Small Animal Health E-mail

It's a Dirty Job

Courtesy of Oxbow Pet Products

As many small animal owners know, small companion pets can be trained to use a litter box. Simply line your litter container with one-half inch of litter material and place a handful or two of hay at one end of the box. Removable litter containers make for a neater cage that is easy to clean.

If your animal’s cage has a wire grated bottom, a litter container can provide for a soft resting place. Your pet, especially rabbits, likes to have space to turn around when using the toilet; a rectangular box works well for that.

Which litter is best?
Small companion pet litter has improved greatly in the last several years, but not all are safe and comfortable for your pet. Items to avoid include: cedar or pine shavings and chemically treated litters. They have a strong aromatic scent that may be harmful to your pet’s respiratory system. Wood shavings often contain rough edges, stick easily to coats, and dry relatively slowly. Urine sits at the bottom of the litter box rather than being absorbed. Soft, fluffy litters or pellets made of non-wheat straw may also have an unwanted affect on the digestive tract if ingested.

The best choice currently on the market is a wheat straw-based litter. Naturally mold resistant, wheat straw litters have proven to be safe and hygienic for rabbits, guinea pigs, chinchillas, small rodents, reptiles, tortoises, iguanas, cats, and birds. Ask about wheat straw litter at your local pet store.