WE LOVE PRAIRIE DOGS

Pets, Rescue, Relocation and Information

Prairie Dog Pet Care

 

If you have questions regarding the information provided here, please feel free to email us with your questions or concerns. You’ll notice links to other information on this site specifically Books For Pleasure that contain references to prairie dog pet care books. Please note that many of these resources may be outdated when it comes to captive pet care and much may have changed in this regard since their publication as we are learning that this species is not easily generalized in their care. If you are in need of help please email and we might be able to connect you to a veterinarian in your area or a consultant to help you with issues you may be facing regarding Prairie Dog pet care, behavior, habitat, and more.


About Caging


Please take time to read the caging section in its entirety. We acknowledge that it is quite lengthy but it involves a very important aspect in the long term welfare of keeping pet Prairie Dogs that we feel requires careful thought and thorough understanding so an educated owner can completely grasp the "big picture" before making habitat choices for their beloved pet. It contains valuable information throughout and concludes with some pointers to consider regardless of your choice between using a cage, enclosure or both. It is extremely challenging trying to create the "perfect" habitat for a pet Prairie Dog, almost any option you choose will have some weak point or aspect that could be improved upon. The challenge is working with your purchase or creation and improving it as you note needed changes and continually evaluating your choices and how they impact your pet over its life span. Short term choices are never the problem, it is how those short term choices impact health and safety long term. If you would like free, personalized, consultation services to help you with your cage or habitat design, feel free to contact us and we can get you pointed in the right direction. Note other aspects of captive habitat such as bedding, toys, litter, water bottles, hay bins and other accessories will be found in other sections of this website soon, make sure to read those passages as well! We will also follow-up with another segment on outdoor enclosures for those interested so check back periodically!

Ultimately, your cage and/or enclosure should be designed to keep your Prairie Dog safe and entertained when they cannot be out with you and while you are away from home. Prairie Dogs are incredible escape artists and a secure cage and/or enclosure is a critical component that needs careful consideration. When it comes to the overall size and dimensions of your cage or enclosure, the world is your oyster as long as you make sure to take certain factors into account.

When trying to decide whether to go with a cage or enclosure take some time to think about both you and your pet's immediate needs and to make a checklist that weighs all of the pros and cons of your choices over a long period of time. Making a thorough checklist before getting started is a great idea that may save you from wasting time and money. You need to be willing to periodically check any caging and/or enclosure you utilize and evaluate what is important to you in terms of safety, fun, and maintenance over time. What are the cage or enclosures weak points and how do I remedy them if and when my prairie dog discovers them? Prairie dogs are quite smart and industrious and you can be sure they will find the weakest point in any choice you make; the key is finding ways to manage those weak links easily as they arise. What type of caging and/or enclosure provides that easiest cleanup and will be maintenance free the longest? What do I need to think about to keep my Prairie Dog safe? Can it fall? Are there areas where my Prairie Dog could get trapped or caught resulting in injury. Make sure to consider this issue both when the cage or enclosure is empty and also once beds, toys, and other accessories are added. Are my choices going to result in a large amount of effort and cost in the long run if I need to replace segments or are there sections that my Prairie Dog may find weak enough to constantly work at to escape providing the risk of injury? Is there a way in my design to prevent tooth trauma or cage nose that still allows for adequate ventilation that is paramount to a Prairie Dog's long term respiratory health? Do my choices allow my Prairie Dog the ability to be centrally located in the house where they are highly visible and can get routine visual and verbal interaction with me even if I don't have time to supervise them out of their cage or enclosure?

For some people cost is one of their primary concerns. You should ask yourself, "Will building this particular inexpensive style of a cage or enclosure result in my building and/or replacing it entirely with many cages or enclosures over my prairie dogs lifespan, actually costing more money in the long run because the construction materials degraded quickly and presented health or safety risks to my pet?" Many people choose different types of wood frames for their caging and/or enclosures due to cost and ease of construction only to later realize that the wood will get compromised over time with water from when you clean it and with urine and waste from your pet. Due to the porous nature of wood grains, there is no sure way to safely get it clean and over time it can grow harmful bacteria and/or mold which can possibly lead to respiratory problems with your Prairie Dog or be lethally toxic if ingested by your pets gnawing activities. There are no safe chemicals to use to clean and completely eliminate the germs, mold and/or bacteria growing in the wood that wouldn't impact the long term health of your Prairie Dog. People that use wood in their caging and enclosures often discover that they need to routinely monitor and replace sections over time when they are compromised from digging, gnawing, or from becoming wet by various means. Some people think that simply sealing or finishing the wood will take care of this issue, but again, over time, there is gradual degradation, regardless of how it is finished, that will eventually result in the need to replace certain sections of your cage/enclosure. If you are not a handy woodworker or are not inclined to periodically perform the required reconstruction, wood may not be a wise choice of building materials. One way some owners remedy the wood problems is by covering the wood in metal or plastic flashing pieces. This can work but the owner needs to make sure to periodically check areas where it is bolted or screwed into the wood as those are the weak points that degrade and become compromised by moisture as described above. We would ask the owner to question why to use wood at all and maybe metal or plastic is a wiser choice, but then there are some drawbacks to using these materials too. Depending on the metal you choose, it can degrade more slowly than wood, but offers another potential health risk, rust. If the metal degrades to the point where rust is starting to form and could be ingested from licking or gnawing by your pet or cause skin problems from exposure, it needs to be replaced. Some owners know upfront that they may go through a few cages or enclosure setups in their Prairie Dogs lifetime and therefore incorporate that knowledge into their thought process in their design and how much expense per setup they are willing to make. Some metal wired cages will last 4-5 years depending on your upkeep and the type of metal you choose. Plastic can be porous in nature like wood depending on what you choose or become porous with digging or gnawing combined with repeated cleanings if chemicals are used. Urine can eventually permeate the plastic and only harsh and unsafe chemicals can be used to remove the odors. Plus, some plastics can be worked on and degraded over time by your Prairie Dog and even possibly ingested by their digging and gnawing. Some plastic has been reported to become warped and too flexible from pressure washing and hot water washings. Finding good quality, highly durable, long lasting, and easy to clean building materials is usually particularly challenging for a Prairie Dog owner. Most other species of animals do not work on their cages in the manner Prairie Dogs do so they are not built with them in mind.
 
 
State laws change continually, do not assume that any exotic animal is legal to own in your state, even if you’ve owned them there in the past. If prairie dogs are legal to own in your state, please make sure you have a local exotic veterinarian available that is knowledgeable about prairie dogs, and that you have done thorough research about how to care for them properly in captivity BEFORE acquiring this unique species as a pet. Each home situation will impact a prairie dog differently so individualized consultation is strongly recommended 

Email weloveprairiedogs@yahoo.com for information to find out whether prairie dogs are legal to own as pets in your state, for consultation regarding zoo enclosure recommendations, captive care & nutrition, & owner education at no charge. 



PMS Recycled Vermin 

Daryl Hogue & Lynda Watson 

30 years experience in wild-to-wild relocation services, captive breeding, & pet sales of prairie dogs. Email us at weloveprairiedogs@yahoo.com

 



 

This website is meant for informational purposes only and is not meant to endorse any particular relocators, breeders, pet food manufacturers, or other affiliated entities. This Site is not Owned or Operated By Lynda Watson/ Daryl Hogue, but we will forward emails to the appropriate entity with concerns or questions, and thank you for visiting the site.

 


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