We all know that every animal needs food to survive, but it is very important to understand exactly what your pet needs and often times doesn’t need to remain healthy and happy.
Hamsters and Gerbils are considered omnivores in nature. They feed on both grasses and grains, and insects. As pets, it is recommended they eat a diet comprised mostly of seeds and grains. They also enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables in moderation. While fresh fruits and veggies make great snacks, it is not recommend that they be the main diet of your pet hamster or gerbil. It is also important to wash all fruits and veggies before feeding them, as many fruits and vegetables contain small traces of chemicals and pesticides.
Mice and Rats have a diet very similar to their rodent hamster and gerbil friends. The diet of a pet mouse consists mostly of seed and grain based food. Fresh veggies are always a plus as well. Kaytee provides quality Mice and Rat food to cater to the nutritional needs of rodents
Rabbits on the other hand are herbivores in the wild, eating only vegetable and grass material. It is no surprise that rabbits love munching on hay. A quality diet of Hay, Nutritional Food Pellets and the occasional fresh veggie is recommended. You can find a variety of Hay and Food Products at your local pet store. Kaytee Timothy Hay, and various Food products contain the nutrition your rabbit needs.
Chinchillas are unique pets, as they require a specific diet. You will probably find that your pet chinchilla loves Hay products. Nutritional high quality pellet foods are suggested for chinchillas because they have very sensitive digestive tracts. It is extremely important to know that they cannot process fatty foods efficiently, and this means foods with a high fat content should be avoided! Fresh veggies and foods with a high water and moisture content should also be avoided. Chinchillas do not eat a lot in the wild making it easy to overfeed them as pets. Be sure not to overfeed your chinchilla, and stick to basic recommended portion size. Quality Chinchilla food pellets can be found at your pet store, such as Kaytee’s Forti Diet, Timothy Complete and Fiesta for Chinchillas.
Guinea Pigs are another animal with specific nutritional needs. Guinea Pigs, much like humans, cannot synthesize vitamin C. Therefore it is very important that Vitamin C be incorporated into their diets. Guinea Pigs cannot survive without Vitamin C. Most commercial diets such as Kaytee Fiesta and Forti Diet and Timothy Complete for guinea pigs already contain the Vitamin C needed for nutrition.
Ferrets, unlike their small animal friends are carnivores and cannot properly digest grain based proteins. This means they survive on a primarily meat-based diet. Commercial Ferret foods often contain a meat based pellets in various flavors. Kaytee Forti Diet, Fiesta, and Exact all contain the nutrition needed for proper digestion and prolonged health.
The best way to feed your small animal pet is to place their food directly in a dish inside their home or cage. Food dishes come in a variety of sizes, shapes and colors. The size of the dish should directly relate to the size of the animal and it’s serving size.
Most plastic dishes work well, but you should note that many small animals, such as chinchillas and rabbits will chew through plastic, and the food dishes may need to be replaced. Ceramic dishes, such as Kaytee’s Chew Proof Bowl and Ceramic Line, provide you with a durable dish for long lasting use.
Water is another essential key to your small animal’s nutrition. Always be sure to make sure your pet has plenty of water. Water bottles come in a variety of sizes and shapes based on the species of animal. Many bottles are plastic and attach to the side of your pet’s cage or home. Bottles also come in glass for durability. Kaytee offers a line of both plastic and glass bottles for various small animal species. Be sure to buy the proper size water bottle for your pet. A water bottle that is too small will run out of water too quickly leaving your pet thirsty. A water bottle that is too big may be too difficult for your critter to get water out of. Most water bottles are designed to cater to specific species of animals for this reason. Room temperature or cool water is often best when refilling your pet’s water supply.
All good pets deserve a treat now and then! Small animal treats come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and flavors. Commercial treats can be found in varieties of everything from fruits and vegetables, to seeds, nuts. Many animals enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables or even peanut butter and yogurt! Hay pellets, such as Kaytee Timmy Tots, or yogurt pieces such as Kaytee Yo-dips also make great snacks. Be sure to remember that treats are just treats, and should not be overfed to animals. Treats can often contain high fat or sugar content, which in high amounts can be unhealthy to animals.
While not considered a food, it is important to note that wood and mineral chews are a great way to cater to your small animal’s instinct to chew and gnaw. Salt spools can be purchased for small animals as well. Rabbits in particular often enjoy salt spools, such as Kaytee plain and flavored varieties of salt.