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Caring for Your Pet Mouse

Pet Mouse

Mice have been kept as pets for centuries. This is in part because of their curious and charming manner and in part because they are low maintenance, easy to keep, and make gentle fun pets for kids. Because they are small, they do not need an overly large cage, and are the perfect animal for those living where there is not enough room for larger animals.

Like all animals your pet mouse will require certain things to keep them healthy, the better you take care of your little companion the happier he will be and the longer he will live.

Avoid Going to the Pet Store for Mice

Most people do not know any better than to head to the local store and buy their child a pet mouse, but this is not the best way to buy a companion for your child. If you want a healthy, well bred, and tame animal then your best option is to find a breeder. Breeders take pride in their mice, and offer well-adjusted healthy animals that will make great pets. Reputable breeders will breed their mice to enhance certain characteristics, such calmness, and friendliness towards people. You can find breeders by checking the newspapers and asking around at shelters and local pet stores.

Setting up a Home for Your Mice

An important part of making sure your pet mouse is happy is to take care when setting up their home. Mice are social animals so it is always better to make sure you keep them in pairs. They breed prolifically however, so always make sure you buy two females or two males.
You won't need an overly large cage for them, however it is important to make sure the cage you put them in is secure. No matter how friendly your mice are, they will escape if given a chance. A two-foot square cage is plenty of room. Make sure that your cage has good ventilation, a wire cage, or a glass aquarium with a wire top both work well. Ammonia fumes build up fast without adequate ventilation and this can make your mice sick. If you do choose a wire cage, be aware that the bars should be no more than a quarter of an inch apart, anything bigger and little mice can squeeze through them.

Bedding and Accessories

Bedding and accessories can have a big impact on your little friend's health and wellbeing. Bedding should be aspen shavings, which can be a bit harder to find and a touch more expensive, but you do not want to use pine or cedar. Pine and cedar are both soft woods, which have a strong volatile oil in them that can make your mice sick. 
Don?t forget toys, these can be as simple as cardboard tubes and boxes to hide in or climb on. They can also shred them, which help them with their need to chew. Rodents all love wheels and mice are no exception. Tunnels and tubes for your mice to run in, as well as ropes to climb will keep your critters active and healthy. Use your imagination and you will not have to spend a lot of money on toys, simply look for things that your mice can climb on, or crawl through. PVC pipe, wood blocks, paper egg cartons are just a few things your mice will enjoy.

Feeding Your Mice

Diet is not a big problem with these guys, a good quality commercial diet will supply the majority of their needs. Stick with pellets or blocks, mixed foods tend to allow them to pick and choose, and the end result is they do not always get a balanced diet. You should also offer small amounts of fruits and vegetables to your mice. Greens, peas, broccoli, apples, and bananas are all good choices. Keep in mind that your mice are small, it is easy to over feed them, which can cause digestive problems such as diarrhea, so do not offer more than just a few bits each day.

Cleaning up After Your Mice

Mice are not the cleanest of animals, and tend to smell bad because of the strong ammonia content of their urine. You should clean up fresh food bits and soiled areas of bedding daily, to keep the smell from becoming overwhelming. Males tend to produce more odor, so you may need to give their cages a complete cleaning a couple of times a week. With females, you can clean them once a week and do a few spot cleanings during the week and it should keep the odor down. You will need to remove your mice once a week, empty all of the bedding, disinfect the cage, and wipe it down completely.

Mice can make fun and engaging companions. Training these guys to do things like sitting on your shoulder is easy. It is best to start with young mice that have been handled and are comfortable with humans. With the proper care and handling, you or your child will have a companion that will live one to three years and repeatedly delight you with their antics.



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