Good advice!

Our animal guide

Compact information about every individual small mammal, what more could one want? Simply click the picture of the desired animal to get useful advice immediately.

rabbits
rabbits
guinea pigs
guinea pigs
chinchillas
chinchillas
degus
degus
hamsters
hamsters
dwarf hamsters
dwarf hamsters
mice
mice
gerbils
gerbils
rats
rats
Rabbit

Rabbit

Dwarf rabbits are folivorous/herbivorous (plant-eating) small mammals and belong to the taxonomic order of lagomorphs. They are mainly active at night and twilight (nocturnal and crepuscular), very sociable and live in social groups in the wild. As pets they should never be kept alone. They feel best as a couple (a castrated male and a female) or also in larger groups. Dwarf rabbits have a life expectancy of approximately 8 to 12 years. They will reach a size of about 50 cm and a weight of around 2 kg.
Natural habitat

Rabbits originally come from south-western Europe, but have quickly spread to the north-east. In the wild they live on meadows and at the edge of the forest and prefer open countryside with low vegetation of grasses and herbs. Rabbits can often also be found in parks and gardens.

As "folivorous/herbivorous" (plant-eating) animals, their diet consists of different varieties of herbaceous plants. Nature supplements this food supply with roots, vegetables and fruit.

The rabbit’s natural habitat is exemplary for the development of RabbitDream species-appropriate products.

Nutrition

Just like all other small mammals, rabbits have very specific nutritional requirements.

The digestive system is of particular importance for a healthy and active life.

Teeth
Teeth

The upper and lower jaw feature two incisors each. The two additional pin teeth behind the upper incisors have no function. The incisors and molars of rabbits have one thing in common: they continue growing for their entire lifetime. And that at a rate of circa 8 mm a month.

This means:

a) the teeth must be in the correct position to enable abrasion, so that they do not grow out of control.

b) The choice of food is a very important factor for optimal dental abrasion of the incisors and molars. What is required is a rough fibrous structure.

Stomach
Stomach

A rabbit’s stomach – so-called stuffed stomach – has few muscles and little power of contraction, meaning that it is unable to move the chewed food pulp to the lower bowel segments.

This is instead done by the subsequent portions of food, so to speak.

This also explains why rabbits eat 80 to 120 small portions a day on average.

These portions must be suitable for maintaining adult animals or also to help young rabbits grow. This will help to avoid digestion problems and obesity.

Appendix
Appendix

The large appendix is the so-called fermentation chamber. This is where the fine particles of crude fibre are turned into proteins, B-complex vitamins and vitamin K by special bacteria.

The material from the appendix is then packaged up into small round moist pellets called caecotropes (they look like a bunch of grapes and are covered by a mucilaginous membrane), which the rabbit needs to eat again. This is a natural process that is of vital importance for the animal's health.

Required calcium intake

Rabbits have a special calcium metabolism. The calcium provided in their body is mainly found in the bones and teeth. The provision of calcium in the diet is hence particularly important for maintaining the animals' health.

But too much calcium can on the other hand also lead to urinary gravel or even bladder stones in adult rabbits, as it is excreted by way of the urine. Selecting the right food components is therefore very important.

Optimal calcium contents in the basic nutrition

Young animals: 0.9%*

Adult animals: 0.6%

*Young rabbits need higher calcium contents than adult rabbits because they have not stopped growing yet.

Importance of crude fibre to starch ratio

Crude fibre:

Crude fibre is particularly important for the health of rabbits: for their digestion activity, their appendix, and for dental abrasion by means of the rough fibrous structure. A good food should include around 20 % of crude fibre.

Starch:

Starch is mainly an energy supplier and should be provided in the food in limited amounts. A reference value for good food is less than 7 % starch. Any more than this would imply a suboptimal energy supply.

Misalignment of the ratio between crude fibre and starch can lead to health problems in the long term:

Too little crude fibre will lead to constipation, changes in the intestinal flora and malfunction of the appendix.

Too much starch will lead to feeding breaks, changes in the intestinal flora, wind, diarrhoea, fermentation and obesity.

Looking at these arguments makes clear why veterinarians recommend a minimum ratio of 3:1 between crude fibre and starch.

How can I find out how much starch is contained in my pet food?

Particularly helpful for this is the composition: whole grains (with the starchy endosperm, or floury portion), field beans, potatoes and peas are an indication that a higher starch content is to be expected.

Keeping & environment

Rabbits do not like to live on their own. We would recommend to keep a couple of one castrated male and a female. If uncastrated animals of the same sex are kept together they may start to bite one another as soon as they reach sexual maturity. Rabbits should not be kept together with guinea pigs or other rodents. The animals communicate in different manners, which can lead to conflicts.

Cage location

Cages are best placed in a location that is not exposed to draughts or direct sunlight. Elevated locations are best because the animals have a better view and hardly feel like being a prey. The optimal ambient temperature is between 18 and 22° C.

Cage size

The recommended minimum size for two rabbits is 150 x 60 x 50 cm (W x D x H). In addition to this they need to run about outside the cage every day, which needs to be supervised. Only then will they be able to enjoy their natural behaviour such as extensive hopping, exploration of their environment and playing with their partner.

Cage furnishings

The appropriate furnishings are particularly important if rabbits are to also feel at home in their cage. Amongst other aspects, this includes a little house measuring at least 35 x 20 x 35 cm for every animal. Rabbits also like to keep an eye on everything. Every hutch should therefore also include an elevated lying area. The food should be provided in stable clay or ceramic bowls, and the water best in a drinking bottle or another bowl. A drinking bowl has the advantage that the animals will drink more, because this way of drinking promotes their natural behaviour. An adequate amount of hay must be provided in a coverable hay rack every day.

Litter

It is best to use a litter that is absorbent and binds odours and ammonia. Most suitable are litter types made from linen or straw, as well as cosy bedding or Bed O´Linum.

Keeping the animals outdoors

Rabbits can be kept outdoors all year round. There is a need to ensure that they are protected from draughts, direct sunlight, rain and predators. It is also important to protect the enclosure from being undermined. If rabbits are kept outdoors in winter it is important to know that their metabolism will change, their fur will become thicker, and that their respiratory tracts will be exposed to greater stress than in summer. Their demand for vitamins and protein will increase. The chosen food should cater to these requirements. Also required for the winter is a frost-free shelter or small house.

Signs of disease

How can I tell if my pet is sick or feeling unwell?

It is important to observe your pet every day. Only when you know it well, you will be able to tell, if its behaviour changes, if it turns away or separates from the group or the keeper, or if it drinks and feeds less, for example. Weight loss and changes in the defecation or urination behaviour can also indicate an illness. Sick animals furthermore often show a reduced grooming and cleaning behaviour. Their fur will look more ragged as a result. Indications of pain for example include an arched back, a crouched, curled up posture, bristled fur, half-closed eyes and grinding of the teeth. If one of these symptoms appears, the animal should be seen by a veterinarian in any case.

Important vaccinations
Myxomatosis and RHD are the commonest viral diseases of rabbits.
Myxomatosis

Myxomatosis is a viral disease caused by the myxoma virus. It is spread by biting insects or direct contact with infected rabbits and mostly occurs in spring and autumn. The illness is highly contagious and often fatal (the incubation period is 4 to 10 days). Symptoms include skin tumours around the head and genitals, as well as difficulties breathing and swallowing. Protecting the animals against myxomatosis with a vaccination is recommended.

RHD

RHD stands for rabbit haemorrhagic disease. It is caused by the calicivirus, which can appear all year round. The incubation period is 1 to 3 days. Amongst other routes, the virus can be spread by direct contact with infected animals, the absorption of infected green food, or by biting insects. The symptoms can vary. Infected animals stop feeding and die suddenly, often also without symptoms. A bloody discharge from the nose or bloody urine is often observed. RHD is highly contagious and untreatable. Early vaccination is not only required for animals kept outdoors, but also for house rabbits (biting insects could come inside the apartment and viruses could stick to shoes and be carried inside). Various vaccines are available. Please ask your veterinarian which vaccine would be best for your rabbit and at which intervals the vaccination needs to be repeated.

Guinea pigs

Guinea pigs

Guinea pigs are folivorous/herbivorous (plant-eating) small mammals and belong to the taxonomic order of rodents. In the wild they are active at night and twilight (nocturnal and crepuscular), highly sociable and live in social groups. They should also be kept with at least one other guinea pig as a pet. Guinea pigs have a life expectancy of approximately 6 to 8 years, reach a body length of about 30 cm and a weight of around 450 to 1,000 g.
Natural habitat

Guinea pigs originally come from South America, where they are found from Colombia to Argentina. They don't dig holes of their own, but rather create paths and burrows in dense vegetation. For feeding they tend to prefer areas with low vegetation where they most of all find grasses, which contain many important nutrients.

Nutrition

Guinea pigs have very specific nutritional requirements.

The digestive system is of particular importance for a healthy and active life.

Teeth
Teeth

The upper and lower jaw feature two incisors each. These and the molars continue growing throughout the animal's entire lifetime. This means:

a) The teeth must be in the correct position to enable abrasion, so that they do not grow out of control.

b) The choice of food is a very important factor for optimal dental abrasion of the incisors and molars. What is required is a rough fibrous structure!

Stomach
Stomach

The stomach – so-called stuffed stomach – has few muscles and little power of contraction, meaning that it is unable to move the chewed food pulp to the lower bowel segments. This is instead done by the subsequent portions of food. A species-appropriate food needs to provide optimal nutrition and be adjusted to the energy requirements of adult guinea pigs and the needs of young animals that are still growing up.

Appendix
Appendix

The large appendix is the so-called fermentation chamber. This is where the fine particles of crude fibre are turned into proteins, B-complex vitamins and vitamin K by special bacteria. The result are caecotropes that the guinea pig needs to eat again.

Vitamin C

Guinea pigs are unable to produce vitamin C naturally in their body. If it is provided by way of the drinking water, vitamin C will be quickly degraded under the influence of light and oxygen. Providing stabilized vitamin C by way of the food is therefore vital. The daily requirement of adult guinea pigs amounts to approximately 10 mg per kilogramme of body weight.

Required calcium intake

Calcium is an important mineral. The calcium provided in the body is mainly found in the bones and teeth. The provision of calcium in the diet is hence particularly important for maintaining the animals' health.

But too much calcium can on the other hand also lead to urinary gravel or even bladder stones in adult guinea pigs. This is unfortunately quite common these days. It is hence very important to select the right components.

Optimal calcium contents in the basic diet

Young animals: 0.9%*

Adult animals: 0.6%

*Young guinea pigs need higher calcium contents than adult guinea pigs because they have not stopped growing yet.

Importance of crude fibre to starch ratio

Crude fibre:

Crude fibre is particularly important for the animal's health. It supports the digestive activity, the appendix and also the dental abrasion, thanks to its rough structure.

Starch

Starch is mainly an energy supplier and should be provided in the food in limited amounts.

A shift of the ratio between crude fibre and starch can lead to health problems in the long term:

Too little crude fibre will lead to constipation, changes in the intestinal flora and malfunction of the appendix.

Too much starch will lead to feeding breaks, changes in the intestinal flora, wind, diarrhoea, fermentation and obesity.

Looking at these arguments makes clear why veterinarians recommend a minimum ratio of 3:1 between crude fibre and starch.

How can I find out how much starch is contained in my pet food?

Particularly helpful for this is the composition: whole grains (with the starchy endosperm, or floury portion), field beans, potatoes and peas are an indication that a higher starch content is to be expected.

Keeping & environment

Guinea pigs do not like to live on their own. We would recommend to keep a couple of one castrated male and one female or in a group of one male and up to 3 females. If uncastrated males are kept together they may start biting one another as soon as they reach sexual maturity. Guinea pigs should not be kept together with rabbits or other rodents as they have different ways of communicating, which can lead to conflicts.

Cage location

We recommend placing the cage at a location that is not exposed to draughts or direct sunlight. The optimal ambient temperature is between 18 and 22° C. Elevated locations are best because the animals have a better view and hardly feel like being a prey.

Cage size

We recommend a minimum cage size of 120 x 60 x 50 cm (W x D x H) if two guinea pigs are kept. In addition to this they need to run about outside the cage every day, which needs to be supervised, so that they can enjoy their natural behaviour.

Cage furnishings

Suitable furnishings will promote the animals' well-being. This includes a little house for every animal, an elevated lying area, and a coverable hay rack. The food should be provided in stable clay or ceramic bowls, and the water best in a drinking bottle or another bowl. A drinking bowl has the advantage that the animals will drink more and their natural behaviour will be supported.

Litter

The optimal litter will bind odours and ammonia and be absorbent. Most suitable are litter types made from linen or straw, such as cosy bedding or Bed O´Linum, for example.

Keeping the animals outdoors

Guinea pigs can be kept outdoors all year round. There is a need to ensure that the enclosure is protected from draughts, rain, direct sunlight, predators and undermining. The animals also like to use an additional frost-free shelter or small house.

Signs of disease

How can I tell if my pet is sick or feeling unwell?

It is important to observe your pet every day. Only when you know it well, you will be able to tell, if its behaviour changes, if it turns away or separates from the group or the keeper, or if it drinks and feeds less, for example. Weight loss and changes in the defecation or urination behaviour can also indicate an illness. Sick animals furthermore often show a reduced grooming and cleaning behaviour. Their fur will look more ragged as a result. Indications of pain for example include an arched back, a crouched, curled up posture, bristled fur, half-closed eyes and grinding of the teeth. If one of these symptoms appears, the animal should be seen by a veterinarian in any case.

Chinchilla

Chinchilla

Chinchillas are folivorous/herbivorous (plant-eating) small mammals and belong to the taxonomic order of rodents. In the wild they are nocturnal and crepuscular (active at dawn and dusk), highly sociable and live in family groups of one couple and its female offspring. They should also not be kept alone as pets. They will feel best in a couple or group (one castrated male and one or more females). A chinchilla can reach an age of up to 20 years, a body length of about 26 cm, and a weight of 400 g to 600 g.
Natural habitat

Chinchillas originally come from South America, where they live in rocky mountain slopes in coastal areas. They are highly endangered animals, with only two small populations remaining today in northern central Chile.

The vegetation in their natural habitat varies and can often be desert-like. They most of all prefer dry slopes with sparse and loose vegetation including cacti, bromeliads and small shrubs. They establish their burrows in crevices among rocks.

Chinchillas feed on plants and are able to derive optimal nutrition from them.

Nutrition

Chinchillas have very specific nutritional requirements.

The digestive system is important for a healthy and active life.

Teeth
Teeth

The upper and lower jaw feature two incisors each. These and the molars continue growing throughout the animal's entire lifetime. A rough fibre structure in the food is essential for dental abrasion.

Stomach
Stomach

The stomach – so-called stuffed stomach – has few muscles and is unable to move the chewed food pulp to the lower bowel segments by itself, which is taken care of by subsequent portions of food.

Appendix
Appendix

The large appendix is where the fine particles of crude fibre are turned into proteins, B-complex vitamins and vitamin K by special bacteria. It is therefore also referred to as a fermentation chamber. The Chinchillas eat the resulting caecotropes again.

Importance of crude fibre to starch ratio
Too little crude fibre

will lead to constipation, changes in the intestinal flora and malfunction of the appendix.

Too much starch

will lead to feeding breaks, changes in the intestinal flora, wind, diarrhoea, fermentation and obesity.

Crude fibre is particularly important for the health of chinchillas: for their digestion activity, their appendix, and for dental abrasion by means of the rough fibrous structure. Starch is mainly an energy supplier and should be provided in the food in limited amounts.

Veterinarians therefore recommend a minimum ratio of 3:1 between crude fibre and starch.

How can I find out how much starch is contained in my pet food?

Particularly helpful for this is the composition: whole grains (with the starchy endosperm, or floury portion), field beans, potatoes and peas are an indication that a higher starch content is to be expected.

Keeping & environment

Keeping one castrated male and one female is recommended for chinchillas. If animals of the same sex are kept together in a group they may start to bite one another as soon as they reach sexual maturity. They should also not be kept together with guinea pigs or other rodents.

Cage location

Please ensure when selecting the location that the cage is not exposed to draughts or direct sunlight. The optimal ambient temperature is between 15 and 18° C and must not exceed 25° C for longer periods of time.

Cage size

We recommend a minimum cage size of 100 x 50 x 100 cm (W x D x H) for two animals. A large structured cage will permit the chinchillas to move around intensively. It is nonetheless still important to also let them run about outside the cage every day because this is the only way for them to enjoy their natural behaviour such as exploring, playing and jumping. The animals must be supervised when they are out of the cage.

Cage furnishings

Chinchillas love climbing and prefer to spend time at various heights. Several platforms at various heights are therefore advisable. Climbing branches can also be provided to give them even more opportunities for climbing. A small house measuring 30 x 30 x 20 cm must be provided per animal. The food should be provided in stable clay or ceramic bowls, and the water best in a drinking bottle. An adequate amount of good quality hay must be provided in a coverable hay rack every day.

Also important: the sand bath! Chinchillas have a dense, fine fur. The hairs are provided in bunches. A sand bath with special chinchilla sand is required to provide the fur with the proper care. It also serves to reduce stress.

Litter

We recommend an absorbent litter that also binds odours and ammonia. You can use a litter made from linen or straw such as cosy bedding or Bed O´Linum, for example.

Keeping the animals outdoors

Keeping chinchillas outdoors is only possible to a limited extent in the summer months. High temperatures and moisture are only badly tolerated. If the animals are kept outdoors in the summer, there is a need to ensure that they are neither exposed to rain nor direct sunlight. Also important is protection from predators.

Signs of disease

How can I tell if my pet is sick or feeling unwell?

It is important to observe your pet every day. Only if you know it well will you be able to tell if its behaviour changes, if it turns away or separates from the group or the keeper, or if it drinks and feeds less, for example. Weight loss and changes in the defecation or urination behaviour can also indicate an illness. Sick animals furthermore often show a reduced grooming and cleaning behaviour. Their fur will look more ragged as a result. Indications of pain for example include an arched back, a crouched, curled up posture, bristled fur, half-closed eyes and grinding of the teeth. If one of these symptoms appears, the animal should be seen by a veterinarian in any case.

Degu

Degu

The degu belongs to the taxonomic order of rodents and is a folivorous/herbivorous (plant-eating) small mammal. It is diurnal, highly sociable and lives in great colonies of several family groups in the wild, which usually number around 10 animals. It also wants to be kept with a partner as a pet. Degus have a life expectancy of around 5 to 7 years, but can also grow older. Their body length ranges between 12.5 and 19.5 cm and they can reach a weight of around 170 to 350 g.
Natural habitat

Degus are the most common rodents in Chile, where they mostly live in the central and northern regions with low shrubbery and good hiding places in dense herbs and grasses. They also like to stay in stony locations with loose soil. This is where they dig elaborate burrows. They can often also be found in fields, gardens and parks. Degus mainly feed on plants.

Nutrition

Degus have very specific nutritional requirements.

Teeth
Teeth

The upper and lower jaw feature two incisors each. These and the molars continue growing throughout the animal's entire lifetime. The food must therefore have a rough fibrous structure to keep their teeth healthy.

Stomach
Stomach

The stomach has few muscles and little power of contraction, meaning that it is unable to move the chewed food pulp to the lower bowel segments on its own. This is instead done by the subsequent portions of food, so to speak.

Appendix
Appendix

The appendix is the so-called fermentation chamber. This is where the fine particles of crude fibre are turned into proteins, B-complex vitamins and vitamin K by special bacteria. The result are caecotropes that the degu needs to eat again.

Tendency to develop diabetes mellitus

To prevent diabetes, the animals should neither be fed fresh fruit nor other components that are rich in sugar or starch. This is also important for the selection of the food.

Keeping & environment

Degus do not like to live on their own. Keeping several females or one castrated male and several females together is optimal. They can become very trusting and are easy to tame if one spends time with them.

Cage location

The cage must be placed at a draught-free location. As degus love to sunbathe, direct sunlight will be very pleasant for them in the morning and evening hours. Shaded areas should nonetheless always be available and the ambient temperature must not exceed 32°C. The cage is best placed at an elevated location so that they will not tend to feel like a prey.

Cage size

A minimum size of 100 x 50 x 100 cm (W x D x H) is recommended if up to 4 degus of the same sex are kept together. A large and structured cage will enable them to move around more, while additional runs outside the cage under supervision will promote natural behaviours such as exploring and playing.

Cage furnishings

The lively animals need a lot of activity and movement. This can be provided for by suitable cage furnishings. Several shelters, seating boards at various heights, clay and cork tubes and climbing branches belong in every cage. To enable them to satisfy their pronounced urge to move around, degus will also be delighted by a running wheel with a solid running surface and a minimum diameter of 30 cm. A sand bath with chinchilla sand must also be provided for cleaning their fur. It is furthermore recommended to provide their food in stable clay or ceramic bowls, and water in drinking bottles. An adequate amount of good quality hay must be provided in a coverable hay rack every day.

Litter

The litter must be absorbent and bind odours. If there is quite a lot of litter the animals will be able to dig passages in it. It is important to replace the litter regularly (corners with urine are best cleaned daily). Highly suitable are litter types made from linen or straw such as cosy bedding or Bed O´Linum, for example.

Keeping the animals outdoors

Degus can not be kept outdoors.

Signs of disease

How can I tell if my pet is sick or feeling unwell?

It is important to observe your pet every day. Only when you know it well, you will be able to tell, if its behaviour changes, if it turns away or separates from the group or the keeper, or if it drinks and feeds less, for example. Weight loss and changes in the defecation or urination behaviour can also indicate an illness. Sick animals furthermore often show a reduced grooming and cleaning behaviour. Their fur will look more more ragged and a red scab might form on the nose as a result. Indications of pain for example include an arched back, a crouched, curled up posture, bristled fur, half-closed eyes and grinding of the teeth. If one of these symptoms appears, the animal should be seen by a veterinarian in any case.

Hamster

Hamster

The hamster is a granivorous (grain-eating) small mammal and belongs to the taxonomic order of rodents. It prefers to live alone in the wild and will only seek social contact in the mating season and when raising offspring. It should also be kept on its own as a pet. Hamsters have a life expectancy of 2 to 3 years, reach a body length of about 18 cm and a weight of around 180 g.
Natural habitat

Hamsters originally come from Syria and southern Turkey. This is where they mostly live in underground burrows that they preferably dig in sandy clay soil and where they are diurnal, while they rather tend to be nocturnal when kept as a pet.

Nutrition

Small but not to be underestimated. The nutritional requirements of the agile hamster are varied.

Incisors
Incisors

Hamsters have incisors that keep on growing. Their food therefore needs to give them an opportunity to gnaw and bite (e.g. various seeds that need to be husked).

Stomach
Stomach

The stomach has two parts: a forestomach and a glandular stomach.

Small appendix
Small appendix

The "granivorous" (grain eating) hamster has a small appendix and can only digest crude fibre to a limited extent. The optimal crude fibre content of its food is hence less than 10 %.

Animal protein

Animal proteins are required for the metabolism. The amount must be carefully adjusted to the animal's needs.

High energy demand

Hamsters are absolute powerhouses. They love to move around and have a greater energy demand because of their high metabolic rate.

Keeping & environment

Hamsters are loners and cannot be kept together with other members of their species. Keeping them in groups is not possible for this reason.

Cage location

The cage must neither be exposed to draughts nor direct sunlight. The hamster will furthermore sleep during the day and be delighted by a location where it is not disturbed. The optimal ambient temperature is 20 to 24°C. If the temperature drops below 15° c for longer periods of time, hamsters can go into hibernation.

Cage size

We recommend a minimum size of 100 x 50 x 50 cm. A large and structured cage will enable the hamster to get more exercise.

Cage furnishings

Good cage furnishings will cater to the animal's requirements in every respect. A sleeping house with a minimum size of 15 x 15 x 10 cm is absolutely essential. An additional storage house is recommended as hamsters love to store away food. Hay and wood pulp can serve as a nesting material. Indigestible hamster cotton is not recommended. This could lead to the pouches becoming obstructed, or pinch off limbs. Every hamster cage furthermore needs a sand bath that can be used to groom the fur and reduce stress. The provision of a hamster wheel that is closed on one side will offer an opportunity to satisfy the urge to move around. It needs to be large enough for the hamster to run in it with a straight back (about 30 cm). The food should be provided in clay or ceramic bowls and the water in a drinking bottle or bowl that is best placed a little higher up. An adequate amount of good quality hay must be provided in a coverable hay rack every day. Branches from fruit trees or deciduous shrubs can be mounted in the cage to give the hamster something to do. Please never use toys that are contrary to animal protection such as hamster balls, for example!

Litter

We recommend using a litter that is absorbent and binds odours in any case. Litter types made from linen or straw such as cosy bedding or Bed O´Linum, for example, are particularly suitable. If the amount of litter is adjusted to its natural behaviour the hamster will be able to dig in it. It is recommended to clean the toilet corner and larder regularly to ensure good hygiene in the cage.

Keeping the animal outdoors

Hamsters cannot be kept outdoors.

Signs of disease

How can I tell if my pet is sick or feeling unwell?

It is important to observe your pet every day. Only when you know it well, you will be able to tell, if its behaviour changes, if it turns away or separates from the group or the keeper, or if it drinks and feeds less, for example. Weight loss and changes in the defecation or urination behaviour can also indicate an illness. Sick animals furthermore often show a reduced grooming and cleaning behaviour. Their fur will look more ragged as a result. Indications of pain for example include an arched back, a crouched, curled up posture, bristled fur, half-closed eyes and grinding of the teeth. If one of these symptoms appears, the animal should be seen by a veterinarian in any case.

Dwarf hamster

Dwarf hamster

The dwarf hamster is a granivorous (grain-eating) small mammal and belongs to the taxonomic order of rodents. It lives on its own in the wild and reaches an age of around 2 to 2.5 years. A body length of 11 cm and weight of ca. 45 g make it markedly smaller than the Syrian hamster.
Natural habitat

Dwarf hamsters originally come from southern Russia, Mongolia and northern China. This is where they live in dry steppes and semi-desert regions and are active at night and twilight (nocturnal and crepuscular).

Nutrition

The nutritional requirements of the agile dwarf hamsters are varied. In the wild they usually feed on various seeds and insects.

Incisors
Incisors

Dwarf hamsters have incisors that keep on growing continuously. Their food therefore needs to ensure dental wear (e.g. various seeds that need to be husked).

Stomach
Stomach

The stomach has two parts with a forestomach and a glandular stomach.

Small appendix
Small appendix

As a "granivorous" (grain eating) animal, the dwarf hamster has a small appendix and can only digest crude fibre to a limited extent. The optimal crude fibre content of its food is hence less than 10 %.

Animal protein

Animal proteins are required for the metabolism. The amount must be carefully adjusted to the animal's needs.

High energy demand

Dwarf hamsters are absolute powerhouses. They have a greater energy demand because of their high metabolic rate.

Tendency to develop diabetes mellitus

To prevent diabetes, the food should not include fruit or other components that are rich in sugar and the animals should also not be fed fresh fruit.

Keeping & environment

Dwarf hamsters are loners and live on their own in the wild, except for the mating season. Keeping them in a group as pets is therefore not recommended and should only be left to experienced breeders.

Cage location

The cage is best placed at a draught-free location that is protected from direct sunlight and quiet, as the dwarf hamster will sleep during the day. The optimal ambient temperature is between 20 and 24°C.

Cage size

We recommend a minimum cage size of 100 x 50 x 50 cm (W x D x H) to give the animal enough room for intensive movement.

Cage furnishings

The small dwarf hamster is a very lively animal that loves to move around a lot. The furnishings of the cage should cater to this. A sleeping den measuring 15 x 15 x 10 cm as a minimum is essential. An additional storage house can be used to store away food. Hay and wood pulp can serve as a nesting material. Indigestible hamster cotton is not recommended. This could lead to the pouches becoming obstructed, or pinch off limbs. Every cage furthermore needs a sand bath that serves to groom the fur. The provision of a hamster wheel that is closed on one side and has a minimum diameter of 25 cm will offer an opportunity to satisfy the urge to move around. The food is best provided in stable clay or ceramic bowls and the water in a drinking bottle. A water bowl is also possible and should preferably be placed a little higher up. An adequate amount of good quality hay must be provided in a coverable hay rack every day. Branches from fruit trees or deciduous shrubs mounted in the cage will give the hamster something to do. Please never use toys that are contrary to animal protection such as hamster balls, for example!

Litter

It is best to use a litter that binds odours and is absorbent. Highly suitable is a litter made from linen or straw such as cosy bedding or Bed O´Linum, for example. A greater amount of litter will create an opportunity to dig and build tunnels.

Keeping the animals outdoors

Dwarf hamsters cannot be kept outdoors.

Signs of disease

How can I tell if my pet is sick or feeling unwell?

It is important to observe your pet every day. Only when you know it well, you will be able to tell, if its behaviour changes, if it turns away or separates from the group or the keeper, or if it drinks and feeds less, for example. Weight loss and changes in the defecation or urination behaviour can also indicate an illness. Sick animals furthermore often show a reduced grooming and cleaning behaviour. Their fur will look more ragged as a result. Indications of pain for example include an arched back, a crouched, curled up posture, bristled fur, half-closed eyes and grinding of the teeth. If one of these symptoms appears, the animal should be seen by a veterinarian in any case.

Rat

Rat

The rat is an omnivorous small mammal. This means that it eats a great variety of foods. It belongs to the taxonomic order of rodents and is highly sociable. In the wild, rats will often live in groups of up to 100 animals. The life expectancy is around 4 years, in which time the rat will reach a body length of 28 cm and a weight of 270 to 400 g.
Natural habitat

Today's black rat descends from the brown rat. The latter originally lived inland in south-eastern Siberia, in Mongolia and north-eastern China. Rats are found virtually all around the world today, but only live in cities in the tropics and subtropics. They also frequently live in the vicinity of people and buildings in Europe and North America, and feel particularly at home in wall partitions and old drainpipes. Rats are also often found near bodies of water in the wild.

Nutrition

Rats have very specific nutritional requirements.

Incisors
Incisors

They keep on growing continuously, so that the food will need to ensure the required dental abrasion. This needs to be taken into account for the hardness, size and type of the food particles.

Stomach
Stomach

The stomach consists of a single cavity that is divided into an aglandular and a glandular segment by a fold of the mucous membrane.

Small appendix
Small appendix

Rats have a small appendix. They can only digest crude fibre to a limited extent for this reason. The food should hence optimally contain less than 10 % crude fibre.

Need for animal protein

Omnivorous animals require animal protein, which contains nourishing amino acids and is important for cell renewal and various metabolic processes.

High energy demand

The agile speedsters have a higher metabolic rate and hence particular energy requirements.

Keeping & environment

Rats are intelligent and inquisitive animals, that will quickly become trusting if one spends time with them. Daily contact will help the keeper establish a close relationship with them. It is recommended to keep groups of 3 to 4 animals. Same-sex groups will get along well if the animals are kept together since birth.

Cage location

The cage is best placed at a draught-free location that is not exposed to direct sunlight. Rats have few sweat glands and are hence unable to tolerate high temperatures. The optimal ambient temperature ranges between 18 and 26°C. With albino rats, very intensive light can damage the retina and therewith cause the rat to go blind. Long-term exposure to light intensities exceeding 60 lux should hence be avoided.

Cage size

We recommend a minimum size of 100 x 50 x 100 cm or 70 x 50 x 120 cm (W x D x H) for 2 to 3 rats. There should be enough room for them to explore and play. Daily runs outside the cage are desirable.

Cage furnishings

A structured cage will offer the enterprising animals many potential activities. Several little houses are essential. Hay and wood pulp can serve as nesting material for them. Climbing branches, clay or cork tubes and hammocks make for interesting toys. It is also recommended to install boards for resting on at various heights. The food should be provided in stable clay or ceramic bowls, and the water in a drinking bottle. An adequate amount of good quality hay must be provided in a coverable hay rack every day.

Litter

The optimal litter is absorbent and binds odours. Litters made from linen or straw such as cosy bedding or Bed O´Linum, for example, are particularly suitable. The litter should be regularly changed (and even daily in the toilet corner) to keep the cage hygienically clean and avoid irritation of the animals' sensitive respiratory tract.

Keeping the animals outdoors

Rats cannot be kept outdoors.

Signs of disease

How can I tell if my pet is sick or feeling unwell?

It is important to observe your pet every day. Only when you know it well, you will be able to tell, if its behaviour changes, if it turns away or separates from the group or the keeper, or if it drinks and feeds less, for example. Weight loss and changes in the defecation or urination behaviour can also indicate an illness. Sick animals furthermore often show a reduced grooming and cleaning behaviour. Their fur will look more ragged and eyes and nose are sticky as a result. Indications of pain for example include an arched back, a crouched, curled up posture, bristled fur, half-closed eyes and grinding of the teeth. If one of these symptoms appears, the animal should be seen by a veterinarian in any case.

Gerbil

Gerbil

The gerbil is a granivorous (grain-eating) small mammal and belongs in the taxonomic order of rodents. It is highly sociable and lives in family groups in the wild. It should therefore also not be kept alone as a pet. Gerbils are diurnal and nocturnal and have a life expectancy of 3 to 4 years. They can reach a body length of 10 to 12 cm and a weight of about 70 to 130 g.
Natural habitat

The Mongolian gerbil lives in steppes, semi-deserts and deserts in south-eastern Mongolia and neighbouring Russia and China. Gerbils like to live in fields and grassland where they dig underground burrows and build nests and storage chambers.

Nutrition

Gerbils have very specific nutritional requirements.

Incisors
Incisors

They keep on growing continuously, so that the food will need to ensure the required dental abrasion. This needs to be taken into account for the hardness, size and type of the food particles.

Stomach
Stomach

The stomach consists of a single cavity that is divided into an aglandular and a glandular segment by a fold of the mucous membrane.

Small appendix
Small appendix

Gerbils have a small appendix. They can only digest crude fibre to a limited extent for this reason. The food should hence optimally contain less than 10 % crude fibre.

Need for animal protein

Granivorous (grain-eating) animals require animal protein. The nourishing amino acids contained in it are important for cell renewal and various metabolic processes.

High energy demand

The agile speedsters have a higher metabolic rate and hence particular energy requirements.

Special characteristic of gerbils

Gerbils tend to develop elevated blood fat levels and obesity. A higher portion of mealy seeds is hence important in their food. Nuts should not be contained in the complete feed for this reason.

Keeping & environment

Gerbils are best kept in a couple with a castrated male, but two females will also get along well with each other. It is important in this respect to keep a close eye on their behaviour because aggression and conflicts can also arise unexpectedly in otherwise harmonious groups.

Cage location

The cage should be placed in a bright location that is not exposed to draughts. As gerbils like to sunbathe, a little sun may shine into their cage in the morning and evening hours. But there is a need to ensure that the animals can retreat into the shade at any time. Placing the cage in an elevated location will prevent the feeling of being preyed upon.

Cage size

We recommend a cage consisting of a bottom tray measuring no less than 100 x 50 x 50 cm (W x D x H) and a wire top with a minimum height of 30 cm. A large structured cage will offer the opportunity to satisfy the urge to move around. Trusting animals can also be allowed to run outside the cage in addition to this.

Cage furnishings

Gerbils are extremely active animals. They just love to dig, burrow, play and explore. Cage furnishings that are appropriate for the species will keep boredom at bay right from the start. A little house measuring 15 x 20 x 15 cm (W x D x H) is optimal. Hay and wood pulp can serve as a nesting material. Clay or cork tubes are suitable as a tunnel system, and a sand bath is also essential. The animals will use this to clean their fur and transfer the family scent. A closed running wheel with a minimum diameter of 25 cm can also be provided. The food is best provided in stable clay or ceramic bowls and the water in a drinking bottle or another bowl. Both should be placed higher up to avoid undermining.

Litter

The litter in the cage must be absorbent and bind odours. Particularly suitable are litters made from linen or straw such as cosy bedding or Bed O´Linum, for example. A greater thickness of the litter will permit the creation of tunnel systems and prevent behavioural disorders. While the litter needs to be changed regularly, some of the old litter always needs to be left in place so that scents and territorial markings are not removed. The toilet corners are best cleaned every day.

Keeping the animals outdoors

Gerbils cannot be kept outdoors.

Signs of disease

How can I tell if my pet is sick or feeling unwell?

It is important to observe your pet every day. Only when you know it well, you will be able to tell, if its behaviour changes, if it turns away or separates from the group or the keeper, or if it drinks and feeds less, for example. Weight loss and changes in the defecation or urination behaviour can also indicate an illness. Sick animals furthermore often show a reduced grooming and cleaning behaviour. Their fur will look more ragged as a result. Indications of pain for example include an arched back, a crouched, curled up posture, bristled fur, half-closed eyes and grinding of the teeth. If one of these symptoms appears, the animal should be seen by a veterinarian in any case.

Mouse

Mouse

The mouse is a granivorous (grain-eating) small mammal and belongs to the taxonomic order of rodents. It is mainly nocturnal (but able to adapt), highly sociable and lives in groups of related animals. It has a life expectancy of 2 to 3 years, can reach a body length of 6.5 to 9.5 cm and a body weight of 20 to 40 g.
Natural habitat

The mouse originally comes from western central Asia and northern India, where it lives in dry steppes and semi-deserts, building its nests in dug burrows or crevices between stones. It can be found around the world today and preferably feeds on farmed grains.

Nutrition

Just like all other small mammals, mice have very specific nutritional requirements.

Incisors
Incisors

They keep on growing continuously, so that the food will need to ensure the required dental abrasion. This needs to be taken into account for the hardness, size and type of the food particles.

Stomach
Stomach

The stomach consists of a single cavity that is divided into an aglandular and a glandular segment by a fold of the mucous membrane.

Small appendix
Small appendix

Mice have a small appendix. They can only digest crude fibre to a limited extent for this reason. The food should hence optimally contain less than 10 % crude fibre.

Need for animal protein

Granivorous (grain-eating) animals require animal protein. The nourishing amino acids contained in it are important for cell renewal and various metabolic processes.

High energy demand

The agile speedsters have a higher metabolic rate and hence particular energy requirements.

Keeping & environment

Mice love company. As pets, keeping them in groups of several females or of one castrated male and several females is recommended. Females get on quite well and will even help each other raise their young.

Cage location

The cage should be placed in a location that is free from draughts, protected from direct sunlight, and elevated, the latter to avoid a feeling of being preyed upon.

Cage size

We recommend a minimum size of 80 x 50 x 80 cm (W x D x H) for two to four animals. Trusting mice can also be allowed to run outside the cage under supervision.

Cage furnishings

Species-appropriate furnishings will provide many opportunities for entertainment. Every cage should hence feature several small houses, climbing branches, clay or cork tubes, and hay or wood pulp as nesting material. The food should be provided in stable clay or ceramic bowls, and the water in a drinking bottle or drinking bowl placed a little higher up. If the furnishings are regularly changed, the mice will enjoy greater diversion. A large structured cage will promote behaviour that is appropriate for the species, and prevent behavioural disorders.

Litter

An optimal litter is absorbent, binds odours and also binds ammonia. Most suitable are litters made from linen or straw such as cosy bedding or Bed O´Linum, for example. If the litter layer is a bit thicker, the animals will be able to burrow and dig tunnels. Some of the old litter always needs to be left in place when the cage is cleaned so that scents and territorial markings are not removed.

Keeping the animals outdoors

Mice cannot be kept outdoors.

Signs of disease

How can I tell if my pet is sick or feeling unwell?

It is important to observe your pet every day. Only when you know it well, you will be able to tell, if its behaviour changes, if it turns away or separates from the group or the keeper, or if it drinks and feeds less, for example. Weight loss and changes in the defecation or urination behaviour can also indicate an illness. Sick animals furthermore often show a reduced grooming and cleaning behaviour. Their fur will look more ragged and a red scab might form on the nose as a result. Indications of pain for example include an arched back, a crouched, curled up posture, bristled fur, half-closed eyes and grinding of the teeth. If one of these symptoms appears, the animal should be seen by a veterinarian in any case.

Our seasonal theme
Summer: Enjoyment
and dangers
Our Autumn Themes
Autumn has arrived!
Tipps für den Winter
Tipps für den Winter
Our spring topics
Spring is finally here!
Our seasonal theme

Summer: Enjoyment and dangers

It's summertime and our pets can also finally stay outdoors all day long. But watch out! The summer doesn't only bring joy. Heat and dryness can be quite dangerous for rabbits and other small pets. Let us explain what you need to watch out for if as much of the summer as possible is to be spent outdoors.
Protection from direct sunlight:
Protection from the sun

Many animals visibly enjoy the sun. But one should always make sure that there is no lack of shady spots either. Please remember that the sun travels during the day! Places that are shaded in the morning may be sunny by midday already. The pen should therefore be best placed at a location where shade is guaranteed all day long.

Always make sure that enough fresh water is available:
Water supply

It is particularly important to always make enough fresh water available. The higher the temperature, the more liquid will be required. The animals should not need to go thirsty under any circumstances. This would damage their bodies and lead to dehydration. The drinking water should therefore be refreshed regularly and several times a day in summer.

Protection from predators:

Outdoor pens or open-air enclosures are often used in summer for excursions into nature. But there is a need to ensure that predators, and this includes the neighbour's cat, will not be able to get into them. In addition, the pen should offer enough means of escape so that rabbits and other small pets can hide from impending danger and won't panic.

And what is finally important is to secure the pen against tunnelling out. Especially rabbits love to dig tunnels and burrows. To stop them from digging their way out, the enclosure should reach into the ground some way.

Diseases and vaccinations:
Myxomatosis virus

The most widely known infectious diseases for rabbits are RHD and myxomatosis. These diseases are caused by viruses that are spread by biting insects. The infection rate from animal to animal is also very high. Once a rabbit contracts RHD there will be no cure and it will die. The same is true for myxomatosis: only the symptoms can be treated. This makes it particularly important to have the animals vaccinated early on, optimally as early as February.

Parasites & other pests:

The chances of coming into contact with pathogens are much greater outdoors than in the apartment. Flies like the blowfly, for example, are particularly dangerous once the outdoor temperatures rise.

If an animal has slight diarrhoea, for example, and is therefore not as clean as usually around the anus, or if it has open wounds, flies can lay their eggs there. The maggots will hatch and move in under the skin. This can quickly lead to serious ailments. Visiting the vet will be unavoidable in this case! It is therefore absolutely essential to check the animals thoroughly every day.

In exceptional cases, rabbits and guinea pigs can also have problems with ticks. They should therefore be checked for this regularly.

If cats and dogs also spend time in the garden, it is recommended to have the droppings of your own pet checked for worms by a vet regularly, or administer worm powder as a preventive measure.

Poisonous plants:
Ragwort

Various plants and herbs can be poisonous for rabbits and rodents. Consumption of these plants can lead to various different kinds of damage to their bodies. The digestive tract can be affected, but also the liver, kidneys, blood vessels and nervous system. It is therefore recommended to check the area in and around the outdoor pen for these poisonous plants and possibly select another location if any of them are found. Amongst others, these poisonous plants also include sorrel, ragwort, foxglove and crowfoot. But garden plants such as Chinese wisteria, yew, boxwood and cherry laurel can also be poisonous.

Our Autumn Themes

Autumn has arrived!

The weather becomes duller and slowly but surely autumn has arrived. Some rabbits and guinea pigs stay outside in the fresh ailr, when it's wet. Others rather move inside. However, all alimals have to be prepared for the colder season. And we can help them.
Just a matter of habit!
Rabbits in autumn

Rabbits and guinea pigs, that normally stay inside the house and may move outside now, have to get used to living outdoors slowly in warm weather.

Only healthy and adult animals should be kept outdoors. Seniors (rabbits from the age of 6 and guinea pigs from the age of 5 years), as well as ill, weak, pregnant or young animals have a weaker immune system. They are better off inside.

If rabbits move from the garden into the house for the cold season, we suggest to do so early enough (best at the beginning of autumn). Otherwise they start to shed their summer coat and to grow a winter coat. Being inside the change of coat is not necessary, instead it would be even to warm for them.

Rex rabbits and long-haired breeds should not be kept outside due to their kind of coat.

The change of coat

The change of coat can be very strenuous for a rabbit. It has to groom itself a lot to get rid of the old coat. While doing so, fur might get swallowed. That can lead to hairballs and thus to digestive problems.

Also when the animals are kept indoors the coat will change. Their biological clock tells them when the time has come for it. A good grooming and the right nutrition are important in this time in particular.

Grooming
Grooming rabbits

For grooming you will find a good choice of combs and brushes in specialist shops. It is important that these are soft and do not cause any injuries. When combing the animal, you lift it preferably with one grip around breast and pelvis and put it on your lap. Especially with long-haired breeds you should not neglect the grooming during the change of coat to avoid any tangles of hair. We even recommend to brush and comb these breeds daily.

Nutrition
Nutrition in autumn

We recommend the feeding of bunny proFIT balance in addition to the basic food to support the change of coat and to ease the change of weather (both for animals kept indoors and outdoors).

bunny proFIT balance contains brewer's yeast, which again contains biotin as well as vitamin B1, B2 and B6. Together with vitamin A and zinc the skin metabolism will be supported and the change of coat will be stimulated.

proFIT balance is available for all foli-/herbivorous (plant eating) small mammals and for granivorous (grain-eating) small mammals, too. We recommend also for all other small mammals to support them with proFIT, since not only rabbits change their coat.

High-quality hay, e.g. bunny FreshGrassHay has to be on the menu. It is very important for the digestion.

Protection against weather
Rabbits in leaves

In late summer and autumn the temperatures are quite chilly already. Rain, wind and sun alternate often. Therefore, open-air enclosures should be weatherised in time. A dry, insulated little house is important. Rabbits and guinea pigs must have the chance to seek shelter from rain and cold. Wet litter must be exchanged against clean and dry litter regularly. Bark mulch is suitable as litter for outdoor areas as it absorbs moisture and keeps warm.

Diseases

Preventive measures

A daily health check is important to prevent from diseases. Eating and drinking, weight, teeth and coat have to be checked regularly. It is recommended to keep and nurse ill animals back to health indoors - especially in case of severe infectious diseases. Your treating veterinarian helps to decide whether the ill animal should stay in the house during the cold season or wether it can move outside again after full recovery.

Respiratory disease

Rabbit snuffles is a common repiratory disease of rabbits. Animals that suffer from snuffles show clear symptoms in autumn time. Therefore, keeping animals outside has to be considered carefully. Rabbit snuffles can show symptoms like a runny nose or even a severe infection of the bronchia and lungs.

Tipps für den Winter

Tipps für den Winter

Kaninchen und Meerschweinchen im Winter.

Der Winter ist in vollem Gange und mittlerweile haben gerade Kaninchen, die auch bei frostigen Temperaturen draußen an der frischen Luft gehalten werden, ein dichtes Winterfell bekommen. Aber auch diejenigen, die in der Wohnung überwintern, sind von einer Klimaumstellung, zum Beispiel durch Heizungsluft, betroffen.

Wie ihr eure Lieblinge in der Winterzeit unterstützen könnt, erklären wir euch hier.

Indoor oder Outdoor? Eine Frage der Gewohnheit!

Sind es Kaninchen und Meerschweinchen nicht gewohnt draußen zu leben, dürfen sie auf keinen Fall erst im Winter in das Freigehege gesetzt werden. Es ist wichtig, sie an eine Outdoor-Haltung heranzuführen, wenn die Temperaturen beständig noch über 15 C° liegen. Nur so kann sich der Körper an die unterschiedlichen Wetterverhältnisse gewöhnen und das Immunsystem frühzeitig gestärkt werden. Kritisch ist zu sehen, ein Tier in der Außenhaltung zwischendurch immer mal wieder ins Haus zu holen, da der Temperaturhaushalt durcheinander gebracht wird. Manchmal ist ein Umzug ins Haus (zum Beispiel bei Krankheit) nicht zu vermeiden. In dieser Situation sollte man es erst im Frühjahr wieder nach draußen setzen, wenn die Temperaturen kontinuierlich wieder über 15 C° liegen.

Haltung

Ob Outdoor- oder Indoorhaltung, bei beiden Haltungsweisen gibt es bestimmte Dinge, die zu beachten sind. Kaninchen und Meerschweinchen sollten bei beiden Haltungsformen auf keinen Fall alleine gehalten werden und auch eine alleinige Stallhaltung im Freien ist nicht artgerecht.

Indoor: Raumklima, Fußbodenheizung und die Unterstützung der Atemwege

Die Indoor-Haltung sollte in unbeheizten Räumen stattfinden. Ist dies nicht möglich ist zu beachten, dass im Winter das Klima in geschlossenen Räumen oft trocken und warm ist. Heizungsluft trocknet die Schleimhäute aus und macht sie somit anfällig für Viren. Regelmäßiges Lüften der Räume ist daher sehr wichtig. Dabei sollten Zugluft und ein starkes Abfallen der Temperatur vermieden werden.

Viele Wohnungen besitzen mittlerweile in einigen Räumen Fußbodenheizungen. Was aber für unsere Füße angenehm warm ist, kann Kaninchen und Meerschweinchen schnell zu warm werden. Sie sitzen direkt am Boden und haben keine Möglichkeiten, der Wärme zu entfliehen. Daher immer darauf achten, dass sie sich da aufhalten, wo keine Fußbodenheizung ist.

Outdoor: Schutz vor Nässe und Frost

Selbst das dickste Winterfell schützt nicht ausreichend vor starker Kälte und Nässe. Es ist wichtig, das Gehege vor Zugluft, Schnee und Regen zu schützen. Bei Freigehegen ist es sinnvoll, die Seiten mit wetterfesten Folien zu versehen, welche Regen und Schnee abhalten. Eine gut isolierte Schutzhütte darf nicht fehlen und sollte Platz für mehrere Tiere bieten, damit diese sich gegenseitig wärmen können. Wärmelampen können zusätzlich für Wäre sorgen.

Weiterhin ist es wichtig, dass das Gehege einen doppelten Boden hat, damit es nicht direkt auf dem kalten Grund steht. Eine Luftzirkulation sollte gegeben sein, um Kälte und Nässe durch Bodenfrost und Feuchtigkeit zu vermeiden. Die Einstreu ist regelmäßig zu wechseln, nasse Einstreu ist täglich gegen trockene auszutauschen. Rindenmulch kann zusätzlich zur Isolierung und Aufnahme von Feuchtigkeit dienen. Insbesondere über Nacht oder an sehr stürmischen Tagen können die Öffnungen der Schutzhütte zusätzlich noch mit einem Tuch abgedeckt werden.

Frisches Trinkwasser
taäglich frisches Wasser

Trinkwasser kann den Tieren in einer Schale oder einer Flasche angeboten werden. Egal ob Indoor- oder Outdoor-Haltung, das Trinkwasser sollte täglich erneuert werden.

Outdoor

Unabhängig davon, ob das Trinkwasser in einer Schale oder einer Flasche angeboten wird, bei Minusgraden wird es früher oder später einfrieren. Daher ist mehrmals täglich das Trinkwasser zu kontrollieren.

Trinkflaschen können zum Beispiel mit haushaltsüblicher Alufolie eingewickelt werden, um sie etwas zu schützen. Dabei ist zu beachten, dass zwischen Flasche und Käfig-/Gehegedraht genügend Platz ist, damit die Tiere die Folie nicht annagen können. Auch ein kleines Holzbrett zwischen Flasche und Draht/ Gitter kann dies verhindern.

Im Fachhandel sind spezielle Schutzhüllen erhältlich, welche das Einfrieren des Wassers verzögern. Aber auch diese ersetzen keine regelmäßigen Kontrollen.

Indoor

Auch wenn am nächsten Morgen noch genügend Wasser für den ganzen Tag in der Trinkflasche/ Schale vorhanden ist empfehlen wir, das Wasser täglich zu wechseln. Abgestandenes Wasser wird nicht nur ungerne getrunken, es setzen sich auch Bakterien darin ab, die schädlich für die Tiere sind.

Ernährung

Bei der Ernährung ist es wichtig zu wissen, dass Kaninchen und Meerschweinchen in der Outdoor-Haltung ganz andere Bedürfnisse haben als diejenigen, die in der Wohnung leben. Neben dem richtigen Futter darf nicht vergessen werden, dass auch im Winter Heu die Hauptnahrung sein sollte. Heu ist besonders wichtig für den Magen-Darmtrakt.

Outdoor
Schnucki mit unserem KaninchenTraum WINTEROUTDOOR

Im Winter steigt der Energiebedarf, somit werden die Stoffwechselfunktionen und die Körpertemperatur aufrecht gehalten. Außerdem ist ein starkes Immunsystem besonders wichtig. Dies wissen wir nur zu gut und haben ein Alleinfutter für Zwergkaninchen entwickelt, welches genau auf die Bedürfnisse im Winter angepasst ist: bunnyNature KaninchenTraum WINTER OUTDOOR.

Ein Extra an Vitaminen und Proteinen dient der Stärkung des Immunsystems. Anissamen, Spitzwegerich und Kamillenblüten unterstützen zusätzlich die Atemwege. Leinsamen und Zink fördern die Bildung des dichten Winterfells und unterstützen die Hautfunktion.

Frisches Gemüse und Obst ist bei niedrigen Temperaturen nur in kleinen Mengen zu füttern, sodass es direkt gefressen wird. Kaltes oder selbst eingefrorenes Obst und Gemüse wirkt sich negativ auf den Magen-Darmtrakt der Tiere aus.

Indoor

Bei der Indoor-Haltung empfehlen wir, das gewohnte Futter weiter zu füttern. Wir bieten unterschiedliche Sorten an (bunnyNature Ernährung). Mit den bunnyNature Kaninchen- und MeerschweinchenTraum Produkten sind die Tiere das ganze Jahr über bestens versorgt.

Krankheiten in der Outdoor-Haltung

In der Außenhaltung wird ein intaktes Immunsystem benötigt, um den Witterungseinflüssen trotzen zu können. Auch vitale und gesunde Tiere können erkranken. Anfällig in der kalten Jahreszeit sind vor allem die Atem- und die Harnwege. Ein täglicher Check ist besonders wichtig.

Die Blase kann schnell bei einem längeren Aufenthalt auf kaltem Boden unterkühlen, was eine Blasenentzündung zur Folge haben kann.

Eine Erkrankung der Atemwege beginnt oftmals mit Ausfluss aus der Nase. Schon bei diesem ersten Symptom sollte ein Tierarzt zur Abklärung der Ursache und zur Behandlung aufgesucht werden.

Zu Verdauungsstörungen kann es in der Außenhaltung z.B. nach Aufnahme von zu kaltem Frischfutter kommen.

Beschäftigung in der Indoor- und Outdoor-Haltung

Im Winter gibt es häufig weniger zu entdecken und gerade in die Wohnung kann es schnell langweilig werden. Hier ein paar tolle Beschäftigungstipps für die dunkle Jahreszeit, die sicher nicht nur den Tieren Spaß machen.

Hier ist der Kopf gefragt!
Hier ist der Kopf gefragt!

Im Fachhandel gibt es für Hunde verschiedene Denk- oder auch Intelligenzspielzeuge. Dieses Spielzeug ist auch für kluge Meerschweinchen und Kaninchenköpfchen geeignet. Unter Hütchen oder Scheiben können Leckerchen oder frisches Obst und Gemüse versteckt werden. Bitte darauf achten, dass das Spielzeug aus naturbelassenem Holz gefertigt wurde, da gerade Kaninchen gerne nagen. Sogenannte Futterbälle können ebenso einfach mit dem Alleinfutter gefüllt werde, welches dann selbst erarbeitet werden muss.

Eine tolle Alternative zu den im Fachhandel erhältlichen Denkspielen ist die selbstgebastelte Variante. Hierzu eignen sich zum Beispiel Toilettenpapierrollen oder auch Eierschachteln. Diese können ebenso mit Leckerchen gefüllt werden. Stopft man an beiden Seiten etwas Heu in die Toilettenpapierrolle, muss der Kopf noch mehr angestrengt werden, um an das Futter zu kommen. Ebenso können aus Papprollen und -kartons Labyrinthe gebastelt werden. Am Ende wartet dann ein Leckerchen.

Die Buddelkiste
Schnucki in seiner Buddelkiste

Vor allem Kaninchen buddeln gerne. Um ihnen diese Freude auch im Haus zu ermöglichen, können Buddelkisten ganz einfach selbst gebaut werden. Eine alte Kiste befüllt mit etwas Erde, Rindenmulch, Buchenholzspänen oder Sand kann schon ihren Zweck erfüllen.

Äste und Hölzer zum Knabbern und Nagen

Äste von Obstgehölzen oder zum Beispiel auch von Weide und Haselnuss eignen sich sehr gut zum Benagen. Zusätzlich kann an den Zweigen Obst und Gemüse befestigt werden. Die Tiere müssen sich strecken um an die Leckereien zu kommen, sind dadurch länger mit der Futteraufnahme beschäftigt und bekommen zudem noch etwas Bewegung.

Our spring topics

Spring is finally here!

The cold, dark winter is over and spring is finally here. Our animals enjoy the first warm sunshine just as much as we do.

But what do rabbits, guinea pigs etc. get up to in spring? We have put together a few facts for you.

Rabbit

Rabbits love springtime. Finally they can move out of their winter quarters indoors and into the garden, or enjoy the sun for a few hours in their outdoor run. Their thick winter fur is no longer needed now, so the change of coat can start.

Before spending their days outside again, rabbits first need to get used to the fresh grass. Too much at once can cause digestive problems and stomach pain, so it is better to start feeding your rabbit small portions every day before they go outside.

Spring time is vaccination time. Myxomatosis and RHD are the most common diseases in rabbits and are usually fatal. Remember to get your rabbit its booster vaccinations regularly.

Guinea pig

Guinea pigs love the first spring sunshine too, and for many of them it means it is time to move into their summer quarters. Guinea pigs have sensitive stomachs and, especially when the grass is so fresh and delicious, sometimes eat too much. Get your animals used to the grass by repeatedly offering them small portions before letting them into the garden for the first time.

Hamster

For wild hamsters, spring is the start of the breeding season. Because they mark their territory more during this period, their side glands are slightly swollen and moist. This may also be the case in pet hamsters. This means that long-haired hamsters can sometimes look very matted when they crawl out of their house.

Dwarf hamster

In the wild, the fur of the Djungarian dwarf hamster becomes lighter in winter. In spring, it slowly turns darker again. The colour of our favourite scurrying friends' fur may also change when they are kept as pets, too.

Degu

Degus originally come from Chile. The mating season is in September and October, as these are the months of spring in Chile. The young are born around 3 months later. This is less important for pets.

Chinchilla

Chinchillas love spring too, as it is time for them to shed their thick coats! Chinchillas often struggle with a change of fur in spring.

Gerbil

In the wild, the Mongolian desert gerbil prefers to spend the cold winter in its burrow. In spring, they then like to use the warm days to search for food and enjoy the sunshine. Like in winter, they are inactive during the cold spring nights. Our pet gerbils also love the sunshine and enjoy sunbathing.

Gathering wild herbs

In spring, when the days become longer and the weather milder, nature begins to blossom once again. It is once again time to gather wild herbs. Not only do rabbits and guinea pigs enjoy the delicious dandelions and daisies ヨ gerbils, for example, also love the fresh greenery.

Many wild herbs are not only a delicious treat for our small mammals: they are also healthy and provide some variety in the diet.

But which wild herbs are safe for them to eat?

Firstly, it is important not to pick herbs from the side of the road, where they are often contaminated. Untreated fields or your own garden are the best places. Many wild herbs look very similar. If you are not sure, leave it be. Plants such as dandelion (rich in calcium, so only feed in moderation), daisies, pigweed and chickweed are all safe for our pets to enjoy.

Garden herbs are also very popular with pets such as gerbils. They really enjoy fresh parsley and basil.

The important thing is to only feed fresh herbs and grass in moderation, in order to prevent digestive problems.

Our expert advice!

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Dr. med. vet. Birgit Zumbrock
Dr. med. vet. Birgit Zumbrock
Veterinarian / Research
Dr. med. vet. Birgit Zumbrock has turned her love for animals into her profession. She dedicates a great amount of blood, sweat and tears to benefitting animals and is particularly concerned with their well-being. Her great specialist knowledge about small rodents makes her an absolute expert for nutritional issues – as well as general health aspects. A small zoo awaits her at home: her free time is enriched by a lively rabbit family and three adorable chinchillas.
Katharina Engling
Katharina Engling
Director of marketing, academy, R & D
Katharina Engling is the bedrock of bunny the company, so to speak. She has been engaged on behalf of small mammals for over 20 years already. She knows all there is to know about the animals' development and requirements, as well as the products. Her responsibilities at bunny include the marketing, academy and R & D. The whole thing started as a pirvate passion for rabbits, while her life is also enriched by two dogs these days.
Ursula Englisch
Ursula Englisch
Director of production, QM
Ursula Englisch has quality assurance in her DNA, so to speak. Nothing that fails to conform with the quality requirements to 100 % will be processed or produced. She and her team ensure our constant high quality with a keen eye and expertise. As a food technologist, she proves her eye for the essentials anew every day. She is just the right person to contact for all questions to do with product quality.
Svenja Cebulla
Svenja Cebulla
Community management
Svenja Cebulla has been an enthusiastic pet owner for many years. She has taken small rodents to her heart since her early childhood. Guinea pigs, rabbits and mice have all found a wonderful home with her. At this moment in time, four cheeky gerbils are conquering her heart. But she is not only fond of small rodents: her time off is also spent with two dogs and a horse. She has turned her passion for animals into her job and studied "animal management" in the Netherlands.
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