We all want our furry friends to live the happiest, healthiest lives possible. Providing optimum care for your small pet requires commitment and dedication, but it can be a lot of fun as well. Here are some fun tips for supporting your pet’s health and happiness each day.
Establish Routines, But Don’t Forget About Variety
Most small pets appreciate and benefit from routine in the daily activities. When it comes to daily feeding, for example, it’s important to keep amounts consistent and within the daily recommended guidelines. But, this doesn’t mean you can’t get creative with how and where food is offered.
Some great options for mixing up a pet’s daily feeding routine might include:
Speedy eater? Slow things down with a forage bowl!
Some pets are espeically eager at mealtime. Forage bowls are great for adding fun and enrichment to mealtime while preventing pets from eating too quickly.
Make a treat “treasure hunt” by hiding healthy treats in with your pet’s food
Choosing a uniform, nutritionally complete food is the right choice at mealtime, but that doesn’t mean you can’t add a little fun every now and then. Try mixing in healthy treat pieces or small amounts of your pet’s favorite veggies to add some excitement to mealtime.
Unlike muesli or forage mixes which can be loaded with hefty amounts of unhealthy ingredients, adding small amounts of special ingredients yourself means you don’t have to sacrifice your pet’s essential daily nutrition in order to add a little fun to mealtime.
Mix it up when it comes to hay
Hay is essential to the health of small herbivores, including rabbits, guinea pigs, and chinchillas. The daily diet of these fiber-loving animals should be centered around unlimited amounts of grass hay. As a general guideline, your small pet should eat a pile of hay that’s twice the size of his body each day.
Feel free to mix it up when it comes to encouraging your pet to eat hay all throughout the day. All pets are likely to form their own unique preferences when it comes to their favorite tastes and textures. Some pets fancy softer, sweeter hays such as Orchard Grass, while others like to keep it crunchy with Oat Hay. One of the most important steps you can take in ensuring your pet consumes adequate amounts of hay is to mix and match varieties. This exposes your pet to multiple flavors and textures and reduces pickiness.
Check out these fun variety combinations for some inspiration.
Quick Tip: Always mix between bags (even the same variety) to prevent picky eating. This simple activity exposes your pet to subtle variability in taste, texture, and aroma that occurs naturally between bags of hay.
Provide Fun Enrichment Every Day
If you already love buying chews and toys for your furry friend, we have great news – these fun accessories are essential to the health and happiness of your pet! Instead of reserving chews and toys for special occasions, you should offer a variety and mix them up regularly to support the instinctual behaviors of your pet. These behaviors include:
To take your enrichment and accessory game to the next level, be sure to read our blog on 5 ways to provide daily enrichment for your pets.
Celebrate Special & Everyday Moments Alike!
Let’s face it – all pets are special, and they all deserve to be celebrated every day. While it can be especially fun to celebrate important dates such as birthdays and Gotcha days, there’s no need to save the celebrations for just a few times a year. Here are some great ways to celebrate every day with your pet:
- Provide healthy treats for training to build the bond with your pet
- Create fun DIY projects with your pet in mind.
- Create a obstacle course and reward your pet for completing it
- Play fun and enriching games with your pet
Provide The Gift of Regular Veterinary Care
Quality care from a qualified veterinarian is one of the greatest gifts you can provide your pet. You should visit your trusted veterinarian twice a year for checkups on your pet’s diet, behavior, and overall health. You can prepare for your pet’s visits by making a list of any questions or concerns you may have ahead of time. Many health problems seen in small pets are preventable with proper diet and care.
In addition to scheduled checkups, there are some symptoms that warrant an immediate visit to the vet. These include:
- Signs of a wet or soiled tail
- Blood in the urine
- Sneezing or trouble breathing
- Hunching in a corner or lack of activity (i.e. lethargy)
- Overgrown front teeth
- Bald patches in the fur
- Lumps or sores on the body
- Sores on the feet
- Abnormal eating or drinking patterns
Check out these great care resources for more ideas on how to support your pet’s health and happiness each day.
Join Our Community For Exclusive Content, Pet Parenting Tips, Pet-Themed Giveaways, and More!
One of the many joys of being a pet parent is being involved in communities with others who share our joy for small animals! Our community is designed to share exclusive content, pet parenting tips, giveaways, and much more. Sign up today to receive the very latest from Oxbow!