If you are away for a few days, consider hiring a pet sitter or asking a neighbor/family member to visit at least once a day. It is essential that your degus have constant access to their hay and clean water!
Presence of Guests and Children
Having guests at home inevitably brings about changes in habits, both for you and your pets. Take the time to calmly introduce your degus to your guests and establish rules, especially for children. During this time of the year, do not let your guard down; degus that are allowed to roam, especially in a playpen, must be constantly monitored to prevent them from escaping and chewing on a Christmas tree or electrical cables! Establish rules about feeding degus and when and how to pet them for your guests. They should not be handled constantly or roughly. Moreover, degus are rodents that can bite very hard and cause significant damage to small fingers.
While the holidays often come with more elaborate meals than usual, degus can also enjoy them! All edible leafy vegetables can be given, but be cautious about overindulging in treats. Also, be vigilant not to give toxic foods such as chocolate.
Environment and Decorations
If you regularly let your degus roam freely, be mindful of decorations within reach of their teeth! Whether it’s plants, garlands, Christmas trees, or even a fireplace, these are all dangers for your companions. Prefer outings in a well-fenced and supervised playpen, preferably in a calm environment. If you cannot secure your home properly, keep your degus in their cage and provide enrichments to avoid accidents.
Noise and Commotion
The presence of new noises and commotion can lead your degus to change their behavior, either by becoming more fearful and hiding or by increasing behavioral issues. You can gently accustom your rodents to music and noise, but don’t worry if they are more agitated than usual. Ideally, offer them moments of calm so they can sleep peacefully and reserve a quiet corner for them.
During the holidays, if possible, move the cage to a room with little traffic if you have guests. This will allow the degus to have a quiet corner without many comings and goings and not disturb their activity and sleep cycle. Also, remember to provide enrichments to keep them busy during the day!
Have a wonderful holiday season!
Degus are family members who can take up space despite their small size, but that doesn’t stop them from enjoying the holidays with you (and a few extra treats). Have a great holiday season with your companions.