Attention pet owners! Veterinary surgeon Dr. Courtney Campbell (who also has recommendations for the best pet toys on the market) is here to share tips that will help keep your hamster, dog or cat healthy.
Hamsters Should Be Fed a Pelleted Form of Food
Dr. Courtney — who owns a cute hamster named Quarantina (as they met during the quarantine amid the pandemic) — says hamsters should eat a diet with around 16 grams of protein and a total fat percentage of 4.5%.
“But what's great about hamsters is that they're omnivores. So they'll take a little bit of this and a little bit of that,” he adds.
However, If You Give Them Treats...
Make sure it’s in moderation. He recommends leafy greens, a little bit of breakfast cereal (with no added sugar), and fruits such as apples. However, NO citrus fruit.
“Just keep in mind [that hamsters are] really tiny, delicate creatures. So we don't want to disturb their diet too much or they can get gastrointestinal upset.”
Hamsters Are Solitary Creatures
Despite what you may think, Dr. Courtney says hamsters don't really like to have friends and feel comfortable in an environment that’s as large as a 15-gallon tank.
“Ideal temperature is somewhere between 65 to 90 degrees, and the bedding should be recyclable,” he adds.
Brush Your Dog’s Teeth Daily
Dr. Courtney says one of the most under-diagnosed diseases in dogs is dental disease.
“So that's why I recommend if you can brush your dog's teeth [daily],” he says.
The vet adds that there are specialized types of toothbrushes and toothpastes for dogs.
“So certainly contact your veterinarian. Make sure that you know exactly what type of toothpaste you should be using for your dog. Sometimes they're chicken flavored or beef flavored, but they are really good for your dogs in terms of just making it a good experience.”
Know Whether Your Cat Is Indoor-Only
Dr. Courtney says one of the fundamental principles of cat health is knowing whether your cat is indoor-only or indoor/outdoor.
“That's a question all kitty cat pet parents are going to have to answer. I prefer indoor-only, only because it keeps them free from predators.They don't get hit by cars, they don't get into fights with other cats, and there's a host of infectious disease hazards out there,” he says.
However, if your cat longs to go outside, he says to have them on a harness.
Though cats love ribbons, Dr. Courtney says this material can clog their intestines.
“Not only that, it can cut into the intestine, what we call a linear foreign body. This is particularly pernicious and dangerous, so keep your kitty cats away from any kind of ribbon.”
Hide the Cords
On a similar note, Dr. Courtney says cats love to bite on electronic cords around your home. However, this can be extremely harmful.
“Not only can they burn their mouth, but it can also cause fluid buildup in their lungs called non-cardiogenic pulmonary edema. So very, very dangerous stuff.”
That’s why he recommends hiding your cords and/or redirecting them to something that they should chew on instead.