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This page is for your information only.
We do not breed Prairie Dogs.

THE PRAIRIE DOG
(Ground Squirrel)

Prairie Dogs are ground squirrels that, in the wild, live in huge towns and have an intense and complex social life. They kiss, hug, groom, pat and play with each other continually. They never tire of this closeness, it is part of their mental wellness. When we bring them into “captivity” we must reproduce this behaviour. If you are a person that has the time and loves to cuddle -- these little guys are for you. They do not care who you are or what you look like, all they want to do is be with you! They exist to pat your face, kiss your nose, curl up in your lap and be loved.
Average life span in captivity is 12 years (2-3 years if fed a high fat diet).

PRAIRIE DOGS AS PETS

THE BIG THREE: AFFECTIONATE, CLEANLINESS AND CHEWING! As said above, they can make great pets. But, remember, they need this attention every day.

HOUSING

Minimum cage should be 24”x24”x30” high. Hagen’s chinchilla cage will work only if the Prairie Dog is out for most of the day. Multi-level ferret cages work well.

BEDDING

Hardwood chip bedding, such as aspen is the best. CareFresh Pet Bedding, Corn Cob or Pine bedding will also work as long as it is not dusty. The dust can cause upper respiratory problems. NEVER use cedar shavings, as cedar contains phenols, which can cause severe irritation to a Prairie Dog.

ACCESSORIES

Prairie Dogs also must chew, if not their teeth will grow forever, which can cause serious problems (the bottom two incisors will grow up into the roof of the mouth). So you must provide them with “toys”. Non-toxic branches from arbutus or fruit trees that have not been chemically treated, hard rubber, nylabones for dogs, rope toys, bricks and chinchilla stones. Note, if you do not give it something to chew on it will chew on something of YOURS!
They are very clean and can be potty trained. Supply them with a large ceramic bowl, filled with 1-2” of sand or kitty litter for a potty. They need a house to sleep in with hay or cut up T-shirt’s or shredded computer paper for their sleeping bedding.

TRAINING

Prairie Dogs will usually return to their cage to use the potty. Just remember to leave their cage door open and easily accessible while your pet is out and about. Leash training is pleasant and easy. Introduce a figure “8” harness or an adjustable “H” harness to your baby as soon as possible. Once it is used to the harness, clip on the leash and let it wander as you exert little or no pressure on the leash. When the animal ventures in the wrong direction, gradually restrain it. This will teach it to maintain a little slack on the leash. At the same time the use of positive reinforcement and treats (bribes) will help. A sharp clap of your hands and a strong verbal “NO” will deter your Prairie Dog from doing something that you do not want him to do. Such as chewing on something inappropriate, if he does chew on something say NO and immediately move him away and give him a chew toy of his own.

Prairie Dogs retire early and it is not uncommon for a pet Prairie Dog to turn in at 7:30pm.

SPAYING OR NEUTERING

Prairie Dogs must be neutered or spayed during the fall of the year they were born. Prairie Dogs are seasonal breeders. Their hormones go through huge surges that can begin as early as October and last until March. Prairie Dogs can develop a major case of PMS and a strong urge to protect their territory. This basically means that your sweet baby can become irritable, crabby and may produce a nasty bite. Males can become impacted with secretions and debris in the penal sheath which is not pleasant to deal with and costly (veterinary bills!). Under no circumstances do you punish the animal while it is going through this -- it will only become more defensive. The simple solution: SPAY or NEUTER your Prairie Dog!

BUYING A PRAIRIE DOG

Whether you are buying a Prairie Dog from a pet store or a breeder, you should ask questions, even if you know the answers from your own research. This will tell you how knowledgeable they really are. If they don't know what they are talking about, buyer beware! If they don't want to give you any information or want to help you, buyer beware!
Check out their facilities carefully. Look for overcrowding, dirty cages, unhealthy animals, smell the air. If the animals are overcrowded and/or the cages are dirty, be very cautious about buying a
Prairie Dog. There shouldn't be any sickly animals in sight, any good breeder/pet shop will have a "sick" room for any animals that aren't up to par. If the establishment/breeding facility has a very strong odour, be very careful, even if it looks clean, the smell is coming from somewhere. Any place, that has animals, will have a smell to it. The larger the facility, the stronger the odour. They just can't clean as fast as the animals do their business. But if the odour is overpowering, then there might be something else under the surface, use caution.
Check the health of the animal before you buy it and handle it. If they won't let you handle it before you buy it. They may be hiding something, WATCH OUT! Handling the
Prairie Dog tells you how tame it is and you have a chance to check its health. Look for discharge from its eyes and nose, sneezing, wet rear end and firmness of body. If it has any of these conditions or its body appears thin, don't buy it. Don't even consider another Prairie Dog from the same cage as the other Prairie Dog may also have the same problems. The Prairie Dog you choose should be bright eyed and interested in what is going on without being too nervous. There eyes and nose should be clear, the rear end dry and the body firm to the touch.
If possible, check references. Referrals from other satisfied customers will tell you a lot about that breeder's/pet shop's quality of animals, their care and concern for the animals well-being, their "customer service" and how much information they are willing to share.

DIET

Diet: A Prairie Dog in the wild eats marginal plants, those high in fibre and low in fat. A Prairie Dog fed a diet high in fat will become obese and die at a young age. An average adult Prairie Dog should have the following foods in its diet to promote good health.
Grass hay or timothy hay -- free choice
Hay blocks or products with more than 25% alfalfa are not recommended
Rodent blocks (i.e. Hagen’s Nutri-blocks)
A good parrot mix -1 tsp. per day as a treat
Dry dog food -- 1 tbsp. or 1 monkey biscuit per day as a treat
Leafy dark green vegetables, fresh grass, dandelion leaves and/or clover -- ½ cup (packed) daily
Other vegetables and fruit -- 2 tsp. - daily. Favourites: sweet potato, carrot, broccoli and green beans
Water at all times with vitamin supplementation added
Newly weaned babies are usually fed 25% of this daily ration
Do not give them human food as this will lead to obesity and early death!

This page is for your information only.
We do not breed Prairie Dogs.


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Last updated February 2009