Learn how to care for your ferret, guinea pig or rabbit. 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So when you adopt a pocket pet from RSPCA NSW, our staff will take the time to ensure you understand everything about your new companion – from feeding and housing to socialisation and general care. Remember, any changes in behaviour, defecation, drinking, eating or urination, or weight loss or gain should be checked out with a visit to the veterinarian. Our veterinary hospitals can provide veterinary care for your pocket pet – from regular veterinary checks to specialist surgeries. A full list of our veterinary hospitals can be found here. Ferrets Ferrets make great pets due to their intelligence and inquisitive nature. They are clean, sociable animals who enjoy human companionship. Housing Ferrets should be kept confined when not under direct supervision. They prefer to sleep in a small, cosy area. They need play time every day, and enjoy exploring and chewing, so put enrichment objects around their home and in their cage. Nutrition There are some good-quality commercial ferret foods or, alternatively, high-quality commercial dry kitten food which is suitable for your ferret friend. Offering human-grade raw meaty bones on a weekly basis will also help clean their teeth. Veterinary care All ferrets need regular health checks and their vaccinations must be kept up to date. You’ll also need to treat him at home regularly for fleas, heartworm and worms. Please speak to your veterinarian about everything you need to know before adopting a ferret. Rabbits Many rabbits enjoy being patted and handled, especially if you start from a young age. Rabbits are sociable animals, so consider keeping more than one, but ensure both are desexed. Housing Your rabbit’s hutch should be large, mosquito-proof, secure, and safe from extreme weather conditions and predators. At home, you should also provide her with a ‘burrow’ area to hide in e.g., a box. She will also need daily exercise outside of her hutch for a few hours each day. Veterinary Care All rabbits need regular health checks and up-to-date vaccinations for Calicivirus. You’ll also need to treat her at home regularly for fleas and worms. Rabbits are also susceptible to heatstroke, so ensure you monitor her closely in warmer weather. You should also check her teeth, and some rabbits need help maintaining their coats and nails. Nutrition Rabbits’ teeth grow continuously and are worn down by constant chewing. They need a diet with a fibre content greater than 18 per cent. Make sure you give your rabbit a constant supply of good quality fresh grass or grass hay e.g., Timothy, oaten and wheaten. She’ll also need two packed cups of leafy greens (of at least three different varieties) per kilogram of her body weight every day. This could include Asian greens, celery and cabbage. Always give her access to fresh, clean water in a dripper-type water bottle. Guinea pigs Guinea pigs make fantastic pets due to their small size and quiet nature. They are sociable animals and should not be kept alone. Housing Your guinea pig’s cage should be as large as possible, with bedding materials such as shredded paper or straw. Remember to change this bedding regularly. His enclosure must be well ventilated and safe from predators. You should also provide him with overturned boxes to hide in and at least two dripper-type water bottles. Nutrition Guinea pigs’ teeth grow continuously and need to be worn down by constant chewing. You’ll need to provide your guinea pig with a constant source of grass or grass hay e.g., Timothy, oaten or wheaten. He’ll also need leafy greens every day e.g., Asian greens, celery and cabbage, and a dietary source of vitamin C. There is usually enough of this in leafy green vegetables. Guinea pigs are naturally coprophagic, meaning they eat some of their own droppings. Veterinary Care Some guinea pigs’ coats need regular grooming and their nails may need clipping occasionally. Guinea pigs do not tolerate heat very well and are vulnerable to heat stress, so be careful where you place your pet’s hutch. Other common health problems for guinea pigs include bladder stones, overgrown cheek teeth and respiratory disease.