Health and Training
Any pet owner knows the importance of regular health checking their companion. Taming your degu using treats and positive reinforcement is the key to making sure they are happy to be handled. You could also clicker train your degus! (See our handy guide for tips) High value treats are particularly useful when training your little degus but remember to use them sparingly! Nuts tend to go down very well (some degus will actually learn recall simply by shaking them) but are high in fat! Have fun and be patient, as some degus will pick up training quicker than others.
Training and handling go hand in hand. It’s recommended to go through a health check at least weekly, and remember the more you desensitise your pet to handling the easier it will be!
- Is underneath the tail clean? – A degu can drop its tail if scared/threatened. Never ever pick them up by their tail.
- Do they have all their toes and nails? Are they clean and not overgrown?
- Do the legs move freely with no staggering or stiffness?
- Are the teeth present? Are they straight and not overgrown? its Important to note degu’s front two incisor teeth should be covered in bright orange enamel.
- Is the nose clean with no discharge?
- Are the eyes bright and clear? – remember milky/ discoloured eyes could be the sign of serious disease.
- Stroke the ears; are they smooth and clean?
- Is the fur clean with no bald patches or parasites?
- Blow in the fur; the skin should be healthy, not red, dry, or flaky.
- Feel the body. Is it fat enough? It should not feel bloated or bony.
- Listen to the chest. Is the breathing almost silent with no wheezing?
As well as the above it’s important to understand the potential risk of diabetes with your degus. Due to their natural habitat Degus are prone to developing diabetes if fed an incorrect diet. Avoiding unsuitable sugary foods such as breakfast cereals, fruits and honey based small animal treats can help to avoid this condition occurring. Always feed your degus treats sparingly and keep an eye on their weight.