The disadvantages of keeping prairie dogs as pets far outweigh the advantages. But the cuteness factor of these unique creatures keep the pet trade moving along with more and more people wanting prairie dogs as pets. Before you take on one of these animals into your care, you should weigh all of the factors of ownership so there will be no surprises once the prairie dog is in your home.
Without a doubt, the cuteness and uniqueness factors of the prairie dog are what interest people the most. Not very many people have prairie dogs so some individuals might get the thrill of having the only prairie dog or dogs in the neighborhood. Their sweet faces and rounded bodies are adorable which attract many to wanting to own one of these animals. Their compact size also means they don't take up a lot of space unlike larger animals such as dogs.
Besides their constant need for companionship, care for the prairie dog is minimal. They require a clean cage, food and water, and toys for play and exercise. They can be litter box trained and can be fed a high-quality rabbit pellet along with other vegetation.
Some prairie dogs do adapt to captivity but not very often. They can become friendly and sociable with humans but when they don't bond with their owner, they can become stressed and bite. Because these are social creatures, they require a lot of attention from their owner. When left alone, prairie dogs can become depressed leading to behavioral problems.
When prairie dogs are handled properly when young, they can socialize and become unique pets. However, many of these animals have been taken from their wild habitat and do not adjust to captivity. This causes many behavior issues such as depression and biting. Because prairie dogs chew, they can escape many types of cages and when loose in the house, they can cause quite a bit of damage.
Prairie dogs can also carry diseases. An outbreak of monkeypox was noted in pet prairie dogs...
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