We love our small companion animals , like rabbits and guinea pigs, but sometimes it can be difficult to know what treats to feed them.
First, it is important to note that foods high in fat or sugar should be given only in moderation – as rare and occasional rewards. They should also count towards a very small portion of their daily nutritional intake. Treats are great; however, they contain calories and if not factored into your animal’s daily food allowance, could result in unfavourable weight gain. To find out what treats your small animal will love, keep reading!
The benefits of treats for your small animal
Foraging and chewing are natural behaviours for your small animal. It keeps them stimulated and occupied. Additionally, chewing is essential for proper wearing of their teeth. Before implementing chew toys and treats in your enrichment program, ensure that they are appropriate for your type of animal. Contact your veterinarian if you have any questions or concerns.
Here are some specific ideas for treats from our website, ShelterHealthPro.com!
- Hay, grass, and safe leafy greens: Hay and different types of safe grasses have many benefits for your small animal. These include; providing vital fiber, wearing down constantly growing teeth, and optimizing their digestive system. Learn more here. Contact your veterinarian for information on safe grasses for your furry friend. Stuffing hay into empty toilet paper rolls is an easy way to keep the hay neat and easily accessible.
- Chew toys: Toys that are made out of edible wood, leather, or non-toxic hard plastic can either be hung from the habitat or scattered throughout for your animal to find.
- Paper towel rolls: Not only is paper towel readily available and inexpensive, your small animal will enjoy chewing and shredding the rollsl.
- Branches or wooden chew sticks: Branches from fruit trees that aren’t chemically treated, and wooden chew sticks designed for small animals, are a great option to encourage chewing for your small animal.
- Vegetables: Firm vegetables can be offered to your animal for chewing with the added benefit of providing nutrients and maintaining proper health. Remember to offer these in moderation to prevent upsetting their digestive system.
Some extra tips
Try giving your small animal food balls, puzzle feeders and mini Kongs®. Animals must manipulate them to get the pellets out. Make sure the feeder size is appropriate for your furry friend and always check openings to ensure there aren’t any blockages. Feeders should be introduced at a certain time of day as routines help reduce stress on your animal. Finally, to prevent one animal from monopolizing a feeder in communal housing, provide one feeder per animal.
For more information and tips, check out Shelter Health Pro.