doctor ian kupkee holding his dachshund dog grendel


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Pocket Pets Aren't Stocking Stuffers

By Dr. Ian Kupkee
Whenever the holiday shopping season starts, big box pet retailers begin their annual push for small animals and so called "starter kits". These marketing campaigns are generally aimed at parents looking for low maintenance ways to give young children their first experiences as pet owners. Lured by low prices, clever bundling, and promises of minimal care, many parents are fooled into believing that caring for pets such as hamsters, rabbits and guinea pigs comes easily to children who may have no experience - or interest - in doing so.
While they are often dubbed "pocket pets" reality is that many small animals are sold as babies. Once mature, these pets outgrow the desire to be cuddled and carried around. At this point, they are likely to scratch and bite children who reach for them. Their cages must be cleaned daily, and many require fresh fruits and vegetables in addition to formulated diets. While such demands are not unreasonable, the hectic holiday season may not be the best time to introduce the new routines associated with small animal care. If you feel your children are ready for the responsibility of a pocket pet, do your research, and consider adopting one of the many cast-offs who will be available for adoption when the Christmas holiday ends.

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