When It Comes to Small Pets, Think Big-Picture – MarketWatch

Springtime can trigger thoughts of fuzzy small animals like guinea pigs and hamsters, so it’s not surprising that it’s also the most popular time of year for parents to surprise children with new small pets. But before that cuddly chinchilla comes home, it’s important for families to spend some time researching each animal’s characteristics so they determine what pet is just right for their family. PetSmart(R) PETM -0.54% is taking this springtime opportunity to highlight key factors to consider when selecting a new family pet.

“Choosing a pet should never be a spur-of-the-moment decision, and families need to consider how the pet is going to fit into their lives,” says Dr. Kemba Marshall, veterinarian and pet care expert at PetSmart. “Talking to an associate about each pet’s unique characteristics and doing some background research online will help families prepare for what to expect and to care for their new pet.”

How to get started:

Pick the perfect pet: To find the perfect match, families must consider how each pet will fit into their lifestyle. Several online resources, including PetSmart’s Small Pet Center, provide tips on how to choose a small pet, whether it’s a rat, gerbil or hamster, based on children’s ages, pet-care experience, daily time requirements for care and lifespan.

Choose the right habitat: Each pet has unique habitat requirements and there are must-have supplies and accessories to keep the pet happy and healthy. For example, rats need a cage with both height and width so they have room to climb and explore; guinea pigs need a habitat with plenty of floor space to play; and hamsters need a multilevel habitat large enough to include an exercise wheel and tunnels as they have tons of energy.

More here: When It Comes to Small Pets, Think Big-Picture – MarketWatch.