Caring for Your Rabbit

This Caring for Your Rabbit guide from Oxbow Animal Health will teach you everything you need to know about keeping your pet healthy and happy.

CARING FOR YOUR PET RABBIT

Your rabbit is a herbivore, which means he eats only plant material.

Grass hay should be the high-fibre cornerstone of every rabbit’s diet. The fibre in hay helps meet the important digestive health needs of herbivores such as rabbits. A daily recommended amount of a uniform, fortified food provides essential vitamins and minerals not found in hay. Fresh greens are also an important component of a rabbit’s diet, and healthy treats can be beneficial when given in moderation.

HAY

Your rabbit should have unlimited access to a variety of quality grass hays. Among many benefits, hay helps prevent obesity, boredom, and dental and gastrointestinal disease. Since replacing the hay in your rabbit’s habitat can encourage picky eating, we recommend changing it only when soiled.

Young (less than a year old), pregnant, nursing or ill animals can benefit from eating alfalfa hay in addition to grass hay because of the higher nutritional elements. Otherwise, alfalfa should only be given occasionally as a treat.

Hay Selection

Keep in mind: Grass hay should make up the majority of your pet’s daily diet. Offer a variety of hay to your rabbit to promote optimum health. Since hay is a natural product, each bag will look and feel different. Use our Taste & Texture Guide located on every hay package to determine your pet’s taste and texture preferences.

We have many all-natural, farm-fresh hays to choose from including Western Timothy, Orchard Grass, Oat Hay and Botanical Hay. Also, check out our Harvest Stacks line of compressed hays for extra enrichment

Did You Know
Your Rabbits teeth never stop growing. Hay is essential because it stimulates normal chewing and dental wear patterns, helping decrease the risk of dental disease.

 

Fortified Food

Providing a daily recommended amount of a high-fibre, age-appropriate fortified food will help ensure that your pet receives essential vitamins and minerals not found in hay.

Pellet Selection

Always choose an age-appropriate pellet formulated specifically for rabbits. Our Essentials Young Rabbit Food is ideal for rabbits under one year of age. For adult rabbits, choose from one of Oxbow’s three premium adult rabbit formulas.

Avoid
Mixes with nuts, corn, seeds and fruit because rabbits have a tendency to select those tempting morsels over the healthy pellets.

 

Greens

Fresh greens are an important part of your pet’s daily diet. Greens contribute to hydration and provide important vitamins and minerals, as well as enrichment. For a complete list of appropriate greens, visit the House Rabbit Society’s website at rabbit.org.

Offer – Romaine, bib, and red leaf lettuce
Avoid – Leeks, chives and onions

 

Treats

Treats (including fruits and veggies) are great for encouraging interaction between you and your pet, but they should only be given after basic daily foods have been eaten. Offering too many treats can cause your rabbit to refuse his healthy, essential foods. It’s important to remember that not all treats are created equal! All Oxbow treat varieties are designed to be as wholesome as they are delicious.

Did You Know
By caring for your rabbit and with proper nutrition your bun may live ten or more years.

 

HOUSING YOUR RABBIT

As animals of prey by nature, all rabbits need a safe place to spend time and escape potential environmental stressors.

Choose a well-constructed habitat with a solid floor and set it up near household activities, but away from drafts. Your rabbit’s habitat should be outfitted with environmental essentials such as a space to hide (Timothy CLUB Bungalow or Tunnel), a litter box lined with litter and bedding (Pure Comfort bedding layered on top of Eco-Straw litter), some toys, grass hay, a food bowl, and two sources of fresh, clean water.

The confines of a habitat do not allow enough space for a pet’s exercise needs. All animals benefit from activity and love to move and explore; a play yard allows you to create a safe, secure exercise area for your pet.

 

YOUR RABBIT’S HEALTH

When caring for your rabbit, you should visit a qualified exotics veterinarian at least once a year for check-ups on your rabbit’s diet, behaviour, and health.

Be prepared for your pet’s visits by making a list of any questions or concerns you may have ahead of time. Ask your veterinarian to recommend an appropriate age to have your rabbit spayed or neutered; this will increase the chances of a longer, healthier life for your pet. Many rabbit health problems are preventable with proper diet and care. To locate a qualified exotics veterinarian near you, visit aernv.org.

 

Rabbits are inquisitive and curious by nature

REASONS TO CONTACT YOUR VET

  • Loose, soft or lack of stool
  • Small, dry, or infrequent stools
  • Blood in the urine breathing
  • Hunching in a corner or lack of activity (lethargy)
  • Overgrown front teeth
  • Sneezing or trouble front teeth
  • Observed difficulty with chewing
  • Bald patches in the fur
  • Sores on the feet
  • Abnormal eating or drinking

 

 

RABBIT BEHAVIOUR

Rabbits don’t usually like to be picked up or carried.

The best way to interact with your rabbit is to get down to his level and play with him on the floor. Be sure you are always with your rabbit when he is out for playtime; rabbits are curious by nature and could get into trouble if left alone.

Some rabbit behaviours can seem rather strange. For example, you may see your rabbit eat its own poop. This is a normal, healthy behaviour that provides essential vitamins and nutrients.

 

SUPPLIES FOR YOUR RABBIT

  • Fortified age-specific food: Oxbow Essentials Young Rabbit Food for rabbits under one year of age or one of Oxbow’s three premium formulas for adults
  • Two or more varieties of Oxbow’s farm-fresh hays
  • Oxbow treats for healthy bonding and enrichment
  • Water bottle and heavy water dish
  • Heavy food bowl
  • Large play yard for safe exercise outside the habitat
  • Large habitat with solid, non-slip flooring
  • Hiding space such as Oxbow’s Timothy CLUB Bungalow or Tunnel
  • Litter box
  • Litter and bedding material such as Oxbow’s Pure Comfort Bedding

Caring for Your Guinea Pig

Caring for Your Guinea Pig is a guide from Oxbow Animal Health, it will teach you everything you need to know about keeping your pet guinea pig healthy and happy.

 

FEEDING AND CARING FOR YOUR GUINEA PIG

Your guinea pig is a herbivore, which means he eats only plant material.

Grass hay should be the high-fibre cornerstone of every guinea pig’s diet. The fibre in hay helps meet the important digestive health needs of herbivores such as guinea pigs. A daily recommended amount of a uniform, fortified food provides essential vitamins and minerals not found in hay. Fresh greens are also an important component of a guinea pig’s diet, and healthy treats can be beneficial when given in moderation.

 

HAY

Your guinea pig should have unlimited access to a variety of quality grass hays. Among many benefits, hay helps prevent obesity, boredom, and dental and gastrointestinal disease. Since replacing the hay in your guinea pig’s habitat can encourage picky eating, we recommend changing it only when soiled. Young (less than six months old), pregnant, nursing, or ill animals can benefit from eating alfalfa hay in addition to grass hay because of the higher nutritional elements. Otherwise, alfalfa should only be given occasionally as a treat.

Hay Selection

Keep in mind: Grass hay should make up the majority of your pet’s daily diet. Offer a variety of hay to your guinea pig to promote optimum health. Since hay is a natural product, each bag will look and feel different. Use our Taste & Texture Guide located on every hay package to determine your pet’s taste and texture preferences.

We have many all-natural farm-fresh hays to choose from including Western Timothy, Orchard Grass, Oat Hay, Botanical Hay, and Organic Meadow Hay. Also, check out our Harvest Stacks line of compressed hays for extra enrichment.

 

Generally, your guinea pig should be eating a pile of hay twice the size of its body daily.

DID YOU KNOW
Your guinea pig’s teeth never stop growing. Hay is essential because it stimulates normal chewing and dental wear patterns healing decrease the risk of dental disease.

 

FORTIFIED FOOD

Providing a daily recommended amount of a high-fibre, age-appropriate fortified food with stabilized vitamin C will help ensure that your pet receives essential vitamins and minerals not found in hay.

Pellet Selection

Always choose an age-appropriate pellet specifically formulated for guinea pigs. Our Essentials Young Guinea Pig Food is ideal for guinea pigs under six months. For guinea pigs over six months, choose one of our three adult formulas.

Avoid
Mixes with nuts, corn, seeds and fruit because guinea pigs have a tendency to select those tempting morsels over the healthy pellets.

 

GREENS

Fresh greens are a vital part of your pet’s daily diet. Greens contribute to hydration and provide necessary vitamins and minerals, as well as enrichment. Check with your qualified exotics veterinarian for a full list of appropriate greens. A good starter list of varieties to offer and avoid includes:

Offer: Romaine, bib and red leaf lettuce
Avoid: Leeks, chives and onions

 

Guinea pigs are inquisitive and curious by nature

TREATS

Treats (including fruits and veggies) are great for encouraging interaction between you and your pet, but they should only be given after daily foods have been eaten. Offering too many treats can cause your guinea pig to refuse his healthy, essential foods. It’s important to remember that not all treats are created equal!  When caring for your guinea pig make sure you include Oxbow treats which have been designed to be as wholesome as they are delicious.

 

HOUSING YOUR GUINEA PIG

Guinea pigs need a safe place that allows enough room to climb, jump, and explore, as well as to escape potential environmental stressors.

Choose a well-constructed habitat with a solid floor and set up near household activities, but away from drafts. Your guinea pig’s habitat should be outfitted with environmental essentials such as a space to hide (Timothy CLUB Bungalow or Tunnel), a litter box lined with litter and bedding (Pure Comfort bedding layered on top of Eco-Straw litter), some toys, grass hay, a food bowl and two sources of fresh, clean water.

The confines of a habitat do not allow enough space for a pet’s exercise needs. All animals benefit from activity and love to move and explore; a play yard allows you to create a safe, secure exercise area for your pet.

 

SUPPLIES FOR YOUR GUINEA PIG

  • Fortified age-specific food: Oxbow Essentials Young Guinea Pig Food for guinea pigs under six months of age. For guinea pigs over six months of age, choose one of Oxbow’s three adult formulas.
  • Two or more varieties of Oxbow’s farm-fresh hay
  • Oxbow treats for healthy bonding and enrichment
  • Water bottle and heavy water dish
  • Heavy food bowl
  • Large habitat with solid, non-slip flooring
  • Large play yard for safe exercise outside the habitat
  • Hiding space such as Oxbow’s Timothy CLUB Bungalow or Tunnel
  • Litter and bedding material such as Oxbow’s Eco-Straw and Pure Comfort Bedding
  • Natural Science Vitamin C supplement, as needed*

*In times of stress, a guinea pig’s need for vitamin C can fluctuate. Supplement with Natural Science Vitamin C

 

GUINEA PIG BEHAVIOUR

Guinea pigs are most active at dawn and twilight, taking naps throughout the day.

Guinea pigs often show their affection through vocalizations. For example, you may hear a sound called “wheeking” when your pet is looking for a treat or purring when being held. Also, your guinea pig may “popcorn” – bounce excitedly and repeatedly to express happiness. The best way to interact with your guinea pig is to play with him on the floor. As creatures of habit, guinea pigs need to be introduced to changes slowly in regards to feedings and routines.

Some guinea pig behaviours can seem rather strange. For example, you may see your guinea pig eat its own poop. This is a normal, healthy behaviour that provides essential vitamins and nutrients.

 

YOUR GUINEA PIGS HEALTH

When caring for your guinea pig you should visit a qualified exotics veterinarian at least once a year for check-ups on your guinea pig’s diet, behaviour, and health.

Be prepared for your pet’s visits by making a list of any questions or concerns you may have ahead of time. Ask your veterinarian to recommend an appropriate age to have your guinea pig spayed or neutered; this will increase the chances of a longer, healthier life for your pet. Many guinea pig health problems are preventable with proper diet and care. To locate a qualified exotics veterinarian near you, visit aemv.org

 

REASONS TO CONTACT YOUR VET

  • Loose, soft or lack of stool
  • Small, dry or infrequent stools
  • Blood in the urine
  • Sneezing or trouble breathing
  • Hunching in a corner or lack of activity (lethargy)
  • Overgrown front teeth
  • Observed difficulty with chewing
  • Bald patches in the fur
  • Sores on the feet
  • Abnormal eating or drinking

 

For more information about your guinea pig’s nutrition and behaviours, visit www.oxbowanimalhealth.com


Caring for Your Rat

Caring for your Rat is an educational guide from Oxbow Animal Health will teach you everything you need to know about keeping your pet rat happy and healthy.

FEEDING AND CARING FOR YOUR RAT

Your rat is an omnivore, which means he eats both plant and animal material.

Your rat requires a simple diet composed of a complete fortified food, freshwater served in both a sipper bottle and tip-proof dish, and veggies, greens, and fruits in appropriate daily amounts. Like humans, rats are prone to eating when bored, so it’s important to provide healthy foods in proper amounts.

Fortified FoodD

Fortified food like Oxbow Essentials Adult Rat Food or Essentials Mouse & Young Rat Food is the best option for your rat. These specially designed foods are formed into the ideal shape for nibbling, which promotes healthy teeth.

Food Selection

Always choose an age-appropriate food formulated specifically for rats. Our Essentials Mouse & Young Rat Food is ideal for rats under six months of age, and our Essentials Adult Rat Food is recommended for adult rats.

Avoid: Mixes with nuts, seeds, and dried fruit because rats have a tendency to select those tempting morsels over healthy food pieces.

Did you know
Small amounts of high-quality seeds, such as oats, sunflower seeds, barley and cooked brown rice make great treats for rats.

 

VEGES, GREENS & FRUITS

Veggies, greens, and fruits are an important part of your rat’s daily diet. These items offer important vitamins and nutrients, contribute to hydration, and provide enrichment to your pet’s daily routine. Check with your qualified exotics veterinarian for a full list of appropriate veggies, greens, and fruit choices. A good starter list of varieties to offer and avoid includes:

Offer: Romaine, kale, parsley, apples (without seeds), strawberries, bananas, peas, and squash
Avoid: Leeks, chives and onions

 

HAY

Supply grass hay to stimulate natural foraging and nesting, which helps in the prevention of obesity. Many rats especially enjoy Oat Hay, which often contains tasty, immature seed heads.

Hay Selection

Use our Taste & Texture Guide located on every hay package to determine your pet’s preferences. We have many all-natural farm-fresh hays to choose from including Western Timothy, Orchard Grass, Oat Hay, Botanical Hay, and Organic Meadow Hay. Also, check out our Harvest Stacks line of compressed hays for extra enrichment.

 

TREATS

A part of caring for your rat includes treats.  Treats are great for encouraging interaction between you and your pet, but they should only be given after basic daily foods have been eaten. Offering too many treats can cause your rat to refuse his healthy, essential foods. It’s important to remember that not all treats are created equal! All Oxbow treat varieties are designed to be as wholesome as they are delicious.

 

Caring for your Rat

Rats are intelligent and social by nature

RAT BEHAVIOUR

Domesticated rats are clean, docile pets that rarely bite.

They enjoy socialization with both other rats as well as humans. In addition, rats are very smart and can be trained to respond to their names and clicker training, to “fetch” objects, use a litter box, and climb ropes.

Want to keep your pet rat busy for hours? Fill a box with one of Oxbow’s grass hays and hide your rat’s favourite treat inside. He’ll enjoy both the excitement and challenge of the treasure hunt!

 

YOUR RAT’S HEALTH

When caring for your rat, you should visit a qualified exotics veterinarian at least once a year for check-ups on your rat’s diet, behaviour, and health.

Be prepared for your pet’s visits by making a list of any questions or concerns you may have ahead of time. Many rat health problems are preventable with proper diet and care. To locate a qualified exotics veterinarian near you, visit aemv.org

 

REASONS TO CONTACT YOUR VET

  • Wet or soiled tail
  • Blood in the urine
  • Sneezing or trouble breathing
  • Hunching in a corner or lack of activity (lethargy)
  • Overgrown front teeth
  • Bald patches in the fur
  • Lumps or sores on the body
  • Sores on the feet
  • Abnormal eating or drinking

 

DID YOU KNOW
Rats cannot burp, because of this, avoid feeing gas-causing vegetables such as cabbage

 

HOUSING YOUR RAT

Rats require lots of space to foster creative living, playing, and burrowing.

Rats love to climb and explore, so choose a multi-level habitat for these athletic adventurers. Choose a wire cage with a solid bottom to accommodate bedding such as Oxbow’s Pure Comfort Bedding, places to hide such as Timothy CLUB Bungalow or Tunnel, cardboard tubes, ropes, an exercise wheel, grass hay for burrowing and nesting, a food bowl, and two sources of fresh, clean water.

Set your rat’s cage up near household activities, but away from drafts. Newspaper, paper towels, facial tissue, and old mittens or socks also make excellent nesting materials for rats.

 

Avoid: Aromatic cedar and pine shavings that may contain resin and could irritate your pet’s lungs and skin.

 

SUPPLIES FOR YOUR RAT

  • Fortified age-specific food: Oxbow Essentials Mouse &Young Rat Food for rats under six months of age or Oxbow Essentials Adult Rat Food for rats over six months of age
  • Variety of Oxbow’s grass hays for nesting
  • Oxbow treats for healthy bonding and enrichment
  • A mix of healthy veggies, greens, fruits, and seeds
  • Heavy food bowl
  • Water bottle and heavy water dish
  • Cage designed specifically for rats
  • Wheel, tube, and hay habitat such as Oxbow’s Timothy CLUB Bungalow or Tunnel for hiding and playing
  • Oxbow’s Pure Comfort Bedding

For more information about your rat’s nutrition and behaviours, visit www.oxbowanimalhealth.com


All About The Science of Hay

ALL ABOUT THE SCIENCE OF HAY

This guide from Oxbow Animal Health provides a closer look at the science of hay – how and where it’s grown, how it can vary based on factors of nature, the anatomy of a hay plant, and the essential role hay plays in the daily health of small herbivores.

Hay has been harvested for thousands of years, and it remains the cornerstone of small herbivore health. Hay offers many nutritional and health benefits, including the prevention of obesity and digestive issues and maintaining dental and mental health.

 

MAKING HAY WHILE THE SUN SHINES

The science of hay - a guide from Oxbow Animal Health


Hay Field as Eco-System

A hayfield is a very diverse eco-system. Throughout the growing season, a single hayfield can contain a number of micro-habitats that host a variety of insect and animal life. In addition to providing valuable food sources in the form of nectar and leaves, the dense canopy of a hayfield protects these organisms from predators.

Hay Harvest

Hay is harvested using a series of simple mechanical processes. These include: mowing, tedding, raking, and baling. Oxbow hay is mowed when it is determined that the nutrients are at optimum levels to support small animal health.

Mowed hay is organized into large swaths, or rows, in the field. Next, a process called tedding fluffs up the cut hay, promoting curing and drying. Once hay has been tedded and is nearly dry, it is raked (flipped over) to dry the underside and form a windrow.

The final step in the hay harvest process is baling. The baling process mechanically compacts hay into large bales.

 

Hay Anatomy 101

Seed

      • Soft and enticing to most pets – contains the most protein.
      • Typically eaten second, after leaves.
      • Size depends on the maturity of hay (smaller seed heads indicate more immature hay).

Stems

      • Supporting structure or “scaffold” of hay.
      • The coarsest part of the hay plant.
      • Contains the most fibre – 25% more than leaves & seed heads.
      • Provides the most beneficial dental wear.
      • Typically selected last to be eaten by pets, but very important.

Leaves

      • The softest, most enticing part of the hay plant.
      • Typically selected first by pets.
      • Beneficial source of fibre and protein.

 

Quick Tip: Mix it up! If you find that your pet leaves behind stems, don’t throw them out! Instead, mix them in with fresh hay to encourage your pet to eat these important fibre-packed pieces.

 

 


Mother Nature & Hay Variability

Hay is very much a “farm fresh” product. It is grown and harvested naturally, and minimally handled between the field and your pet’s preferred dining area.

As a product of Mother Nature, even slight changes in factors such as temperature, humidity, rain and wind will cause the taste, texture, colour and aroma traits of hay to vary slightly from bag to bag, it’s all about the science of hay.

However, it is important to note that a change in one of these traits does not necessarily indicate a change in quality.

Some common ways that your hay might vary from purchase to purchase include:

Colour

Beautiful green hay is everyone’s first choice, but it’s important to know that brown or sun-bleached hay is not “bad” hay. Hay becomes brown as it matures and less light reaches the lower leaves through the canopy. Hay loses some of its natural green colour while drying in the field. While hay with alternate colour attributes may not be as visually appealing, the nutritional profile of hay is not affected by colour.

Texture

Hay texture varies naturally between varieties. Orchard Grass, for example, is typically very soft, while other varieties such as Oat Hay are coarser by nature. You will naturally notice some variability between bags of the same variety. Generally speaking, texture is an indicator of maturity. The more mature hay is, the coarser the texture will be.  To help you choose your pet’s preference, every bag of Oxbow hay features a taste/texture guide ranging from sweet and hearty to soft and crunchy.

 


Whats in a hay bale - Oxbow Animal Health

What’s In a Hay Bale?

Considering the vast ecosystems contained within a hayfield, it’s inevitable that some bales will contain small artifacts of nature, including miscellaneous plant life, dried insects or small rocks or bits of soil from the field.

Purchasing hay from a trusted expert will help to significantly limit the amount of “foreign materials” encountered in the hay you purchase.

Oxbow has an extensive Quality Assurance program in place and is always making process improvements. Oxbow’s production team members are trained experts when it comes to sorting and evaluating hay.

 


The Importance of Hay in the Diet of Small Herbivores

 

Digestive

The fibre in hay facilitates the constant digestive movement that small herbivores require to maintain digestive health. Disrupting this movement can lead to a number of gastrointestinal issues, some of which can be life-threatening. Providing grass hay most closely mimics the foraging activity small herbivores would perform in nature.

 


Dental

Small herbivores require constant chewing of hard, fibrous foods (i.e. hay) to provide necessary dental wear. The teeth of rabbits and guinea pigs never stop growing, making it critical to provide a proper diet centred around hay. A diet with insufficient hay can lead to dental issues, including disease and malocclusion.

 


Mental

Hay is not just great for the body of small pets, it is essential to their mental health as well! Access to a variety of hay provides mental stimulation, keeping pets active, stimulated and healthy. To maximise this important mental stimulation, try placing hay in as many locations as possible through your pet’s living space.

 


 

 


All About Fortified Foods for Herbivores

All About Fortified Foods

 

Healthy balanced food should be a daily staple in every small pet’s diet. With so many options available in the food aisle, choosing one that’s best for your furry family members can be a confusing and intimidating process. Especially for new parents and long-time pet caretakers alike.

The following guide is designed to provide the basic information necessary to help you choose a food that meets the specific nutritional needs of your beloved pet.

 

Why Do Small Pets Need Fortified Food?

A measured amount of a uniform, balanced food provides key vitamins and minerals small pets need to thrive.

In the wild, your pet would consume a variety of plant material each day, receiving ample amounts of micronutrients (i.e. vitamins & minerals) in the process.

In captivity, it becomes your responsibility as a pet parent to provide these important components of nutrition.

 

How Much Should I Feed?

Daily food requirements vary depending on age, species, and additional factors specific to your individual pet(s). Young, growing, pregnant or nursing pets have higher nutritional requirements and will generally require a larger quantity of food than mature pets.

Always follow the feeding guidelines on your pet’s specific food package. Consult your veterinarian if you have questions about how much food your animal should eat.

HERBIVORES

For herbivores such as rabbits and guinea pigs, a uniform fortified food should make up 20% of the daily diet. The majority of the diet (70%) should come from unlimited fresh grass hay. The remainder of the diet should come from fresh greens (8%) and healthy, all-natural treats (up to 2%).

 


OMNIVORES

For omnivores such as rats, a uniform kibble should make up 75% of the daily diet. The remainder of the omnivore diet should come from a mix of fresh veggies, greens, and fruit (20%) and healthy, all-natural treats for bonding (up to 5%).

 


Premium & Nutritionally Correct Food Checklist

Uniform pellets = complete nutrition in every bite.

  • Species & Life-stage specific (Grass hay-based for adult, Lucerne-based for young, growing, pregnant & lactating)
  • Prebiotics to feed good bacteria
  • Chelated minerals (e.g. “proteinates”) for most efficient absorption
  • Natural Preservatives (Mixed Tocopherols, Rosemary Extract)
  • No refined sugars (e.g. glucose, dextrose sucrose, corn syrup)

 

All Oxbow foods are formulated with the guidance of leading exotics veterinarians and nutritionists Oxbow foods are uniform, complete, and species and life-stage specific to meet the specific needs of pets.  Learn more about Oxbow foods at OxbowAnimalHealth.com

 

CONCENTRATE SELECTOR

Rabbits, guinea pigs, and other small animals are classified as “concentrate selectors.” As prey species in the wild, these animals are wired to select and eat the most energy-dense plant materials available, as quickly as possible. For domesticated pets, these instincts are no longer tied to survival, but they are still likely to lead to selective eating. Choosing a uniform food helps prevent this potentially unhealthy behaviour.

TYPES OF FOOD

Uniform Pellets Vs. Mixes

One of the biggest differences you will notice when comparing options in the food aisle is the visual contrast between uniform and mix-based foods.

What are the primary differences between these food types and which is the best choice for your pet? Let’s take a closer look.

 

Mix-Based Diets

  • Contain seeds, nuts, fruits & miscellaneous pieces which are often high in carbohydrates & simple sugars.
  • Typically, lower in fibre than uniform pellets.
  • Come in bright colours to appear “fun” & appeal to young customers.
  • Can lead to obesity, selective eating & GI illness.

 

Uniform Pellets

  • Prevent selective eating common amongst small pets.
  • Provide complete nutrition in every bite.
  • Typically, higher in fibre than mixes.
  • Less likely to contain added sugars, artificial colours or flavours.

 

 

CHELATED MINERALS: A More Absorbable Source

Fortified Food - Oxbow Essentials - Adult Rabbit Food In the wild, small animals receive all the minerals they need from the variety of plant material they consume. As pets, it’s important that these animals have access to high quality, bioavailable minerals via their daily food. Some minerals can be more difficult than others for small pets to absorb. Through the process of “chelation” minerals are bound to amino acids or other organic compounds to form a more easily absorbable mineral complex. Chelated minerals are designed to survive digestion and are more readily absorbed than their nonchelated counterparts. Chelated minerals can be typically be identified by the suffix “-ate” following a mineral’s chemical name. Oxbow foods contain chelated minerals in “proteinate” form (e.g. zinc proteinate).

All Oxbow foods are made with chelated minerals to ensure maximin absorbability of important compounds

 

 

PREBIOTICS vs. PROBIOTICS

Prebiotics: are non-digestible ingredients that provide food for the good bacteria in your pet’s GI tract. Fermentation of prebiotics within the GI tract produces beneficial fatty acids which aid in the digestion process. Examples of beneficial prebiotics to look for in a high-quality food include inulin (chicory root), yeast culture and hydrolysed yeast.

Probiotics: are live bacteria intended to maintain healthy levels of good bacteria in the GI tract. While probiotic supplements are popular in humans and certain pet species, these bacteria have not been proven to survive the manufacturing process in conventional foods, nor the acidic environment of the stomach. Additional research is also required to understand which specific strains of good bacteria exist in the GI tract of different small animals. Avoid foods making health claims relating to probiotics.

 

 

YOUNG vs. ADULT

The Importance of Choosing Life-Stage Specific Food

Small animals have specific nutritional needs at various stages in life. For example, young, growing and pregnant or lactating animals have higher energy requirements and should be offered food that is specifically designed to meet these needs. A lucerne-based uniform pellet provides a more nutrient-dense diet that supports animals during these stages of life. For adult animals, grass hay-based food provides appropriate levels of protein and fat to meet maintenance.