5 Best Pets for Small Spaces
Guest Post by Michael David
There are many health benefits that come with owning a pet. They lower allergy risk in children, help you stay social, lower blood pressure and bad cholesterol, help you get more exercise, and boost your mood. But not everyone has the space for horses, a monkey sanctuary, or even a 150 lb Great Dane. Here are a few pets that will do wonderfully in a small apartment or home with a little yard.
Fish are a hands-off pet, require no training, and can be left alone all day and not cause trouble. Studies have also shown that watching a fish swim around for 10-15 minutes a day will lower stress levels. You don’t even need a huge aquarium or a school of fish; a couple of goldfish or a Betta in a small tank sitting on your desk will work just as well. They are also good for those on a tight budget; goldfish and small aquarium supplies can be quite inexpensive.
You could also find a hermit crab for something a bit more exotic. They are very social, and so keeping at least two together is recommended. They do not need a lot of space, and can be quite happy simply with some sand to dig into or rocks to climb on.
- Small and Scaly
In this category there are quite a few options – geckos, box turtles, small frogs, and snakes. These are also more solitary animals, content with a stick or a couple rocks to climb around, although once you have gained their trust they will let you hold them for a while. They do well with being left alone for long periods (as long as they’re fed), and are fairly easy to keep clean.
Be sure you know how large your chosen pet will grow to be, though; if you only have a small space available for a snake, you don’t want to be surprised later on when it grows to eight feet!
- Small and Furry
Guinea pigs, hamsters, chinchillas, and small rabbits can be good for apartment living because they can stay in a smaller, centralized area that can easily be cleaned and maintained. They are more hands-on, cuddly, and social than fish or reptiles, but also can be left alone during the day while you’re working. If you have time for more maintenance, a ferret would also be a good option. They like having the run of the house and are temperamental towards visitors however, so keep those points in mind.
Cats are more costly and time consuming than your other small furry pet choices, but also do very well in small apartments. They are easy to train to use a litter box, are very independent, which makes them great if you are gone all day, but can still be playful and interactive.
Dogs are the most hands-on pet on this list, so if you are hardly home or have no time to play, then it may be best to choose a different pet. Dogs are playful, social, and always happy to see you. They like to play outside and go for walks, so a small grassy area or nearby park would be good for them. Larger breeds will have a much harder time living in a small apartment, but smaller breeds will do just fine. Some of the smaller breeds to choose from include the Pomeranian, Corgi, Cocker Spaniel, Yorkie, Pug, Boston Terrier, or Chihuahua.
When choosing your new animal companion, be sure to put forth some serious thought before going out and buying the first thing that catches your eye. Make sure your apartment permits that type of pet and that you have enough time, funds, and knowledge to properly care for your pet.
Pets provide many wonderful benefits from health to companionship, and anyone can enjoy a pet no matter how small your living space is.
Michael David is a freelance journalist and blogger living in New York City. Michael loves writing about DIY projects, home improvement, and garden-related topics. He has recently been writing for Big Al’s Pets.
“Pet’s Point of View” Animal World Perspective of SuperZoo 2013!
From a Pet’s Point of View, SuperZoo is great! For humans it is very cool too, and necessary to keep the industry humming along. But animals just have a simpler perspective, and its one that Dr. Jungle and I found simply enchanting.
Business and pleasure go hand in hand, but the best reasons to attend pet shows are all the awesome animals! Now don’t get me wrong. I like to see cool new animal habitats, futuristic aquariums, great new toys, nutritious foods and yummy treats as well. But without the animals, what’s the point?
Now at the show, just like us humans, animals too like cool habitats and they especially like food. But Dr. Jungle and I found that they spent most of their time simply hanging out watching the other pets, and of course the human animals too.
Types of Pet Shows
SuperZoo is a production of the World Pet Association (WPA). Being an industry trade show it is not open to the general public. It consists primarily of displays by manufacturers and distributors to exhibit their pet products. Retailers then peruse the displays to become familiar with the latest offerings and select items to sell in their pet stores. Some other types of shows are for pet groomers or pet breeders. These will also has displays, but as their names suggest, they cater to particular pet industry professionals.
Some of the best types of pet shows are those that are open to everyone. The “America’s Family Pet Expo”, also a production of WPA, is one of the largest and is held annually in Orange County California. This type of show that has displays too. But it differs in that its exhibitions are by retailers offering both pets and pet products to the general public.
Types of Pets at SuperZoo
All types of animals were represented at the SuperZoo show. Usual pets included aquatic animals ranging from the hardy saltwater clownfish and damsels to freshwater tetras, barbs, bettas, all sorts of fancy goldfish, and even corals. Birds, small animals, and reptile categories were well represented too. Unique pets popped up all over too, including fascinating hybrids and mutations of regular pets as well as new and unusual species.
One of the most interesting were the exciting and popular newcomers… the “glofish”. These genetically enhanced freshwater fish are mostly barbs, tetras, and danios that sport a fluorescent glow in bright greens, reds, yellows, blues, and purples. Picasso patterned clownfish and really cool king/milk/corn snake crosses were some of the most striking looking, while some of the most unusual were the skinny (hairless) rats. Unique pets ranged from puffer fish that are a completely freshwater species (Mbu Puffer Tetraodon mbu) to some first time US imported animals like large spotted plecostomus (Hypostomus regain), and multiple varieties of brilliant tarantulas.
Dog Grooming and Competition
With all those good looking animals hanging out there’s bound to be competition, and it is tough. All types of pets adore attention but here the dogs rule! Getting spruced up with the groomers is a big pastime, sometimes taking up to two hours or more! We saw dogs decked out in all their natural glory, and many dogs decked out with “creative” colors and cuts.
This was a great show! At such an exhibition I think a pet’s perspective is the opportunity to stand out. What they want to know is “how do I steal the show”! Even thought there are only a few first place winners, I must say, the results were well worth it! Many of these awesome animals will soon be available to people and you can find the pet that’s your “first place” winner! Check with your local pet stores or find one of these dedicated, incredible breeders.
Animal-World’s Featured Pet for this week is: The Pet Gerbil!
Gerbils are a fairly well-known small pet – particularly for children. Often considered “pocket pets” due to their size, pet gerbils are very friendly, quiet, and clean little animals! Most people believe they make even better pets than other small animals such as hamsters, mice, and rats. Gerbils do not have the same reputation as hamsters do when it comes to biting. Pet gerbils very rarely bite! And many people prefer gerbils over mice and rats because they have furry tails, rather than scaly naked tails. Another plus of these little creatures over other rodents is that they are much less prone to some respiratory illnesses. Gerbils are illegal in some areas, such as in the state of California, because of the fear that if they escape they could be a hazard to crops due to their very fast breeding times.
There are many, many different types of gerbils throughout Africa and Asia. However, the type that has become popular as a pet in the United States and Europe is specifically the Mongolian gerbil from Eastern Mongolia. They were first discovered in 1867 and brought into captivity for the sole purpose of using them as laboratory animals. It wasn’t until the 1960’s that they started to become widely available as pets.
Pet gerbils can live 3 to 4 years – which is longer than most mice, rats, and hamsters. They are easy to care for and demand little of your time. They should be housed with at least one other gerbil because they are very social creatures. They must have another companion of their kind to thrive and not become lonely, and humans don’t fit this bill. They will become quite friendly with a human friend, but require other gerbils as well.
Because of their small size, they don’t need a huge enclosure, but their space should be large enough that they can run around and get plenty of exercise. Providing them with a bedding that they can burrow in and toys they can climb on will also help keep them healthy and happy.
Of course they should have clean water everyday as well as fresh food. Pellets or a small animal food mix bought in a pet store should be sufficient and include all of their needed nutrients. Giving small amounts of fresh vegetables and a little fruit occasionally is good for their diet and also a nice change for their pallets. Because their teeth continually grow throughout their lives, they need things to chew on. Offering them chew sticks and other toys meant to chew on will help keep their teeth in shape.
Gerbils make excellent pets for children for several reasons. First of course, is that they are easy to care for and don’t have many specialized needs – which makes it easier for a child to take on the responsibility of their care. They also are diurnal, meaning they sleep at night. This makes them awake and available to play during the day when kids have the time! Because of their sweet nature and reputation as non-biters, they are generally easy to handle and will tame down as they get to know a child.
Pet gerbils are very hardy animals and very rarely become sick. When they do become sick, it is often due to lack of care and not keeping their environment clean. As I stated earlier, they are much less prone to respiratory illnesses than can often kill mice and rats. Some illnesses to watch out for would be external parasites (particularly if their cage is not cleaned very often), hair loss, and fungal infections. If you do notice your pet becoming ill, make sure to completely clean out their cage and food/water dishes. If it continues to get worse you may want to consult a veterinarian.
If you would like to learn more about gerbils as pets, check out Animal-World’s page on Pet Gerbils!
Jasmine is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.