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Researching Pet Prairie Dogs

Considering Owning a Prairie Dog? Owned One in the Past?

© February 2018 by Gena Seaberg, Ph.D., All Rights Reserved

Considering a prairie dog as a new captive pet? Owned a prairie dog in the past that may not have lived into their teens? Looking for an honest and reputable source of pups and not just another dealer telling you what you want to hear to take your money? Do not know which gender is best suited for a well-bonded and smooth outcome for your specific home dynamic and whether getting one or a pair is best, and why this is important to know now? Doing a great deal of research online and finding widely varied guidance, experiences, and tips? Want to learn consistent, tried-and-true information based on work relating to tens of thousands of prairie dogs in captive settings and doctoral research proven to help countless live into their teens for the past 29+ years? Do you want to receive personalized assistance to ensure a great experience from the beginning where monies and time are spent correctly from the start and not at the animal's expense? Where you have everything you need in advance and are prepared from day one, and can be proactive instead of reactive with a precious life in your hands?


If you want to learn more, this is the time to schedule a FREE PD101 consultation! This consultation is part of a FREE two-part series to provide you with all the tools you'll need now to make informed choices. The personalized consultation, meant to be partnered with extensive written information, will help you understand what will work best for your unique home dynamic to ensure success from day one. It will help you make sure that you have all the proper resources on hand so that you're spending your monies correctly the first time and have the understanding of the species to determine what's best for long-term success over time for happiness for you and this precious and misunderstood underdog. The second part of the free series, PDBond101, is scheduled one week BEFORE obtaining your prairie dog to ensure that you have the skills ready to form fast bonds and understand their vocalizations and body language to develop a positive relationship quickly. You'll have the skills to know what they are communicating to you during daily interactions with this brilliant animal. This knowledge can save you from bites and erratic behavior from the beginning as you'll understand them on their terms by reading their language and instinct-based behaviors.


Why is the consult necessary and the written information not readily provided without it? Each prairie dog and its captive experience will be very different and unique for everyone as this is a species that is heavily influenced by all species within a home and even influenced by those outside of it, so this is why personalized consultation can be quite helpful in determining what gender and caretaking tips are best for your chemistry and more. Reading general information can cause serious challenges that could be avoided if the nuances of each home are assessed in advance and then the partnered written information can be more beneficial and applicable once unique dynamics are understood.


Often this animal can be quite challenging and is not a simple or easy pet. This service is not an endorsement of prairie dogs in the pet trade, but for those that are, it is my priority, as a specialist in this species worldwide, as my full-time occupation to ensure that they are understood and receive the best care possible.


Please contact me today to set up your free consultation at, (425) 870-1729, or via private message through Facebook Messenger. Future consultation is provided at no cost. Simple courtesy is requested in future scheduling to allow for the necessary time to assess each unique situation. Often, many variables in your specific day-to-day interaction will impact them uniquely, and asking questions by phone allows us to get to the heart of their situation that will be unlike other people's due to dynamics in each home that vary.


While this species can be an extraordinary experience, please think and consider the following as you conduct your research:


1) Is ANYONE in your home allergic to hay? One of my first homework problems assigned to potential new owners is to ask them to buy a significant amount of hay and open it within a large tub, and put it in a home's central area for two months. Sometimes asking other family members to handle the hay is an excellent way to determine if someone is allergic.


Keep in mind that this animal, if kept under provided guidance, can live for ten or more years, especially if the majority of their daily diet is through the hearty intake of grass-based hay. Grass-based pellets are not a substitution for hay and will minimize/shorten lifespan. Will one of your family members be miserable by keeping this animal as a pet?


2) Yes, this animal can bite, and the bites can be quite extreme. Prairie dog ownership is not at all like owning a hamster or guinea pig, and some bites can send you to the hospital. Getting free consultation can help you learn warning signs before a bite and can help you if you have been bitten by learning proper wound management for this species as their bites can be complicated to resolve and heal. Anxiousness, nervousness, or fear around this animal following a biting episode or at the potential of a bite can sabotage your bond and cause poor outcomes. This behavior often leads to rehoming situations for the animal due to being misunderstood or placed in a home where its unique characteristics were overlooked, making the match a poor one from day one.


3) Are prairie dogs legal to own as pets in your state/county/country? Is a permit required? There are times when up to six (6) or more agencies are involved in the legality of owning this exotic pet, not just one agency. Therefore, if you're told yes by one authority, it doesn't mean that they are legal to own unless you've thoroughly investigated this topic.


Understand that even if the seller of the animal tells you they are legal that they want your money! They'll tell you just about anything to get it as they already know that the responsibility of knowing legality is on the buyer, not the seller, and it is on you to know.


4) If they are illegal in your state, can you find knowledgeable and experienced veterinary care for some of their more challenging health matters? Do you already have a vet in mind and ready before you get a prairie dog that will see it? Find out in advance what the costs are of spay/neuter? Are they prohibitive?


5) Prairie dogs are best served by being part of your home's daily traffic and flow to feel part of a colony as they are attempting to replicate their colony-based behaviors in your home. Many tend to have behavioral issues and anxiety in being maintained in back rooms where they cannot see and predict what's around them or happening outside their view. Can you keep them in a centralized area of your home to help them feel part of the family?


6) They are messy and can be very destructive, although they see it as being constructive and contributing to your colony. Are you prepared for your walls, baseboards, carpet, and furniture to be "worked on"? There are ways to teach them what's permissible to construct from what's not through a free consultation, but you need to be prepared for items to be personalized by them.


7) Do you rent? Is your landlord okay with you owning an exotic capable of #6 above?


8) Prairie dogs always try to test and exploit their environment for weakness. This means you need to be on your toes and vigilant as it investigates its world and creates, and you need to be flexible and adaptive to what it presents you. Are you up to the task?

Researching Pet Prairie Dogs
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