January 4, 2023 by Umair Shahid
If you are considering owning a degu as a pocket pet. Then, you are on the right platform. I am here to discuss the pros and cons of having a pet degu.
Before owning them, there are various things you have to consider. First of all, they require a lot of space. It requires time to tame them and train them.
The most important thing to consider is its legality. Some states consider degus as invasive pets and it is illegal to keep them as pets.
So, do check your city’s regularity before adopting them. Some places also require a permit or health certificate.
Pocket pets are a new trend among pet lovers. Previously, degus were used as lab animals for research purposes.
But now they are more popular as babyish pocket pets to have on.
Degus are easy to take care of. That’s the reason many experts recommend them for beginners.
Degu as Pets
Degus are highly social animals. They are diurnal which means they remain active throughout the day.
You always have to buy them in the form of pairs. Alone males and females can become stressful.
These cute fur balls and beautiful little creatures are amazing pets. However, there are pros and cons of owning a degu as a pet.
If you want to own them, you should know these before adopting them. So, now without any delay let’s jump into the information.
Behavior and temperament
Like hedgehogs and other pet rodents, degus can be tamed easily if they are handled from an early age. Degus are playful and curious creatures.
They require attention and want social interaction. If they don’t get so, they become aggressive and nosy.
Degus love to remain around their pet owners. You may also hear chitter-chatter sounds from them. They produce loud noises when they are stressed or threatened.
Bathing or grooming
Degus require dust baths. For this purpose, provide them with a bowl with dust or bath sand. Leave that bowl in the cage for half an hour.
They will roll around and enjoy the dust bath. It is also good for their skin and fur. Repeat the process at least twice a week.
Pros of owning a degu
Caring for them is easy
As beginners, caring for degus is a piece of cake. It is relatively easy to take care of them than others.
You don’t need to worry about their diet and hygiene. Even if you leave them home alone for a long time. Then on returning, you will find them perfectly fine.
No water bath is needed
If you keep your pet’s cage clean and tidy, then you don’t need to worry about their bathing routine.
These babyish pocket pets do not get dirty even if they don’t clean themselves. So you don’t have to rush towards a towel and water.
You don’t need to worry about cleaning them. Just provide them dust and a bowl twice a week. And you are done with their bathing routine.
These adorable pets are good at making friends. They don’t mind the presence of other pets at home. Instead, they enjoy their company.
If you brought a new pet into your home, it will take a day or two to get Frank. But once they start knowing each other, they will love to play together.
Degus don’t mind if you leave them alone. But they do love your presence. They show love to their owners and their children.
They are quite friendly and affectionate with their pets. You might be worried about getting bitten by them.
But they don’t hurt their loved ones. They are affectionate and loving creatures.
Cons of owning a degu
A lot of food
Degus require a lot of hay and grass all the time. They need a constant supply of hay all day long.
Although it doesn’t seem to be a difficult task, you have to check up on the grass at least two times a day.
They need fresh grass all the time. So it might be a difficult task for many of the owners. Because fresh grass is not available all the time to everyone.
Smell of urine
If you want to own a degu, then you need to accustom yourself to the smell of urine. By trying hard and after a lot of training, you can keep them to urinate in a fixed place.
But this won’t help you to get rid of the urine smell. You can use air fresheners. But you can’t get rid of the smell.
Their cage will be smelly too. So the only option left is to accustom yourself to the smell of urine.
Honestly speaking, this is a big drawback to many pet parents.
They chew everything
You may overestimate that you can easily handle the chewing habit of degus. But you have to think about it again.
Degus have an extremely bad habit of chewing everything. They chew everything that comes down their way. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a wire or a slipper.
You have to protect your things by yourself. They don’t discriminate against things while chewing.
Degus are cute furry creatures. They love attention and affection from their owners.
Degus are social animals. They love spending time with their pet owners. That’s might be the reason you can’t keep a degu alone.
So it is recommended to keep the degus in pairs. Or more preferably in the form of groups.
And this option is not suitable for many owners.
Essentials of degus
- I am going to mention all the important requirements of a degu pet. Only own a degu if you can fulfill these. Otherwise, you will put yourself and your pet in trouble.
- They are social animals. So they require attention from their pet owners. If you don’t provide them affection. They will end up being nosy and aggressive.
- The larger the enclosure, the better the degu. So, at least a cage of 24 inches by 18 inches by 24 inches is required for a pair degu.
- Paper-based bedding is recommended. The bedding should be changed regularly.
- Their diet should be low in carbs and high in fiber. They require hay all the time. Pellets and fresh vegetables are also required.
- Don’t give them fruits. Peanuts, whole nuts, and sunflower seeds can be given as occasional treats.
- Provide them water all the time. A water bottle with a chew guard or ceramic bowl should be cleaned.
- They are susceptible to many diseases. So regular checkups by a vet are recommended.
- Degus love to run, but exercise toys are also recommended. You can use either disk toys, or bridges to climb on.
- Regular dust baths are required for their good skin and fur.
- Keep them in the form of pairs or groups.
People also ask
Q1 Why we shouldn’t handle degus from their tails?
Degus should not be handled by their tails. This is because it builds an anti-predator mechanism. As a result, their tails are shed in an Emergency.
It is quite painful for your pet and unfortunately, their tail doesn’t grow again.
Q2 Can I keep a single degu as a pet in my house?
It is not recommended at all. Degus are social animals. They love to play and enjoy themselves with their companions.
A single degu will get bored and stressed. It is advised to keep them in the form of pairs. The better option is to keep them in the form of groups.
Q3 Are degus cuddly?
Degus don’t like to be held. So the same case is here. They are not cuddly pets, so I would not recommend you to cuddle them.
However, if you train them from an early age. They may come close to you to get cuddles and scratches.
Still, it’s better to provide them with toys and watch their activities from a distance.
Q4 Do degus bite?
No. In general, degus don’t hurt their loved ones. When they nib this is because of their love. It doesn’t hurt and break the skin.
However, they only bite when they feel threatened.
Degus are wonderful pocket pets. They are cute furry balls that everyone wants. Degus are the best pets for beginners. This is because it is a piece of cake to take care of them.
They don’t require any additional effort. Previously, they were used as lab animals for research purposes. But now they are more popular as pocket pets.
They are playful and curious creatures. They require attention from their pet owners.
They are affectionate towards their loved ones. If their owner does not give them attention, they become aggressive.
Dust bathing is required at least twice a week. Provide them Sand or bath dust in a bowl and that’s all.
I would suggest you own a degu only when you can provide them enough space, a healthy diet, and a companion.
They won’t be affected much If you leave them alone at home. I recommend you to adopt these babyish furry balls.
These pocket pets will make your day.
I am a proud veterinarian from Lahore, Pakistan. A passionate animal lover who pursued her passion for animal care as a career.
My eagerness to learn and my love for animals grew stronger even during my teenage days. Having a lovely pet, a German Shepherd, in my home allowed me to bond with animals in the best way.
This bonding with my pet provided me with a firm foundation to research and preach about the best animal care methods.