A Beginner’s Guide to Scatter Feeding

Written by Oxbow

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August 2, 2022🞄

If you regularly follow our blog, you know that we talk a lot about the importance of supporting foraging in healthy ways for your pets and why food options that market themselves as ready-made, “foraging in a bag” solutions miss the mark and can even lead to negative health outcomes for your little loved ones.

Foraging is an instinctual, healthy behavior for rabbits, guinea pigs, and other small animals in the wild.  Simply put, foraging is how your bunny or piggie’s wild cousin procures their daily sustenance in their native environs.  In the process of searching high and low for the calories necessary for survival, small animals exercise their minds and bodies in important and beneficial ways.

Fast forward to the comforts of your home or apartment.  If you’re like most pet parents, you likely deliver your pet’s daily sustenance in predictable, easily attainable ways.  And, for all of the many benefits of living a safe life that’s insulated from threats including predators, inclement weather, and hunger, there’s an important element of mental and physical enrichment that is lost in the process of having our food delivered on a silver platter.

The good news is that there are numerous easy, enriching, and enjoyable ways to inspire your rabbit or guinea pig’s natural foraging instincts.  The simplest of these is by practicing scatter feeding with your pet.

What is Scatter Feeding?

Simply put, scatter feeding is the act of spreading your pet’s food out over a larger area in order to make mealtime a little more challenging.  Scatter feeding can be practiced with pellets, greens, healthy treats, or any other food that you might typically serve your pets in a single dish.

The Benefits of Scatter Feeding Include:

  • Searching for their food triggers your pet’s foraging instincts
  • Scatter feeding increases the amount of time your pet spends eating
  • Foraging via scatter feeding adds physical and mental enrichment to mealtime
  • Spreading out or hiding your pet’s food provides a meaningful bonding experience with your pet

How to Take Scatter Feeding to the Next Level:

  • Hide your pet’s food in new places each day
    • Simply spreading your pet’s food out over a large area provides meaningful benefits.  Mixing up the areas where you hide their food on a daily basis allows you to increase these benefits regularly while providing a fun, easy activity you and your little loved ones will both enjoy.
  • Add engaging foraging accessories for even more enjoyment and challenge
  • Place food in your pet’s hideout of choice
    • Many pets enjoy eating in the comfort of a safe resting place.  Support this desire by filling your pet’s favorite hideout with hay and some hidden pellets, greens, or healthy treat pieces.

We know that your pet is the center of your world, and we love nothing more than providing tips for easy ways to make your relationship more meaningful.  Scatter feeding is the perfect example of just how simple it can be to meaningly elevate even the most basic of your pet’s daily routines.  By challenging your pet to find their food, you’ll support their instinct to forage and increase their level of physical and mental engagement each and every day.