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Going on holiday? Here’s your small pet prep guide from Avenues Vets!

So, you’re about to embark on that long-awaited holiday, but what about your furry friends left behind? Don’t fret; Avenues Vets have got you covered with a prep guide so thorough that your small animal(s) will be in safe paws!

Whether it’s guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils, fancy rats, or pet mice holding down the fort, there are a few things you can do before you go to ensure their comfort and care. From summer-proofing their digs to briefing the pet sitter, here’s your ultimate small pet pre-holiday check list from our Glasgow team.

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3 things you can prepare before you go away:

  1. Summer Care: If it’s going to be warm, move your pet’s hutch/cage to a cool, shaded area away from direct sunlight. Protect it with flyscreens or netting to keep mozzies & flies away.
  2. Pre-holiday Checkup: Schedule a check-up for health, teeth and nails before your trip with Avenues Vets and let our team know who will be in charge of your pet’s care while you’re away.
  3. Boredom Busters: Ensure your guinea pig, hamster, gerbil, fancy rat or pet mouse has plenty to keep them entertained. Choose enriching toys like treat balls, tunnels, foraging trays and digging boxes. For guinea pigs, avoid items that require climbing to avoid injury.

4 things you should provide your small animal pet sitter with:

  1. Your Pet’s Housing: If your sitter is caring for your pet at their house, have them take your pet’s cage or at least their bedding as small pets like familiarity.
  2. Food & Water Bowls/Bottles: Provide enough for the length of your trip and spares for cleaning-out days.
  3. Medication: Provide any medication and instructions on how to administer it.
  4. Vet Information: Include the address & phone number and your vet’s name if you see the same one regularly.

5 things you want your pet sitter to take care of:

  1. Routine: Document your pet’s daily routine including feeding, exercise, grooming and essential cleaning tasks such as daily poop & dirty bedding removal. Let your holiday sitter know when your pet is most active and when they like to sleep. Limiting changes to your pet’s routine will help to reduce any potential stress they may feel when you’re away.
  2. Nutrition & Hydration: Stock up on food and create a meal plan for your pet sitter, including treats, to maintain your pet’s health & happiness. Water should be changed daily and water bottles checked for blockages. If you have any questions about small pet nutrition, our Glasgow team are happy to help – call us on 0141 643 0404.
  3. Cleaning: Cleanliness should be maintained by replacing bedding and removing faeces daily, and conducting weekly hutch/cage cleaning sessions to prevent health issues. If your guinea pig sometimes needs their bottom cleaning, be sure to demonstrate this too.
  4. Gentle Handling & Separation: Instruct your pet sitter on proper handling techniques to prevent falls and ensure safety by keeping your pet close to their chest or lap. Also, if you have unneutered girls and boys, ensure your pet sitter knows to keep them apart!
  5. Health Awareness: Educate your pet sitter on signs of common guinea pig illnesses like flystrike, loss of appetite, and bacterial pneumonia. Emphasise the importance of prompt veterinary care if symptoms arise. If you would like advice on any of these, just ask our team.

So that’s it, your ultimate guide to pre-holiday planning that should ensure your Lanarkshire small animal pet sitter is well informed and your pet has everything they need for a trouble-free time.

Any questions, we’re always here to help! Before you go, remember to book a visit to our Glasgow vet practice to ensure your guinea pig, hamster, gerbil, fancy rat or pet mouse is in tip top condition.

Book a pre-holiday small pet check

Flystrike Alert: Protecting rabbits & guinea pigs in Lanarkshire

Pet owners in Lanarkshire need to be vigilant this spring about protecting their rabbits and guinea pigs from a potentially deadly threat: flystrike, warns Vet Nicola Armstrong.

What is flystrike?

Flystrike, also known as myiasis, occurs when flies lay eggs on an animal’s fur or skin, which then hatch into maggots that feed on the animal’s flesh. This condition can quickly escalate into a life-threatening situation if left untreated. In this article, Nicola discusses how to prevent flystrike and what to do if you suspect your rabbit or guinea pig is affected.

Contact us about flystrike

Four ways to prevent deadly flystrike

  1. Maintain clean living conditions: According to vet Nicola Armstrong, the key to preventing flystrike is to keep your pet’s living environment clean and dry. Regularly remove soiled bedding and faeces from cages or hutches, and provide fresh, dry bedding material to help minimise the attraction of flies.
  2. Check your pet regularly: Perform daily health checks on your rabbits and guinea pigs, paying close attention to areas where flies are likely to lay eggs, such as around the tail, hindquarters, and genitals. Look for signs of fly eggs (small white or yellow dots) or maggots, as well as any signs of skin irritation or inflammation. If you notice anything like this, contact our team at Avenues Vets on 0141 643 0404 straight away.
  3. Protective measures: Nicola suggests using fly screens or protective covers on outdoor enclosures to help keep flies away from your pets. You can also use pet-safe insect repellents or fly strike prevention products – ask our team at our Glasgow vet practice for their recommendations.
  4. Regular grooming: This can help keep your pet’s fur clean and free from mats or tangles, which can attract flies. Pay special attention to long-haired breeds, as they may be more prone to developing flystrike.

Recognising the 4 Signs of Flystrike

If flystrike does occur, early detection and intervention are crucial for your pet’s survival. Nicola lists the four signs to watch for below:

  1. Foul odour: Flystrike often produces a strong, foul odour due to the presence of maggots feeding on the flesh. If you notice an unusual smell coming from your pet’s enclosure, it could be a sign of flystrike.
  2. Loss of appetite: Flystrike can cause pain and discomfort, leading to a loss of appetite in affected animals.
  3. Lethargy: Infected rabbits or guinea pigs may become lethargic and unwilling to move or eat due to pain and discomfort.
  4. Visible maggots or wounds: If you see maggots or open wounds on your pet’s skin, Nicola advises that you should seek veterinary care immediately. Do not attempt to remove the maggots yourself, as this can cause further injury to your pet.

Call us in an Emergency:

If you suspect your rabbit or guinea pig has flystrike, it’s crucial to act quickly. Contact our team at Avenues Vets immediately for emergency veterinary care by calling 0141 643 0404.

Flystrike is a serious condition that requires prompt, professional treatment to remove the maggots, clean the affected area, and provide supportive care to the affected pet. Sadly however, a high proportion of flystrike cases require euthanasia to stop the animal from suffering.

Remember, prevention is always best when it comes to flystrike. By taking proactive measures to keep your pet’s living environment clean and minimising their exposure to flies, you can help reduce the risk of this potentially deadly condition. If you have any questions or concerns about flystrike prevention or treatment, don’t hesitate to contact us for guidance. We’re here to help you keep your rabbits and guinea pigs safe and healthy.

Contact us about flystrike

Hop into Health: The importance of Rabbit Vaccinations

Rabbits are adorable companions, but like all pets, they are susceptible to certain diseases that can impact their wellbeing. According to Avenues Vets, the most effective ways to protect your furry friend is through vaccination.

In this article, we’ll explore the significance of rabbit vaccination, the common diseases they are at risk of, and why it’s essential to book a rabbit vaccination appointment with our veterinary practice in Glasgow right away if your rabbit is overdue or hasn’t had one yet.

Book a Rabbit Vaccination today

Why vaccinate your rabbit

The team at Avenues Vets wholeheartedly agree that rabbit vaccinations are a vital aspect of responsible ownership, providing several benefits for your furry friend:

  • Disease Prevention: Vaccination helps protect rabbits from infectious diseases that can be challenging and often impossible to treat once contracted.
  • Longevity & Quality of Life: By preventing diseases, rabbit vaccinations contribute to a longer and healthier life for your rabbit.
  • Community Health: Vaccinating your rabbit not only safeguards their health but also helps prevent the spread of diseases within the rabbit community in Lanarkshire and beyond.
  • Peace of Mind: Knowing that your rabbit is protected against common diseases brings peace of mind, allowing you to enjoy your bond with your pet without unnecessary worry.
  • Cost Effective: Vaccinations are also the most cost-effective approach to your rabbit’s healthcare as disease prevention often costs less than treating illnesses and their potential complications.

Common rabbit diseases & vaccination guidelines

At Avenues Vets, our vets know only too well the devastating prognosis of these two killer diseases:


Myxomatosis is a viral disease transmitted by fleas and mosquitoes. It causes swelling and discharge around the eyes, nose, and genitals, leading to severe illness. Vaccination against myxomatosis is essential for all pet rabbits.

Rabbit Viral Haemorrhagic Disease (RVHD):

RVHD is a highly contagious and often fatal viral infection that affects the liver and other organs. There are two strains of RVHD – RVHD1 and RVHD2. Vaccination against both strains is recommended to ensure comprehensive protection.

Don’t delay, book a rabbit vaccination today.

When to vaccinate your rabbit

  • Initial Vaccination: Rabbits are typically vaccinated against myxomatosis and RVHD from around 5-6 weeks of age.
  • Booster Vaccinations: After the initial vaccination, rabbits require regular booster shots to maintain immunity. Booster schedules may vary, so ask our Glasgow team to help you ensure your rabbit stays up-to-date with vaccinations.

Book a Rabbit Vaccination appointment

To help ensure your adorable companion enjoys a happy, healthy, and hop-filled life, protect them against these deadly contagious diseases now. Book a rabbit vaccination appointment with our veterinary practice in Woodside Avenue, Glasgow.

Book a Rabbit Vaccination today

Nicola’s pregnancy advice for hamsters, guinea pigs and other small furries

Bringing a small furry pet into your home is an exciting and rewarding experience. However, if you notice that your new pet has a pregnancy bump, it can be a surprising and concerning discovery.

Vet Nicola Armstrong at Avenues Vets advises that whether you adopted a guinea pig, a hamster, a mouse, or another small furry friend, it’s crucial to understand what’s happening and how to handle the situation responsibly. In this article, we’ll explore what to do when your new small furry pet has a pregnancy bump and provide guidance for a smooth and safe journey ahead.

Contact our team for more advice

  1. Confirm the pregnancy: The first step is to confirm whether your small furry pet is indeed pregnant. Observe any changes in their behaviour and body shape. Look for a noticeable increase in abdominal size. If you have any doubts, contact us to book a check-up with one of our vets. If your guinea pig is pregnant, it is wise to get them checked over as soon as possible as females over six months of age can experience birthing difficulties if this is their first litter.
  2. Separate the sexes: Nicola wants to stress to new owners that if you have multiple small furry pets, it’s crucial to separate the sexes immediately to prevent further pregnancies. Some small furry species are known for their rapid breeding capabilities, so swift action is essential.
  3. Provide proper housing: Ensure that your pregnant pet has a suitable and stress-free environment. Provide them with a clean, comfortable, and spacious cage or enclosure with adequate bedding and nesting materials. A quiet and dimly lit area can help reduce stress.
  4. Offer a balanced diet: Pregnant small furry pets require a well-balanced diet rich in nutrients. Contact our small animal team for dietary recommendations tailored to your pet’s species. Fresh water should always be available.
  5. Limit stress: Nicola advises that you should minimise handling and disturbances during the pregnancy, as stress can negatively impact the mother and her offspring. Allow her to nest and prepare for the arrival of her babies in peace.
  6. Prepare for birth: Research the specific needs of your small furry pet species during labour and birth. Different species have different requirements, so ensure you are well-informed about what to expect and how to assist if necessary. Get in touch if you’d like advice on this from our team.
  7. Seek professional advice: If you are unsure about caring for a pregnant small furry pet or the birthing process, book an appointment with our vets who can provide valuable advice and assistance.
  8. Finding homes for offspring: Be prepared for the arrival of baby animals. Make arrangements to find responsible and caring homes for the offspring once they are weaned and ready to leave their mother.

Discovering that your new small furry pet is pregnant can be a surprise, but with responsible care and proper guidance, you can ensure the wellbeing of both the mother and her offspring. To summarise the points above, Vet Nicola Armstrong recommends that you take steps to confirm the pregnancy, provide suitable housing and nutrition, and be prepared for the arrival of baby animals.

Responsible pet ownership extends to all aspects of your small furry pet’s life, including unexpected situations like pregnancy. By taking the right actions, you can ensure a safe and healthy experience for your pet and their babies. We’re here to help – contact our Woodside Avenue team for advice.

Contact us for more advice

Learn how to exercise your small furry pets with Avenues Vets

Just like with all mammals, keeping your small furry pets exercised is essential for their physical and mental wellbeing. The nurses at Avenues Vets have put together their advice on how best to exercise your small furry pets.

Our team love seeing your small furry pets thriving – share photos with us on Facebook of how you exercise your small furry pets for the chance of having your pet shared on our page!

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Exercise in their enclosure

Whether you have a hamster, gerbil, pet mouse or a fancy rat, most small furries love to play and explore. Check out our Glasgow vet nurses’ exercise suggestions below.

  • Exercise wheels: A wheel is a must-have for most small furry pets*. Choose an appropriate-sized exercise wheel that allows your pet to run without arching their back and make sure the surface is solid to prevent injuries.
  • Climbing structures: Our vet nurses recommend providing climbing opportunities, such as ropes, branches and ladders to help your pet exercise and explore vertical spaces.
  • Toys: opt for interactive toys specifically for hamsters, gerbils, mice and rats, and rotate them regularly to avoid boredom. Enrichment toys and tunnels/balls will provide your pet with hours of entertainment.

*It’s important to know that exercise wheels are too dangerous for guinea pigs and should not be used, nor should climbing structures that cannot support their body shapes and weight.

Exercise outside of their enclosure

All small furry pets can become bored which is why it’s essential to vary your hamster, gerbil, guinea pig, rabbit and pet mice and rats’ exercise activities. You can achieve this through time outside of their housing with these aids:

  • Playpen: Setting up an external playpen or enclosure where your pet can explore and play outside of their cage. Use tunnels, hideouts, and toys to create an enriching environment.
  • Obstacle course: Create a mini obstacle course using cardboard boxes, tunnels, and small toys. Encourage your pet to navigate through the obstacles for mental stimulation and exercise.
  • Hide and seek: Our vet nurses advise that your small furries will love this one – hide small treats or pieces of fresh vegetables around your pet’s enclosure. This stimulates their natural foraging instincts and keeps them active and happy.
  • Supervised outdoor time: If your pet can safely enjoy outdoor time, consider taking them outside in a secure, escape-proof playpen or harness. Ensure they are protected from predators lurking in and around Glasgow and environmental hazards.
  • Social interaction: Many small furry pets are social animals (usually except hamsters) and benefit from interacting with their owners. Gently handle and play with your pet to provide mental and physical stimulation.

Remember that small furry pets have varying exercise needs and preferences and it is important to tailor their exercise routine to their species and individual personalities. For personalised advice on your own pet’s exercise requirements, contact Avenues Vets on 0141 643 0404.

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Degus, rabbits, hamsters… is 2024 the year to consider a new small furry pet?

Once all the hustle and bustle of Christmas is over and you’ve had time to decompress, you will be able to consider whether adding a new small furry pet to your family is a wise decision. Our team at Avenues Vets want to make your decision a little bit easier by providing potential new pet owners in Lanarkshire information on each small furry pet!

Register your small furry pet

What to know about owning a small furry pet

Don’t let their physical size fool you – small furry pets require a lot of time but in return, they will provide you with loving companionship and hours of fun every day.


Before you decide on which small furry pet could join your family, make sure you have discussed their care regime and responsibilities. As well as daily fresh food and water, your pet will also need regular enclosure cleaning, enrichment, and exercise – all of which must be tailored to the individual pet and their needs. You must invest into a safe and secure enclosure for them and keep on top of preventative care to ensure your small furry pet will stay happy and healthy.

Families with small children will also have to take extra care when it comes to handling and exercising their small furry pet – as pure as their intentions may be, sometimes younger children are rougher when it comes to handling and they could easily injure your pet.

The veterinary team at Avenues Vets urge those who are considering a small furry pet to do plenty of research on the care needs of that pet before purchasing. This way, you can set up the perfect environment for them before they even arrive at your home!

Popular small furry pets

Here are some of the most popular small furry pets we treat at our Glasgow clinic. For more information on any of these pets, contact us on 0141 643 0404 and we can arrange a discussion with one of our knowledgeable and experienced veterinary nurses.


Rabbits are popular pets and can be kept both indoors and outdoors. They need ample space, social interaction, and proper care to thrive. While rabbits can be great family pets, they often have delicate spines and can become stressed by improper handling, which can lead to injuries. They require careful and gentle interaction.

Guinea pigs

Guinea pigs are sociable and vocal animals that enjoy interaction. The Avenues Vets’ veterinary nurses advise that they require spacious enclosures and should ideally be kept in pairs or groups. They will definitely keep you entertained with their range of noises!


Different species of hamsters, such as Syrian hamsters and Dwarf hamsters, are popular choices. They are relatively low-maintenance and can be kept in cages. Some dwarf hamster species, such as Roborovski hamsters, are incredibly small and quick, making them difficult for young children to handle safely without accidentally injuring or losing them.


According to our pet-loving team at Avenues Vets, gerbils are active and social animals that thrive in pairs or small groups. They require a larger cage with plenty of space for burrowing and digging.


Pet mice are known for their playful and curious nature. They require a secure enclosure and social interaction.


Domestic rats are intelligent and friendly pets that can form strong bonds with their owners. They need socialisation, mental stimulation, and a larger cage. Did you know that pet rats are called ‘fancy rats’?

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Ferrets are energetic and inquisitive pets that require mental and physical stimulation. They need a specialised diet and regular playtime, but their energy levels might be overwhelming for young children.


Chinchillas are known for their soft fur and playful personalities. They require specialised care, including dust baths and proper nutrition. Chinchillas have delicate bones and are easily stressed by loud noises or rough handling, which may not be suitable for young children.


Degus are social and active animals that require companionship and a larger cage with opportunities for climbing and exploration. They can be sensitive to handling and may not be suitable for young children who might not understand their needs.

Please note: many of these small furry pets are social animals, which means you will have to think about pet neutering or only keeping pets of the same sex to avoid unwanted pregnancies.

Our vets can advise on neutering and other care for small furry pets. Contact our team on 0141 643 0404 for more information.

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Celebrate your rabbit with this advice from Avenues Vets

2023 is nearly over and now is the perfect time to celebrate the bond you have with your pet rabbit. The nurses at Avenues Vets have a few recommendations to help you both enjoy the festive season and prepare for 2024! What better way to start the New Year than to book for a rabbit health check with us at Avenues Vets – call us on 0141 643 0404 or use our online booking system.

Book your rabbit a New Year’s health check

Treating your rabbit this Christmas

Spending quality time that you wouldn’t usually get, due to work or family commitments, would be a real treat for your bunny. Why not have a 5-minute cuddle or work on some Christmas-themed playtime for them. This helps them feel loved but also helps to keep them active and healthy.

You could also gift your bunny a present. A soft blanket or a new toy could provide them with comfort or stimulation and it’s a heart-warming moment watching them try to unwrap the wrapping paper!

Make Christmas treats for your bunny

Your rabbit would love trying some seasonal rabbit-safe treat recipes and our team at Avenues Vets would love to see pictures of your bunny’s tucking into their treats! Share a photo on our Facebook page.

Bunny friendly Christmas crackers

You will need:

  • An old kitchen roll tube
  • Spinach and kale
  • Handfuls of fresh hay
  • A handful of rolled oats
  • Brussel sprout tops

All you need to do is stuff the cardboard tube with all of the ingredients above, allowing the hay and leafy greens to poke out of the end. Your bunny will have fun playing and nibbling at the treats – their very own version of a Christmas cracker!

Banana and carrot Christmas biscuits

You will need:

  • Half a banana – mashed up
  • One carrot – pureed
  • 4 tablespoons of porridge oats
  • 4 tablespoons of rabbit pellets

Blend the rabbit pellets and porridge oats together before adding in the mashed banana and pureed carrot. This will form a dough. Roll it out onto a surface and cut into biscuit shapes – maybe a Christmas themes cookie cutter would help here!

Bake in a pre-heated oven at 160 degrees Celsius for 20 minutes. Allow to cool and then offer one to your bunny.

Reflect on 2023 together

As your rabbit’s primary caregiver, Christmas and New Year are the perfect time to think about what you achieved over the last year. Whether it was helping your bunny stay fit and healthy, or encouraging them to explore a new space, recognising these achievements will help you and your partnership with your rabbit feel all the more special. We always encourage rabbit owners in Lanarkshire to remember their achievements – why not write them down and put them somewhere near your bunny’s living environment so you can see them every day. You can also add to this list in 2024.

As well as the positive milestones you reached, what about the challenges you both faced? Could it be a health condition that was treated at Avenues Vets or a behavioural problem that you had to tackle together?

Setting a goal for the New Year will help to enhance your relationship. Such as teaching them new tricks or renovating their living space – what will you aim to achieve with your rabbit in 2024?

This time of reflection will really help to set you and your rabbit up for a good start to 2024. Our team at Avenues Vets wish you and your rabbit a Merry Christmas and we look forward to seeing you both in the New Year. Contact us on 0141 643 0404 if your rabbit needs veterinary treatment and don’t forget to book their New Year health check.

Book your rabbit a New Year’s health check

Keeping small furry pets happy during firework season in Lanarkshire

As firework season gets underway, it’s important we help our small furry pets to get through as stress-free as possible. If you have a small furry pet that normally lives outside, then read on to understand what The Avenues Vets’ nursing team advise owners to organise ahead of firework displays in Lanarkshire.

If you have any questions then do not hesitate to ask us on our Facebook page, and please share this article to help other small furry pet owners in Lanarkshire.

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Why does my small furry pet need to come inside during firework season?

There are a number of reasons why our Glasgow veterinary nurses recommend bringing your outdoor kept small furry pets inside when you know there will be firework displays. Once indoors, remember it is advised that you keep the curtains closed to shut out the bright lights and play soft background music or white noise to help drown out the sound of the fireworks.

1. Noise sensitivity

Small furry pets have highly sensitive hearing which helps them to avoid predators in the wild. Due to the loud, sudden noises produced by fireworks, it can be extremely distressing. Our vet nurses want Lanarkshire pet owners to understand that exposure to loud noises can lead to anxiety and panic in small pets, which in turn then increases the risk of many life-threatening health conditions.

2. Your pet’s flight response

Your pet could be at risk of injury due to their natural ‘flight’ response. If your pet feels threatened or stressed, they could try to escape their cage/enclosure. Not only may they hurt themselves, but they could also become lost, becoming prey for other household pets or external animals, or potentially become involved in a road traffic accident.

3. Potential for injury

Fireworks can also cause physical harm to small animals. According our Glasgow veterinary nurses, if they are near the launch area or somewhere where debris could potentially land in their enclosure, so it is essential you move them indoors. With the risk of fire, injury, smoke inhalation and more, it is safer to bring your pets inside and reduce the risk of firework related injuries.

4. Risk of predators

Large firework displays often involve food, which can attract predators to the area. With scraps of food, bright lights and noises drawing them closer, this poses a threat to small furry pets living outdoors in close proximity to Lanarkshire firework displays.

5. Reduced comfort and security

Small pets rely on their own familiar environment for comfort and security – fireworks change this environment and disrupt their sense of safety. Making them safe and comfortable in an indoor cage would help keep them happy. If their current cage is too big to bring indoors, use familiar bedding, toys, and blankets so their indoor enclosure is like a home from home.

To discuss your own small furry pet with our team this firework season, contact Avenues Vets on 0141 643 0404.

Why not share this article to help other small furry pets in Lanarkshire?

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Avenues Vets helps owners understand pain signs in rabbits, guinea pigs and hamsters

Did you know that September is Pet Pain Awareness Month? Our team at Avenues Vets truly understand how distressing it can be to see your pet in pain. With cats and dogs, pain signs can be more obvious such as a lower posture or limping. However, small animals, such as guinea pigs, hamsters and rabbits, are much more obscure when it comes to showing signs of pain.

Veterinary Surgeon Nicola Armstrong has put together the following advice on how owners can closely monitor their small furry pet for indications they may not be feeling themselves.

Call us if you have any concerns

Why do small furry pets hide their pain?

Hiding pain is a natural survival instinct for many small furry pets as, in the wild, they are prey animals. Showing signs of illness or injury could be very dangerous to a small animal, making them experts in hiding pain to make them less likely to be hunted. This adaptive instinct has been passed on to their domesticated counterparts, so your own pet will also try to hide when they feel under the weather.

What signs to look for

Loss of appetite

The team at Avenues Vets know that a loss of appetite can be an indicator for an undiagnosed medical condition that could need veterinary treatment. Chronic and acute pain can affect your pet’s ability to eat a nutritious meal and some of the conditions we diagnose from this symptom could be dental disease, diabetes and cancer amongst others.

Reduction/increase in water consumption

Monitoring the water consumption of your pet is a useful tool to work out whether they could be dehydrated or suffering from a condition that increases their thirst.

  • Rabbits should consume approximately 50-150ml per kilogram of their body weight daily
  • Guinea pigs should consume roughly 80-100ml of water per day
  • Hamsters should drink 10-30ml of water per day

Note that this figure increases if your small furry pet is pregnant or lactating.

Aggression & behavioural changes

Becoming more aggressive is a sign of pain. Monitor your pet to see if they are scratching or biting more than usual and take precautions if so – an animal in pain will sometimes not distinguish between their kind human carer and something they can use as an outlet for pain control.

Being excessively jumpy or appearing nervous are both signs of behavioural changes that affect small furry pets. These can indicate pain but sometimes also appear when your pet is feeling stressed or unhappy. Book an appointment with The Avenues Vets’ veterinary team so we can help distinguish between pain or stress and start any necessary treatments.


If your small furry pet is crying, whimpering or screaming, contact us immediately. This is a sign your pet is distressed and could be in a large amount of pain.

Posture and movement changes

If your pet is hunched over, looks stiff or is exhibiting a different gait to usual, Veterinary Surgeon Nicola Armstrong wants owners to know that this is because of pain. Even just avoiding activities they usually love, such as running on their wheel or exploring the house, could be a sign that something may be affecting your small furry pet, such as arthritis or muscle/tendon strains. Contact our team on 0141 643 0404 to book an appointment with a vet.

Hiding in their environment

Hiding is another one of those evolutionary tactics that small animals have developed to disguise that they may be feeling pain. Hamsters instinctively burrow to protect themselves and other pets will also hide in their houses. Knowing your pet’s usual movements is essential in understanding whether they are acting differently to normal. Closely monitor your small furry pet and if they do seem to be hiding away, contact our team for more advice.

If you notice any of the signs above, it could mean your pet is in pain. Contact our team of experienced vets who will be able to assess your pet and make a diagnosis and treatment plan – ensuring they are back to their normal self in no time.

Call us if you have any concerns

Vet Nicola Armstrong discusses why guinea pigs need companions

As social creatures, Avenues Vets believe it is best to keep guinea pigs living in pairs or groups to help mimic their natural behaviour. Not only will it improve their mental wellbeing, but they are less likely to suffer any physical issues linked to isolation. Our Vet Nicola Armstrong discusses everything you need to know on guinea pig companionship in our article below.

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Guinea pigs rely on social interaction to thrive. They will often groom each other, play, keep each other company – all of which will help them feel happy, safe, and secure in their home with you. As a minimum, Nicola recommends having a pair of guinea pigs to enable them to do all of these things.


By keeping a guinea pig on their own, you are confusing their natural behavioural development. Living with a companion helps the pigs to develop boundaries, whereas single guinea pigs will often become aggressive and in some cases, depressed and will self-harm.

Communication skills

Living with a companion or two will help your guinea pig to work on their communication skills. They use body language, scent marking and a range of vocalisations (such as squeaks and grunts) to communicate with other guinea pigs. Often, they will start to squeak at their owners as well!

Keeping them active

Living with companions also helps guinea pigs stay active. As a species, they need regular exercise – a companion can encourage play, stimulation, and exploration. This will help to keep them physically fit, reducing the likelihood of obesity and associated health issues, as well as mentally stimulated.

Overall, keeping guinea pigs in pairs or small groups is important for their physical and mental health. Our team at Avenues Vets on Woodside Avenue are more than happy to advise if you are considering adopting a guinea pig – as it’s highly recommended to adopt two or more for company.

Remember to share this article with other guinea pig owners and contact us today for more advice on 0141 643 0404 or to register your guinea pigs with us.

Register your guinea pigs with us

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