Small Animal Health E-mail

The World of Pet Food

Courtesy of Oxbow Pet Products

Small herbivore owners know that animals receiving the benefit of complete nutrition live longer, healthier lives. Fortified, balanced feeds assure that your pet is getting all the vitamins and minerals required in combination with hay, healthy treats and fresh water. Use this article to learn more about why pellets are needed, what’s in them and how to choose a pellet that’s best for your pet.

Compact Nutrition:
Pellets (otherwise called “fortified feeds”) contain a combination of ingredients to supplement hay with nutrients—beneficial fats, carbohydrates and proteins, plus vitamins and minerals—to assure a balanced, healthy diet. It would take 20 to 30 different foods daily to replicate the nutrients in most pellets.

What Makes a Bad Pellet?
All pellets are not created equal. Some contain fats, sugars and simple carbohydrates in the form of nuts, corn, seeds and fruit. Animals with long intestines and functional cecums—rabbits and guinea pigs, in particular—are not designed to digest and metabolize these rich formulas. Avoid foods that have any of these as the first four ingredients listed on a package.

Life-Staged Nutrition
Select pellets based on species and age. First, choose a pellet designed especially for your pet’s species. Second, pick an age appropriate pellet. Younger animals require more protein, energy and nutrients like those found in alfalfa-based pellets, but these would not be appropriate for healthy, adult animals that thrive on timothy-based pellets.