Shocking Fact #1: Pet stores sell rabbit food with corn in it and even picture corn on the packaging. Rabbits should not eat corn as a regular part of their diets.
Shocking Fact #2: Rabbit books sold in pet stores to educate new rabbit owners advise that it is okay to house rabbits and guinea pigs together. What those books typically fail to mention is that rabbits should not have access to guinea pig food. Rabbits have sensitive stomachs and their nutritional requirements differ from those of the guinea pig.
Shocking Fact #3: Pet store staff is not always well informed about animal health requirements. Relying on pet store staff for animal health information can prove disastrous. (See Shocking Fact #4). The information they provide may be incomplete. For example, pet store owners fairly routinely advise customers to house goldfish in small tanks. The difficulties of precisely calibrating fish tanks give goldfish far better odds of long-term survival in a tank larger than 10 gallons.
Pet store employees are not in the business of providing long-term pet care, but selling pets. While they may know some basics about pet care, they should not be a new pet owner’s sole source of information about the pet coming home.
Shocking Fact #4: Pet stores often treat pet ownership as a hobby and propose cost saving supplies that will close a sale even when the use of those supplies is not in the best interest of the pet. For example, the fact that an aquatic turtle may survive in the wild in a given geographic location does not mean that its tank can be safely left unheated. Captive turtles face higher stress levels than those in the wild and are more prone to illness. The safest bet for the animal is to invest in a heater purchase.
Shocking Fact #5: Cedar and pine shavings are sold in pet stores as suitable for guinea pigs and rabbits, even picturing those animals on the bag. However, the aromatic oils in cedar and pine shavings can be deadly for rabbits and guinea pigs. If you use wood shavings in rabbit or guinea pig cages, use aspen. There are newer alternatives on the market not made from wood at all.
Shocking Fact #7: The recent tainted pet food scare brought to light that commercial pet foods sold in grocery and pet stores often contain ingredients that are unhealthy for pets. These include BHT, BHA, ethoxyquin and propylene glycol. Its important to know what’s in the food your pets are eating, just the same as it is for people.
If you decide to make an unfamiliar animal a pet, talk to breeders and veterinarians and read comprehensive pet care books to learn about the pet. Relying on the employees in pet stores or assuming that pet foods and pet products advertised for a particular type of pet are safe for that pet could be a illness-inducing or even deadly mistake.
If you found this article informative, you might also like to read my other articles on pets. Read about rabbits or turtles by clicking on the highlighted words in this sentence.