We know dogs as lovable, social creatures that are easy going. Dogs are known for living well with other dogs and sometimes even cats. But, does that mean that dogs are able to live with other kinds of animals?
Sugar gliders have quickly become a popular exotic pet in many American households. These small animals are cute, and they are extremely unique. Their ability to glide through the air has intrigued many pet owners, and some of these owners already have dogs. Can dogs co-exist with sugar gliders? We are going to find out if these two species can live in harmony.
Signs Dogs Can Live with Sugar Gliders
Since dogs are social creatures, it doesn’t surprise humans that they have been able to live with all kinds of different animals since they were originally domesticated. Some dog breeds were used for herding and watching over sheep and cattle, while others were trained to hunt small rodents. This means that hunting small creatures, like sugar gliders, is an instinct in many breeds of dog. Even though some dogs will have instincts to hunt sugar gliders, that doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to teach your pooch to live with a sugar glider or other small pet.
If your dog is generally gentle and friendly, you will probably have no issues training your dog to be around your sugar glider without incident. You will want to take precautions when introducing the two animals and allowing them to interact, but they will likely be able to co-exist without issues.
However, if your dog is aggressive or known for being unfriendly, it is probably best to avoid getting any small animals as pets. If you do decide to get a rodent or other small animal as a pet, you should keep the two animals separated. Introducing these animals could end in disaster.
You should be really careful when allowing your dog around a sugar glider. If you notice any of the following body languages signs from your dog after introducing the two animals, watch out:
- Ears back
- Aggressive behavior
History of Dogs Living with Sugar Gliders
There isn’t a lot of history between sugar gliders and dogs. Sugar gliders have only become popular as pets in the United States over the last few years, so most dogs have never seen a sugar glider. These soaring critters look like small squirrels, however, so your dog may view them as prey. You will want to be sure that you exercise extreme caution when allowing the animals to meet.
The biggest hurdle that owners of both dogs and sugar gliders will come across is allowing the two animals to become familiar with one another. It is important that introductions are done slowly and that the needs of both animals are met during this time. It is likely that the sugar glider will be nervous or afraid of your dog. Your dog is probably going to be excited and full of energy. This means that the two animals both need to be under control.
It isn’t always easy to own both dogs and sugar gliders, but it is possible. In fact, many Instagram and other social media accounts are dedicated to sugar gliders and dogs who are best friends. These unique friendships are cute, but they shouldn’t be taken lightly. No matter how friendly the animals seem toward each other, you should still be cautious at all times.
Science Behind Dogs Being Able to Live with Sugar Gliders
A couple of the main reasons that dogs make good pets are the facts that they are social and friendly. Sugar gliders may not make the best pets, but they are a lot of fun and quite adorable. Owning both at once can be difficult due to your dog’s natural instincts to hunt small creatures, and the sugar glider’s instincts to soar through rooms of the house like a dog’s toy.
Supervision between the two animals is necessary. It is likely that dogs will frighten sugar gliders. Sugar gliders will need their own space away from your dog in the event of stress or fear. Also, never, EVER leave the two alone together.
Training Dogs to Live with Sugar Gliders
Dogs are capable of learning all kinds of things. Training a dog to live with a small rodent, such as a sugar glider, is an option for dog owners who also want to bring a new pet home. Here are a few tips for teaching your dog to live in harmony with a sugar glider.
First, you should slowly introduce the two animals to each other. This is a process and it could take several tries. You will want to put your dog on a leash and find a way to keep a good hold of your sugar glider. This process also requires two people. One needs to hold the dog’s leash and the other is responsible for holding onto the sugar glider. Start with the two animals a fair distance apart and slowly start to move them closer to each other.
During this process, you will want to have treats with you. When your dog is calm and focused on you, you can give them a treat and move a little closer to the sugar glider. You may also try to get them to follow basic commands such as “sit” or “down.” The person with the sugar glider should try to keep it calm.
If your dog becomes overly excited or aggressive, you should take a step back from the sugar glider. If your dog can’t handle getting close to the sugar glider, it is okay to stop the introduction and try again on another day.
Once the two seem okay with one another, you should give your dog more space on its leash or remove the leash and allow the sugar glider to move freely throughout the room. You need to closely supervise these interactions, however.
It is a good idea to play with both animals separately before the introduction to tire them out. This can help prevent any sudden movements that could either scare the sugar glider or excite the dog.
Safety Tips for Dogs Living with Sugar Gliders:
Never introduce an aggressive dog to a sugar glider.
Don't leave the two animals together without supervision.
When you can't be around, leave your sugar glider in its cage to prevent injuries to the animal from your dog.