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I've looked around the boards and haven't seen any topics regarding this yet, but bear with me if it's been discussed already.

I got two 7 week old pups (one boy, one girl) a few days ago that I kept in a small 3 story cage, and everything was great until the male started to get his feet stuck in the wires along the walls. That happened twice, and then later that day we heard him screeching, and he was upside down with his leg stuck where the wheel connects to the wall.

Horrified, we immediately got a new cage, one of those flat, one story guinea pig cages. We thought that would work, but an hour later the girl got her leg caught in the new cage, and would have probably broken it if we weren't home.

SO my question is... has anyone else experienced this? Are they always this prone to hurt themselves? Are there any wire cages that are recommended and safe? Right now we've lined the inside of the cage with cardboard (so they can't climb), and are looking to move them into a glass tank, but it doesn't seem like a great permanent solution.
 

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I, personally, don't like using wire cages for young animals at all. I've used both large aquariums and large plastic guinea pig cages for young prairie dogs. You have to make sure you keep them especially clean, because there's not nearly as much airflow, but I find them a lot safer and don't have to worry about feet/legs getting between bars. They will strip out any and all silicone sealing on an aquarium though, so it's probably best to just pull it out ahead of time so they don't eat it. :)
 

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Thanks for the response! I've moved them into an aquarium and stripped out the sealing. When do you think is a safe age to use wire cages again? I'm definitely not happy with the air flow situation on glass.
 

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It really depends on the prairie dog. I can't trust my male in a wire cage at all. He rubs his face all up, climbs up as high as he can get and falls down, and I always dreaded coming home to find him hanging upside down from one leg. I built cages with front opening mesh doors, and used plywood for the back walls/shelving, and used a pre-made counter-top material for the flooring. The counter-top material is really easy to clean up, and is tough enough to tolerate their frequent digging at it. The plywood isn't so strong, so I use aluminum channeling on the edges to prevent chewing on vital parts and just fix/replace non-vital things, like shelves, as they get damaged. Kind of a long way to go, but I feel better about keeping my prairie dogs in something I made than a wire cage. I've been pondering building a dig-box addition onto it, where I could fill the entire box with 2-3 feet deep of dirt, to let them dig, but I just haven't gotten around to figuring out how to do that effectively yet.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks again for your response. I'm also now trying to figure a dig box into my housing plan. I've moved them into a large, probably 90 gallon plastic tank, but they spend most of their time in it either sleeping or trying to get out. I let them out of their cage whenever I can, but I obviously can't do that all the time with my job, so I've been looking to get them a nice big solid floored exercise wheel, but all the ones I've found only mount to wire cages. Do you know any that just sit on the floor? How have you gotten around this?
 

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I use the largest Wodent Wheels. They're light weight so easily get knocked over, and the plastic edges get chewed on, but I haven't had an incident with an animal getting hurt with one yet.
 

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I understand that this post is quite old and your probably have already found something better for your PDs. I completely understand where you're coming from, as my male PD gets his foot caught all the time (in the cage, the old wheel we had, etc.). I took the wheel out (a wire wheel) and they didn't have one for over a week. I finally found a good wheel (12" Silent Spinner) for them. They didn't really know what it was at first, but then figured it out.

What I have done is looked around for a cage with VERTICAL wires (instead of the normal horizontal wired cages). This way they can't climb the cage. I expect it to come in on Monday (excited). Hopefully, they adjust to it well. I just couldn't stand to here my little man screaming from his foot being stuck. The cage I'm getting is the Ferret Nation 142 2-Level Cage. I will have to make adjustments as there are no guards around the bottom to prevent them from pushing bedding out...but I read a lot of great reviews. I will see, but I expect it to be a great cage.
 

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I had problems with the PDs catching their leg on the Ferret Nation ladders. I cut the top 2 rungs off and havent had a problem since. Before I did that it seemed like a weekly occurance. The screaming was horrible.
 

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Read more about caging at one of my client's websites. It discusses caging issues with prairie dogs in great detail. You are also welcome to call me or contact me privately to discuss this. Each home has different needs when it comes to caging, what fits, where it will be located, and much more.

weloveprairiedogs.com is the site. This is a very complicated topic. As a fulltime consultant for prairie dog care, habitat and nutrition are hugely important to the lifespan. My specialty and doctoral work concern captive geriatric nutrition, but I consult on all areas of this species. I'd be happy to help you further if you need it.
 

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I don't spend much time on boards because of my consulting work and prefer to do phone consultations because it allows for faster information exchange and it allows me to help your situation specifically as everyone's environment is a bit different.
 
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