Timely reminders from Jungle Park
Lots of children received a new pet for Christmas. It might have been a lovely little puppy or a fluffy kitten or maybe even a bird or a reptile? Something they have probably always wanted.
If so, with more than a month having gone by, those pets will be growing up fast and you will be starting to realise that having an animal in your care is not all plain sailing. As a young pet owner, it’s your responsibility to look after them, not pass the buck to mum and dad when you are too tired to take you puppy out or clean out the gerbil’s cage.
Tenerife’s Jungle Park is one of the organisations here which really cares about the welfare and happiness of animals, obviously within their own park but in private homes as well. They hope that by giving out regular advice, they can make life easier for owners and pets alike and would like to remind everyone of their duties. “Respect, love and responsibility” are their key words.
Here are Jungle Park’s top reminders for young pet owners.
Make sure you maintain a daily exercise routine. Take care of its training. Look after its hygiene, with special attention to its teeth, the prevention of fleas and proper vaccinations. Make sure you take your dog to the vet at least once a year.
Although cats spend a lot of the day sleeping, they still need exercise and play. Balls, bells and toy laser pointers are a great idea ( but take care with the latter, buy only a make especially for cats and do not point them at their eyes). Make sure you look after their well-being and pay attention to their coats. They should also go to the vet for a check-up at least once a year.
It’s very important to make sure they have clean cages. Let them enjoy a bit of sunshine in the day (but again, take care, direct sunlight in the summer can be very very hot so exercise caution and sense). Give them the correct diet. In addition to their bird food, vegetables rich in Vitamin A are recommended. Don’t just leave them in their cage to fend for themselves. Inter-act with them. They need affection and entertainment so provide them with things to play on, such as a swing as its fundamental they get exercise. (Please also ensure their cages are spacious enough).
One of the most important aspects about keeping any sort of reptile is their habitat. Many species require a special cage or different type of territory. You must provide the right humidity, dimensions, light (they need ultra-violet on lots of occasions) etc. Their diet also varies enormously depending on whether you have a tortoise, a snake, iguana or chameleon. Make sure you are properly informed about their needs and their environment and very importantly, do check about whether it is an endangered species, as many of them are. For this, you will need special permission.
The same advice about space and habitat applies. The size of the aquarium in which you keep them is fundamental to their well-being and care. You must ask about the particular species you have or want to keep and whether they mix or not. Take expert advice about lighting and temperature and monitor this on a regular basis; this is particularly important if you are keeping tropical fish.
Please keep their hutches clean and tidy. Wipe them out regularly with a clean damp cloth but don’t use detergent or soap. Take very special care with their diet and make sure you change their food and water on a daily basis. It’s a good idea to have piece of wood for them (suitable for hamsters) so they can gnaw. This is very important for their teeth and to strengthen them. Put a wheel in their cage so they can have enjoyment and exercise, a cardboard box area in which they can sleep and a sand litter tray. Try to bring them up from a baby as this way, they get to know you and are more docile.
The Jungle Park experts would advise you not to have just one rabbit. They are very sociable creatures and like to play with other animals of the same species. They adore being cherished and loved and don’t like sudden movements or sounds which can scare them. Frequent visits to the vet are important. Exercise is fundamental to the welfare of rabbits and they just have lots of room to let off steam. Ensure they get the right diet with hay, mixed feed and vegetables being part of their essential requirements.