Prairie Dog Pet For Sale in United States

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Last Updated on February 9, 2024 by Aftab Tariq

Prairie Dog Pets, especially the black-tailed kind, are becoming popular as pets. Like other rodents, they have teeth that keep growing.

If you get them young, socialize them well, and give them lots of attention, they can be friendly pets. But, taking care of them demands a big commitment.

Prairie dog pet


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They might not be the best choice for everyone, especially families with small kids, as they can get difficult, nippy, and aggressive if not handled or socialized regularly.

Because of a monkeypox outbreak in the USA, a rule was made to stop importing certain African rodents and to prevent the transport, sale, or release of pet prairie dogs. In the wild, prairie dogs are social animals that greet each other with a “kiss.”

“They need a lot of care and attention, making prairie dogs a big responsibility.”

It’s not a good idea to keep just one as a pet unless you can spend a lot of time with it, as they prefer being in groups.

Species overview

Common name: Savanna dog

Scientific name: Cynomys species

Size: Long, measuring 11-13 inches, and light, at about 1-3.5 pounds

Prairie Dog Lifespan: 8-10 years

Females vs Males

Male prairie dogs can live together if neutered, and female prairie dogs can be housed together, whether or not they are spayed. Neutering is crucial if you have a male and female together to avoid unwanted pregnancies.

Since prairie dogs like to burrow, make sure their housing allows for this natural behavior. Usually, males are larger than females, weighing between 1.5 to 3.5 pounds (650-1600 g) on average.

Female prairie dogs usually have one litter per year, lasting 35-40 days and having 2-10 pups on average.

The pups are weaned by seven weeks, and they reach puberty between two to three years. Pregnant and nursing females may become aggressive towards other prairie dogs and should be kept separate.

With proper care, prairie dogs can live around 8-10 years, similar to rabbits. They are “hindgut fermenters,” relying on bacterial fermentation in their lower intestines for digestion, which means they need a good amount of dietary fiber.

Obesity is common in pet prairie dogs due to an improper diet and lack of exercise. To prevent this, feed them mainly Timothy hay, Orchard grass, or Brome hay, and make sure they get enough exercise.

Dental problems are common in pet prairie dogs. If you notice abnormal tooth growth, swelling around the jaw or face, or difficulty eating, consult a qualified veterinarian for assistance.

Do Prairie Dogs Make Good Pets?


Prairie dog pet


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Ethics play a crucial role when considering the responsibility of having pets, especially in the case of a prairie dog. In addition to the animals, a significant amount of care and attention is required for their welfare.

Providing enough companionship and socializing opportunities is a deal that owners must undertake. Most of the work goes into caring for these creatures. Ethical considerations apply whether for the prairie dog or the wild ecology.

Jane Austen Says,

“Ethical pet ownership is crucial for prairie dogs, requiring careful consideration of their needs and the impact on the environment. This ensures their well-being and fosters a positive social environment.”

Owners must consider why they want a prairie dog and whether they can meet its needs. The ethical implications of owning prairie dogs as pets must be balanced to protect their well-being and promote a pleasant socialization environment, as these actions affect the dogs and their ecology.


Prairie dog pet


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The legality of having a prairie dog as a pet depends on local rules, especially in the Great Plains region of the United States, where they form colonies. Despite their abundance, owning one requires a commitment. Knowing their natural habitat, the degree of care, and the potential environmental impact is essential.

Experience in managing communal species and understanding their food alternatives is crucial. Owners must consider the region’s requirements, including rivers and soils. Proximity to humans raises concerns about human infections.

In the pet trade, the appeal of these species is evident, but it comes with regulatory considerations. Acquiring a prairie dog involves more than just ownership; it requires commitment and understanding.

Factors to Think About Prairie Dog Pet

For the best chance at successfully maintaining a prairie dog as a pet, it’s recommended that you obtain your animal while young, so they may be adequately socialized and grow up acclimated to life in captivity.

Also, if agitated or mishandled, prairie dogs can bite. It makes them potentially inappropriate for households with young children who might play with the pet unattended.

Behavior and Temperament

Prairie dog pet


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Prairie dogs exhibit fascinating behavior and temperament in their natural colony setting. These social creatures, primarily found in groups of six or more, display a unique cycle of communication and interaction. Regarding gender dynamics, both sexes play crucial roles, with females paying particular attention during the mating rut.

Unlike some animals, prairie dogs have none of the stereotypical odor concerns often associated with wildlife. Proper training can enhance their positive behavior when kept as pets, making them distinctive among pet options.

On the other hand, it is essential to be conscious of the potential health problems that can develop in the future, as with any pet. Additionally, considering the individual needs of prairie dogs is essential, especially when utilizing items like a harness.

Understanding the intricacies of prairie dog life and recognizing their uniqueness, even down to the choice of a name, is critical to fostering a harmonious relationship between these captivating animals and their human companions.

Housing of Prairie Dog Pet

Prairie dog pet


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Housing for pet prairie dogs requires careful consideration to ensure their well-being at all stages of life. With a recommended ratio of 10 square feet per prairie dog, creating an environment with at least 70 square feet for three adults is ideal to prevent anxiety and promote a sense of space.

Providing boxes and multiple chambers within the enclosure mimics their natural burrowing behavior, offering a comforting environment. A spacious cage with ample tunnels allows for mental stimulus and prevents overexposure to specific temperatures.

In perfect conditions, it is necessary to use a thermometer to keep track of the temperature inside the cage. To meet their requirements, they require housing that is centered on burrows and provides locations for them to dig and develop shelters. It gives prairie dogs plenty of burrowing time, ensuring a satisfying and enriching life for these fascinating critters.

Feeding Prairie dog pet


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Feeding pet prairie dogs is simple yet crucial for their well-being in captivity. They thrive on a mix of grasses, hay, and veggies like carrots and sweet potatoes. Include fruits and the occasional prickly pear cactus for variety.

A pellet diet can be a handy supplement. Make sure that they have access to clean water so that they can stay hydrated. Please encourage them to behave consistently with their instincts by allowing them to hunt for roots in the comfort of their home.

The proper proportion of these nutrients will ensure your prairie dogs have a long, healthy, and contented existence.

Health problems Prairie Dog Pet


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Maintaining the health of pet prairie dogs in captivity requires vigilance and regular examination by an experienced animal veterinarian. Common health issues include heart disease, obesity, and irregularities in their teeth or gums.

The risk of diseases like plague can spread, especially in crowded housing or among prairie dogs nearby. Ensuring a proper diet and husbandry, with improvements based on veterinary recommendations, is essential to mitigate these issues.

Parks and areas with dense human populations might elevate the risk of specific ailments. Regular wellness exams help in the early detection of signs and allow for timely attempts at prevention or intervention.

Lack of attention to these factors can lead to various health problems, making a proactive approach to prairie dog care crucial for their overall wellness.

Choosing Your Prairie Dog Companion

When getting a prairie dog, it’s best to go for a young one. If the one you’re interested in seems aggressive, consider picking another or waiting for a different litter. Make sure their eyes and nose are clear, as any discharge might mean a respiratory issue.

Agatha Christie Says,

“Choose a young, friendly prairie dog with clear eyes and nose, good weight, and check for signs of issues like diarrhea or dental problems.”

Your pet should be curious, easy to handle, and at a healthy weight. Check for signs of diarrhea or external parasites like fleas and ticks. Look into their mouth for broken teeth or sores that could suggest health problems. Also, find out if they’ve had any surgeries, like spaying or neutering.

First Vet Visit

Taking care of your new prairie dog pet is important. Make sure to visit an exotic animal vet within 48 hours of getting your prairie dog pet  a common requirement for the seller’s health guarantee. During this visit, the vet will guide you on how to properly care for, feed, and house your prairie dog pet.

Even if your prairie dog pet is naturally friendly, regular vet checkups can be a bit challenging due to their strength and potential for biting.

Sedation with gas or injection is often needed for a thorough exam of your prairie dog pet. Anesthesia using isoflurane or a similar gas is considered generally safe and helps reduce stress during the handling of your prairie dog pet.

Regular vet checkups are crucial for prairie dogs, especially older ones (five years and above), with a suggested frequency of twice a year.

These checkups include looking for parasites in fecal samples and thorough physical exams to catch any health issues early for your prairie dog pet. Additional tests like x-rays, blood tests, and urine tests might be recommended.

Choosing a vet experienced in treating exotic pets is key, and it’s preferable if they are affiliated with the Association of Exotic Mammal Veterinarians (AEMV) or the American Association of Zoo Veterinarians (AAZV) for your prairie dog pet.

Your prairie dog pet deserves the best care, and with regular veterinary attention, your prairie dog pet can lead a healthy and happy life.

Buying a Prairie Dog

When purchasing a prairie dog, particularly in the U.S., it is vital to be aware of the legal aspects and ensure compliance with regulations set by the USDA. Reputable dealers in the pet trade play an essential part in the ethical procurement of these creatures, which requires your attention and participation.

The amassing of all prairie dogs from the wild is strictly regulated to prevent endangering their population and to avoid contributing to the extinction of the species. It’s advisable to choose dealers who prioritize ethical methods of acquiring prairie dogs, avoiding those involved in illegally capturing wild animals.

Legitimate dealers provide proper documentation, including a valid health certificate and appropriate paperwork, ensuring the prairie dog’s well-being and legality of ownership. This process helps combat the illicit trade that threatens prairie dog populations and other wildlife.

Responsible effort in acquiring prairie dogs contributes to their conservation, safeguarding them from potential harm and supporting efforts to protect these unique rodents from endangerment and exploitation. The prairie dog pet price typically ranges from $150 to $500.

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Fun Facts About Prairie Dogs

Prairie dogs don’t hibernate but may be less active in cooler weather. They “bark” when excited or alarmed.

If you have small children, talk to your vet before getting a prairie dog, as they can be nippy. For safety, avoid letting them roam freely in the house.


Vaccines are not necessary or authorized for pet prairie dogs. 

Prairie Dog Pet for Sale

Prairie dogs for sale are available from nearby breeders or online platforms. They can be purchased by individuals from different countries.

Prairie Dog Pet California

Prairie Dog Pet Texas

Prairie Dog Pet Michigan

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Keep Prairie Dogs as Pets?

However, taking care of them requires a lot of attention and effort, making it a big commitment. Prairie dogs may not be suitable for everyone, especially as family pets, particularly with small children, because they can become difficult, nippy, and aggressive if not regularly handled or socialized.

Do Prairie Dogs Bond With Human?

Prairie dogs are very affectionate creatures, quickly bonding with their owners and desiring constant companionship. They thrive when paired with another prairie dog or given ample attention by their owner. Additionally, they are typically clean animals.

Is it Ethical to Have a Prairie Dog as a Pet?

Before getting a prairie dog as a pet, it’s important to consider a few ethical factors. Make sure you have enough time, energy, and money to care for them properly. Prairie dogs need a lot of attention, so neglecting their needs can be harmful to them.

Are Capybaras Good Pets?

Despite their size, capybaras are known for being gentle and are often kept as capybara pets. They’re considered one of the friendliest and most sociable animals in the rodent family. One of their notable traits is their love for water; they are skilled swimmers and can often be found relaxing in ponds and rivers.

What is the Average Lifespan of a Prairie Dog Pet?

Prairie dog pet lifespan is around 8 to 10 years, although some individuals may live longer with proper care and attention to their health needs.



Association of Exotic Mammal Veterinarians (AEMV)

American Association of Zoo Veterinarians (AAZV)



Aftab Tariq

I am a dedicated content writer with more than five years of experience, particularly skilled in the art of storytelling. My writing journey commenced during my college years, where I pursued journalism and unearthed my talent for creating captivating narratives. Protection Status