All About Nutritional Enrichment for Your Pet Herbivore
As pet parents, we provide our companions with the nutrition they require to thrive each day. Providing the right balance of daily nutritional enrichment for your pet helps to ensure they are happy & healthy.
Even with the right nutritional balance, however, you may find yourself wondering if there’s anything else you can do to make your pet’s mealtime routine more enriching.
Read on for some fun and easy ways to add enrichment to each of the core components of your pet’s daily nutrition.
High-quality grass hay is the cornerstone of every small herbivore’s diet. Among many benefits, hay provides the fibre that is essential to keeping small pets’ digestive tracts functioning properly.
So, what’s the simplest and most effective way to add nutritional enrichment to your pet’s daily diet? Variety! Benefits of consuming a variety of hays include:
- Expands your pet’s palate by allowing him to experience multiple tastes and textures
- Keeps mealtime interesting and encourages overall consumption of all-important fibre
- Helps pets manage natural variability between different crops & prevents picky eating
Enrichment All-Stars: Botanical Hay & Harvest Stacks
For additional nutritional enrichment for your pet, when feeding hay, try Oxbow’s Botanical Hay or Harvest Stacks.
Botanical Hay consists of premium Western Timothy mixed with an enriching combination of fragrant herbs such as lavender, chamomile, lemon balm, and clover.
Harvest Stacks compressed hays invite interaction, adding a fun element of mental and physical enrichment to mealtime.
Feeding Tip: Location, Location, Location
Looking for ways to encourage your pet to consume more hay?
Place piles of hay in various locations throughout your pet’s living space, including inside the litterbox.
The more dining locations, the better!
A measured amount of a uniform, balanced fortified food provides key vitamins and minerals small pets need to thrive.
Unlike with hay (where the more variety you can provide, the better) small pets should be provided with a consistent routine when it comes to the type and amount of food they receive each day. That doesn’t mean that foods can’t play a role in enrichment. Try moving your pet’s food dish around throughout his habitat from day to day. This simple and enriching act will challenge your pet spatially, requiring him to actively think about a part of his daily routine that may otherwise be taken for granted.
Have you ever wondered what a rabbit’s daydream might look like?
We imagine it would involve a fresh field of greens, as far as the eye could see.
Fresh greens are a natural and nutritious source of daily enrichment that can benefit all pets. Greens provide important vitamins and minerals, in addition to helping keep pets hydrated.
As a general guideline, fresh greens should make up about 8% of a herbivore’s diet.
Consult with your veterinarian for a list of appropriate varieties. For rabbits, the House Rabbit Society offers a comprehensive list of appropriate greens at rabbit.org.
Many small animals are prey species with natural instincts to run and hide when faced with stress. To support these instincts, it’s important to provide numerous spaces throughout your pet’s habitat for rest and relaxation.
Many hideout options exist, but some options are more enriching than others.
Hand-woven, all-hay habitats such as Oxbow’s Timothy CLUB accessories are 100% edible, making them an ideal choice if you’re looking for beneficial and innovative nutritional enrichment opportunities.
Treats are an important tool for strengthening the human-animal bond; just remember to feed them in moderation.
Healthy treats provide nutritional enrichment in the form of novel flavours and textures. From the sweet, vibrant flavours of freeze-dried fruit, to the hearty wholesomeness of baked treats containing veggies and herbs, many healthy options exist.
Use your favourite treat to reward and reinforce your pet’s positive behaviours.
Like any good reward, treats are even better when they’re earned!
For a fun and enriching activity, try hiding your pet’s favourite healthy reward in various locations, including his hay.
For even more of a challenge, stuff hay and a few treat pieces into an all-natural woven hay accessory (a Timothy CLUB Bungalow or Hideout works great for this)!
Not all pets require nutritional support in the form of supplements, but many pets will benefit from the inclusion of a high-quality supplement in their daily routine.
Oxbow’s Natural Science supplements are available in seven varieties, providing support for the most common wellness needs experienced by small pets.
Try hiding your pet’s supplement in his hay (the same way you would a treat) to add an element of nutritional enrichment for your pet.