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FAQ Friday #5: Why does my small animal need something to chew on?

Bunny chews come in many sizes and varieties.

I guess even fish are never too old to learn something new. Today I learned that many small animals have special teeth (called open-rooted teeth) that grow continuously. Some pets with teeth that never stop growing include:

  • all rodents (degus, gerbils, guinea pigs, hamsters, jirds, mice, and rats)
  • rabbits
  • chinchillas

The teeth of these animals have evolved over time to help the break down the tough, fibrous foods they eat. All that chewing also promotes good digestion. If their teeth stopped growing, they would soon be worn to nubs, so the open-rooted system works for them.

But, this means these pets also need hard items to chew on to grind and shape their teeth. If they don’t have proper chews, their teeth can grow misshapen or get sharp edges that can cause small cuts and mouth infections (ouch!).

The Animal Store carries a wide selection of chews that will help keep your pet’s teeth healthy. Variety, as they say, is the spice of life. Keeping a variety of chews on hand and switching them out occasionally will keep your pet interested in chewing on the right things. This is important, especially for larger animals, like rabbits, which may decide to chew on your furniture or toys instead of an appropriate chew toy or treat.

As Kenn says: “Give them something you want them to chew on, or they’ll find things you don’t want them to chew on.”

Chews come in many different material, shapes, and flavors. Ask us which ones are best for your pet. Hope you learned something new today, too. School’s out.


World Rat Day

Rats often get a bad rap, but what’s not to love about a face like Whisper’s in this photo. Today, April 4, is World Rat Day, a holiday that was “designed to recognize the fancy rat as a wonderful companion animal for people of all ages.

Rat fanciers know that fancy rats are intelligent, clean and curious animals that bond with their humans and become devoted pets. Male rats are known as bucks and females are called does; baby rats are known alternately as either pups or kittens.

Small enough to be considered a pocket pet, a pet rat can provide the same kind of intimate companionship as a cat or a dog. Rats are social creatures that need regular human interaction and often fare better with a companion rat. Same sex pairs do well together, unless you are prepared for the responsibilities of breeding. On average, rats live 2-3 years.

If you are interested in learning more about rats as pets, please visit the rat page on The Animal Store Website, or email us. Leave a comment to tell us how you plan to celebrate World Rat Day. Our gift to you is 25% off rat supplies and treats. Just mention the World Rat Day blog post.

*Offer good on white tags only and valid through April 19, 2009.