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Press release from Business Wire

When It Comes to Small Pets, Think Big-Picture

Thursday, March 15, 2012

When It Comes to Small Pets, Think Big-Picture07:00 EDT Thursday, March 15, 2012 PHOENIX (Business Wire) -- Springtime can trigger thoughts of fuzzy small animals like guinea pigs and hamsters, so it's not surprising that it's also the most popular time of year for parents to surprise children with new small pets. But before that cuddly chinchilla comes home, it's important for families to spend some time researching each animal's characteristics so they determine what pet is just right for their family. PetSmart® (NASDAQ: PETM) is taking this springtime opportunity to highlight key factors to consider when selecting a new family pet. “Choosing a pet should never be a spur-of-the-moment decision, and families need to consider how the pet is going to fit into their lives,” says Dr. Kemba Marshall, veterinarian and pet care expert at PetSmart. “Talking to an associate about each pet's unique characteristics and doing some background research online will help families prepare for what to expect and to care for their new pet.” How to get started:Pick the perfect pet: To find the perfect match, families must consider how each pet will fit into their lifestyle. Several online resources, including PetSmart's Small Pet Center, provide tips on how to choose a small pet, whether it's a rat, gerbil or hamster, based on children's ages, pet-care experience, daily time requirements for care and lifespan. Choose the right habitat: Each pet has unique habitat requirements and there are must-have supplies and accessories to keep the pet happy and healthy. For example, rats need a cage with both height and width so they have room to climb and explore; guinea pigs need a habitat with plenty of floor space to play; and hamsters need a multilevel habitat large enough to include an exercise wheel and tunnels as they have tons of energy. Provide proper nutrition: Each animal has its own nutritional needs. Guinea pigs and chinchillas are herbivores so they need diets that include at least 75 percent of high-fiber hay. Hamsters and gerbils are also herbivores but need high-fiber diets and enjoy variety.In all cases, fresh water is essential and should be available at all times. Swing by a store: Take a family trip to a PetSmart store, where associates can help with pet selection and walk everyone through the basics including habitat cleaning, feeding schedules and how to properly and safely handle small pets. Each store's book section also carries pet health manuals and pet-specific handbooks. “Taking time to think about getting a new pet is the best way to ensure a positive experience for the pet and its new family,” adds Dr. Marshall. “Pets bring so much to our lives so we want to ensure that each pet parent is prepared to provide the care their chosen pets need to enjoy a happy and healthy life.” Talk to an expert: Families looking for guidance or pet parents who have questions about caring for their small pet can connect with Dr. Marshall on Facebook. PetSmart will be hosting a live chat with Dr. Marshall on Tuesday, March 27, from 6:00 pm – 6:45 pm EDT. For additional information, please visit About PetSmart PetSmart, Inc. (NASDAQ: PETM) is the largest specialty pet retailer of services and solutions for the lifetime needs of pets. The company employs approximately 50,000 associates and operates more than 1,232 pet stores in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico, over 192 in-store PetSmart® PetsHotel® dog and cat boarding facilities and is a leading online provider of pet supplies and pet care information ( PetSmart provides a broad range of competitively priced pet food and pet products; and offers dog training, pet grooming, pet boarding, PetSmart Doggie Day CampSM day care services and pet adoption services. Since 1994, PetSmart Charities, Inc., an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit animal welfare organization and the largest funder of animal welfare efforts in North America, has provided more than $165 million in grants and programs benefiting animal welfare organizations. Through its in-store pet adoption partnership with PetSmart Charities®, PetSmart has helped save the lives of nearly 5 million pets. Follow PetSmart on Twitter @PetSmartFind PetSmart on Facebook PetSmart on YouTube: GolinHarris for PetSmartAnuradha Koli, 972-341-2578akoli@golinharris.comorPetSmart Media