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Practice Name

Boyette Animal Hospital

Primary Location
10931 Boyette Road
Riverview, FL 33569
Phone: 813-671-3400

Office Hours

DayOpenClosed
Monday7:00am7:00pm
Tuesday7:00am7:00pm
Wednesday7:00am7:00pm
Thursday7:00am7:00pm
Friday7:00am6:30pm
Saturday8:00am4:00pm
Sunday5pm to 7pmBoarding Only
Main Content

“Pocket Pets”-  little joys and big responsibility
By: Michelle Ferrera, DVM

Wander into any local pet store and you’ll likely find an array of cute little “pocket pets”.  “Pocket pets” is a term used to describe an array of small mammals which are kept as pets.  These pint-sized pets are creatures such as mice, rats, gerbils, hamsters, ferrets, rabbits, hedgehogs and chinchillas.  These pets have gained immense popularity due to their size, demeanor, and ease of housing.  Many parents allow their children to have a ‘pocket pet’ before a larger pet, as pocket pets can teach children valuable lessons regarding responsibility and husbandry.   It is important to do some research, however, before purchasing a small mammal, so that you can be prepared for the needs and care of the pet. There is a lot of responsibility that comes with pet ownership, even when the pet is tiny! 

Although small, each of these pets has very specific housing, care, and food requirements. 

For example, with proper care and attention, rabbits can make lovely housepets. .   They can be neutered to prevent some types of objectionable behavior and improve health of the animal long-term.  They can be trained to urinate in a litterbox and have outgoing, curious personalities that their owners love.  They have very specific dietary needs, however, and the improper diet can lead quickly to severe dental disease and gastrointestinal problems.  Even the wrong type of hay fed to a rabbit can cause serious health issues!  Do not rely solely on recommendations of a pet store clerk or internet regarding food choice and  bedding- there is a lot of misinformation available that can harm the health of your pet.

Selecting your pet properly will prevent many problems.  Make sure that you purchase your pet from a reputable source.  Be sure to note if there is odor to the enclosure, see if the water source is fresh and clean.  Also, it is often a good idea to purchase the pocket pet while young. This allows the pet to become accustomed to human interaction while still young and impressionable.  Many older pocket pets have not been socialized properly and thus may be more likely to bite or to hide from humans.

Routine veterinary care is important even for pocket pets.  You will want to select a veterinarian who is comfortable treating your specific species of pocket pet.  We recommend routine wellness exams for pocket pets.  These exams can identify problems such as dental disease early, while still treatable.  These wellness exams are also a great time to discuss the proper food and housing for your pocket pet, which vary widely from species to species.  Your veterinary care team will direct you toward resources for appropriate care of your small pet, and help you to enjoy the best relationship possible with your new family member.

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Feature Articles

Community Vaccine Clinic Learn more about a better alternative to low cost, parking lot vaccine events. Angie's List Award Boyette Animal Hospital has earned the service industry’s coveted Angie’s List Super Service Award ...

Testimonial

I can't express how Thankful I am for the Doctors and staff here. I brought my chihuahua "son" in yesterday for a check up after being attacked by a neighbors large dog earlier in the week. As usual, we both were treated with great care and concern as I also was a bit emotional. This is a place were the staff Truly care about animals/pets. I wouldn't take my fur babies Anywhere else and have referred my friends multiple times.

- Angie W. / Riverview, FL

Office Hours

DayOpenClosed
Monday7:00am7:00pm
Tuesday7:00am7:00pm
Wednesday7:00am7:00pm
Thursday7:00am7:00pm
Friday7:00am6:30pm
Saturday8:00am4:00pm
Sunday5pm to 7pmBoarding Only

Meet the Veterinarians

Meet The Team Dr.Bob Encinosa was born in Valrico, Florida and graduated from Brandon High School in 1980. He received his doctorate from the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine in 1987.Read More

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