During beautiful weather days, treat your pet to supervised fun with you! Whether it's a small hamster, gerbil, rat -- or larger pet -- like a rabbit, guinea pig or chinchilla, they will enjoy sniffing in the grass and getting one-on-one time outdoors with you. Here's how to do it safely!
Setting Yourself Up for a Great Day
To make your outdoor play the best experience possible, keep both your health and your pet's health in mind. Have fresh water available at all times and opt for shady areas on warmer days. Small animals don't manage hot temperatures as well as humans, thanks to their fur coats and fewer sweat glands. Did you know rabbits shouldn't be exposed to direct sunlight or temperatures above 75 degrees Fahrenheit? Choose indoor play on extra warm days.
If you're a parent guiding a smaller child during outdoor play, keep the child's attention span in mind. You may only play for 10 minutes, and that's ok! You can always head outside another day.
Finally, always monitor larger pets, like cats and dogs, around your small pet. They also enjoy the fresh air and might get curious to see a new pet sharing their yard space. Try offering the bigger pet one of their toys to keep them happy and away from the small animal.
Choosing an Outdoor Enclosure for Your Pet
Designate a central location and temporary habitat for your pet. There are several types of enclosures you can choose from, but whichever you choose, remember to keep your eyes on your small animal. They are cunning and creative when it comes to escaping, and you don't want to lose your furry friend.
OK, so let's choose an enclosure! You can use things you already have on hand like a dry or empty baby pool to help secure small pets, such as hamsters or gerbils. For larger animals, taking their everyday cage outside works too!
A better option is an Open Living Habitat
that allows for ample airflow and has an open-top so you can easily pet and engage with the animal. If you're treating a larger bouncy pet (we're talking about you, rabbits and chinchillas!) to outdoor time, attach a rooftop to the habitat
so the pet doesn't escape.
Another idea for an outdoor enclosure is the use of a playpen
. This open-top perimeter of confined space allows for ample sniffing and exploring in the grass, on a tree stump, or in pea gravel. To add an extra layer of safety to your outdoor playtime, consider fitting your small animal with a pet harness
and leash. You can use this to walk the pet around beyond the enclosure or use it to keep curious animals in better control. We love them for bunnies, ferrets, and guinea pigs!
Safe Play Activities to Try Outside
Once you have your outdoor location chosen, it's time to play! Maybe you offer your pet a new-to-him treat or create a physical activity for him to complete.
When it comes to tempting your pet's palette, we say go for fresh goodies, like fruits and vegetables. Pick a carrot or lettuce leaf from the garden. Or, offer a well-washed strawberry from the grocery store. Guinea pigs need extra vitamin C in their diet, so offering them an orange slice, broccoli floret, or Kaytee Superfood Treat Stick are good choices!
Does your pet love to nibble, nibble, nibble? Present a chew toy during his time outside. Crunchy Kaytee Apple Orchard Sticks are fun for small animals to chomp and will help keep their teeth clean and trim. Or, try hanging a Kaytee Ka-Bob Chew from the pet's outdoor enclosure. Small furries like mice, rats, gerbils, or hamsters can climb and gnaw the treat. Plus there's a cute bell for ringing!
You can also encourage your pet to explore within their habitat. We love the idea of setting up a small obstacle course using toys from your pet's space mixed with outdoor elements, like a rock to climb, a pile of grass nest in, or a stick to cross like a bridge. Get creative! Can you encourage your pet to balance and burrow on the obstacle course using apple orchard sticks, combo chews or ka-bobs?
Finally, why not let your pet investigate the yard in the safety of a Kaytee Run About Ball? A jaunt through the grass is a nice contrast to the usual carpet or hard floors inside the house. Just be sure you can keep up with the adventurous critter and stay away from roads!
Spending time outside surrounded by the beauty of trees and clouds is a great way to mix up your socialization time with a small pet and strengthen your bond. To keep the experience safe for the little one, always have someone watching the small animal. If you go inside to use the restroom, arrange for someone else to keep an eye on your pet outside. This reduces Houdini moments! Happy playtime!
Mariposa Veterinary Wellness Center, Guinea Pigs & Vitamin C
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