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Research is just not for Scientists

Posted on: February 9th, 2019

Recently in the news, there has been a lot of talk about hedgehogs spreading salmonella to their owners. Having recently acquired a hedgehog, the reaction to these articles peaked my attention. When I found out I would be getting a hedgehog, I immediately started researching whatever I could to learn how I should care for my new hedgehog. During that process, a friend sent me an article explaining salmonella in hedgehogs so that I could become familiar with how to handle and interact with her. Often times, we don’t think about the importance of learning about even common animals that are in our homes. Not only is it important to research for health concerns, but general information as well. Here are some examples and tips to look for when bringing a new animal into your home:

  • General care – What do I need to feed that animal? What kind of housing do they require? What kind of exercise do they need? How big will the animal grow to be (e.g. with reptiles, dog breeds)?
  • Like with the hedgehog example above, find out if the animal has any zoonotic/health concerns you should be aware of. Like hedgehogs, reptiles carry salmonella in their digestive tracts. Another example occurs with a very common pet – the cat! It is recommended that pregnant women should not clean litter boxes as cat feces can contain toxoplasmosis.
  • Can I even have that pet? – It is important to look at state, local, and even HOA and apartment guidelines when bringing in a new pet. In some states, common pets are illegal to have (e.g. ferrets in California). Additionally, you may face issues like Breed-Specific Legislation in places like Denver. Finally, HOAs and apartment complexes often restrict the type and number of pets you can have in their area.
  • Do I have the finances to properly care for that pet? Many animals will require specialty food, vet care, and even housing – this doesn’t come cheap! Before getting a pet, look into the financial resources needed to properly care for that animal.

While this is all important information to consider, we don’t want it to discourage you from bringing a new companion into your home. Through research, you can find credible sources that will help you properly prepare for your new companion. Take health, legislation, care needs, and your personal situation into consideration and you’ll find the right companion for your family!

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