Getting a small pet

Where your pet comes from can have a big effect on how healthy and happy they are for the rest of their life.

If you're thinking of getting Guinea Pigs, Ferrets, Chinchillas, Hamsters, Rats, Mice, or Gerbils, try to do as much research as you can and choose where you get your pet from carefully. The wrong choice can mean your pet might require lots of vet treatment, which can be expensive.

Here’s what we recommend at PDSA....

We recommend

Leading animal welfare charity rehoming centres

  • Several well-known animal welfare charities e.g. Blue Cross and RSPCA have rehoming centres for all pets.
  • Reputable welfare organisations will health check all pets before they are rehomed and will also help match the most suitable pet to your home and lifestyle.

We recommend with caution

Other animal rescue centres or sanctuaries

There are lots of rescue centres and sanctuaries that are not run by leading animal welfare organisations. They are mostly run by committed, well-intentioned people but try to check the health standards of the pets, and their living conditions before rehoming a pet from them.

From a friend or family member

  • You might be able to get a small pet from someone you know and trust.
  • Try to choose your pet from a place where the living environment is clean and hygienic and contains suitable bedding, nest box, toys and dust baths.
  • Your pet should be bright and alert when awake.
  • They should not have any discharges around their eyes, nose, ears or bottom.
  • They should have been gently handled from a young age to get them used to people.

Pet shops

  • Try to choose your pet from a place where the living environment is clean and hygienic and contains suitable bedding, nest box, toys and dust baths.
  • Your pet should be bright and alert when awake.
  • They should not have any discharges around their eyes, nose, ears or bottom.
  • It’s best if pets have been gently handled regularly from a young age to help get them used to people.

We do NOT recommend

Newspaper and websites

Try to check their living environment is hygienic and has allowed your pet to get used to normal household life.

Take our quiz

Before you get a new pet, #pawsfirst and take our quiz to find out which pet is the best match for you. 

Take the quiz!

Choosing the right small pet

From hammock-loving ferrets to burrowing gerbils - discover which small pet might be the right fit for you.

Find out more

Enclosures for small pets

Read our vets advice on making sure your small pet has plenty of room and a home the helps keep them happy.

Our advice