All About Hay and Your Pet’s Health
Key Benefits of Hay and Your Pet’s Health
As the pet parent of a small herbivore, you know that hay is important to your pet’s health, but have you ever wondered exactly how hay helps keep your pet healthy & happy?
Let’s take a closer look at some of the specific functions that hay provides to your pet’s daily health.
The fibre in hay facilitates the constant digestive movement that small herbivores need to maintain digestive health.
Disrupting movement in the GI tract even for a short period of time can lead to a number of potentially life-threatening issues.
Providing grass hay most closely mimics the foraging activity small herbivores would perform in nature, making hay the ideal material to support digestive health.
Small herbivores require constant chewing of fibrous foods to provide proper, necessary dental wear. Hay is the ideal material to serve this important function.
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, tooth elongation, & malocclusion.
Hay encourages the natural foraging behaviours of small pets, providing an essential opportunity for mental stimulation.
Access to a variety of high-quality hays provides different tastes & textures for your pet, keeping him active, engaged & healthy.
Place hay in as many locations as possible throughout your pet’s living space to maximize mental enrichment.
Tips for Preventing GI Stasis
Gastrointestinal Stasis is a serious condition that occurs when the digestive system slows down or stops completely. As a pet parent, there are key steps you can take to minimize the likelihood that your pet experiences this condition:
- Feed a high fibre diet centred around unlimited grass hay (at least 70% of the diet)
- Schedule regular veterinary check-ups for your pet (at least once a year for healthy pets)
- Keep a watchful eye out for signs of underlying issues (e.g. visible pain, dental health issues, infections, etc.)
- Make sure your pet gets plenty of exercise & has access to two sources of freshwater
Top 5 Reasons to Offer Your Pet a Variety of Hays
All pets benefit from some variety in their diet – especially when it comes to hay. There a number of important benefits to providing a variety of grass hays. Here are the top five reasons to offer a variety of hays for your pet’s health.
- Helps Prevent Picky Eating: Access to a variety of tastes & textures expands your pet’s palate & helps him manage the natural variability that can occur between bags of hay.
- Supports Key Nutritional Needs: Fibre is key to your small herbivore’s health. Having access to multiple varieties of hay encourages consumption throughout the day, making sure your pet consumes enough fibre to stay healthy.
- Keeps Mealtime Fun & Enriching: Eating the same meal day after day gets boring! Offer multiple varieties to keep your pet active, mentally stimulated, & enriched.
- Strengthens the Human/Animal Bond: Offering your pet a variety of tastes & textures is fun for pet & pet parent alike. Experiment with different flavour combinations to help discover your pet’s favourites.
- Encourages Natural Foraging Behaviours: In the wild, your pet would spend much of his day foraging for a variety of plant material. Offer multiple varieties of hay to encourage these healthy, natural behaviours.
Hay is Not Just for Herbivores
Hay is critical to the health & wellbeing of herbivores, but other pets benefit from this high fibre forage as well.
Hay is a great source of physical enrichment for birds, hamsters, gerbils, rats, & other small pets.
From bedding to burrowing to general exploring, these pets will benefit from access to hay in their daily routine.
What are “Open-Rooted” Teeth?
Rabbits, guinea pigs & other small animals have “open-rooted” teeth. This means that these teeth grow continuously throughout the animal’s life.
Without proper dental wear, serious issues can arise, including malocclusion (improper alignment of top & bottom teeth), tooth elongation, & dental disease.
Eating hay regularly provides your pet the necessary wear & helps ensure that teeth do not become overgrown.
To make mealtime more mentally enriching for your pet, try stuffing hay into hideouts or other “safe to chew” containers, such as toilet paper or paper towel rolls.
For added enticement, bury a few of your pet’s favourite treats toward the back of the hay & watch him eagerly hunt for them.
Why Oxbow Hay?
- Oxbow grass hay is grown & harvested by experts in ideal climates
- Extensively quality tested – from plant to pet
- Gently processed & de-dusted to remove fine particles
- Carefully hand-sorted by dedicated experts
- Supported by exceptional, caring customer service