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Housing Your Sugar Gliders with Other Pets

Housing sugar gliders with other pets may seem daunting at first, but with some tips and tricks and a little common sense, your sugar glider should assimilate into your home. Once your baby sugar gliders start to bond to you and your family, one of the most rewarding things about having them is watching them form lifelong bonds with the other pets in your home. In many ways it’s like having a pet for your pet – in that once they’ve bonded, they’ll end up hanging around on each other and going everywhere together. Generally speaking, sugar gliders will bond to almost any pet you have in your home except for reptiles like snakes and some species of large birds in the beginning, as both these animals will prey on sugar gliders.

For your more common household pets, sugar gliders don’t instinctually smell like “food.” But the fact is that if you just brought them home and “dumped” them out on the floor in front of an aggressive cat or dog, they would almost certainly try to pounce on it just because of the “movement.” Therefore, it’s always important to introduce your sugar gliders to your other pets gradually until they become “best buddies.” This introduction process is very simple. Always keep in mind that the most important thing is for your sugar gliders bond to you and your family members first. Then, the best way to passively get your household pets and new sugar gliders to bond with each other is to simply let them smell each other as much as possible without having the opportunity to actually touch. This is usually as simple as putting their cage  down on the floor where the cats/dogs can easily get to the cage, but not hurt the sugar gliders who have no natural defenses. At the same time you are doing this, you should also be wearing your new baby around the house in it’s pouch – inside your shirt, or in a Carry Bonding Pouch as much as possible.

In the event that your other pets should be particularly aggressive and just try to tear the cage apart the first time you set it in front of them - remember since almost all pets operate largely on “smell” - the most important thing to do is to start getting your pet(s) used to the smell of the new baby sugar glider(s), and vice versa. The best way to do this is to switch out the piece of blanket that you put in the sugar glider’s cage every day. Before you put that clothing into the cage, just rub it around really good on your aggressive pet first, so this way when your sugar glider is sleeping it will be surrounded by both your smell and the scent of your aggressive pet. Then, the next day when you take that piece of clothing out to switch it, give the (now sugar glider-scented) clothing to your aggressive pet. Rub it on them playfully, and have fun with them with it so they know you “approve.” Don’t be surprised at first if your pet goes nuts when you do this, because the whole smell is just something new to them. They can smell the sugar gliders but can’t find them in the clothing, so it may make them a little crazy at first. In the rare case your pet is so aggressive that it tries to tear your clothing to shreds in the process, then just wait to give them the blanket until they are asleep; put it right next to their head, so that their nose is right on it. This way they will also be getting used to the baby’s smell when they are sleeping and they will wake up surrounded by it. It only takes a couple minutes to go through this each day; if you keep it up consistently, within a couple weeks at most you will notice that your super aggressive pet will start to calm down a lot. All during this time, if you are concerned about your baby’s safety, just keep your sugar glider’s cage in a room where you can shut the door and keep everybody fairly separated while you aren’t around.
Keep in mind that none of the tips in this article are designed to be an “instant” fix. But if in following these steps you feel your sugar glider and your pet are ready to get better acquainted without the cage, next let your dog/cat smell the sugar gliders in your hands through the pouch. Once they’re ready, introduce them to each other (without the pouch) through your hands. Common sense will tell you when this is appropriate, and it all depends on the individual personalities of the pets involved. Once you feel comfortable that your pets can handle “each other,” - the next step is just to let them actually touch each other and slowly start playing together. In the beginning of this process, always make sure you are right there and can “jump in” if the playing gets a little out of hand, and after a few of these “play sessions,” you should be all set! The main thing throughout this whole process is just to use your own common sense when determining how fast to introduce the animals. Generally speaking, slower is better – or in other words – there’s no need to “rush” the process along. In many cases, pets will bond to sugar gliders in just a few days, but in other cases where the pets are either extremely aggressive – or sometimes jealous – it can take a month or two of slowly introducing them to each other before they become “buds.”

Remember through this process that some animals are naturally bred to hunt and root out small animals. Some breeds to watch out for include terriers and poodles, which were bred to flush out common small pests such as rats and mice. Other animals, like cats and ferrets can also pose a threat. While a few of these (pet relationships) mixes seem to work, the majority of them do not, and some wouldn’t work out at all without the owners working to make sure that they take certain precautions. It is important to keep sugar gliders and other pets who do not get along separate to protect your sugar gliders. Many new owners do not set proper safety parameters with their other pets, and this risks your pets tipping over the sugar glider’s cage and the sugar glider escaping and being harmed. It is important to use common sense and to know your breeds. If you have a type of dog with a history of being bred to specifically chase down and kill other small animals, then it may not be wise to bring sugar gliders into your home at all. Remember, some gliders will stress just by smelling the other pet on you. Gliders in a constant state of stress are not happy. This type of stress can lead to sickness and even self mutilation. Sugar Gliders need to feel secure in their homes.

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