Having multiple pets makes for an awesome household; however, when they're different species, things can get a bit hairy. Rodents, felines, avians, and canines can, given the right circumstances, all become friends, though you need to watch out for the occasional nip, nibble, and scratch. When fur and feathers fly, there's bound to be a little whimpering, hissing, or squawking you need to look into.

Rodents Vs. Cats And Dogs

Although not common, some guinea pigs and other rodents can carry viral diseases, such as lymphocytic choriomeningitis, making deep bites a potential concern for all, including you. Any deep bite inflicted by a pet rodent should be treated by a vet (or physician, in the case of humans) to ensure no serious symptoms follow. A bite should be addressed immediately if it punctures the skin, no matter who or what the unfortunate victim is:

  • Clean the wound thoroughly with an antiseptic.
  • Apply pressure to stop the bleeding.
  • If the bleeding doesn't stop, stitches may be needed.
  • The wound must be monitored, even if minor, for signs of infection, such as swelling, oozing, pain, and/or fever.

Most interactions between pets who are familiar with each other, even rodents-to-felines and felines-to-birds, are harmless and won't result in injury or disease, but it's much better to know for certain and to limit the really rough play that can get out of hand, or paw.

Cats Vs. The World

A cat can attack anything, but since they have sharp, fine-pointed teeth, they're also more likely to penetrate flesh. If your ferocious feline sinks its teeth into a hamster, gerbil, rabbit, or bird, the smaller creature should be brought to an animal hospital right away. Cats can transmit a potentially deadly bacteria to other pets called Pasteurella. Your vet will most likely preempt infection by administering antibiotics even if no symptoms are evident.

A cat biting a dog can transmit the same bacteria, although it shouldn't pose as great a threat to the larger animal. Even so, you don't really want any possible bacteria or virus spreading through the household, so if a cat has left a mark, an investigation should ensue.

Dogs Vs. Smaller Pets

Because dogs are likely the largest species in your home, they are more likely to cause greater injuries, whether intentional or not. Their jaws can easily do harm to a smaller creature, even if no skin is punctured. Check on the littlest of your crew following any incident with the dog, looking for signs of pain (such as limping or withdrawing to a hiding place) that could mean they've been bruised or otherwise injured internally. 

As with other animal bites, you need to be concerned about infection and report any suspicious symptoms to your veterinarian.

If Anything Bites You

Chances are very good that you've had your share of nips, cuts, and scratches, but just because you're bigger and can tend to a minor wound doesn't mean you're never in danger. Address the injury and watch for infection, but be aware of the potential transmission of any virus or bacteria from your pets to you and take yourself to the doctor if your injury worsens, if you feel nauseous, fatigued, or otherwise unwell, or if you just want to err on the side of caution.

Biting between cats, dogs, rodents, and others can be affectionate, but it can also lead to trouble that means you need to haul one or more members of your interspecies animal crew to the pet hospital. While such antics are to be expected, under the circumstances, it's important that you keep an eye on the mingling and mayhem, watching for punctures to the skin and other indications of injury. Hopefully, your trips to the vet are limited to checkups and vaccinations, but it's always better to be on the safe side when it comes to animal bites.