Q. My children have a lop-eared bunny and a guinea pig, and when they are out of their cages together, they seem to get along just fine. Right now they are each in their own cage right next to each other. I was wondering if we could just get one larger cage and keep them both in it.
Getting different species to live together is my specialty, but this is one situation where each pet should have its own cage.
Although they may enjoy each other’s company when they are out of the cage, I have found that when kept together long term, many rabbits get annoyed by guinea pigs’ nudgings and pushes. I also have noticed that guinea pigs will chew on a rabbit’s fur.
Diet is also an issue. Yes, they both enjoy fresh greens, vegetables and hay, but the pelleted foods you give to them are different. The ones for guinea pigs contain vitamin C, and it’s very important for this species. Pellets for rabbits have a lot more fiber, without which rabbits can get all sorts of digestive issues. Both animals have different protein requirements, too.Q. Some members of my family spend too much on sweaters and coats for our two Maltese, and the dogs do not seem happy in these color-coordinated outfits. My family insists the dogs will be too cold outside without the sweaters. Is this true?
The Maltese was bred to be a house pet in the Mediterranean, where winters are mild. The breed does have a long, flowing coat, but it is not designed to insulate against cold weather. They need some sort of sweater or coat in northern winters. I cannot comment on how much the garb should cost or what color it should be, as long as it keeps the dogs warm and is easy to put on and take off. Q. We set up a bird feeder close to our kitchen window and have enjoyed seeing the chickadees and nuthatches. Lately, a small brown hawk has taken to snatching a bird from it every afternoon. The little birds seem to be unaware of what is happening and go right back to the feeder after the hawk is gone. What can we do?
This situation is natural, and the wild bird population can handle it just fine, as long as their habitat is secure. I can see how this may upset you, though, and if you want the hawk to move on to another person’s backyard for its daily meal, all you need to do is take the feeder down for a week or so.
Marc Morrone is a Long Island pet dealer and television host. Dr. Patty Khuly’s Dr. Dolittler column will return next week.