Rodent proofing to keep your pet from running wild – and getting into trouble – is something every rodent owner should keep in mind. Nobody wants a lost pet, that’s for sure. Whether you have a gerbil, hamster, guinea pig, keeping them out of harm’s way involves planning. What are some ways you can outwit your smart, curious rodent for their own good? Using similar logic to ward off unwanted rodents away, you can do the opposite to keep your pet from running away.
If your rodent’s house, i.e., cage, is not secured in a way that prevents an escape in the first place, you will have a hard time. Rodents like to roam and explore, following their natural instincts, so it’s up to you to stop them from getting away. This entails having a cage with just enough bar spacing for proper ventilation but not so wide that your pet can wriggle out of it. The exact amount of spacing depends on the size of your furry one. For a guinea pig, for example, the cage’s bar spacing shouldn’t be more than 1 inch wide. As for the lid of the cage, make sure it is securely held down. Your furry one has all the time in the world to gnaw their way out of it, so anything loose should be reinforced.
Also, make sure to check all the tubes, tunnels, wheels, and other spaces to ensure they are not providing a covert escape route.
Rodents are drawn to dark places. If the lights in the room are bright, you are likely to scare away your pet rodent. Instead, keep it mellow and cozy for your pet by turning the lights down low. Strobe lights, for example, will definitely scare your pet, so avoid any disco-theme parties anywhere near their cage.
Rodents are drawn to antifreeze due to its sweet smell, but the chemicals contained in it are poisonous to them. If you have a pet rodent, make sure they never get near your antifreeze.
Rodents have a great dislike for mothballs, so make sure to keep them as far away from your pet as possible. If you can avoid using mothballs altogether, all the better.
Rodents are very sensitive to smells, and some scents, in particular, may be pleasant to you but quite repulsive to your pet. For example, cloves and air freshener are known to be offensive to a rodent. If you are fond of peppermint and tea tree oil, make sure to use it sparingly and away from your pet. These scents are very offensive to a rodent, and their natural instinct is to get as far away as possible from the source of the smell.
The smell of dryer sheets are also offensive to rodents, so you will want to minimize its use or at least use the unscented kind. If you do use dryer sheets, though, make sure your pet rodent’s cage remains at a safe distance from your laundry room.
Ammonia is very toxic to rodents, and they will want to stay away from a house that uses even small amounts of it. Therefore, if you want to keep your pet comfortable in its space, avoid using it altogether.
Holes in your house serve as natural playgrounds for your pet rodent. If it can find its way inside it, it will. Since rodents are fond of chewing on wood, using it to block a passage may not be effective. However, a brick will do the trick, since it’s too sturdy for a rodent to go through it. For a more permanent solution, though, you can block exit points with caulk silicone, for example. You may also want to invest in filling any gaps in your home’s foundation and weatherstrip your doors with adhesives to prevent escapes. In addition, areas, where your pipes join your cabinets should be sealed off, as these passageways are very attractive to an exploring rodent.
Dogs and cats can intimidate your rodent, provoking them and making them eager to escape. They can also damage the cage, making it that much easier for your rodent to escape. Children may want to play with their little furry pet at any time, inadvertently enabling an escape. It’s very important to supervise children as they play with their pet and to ensure they are holding them properly but also to keep them from opening the cage door for too long. Rodents are agile, and it only takes an instant for them to dart out of the cage and the room.
A pet rodent’s escape can be stressful for both you and your little furry one. Make it easier on yourself by helping it realize where home is, and that they are safe and happy there. While anticipating their logic might be easier said than done, with a few steps, you can beat your pet at their own game. Now, if you really want to lure your pet rodent to come back, you could put a treat inside the cage and wait for them to return on their own. Your pet rodent may be smart, but an irresistible treat may be just that – too irresistible for them to avoid coming back for it. On the same note, make sure the water bowl is full, the cage is clean, toys (such as shredded paper and tubes of paper towels) are inside the cage, and everything looks great for them in their habitat. Your goal is to help your pet see the cage as their cozy home, not your boots or worse, your appliances and power cords.
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