Need help with grooming a very older sugar glider

Posted By: Nick57pc

Need help with grooming a very older sugar glider - 01/09/20 11:26 AM

I rescued a sugar glider some 11 years ago, recently he has shown signs of arthritis and advanced age. When I took him in the owner could only tell me that they had had him for about 3 years and gotten him from a friend who had him for 2-3 years as well.

I recently moved him to a smaller cage because his vision seems to be going, coupled with arthritis I felt that a small cube cage would suit him as opposed to his large 3 tier cage. The problem I have now run into that I feed him his MLB “gravy” in a small dish with high walls. But with his vision/movement issues he will often times end up with his tail in the gravy or a paw will slip in. This has left his coat fairly matted, especially at the tail and part of his belly. So far all I can do is take a soft tooth brush to clean the fur that has become so matted that it has shed off, which is leaving him with some bald spots. He doesn’t seem to be neglecting his grooming he just can’t get the sticky gravy off his fur with his own self grooming and the help I’ve been able to provide is minimal at best

So I’m looking for advice on how to properly and safely help him clean himself. I’ve tried doing a warm moist cloth but it doesn’t seem to get enough water to saturate the fur and loosen the gravy. So if anyone has any tips or suggestions I would greatly appreciate it
Posted By: KarenE

Re: Need help with grooming a very older sugar glider - 01/09/20 02:51 PM

Poor ole fella and cuddos to you for doing your best to help him. The warm moist cloth is probably the best I can think of, however, you may need to get the cloth more than moist to get the sticky BML off. That stuff is more than difficult once it dries.

Without knowing what time he eats, is it possible for you to clean him up right after he eats and then remove his BML so he doesn't get into it and sleep letting it dry overnight? Possibly give him the BML only first, let him eat that, take it away and then let him have his fruits/veggies in the cage for the rest of the night after you clean him up.
Posted By: Nick57pc

Re: Need help with grooming a very older sugar glider - 01/09/20 07:27 PM

Hey Karen,

That’s what I’ve tried to do, recently his sleep schedule has been super random he went from being up from the late evening to the early morning, with small naps, to basically sleeping near constantly and waking up randomly in the middle of the day, night, and afternoon. My vet has told me that based on the fact that I don’t know the exact timeline they two previous owned who had him before me Benny, my sugar glider, could be as old as 15 or 19...because he could have come from a mill at a year or two of age or he could have been a young Joey they got at the mall. So with him being an “old man” he’s going to behave like one even in his sleep patterns. I’ve also noticed he lost interest in some of his favorite veggies and fruits that are on the former side like carrots. So I’ve been minding the tougher stuff up but even then he eats less of it than he normally would, and eats more of his gravy (which my phones keeps auto correcting to MLB). So lately I’ve just been giving him a small scoop of it when I wake up, and if he hasn’t eaten it by the time I go to work o replace it, then again when I get home, and again when I go to bed and replace the fruits and veggies once or twice a day depending on how they look.

So taking the gravy out at certain times seems like it might be a bit risky considering it’s his primary source of food at this point and the rest of his meal has gone to being sides instead of the main course. I know it should be the other way around but realistically I know my little buddy doesn’t have much time left with me and so my goal is to make him as comfortable and happy as he can be with the time he does have left.

So I guess I’m just going to have to go with a warm wet/damp cloth rather than completely ringing it out and then keep a space heater near by while I dry him off with another towel =\
Posted By: Feather

Re: Need help with grooming a very older sugar glider - 01/09/20 07:55 PM

Can you give him a plate that isn't that high, but maybe wider so that he has to walk around it.
Posted By: Nick57pc

Re: Need help with grooming a very older sugar glider - 01/09/20 09:11 PM

Hi Feather,

Part of his mobility issues stemming from his arthritis come from the joints in his paw not working as well. He has trouble with individual toes and claws getting stuck at times (which is in part why I moved him into the one tier cage, he can still climb but will end up getting stuck or falling at times due to a paw not being able to fully release). So he stumbles at times. So I feel like putting a plate or large flat dish in the cage would probably result in him stumbling and then completely rolling into the gravy. Beyond that there’s the fact that he has some vision loss. It’s not entirely gone but you can tell it takes some time for him to notice things that aren’t directly in front of him or large in scale. So I could see him easily walking straight into the dish and not realizing it until he was in the gravy.

Right now I’m using a gerber kids snack tray as his feeding dish it’s about 6x4x1with a larger compartment that I put his fruit in and a narrower compartment that I put the gravy in. So he already has to sort of sit up on the side or on top of the dish and put his head down into the tray to actually get to his gravy. Most of the mess he has in his fur comes from him climbing over the food dish and then sitting in the larger compartment to eat his fruits and vegetables and putting his tail down in it while eating. Then there also times where he’s climbing back across the dish, has a stumble and ends up with a paw in his gravy
Posted By: Ladymagyver

Re: Need help with grooming a very older sugar glider - 01/10/20 12:07 AM

Sorry I didn't get on here sooner, we are traveling today. Would you consider trying a bird silo for water to put the nectar in?

Or maybe this? One of our members uses this:

"JW Pet® Insight Clean Cup Feed & Water Bird Cup | bird Cups | PetSmart"*Catch%20All%2Cutm_campaign%3AGSC%20-%20Medium%20-%20Specialty%20-%20Bird&utm_medium=PLA&utm_source=google

I agree that a warm soaked wash rag would be best for clean up. Maybe daub on and try the toothbrush if it's not too un comfortable
Posted By: Nick57pc

Re: Need help with grooming a very older sugar glider - 01/10/20 02:46 AM

That looks perfect actually! I’ll probably have to put a soufflé cup in it as the dish seems fairly deep and he only gets a a teaspoon at a time but I think that will solve the problem of him getting his fur drug through the gravy! Luckily I live about a half mile from pet smart so I’ll go grab one now! Thank you so much!
Posted By: Ladymagyver

Re: Need help with grooming a very older sugar glider - 01/10/20 03:54 AM

You are welcome!!!

Please let us know how well this works for him.
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