Small Animal Health E-mail

Treat a healthy herbivore

Courtesy of Oxbow Pet Products

The best way to “treat” a healthy herbivore:
A treat by definition is anything that gives great pleasure. While treats are not critical to your pet’s diet, they can provide sweet and savory flavors to keep meal time interesting without interfering with proper nutrition.

Treats are not meant to play a major role in your pet’s feeding regimen; they are not normally a major source of nutrition (though some do have health benefits). However, treats can have many physical and psychological benefits for pets if fed correctly.

Treats can be used to entice your pet to move or exercise. Hide treats around the house and let your pet search for them; or hide treats inside their cage and make them move and work for them. (If hiding treats around the house, make sure it is an animal safe environment, free of electrical wires and other things they can chew on.)

Incorporate treats into your pet’s hay. Add dried herbs or try different varieties of hay to make your pet feel as if they are receiving a treat. Hay is always beneficial for your pet herbivore.

Treats are a great way to improve your bond with your animal. Most pets love receiving treats and owners love giving them. Create a special way of giving your pet its daily treat.

They can be used as positive reinforcement for good behavior. Using the litter box or coming when their name is called. Any desirable behavior can be rewarded with a treat.

Treats can provide mental stimulation. Hide treats in your pet’s hay and let them forage for them. Hide treats inside toilet paper tubes filled with hay and let your pet figure out how to get to the treat.

Use Hay Cakes as a different way to present hay to your pet. Let them experience the same great hay, in a different form. Hay Cakes are great to chew on and easy and fun to throw around.