little as possible.


Rodents are sensitive to temperature and humidity extremes outside their normal levels (click here to learn more about ventilation, temperature and humidity control for rodent environments). Watch your pet whenever the temperature exceeds 80 degrees Fahrenheit for overheating and/or dehydration. Immobility and panting are the leading signs of trouble. If this does occur, spray your pet with cool water and give it cool, fresh water to drink. You can also rub alcohol on the pads of its feet to help cool it down quickly. In cold weather, you need to make sure the quiet corner where your rodents reside stays warm and not too dry. If, for some reason, you lose power, you will need to make sure your pets stay warm and dry. You can use battery-operated room heaters to keep the area at a moderate temperature (at least 60 degrees Fahrenheit). For a short period, covering the cage with a blanket will help keep heat in the cage. Remember that rodents catch colds and other respiratory infections easily so they need to be kept warm, dry and out of drafts at all times.