Small Animal Health E-mail

Good Hay is the Way to Good Health

Courtesy of Oxbow Pet Products

Grass hay, a source of long-strand fiber, is absolutely vital to the digestive health of your small herbivore. It prevents obesity, dental disease, boredom and diarrhea.  When selecting hay, there are several important tips for pet owners to remember:-






Volume:
About 75% of your pet’s diet should be “free choice” hay.  “Free choice” means that guinea pigs, rabbits and other small herbivores can choose when to eat the hay you provide—at any hour of the day or night.  Keep a variety of hays stocked in a feeder or box at all times.  We recommend offering a daily handful of hay that is the size of your pet.  To assure freshness, wait until your pet nearly finishes one batch of hay before restocking.  Unless the hay is soiled, do not replace it. Replacing often encourages picky eating!

Variety:
Offering a variety of hay supports one of your many responsibilities—encouraging hay intake. Hay varieties help meet the nutritional needs and taste preferences of different species, personalities, life stages and sizes of animals. Other than keeping your small animal from getting bored, it also promotes healthy eating behaviors. Most grass hays have similar nutrients and can be used interchangeably, but they offer different flavors, colors and textures.

Variability:
Alternating hay varieties ensures that your pet won’t refuse hay if the color or texture of their current favorite changes, which happens naturally from time to time. A change in color doesn’t necessarily indicate a change in quality.