by Dr. Cayla Iske
Updated: January 8, 2024
Day in and day out, we talk to pet parents who want the absolute best for their fur babies. Over the years, some of the most common questions we’ve received are focused on pets with special health and dietary needs. Recognizing this common pattern, we worked with leading exotic animal veterinarians to better understand and address the most common health issues seen in small mammals.
As a result of these efforts, we developed our Natural Science line of hay-based herbal supplements. These supplements include: Digestive Support, Papaya Support, Urinary Support, Joint Support, Multi-Vitamin, Vitamin C, and Skin & Coat.
In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about Digestive Support supplements for rabbits and other small pets like guinea pigs, hamsters, and gerbils. You’ll learn:
- How our Natural Science Supplements were Developed
- How our Digestive Support Supplement Helps Small Pets
- Signs your Pet Could Benefit from Digestive Support
- Types of Small Pets that can Benefit from Digestive Support
- Ingredients in Digestive Support and their Functions
How Were Oxbow’s Natural Science Supplements Developed?
Through partnership with leading exotic animal veterinarians, nutritionists, and herbalists, we identified key herbal ingredients shown to positively support these common health conditions. Given the more specialized nature of many of these ingredients and the conditions they are designed to support, we determined the best delivery system was an all-natural, Timothy hay-based baked supplement. It is important to remember that Oxbow’s Natural Science supplements are designed for pets that have a current or ongoing issue, or those who are predisposed to certain conditions and in need of additional, veterinarian-recommended support. Before starting your pet on any supplement, we recommend that you consult with your trusted veterinarian.
How Does Digestive Support Help Rabbits and Other Small Pets?
Natural Science Digestive Support was developed to address and support one of the most important parts of small mammal health: the digestive system. Many health ailments in small mammals can manifest in the form of digestive issues. This supplement is designed to support digestive and gastrointestinal health in times of need.
Whether it’s a parasitic infection, stress, GI stasis, or your little one just has a particularly sensitive digestive system, Natural Science Digestive Support provides natural nutritional support for a healthy digestive tract and digestive health maintenance.
What are Some Signs my Pet May Benefit from Digestive Support?
While digestive upset can be the outcome of a myriad of health issues, there are some common clinical symptoms to look for when your pet may be suffering from GI issues.
The following signs indicate your animal may need additional GI health considerations:
- Reduced food intake
- Reduced water intake
- Changes in body condition or weight
- Changes in fecal output, including size, volume, color, or consistency (if your small pet is not defecating at all or has very small stools, they may have a serious condition called GI stasis that needs immediate attention)
- Decreased activity
- Abdominal stretching
- Hunched posture
- Behavioral changes
When observing or monitoring your pet, remember that small exotics are experts at masking clinical signs and illness. Thus, if any of these symptoms listed above are observed, it is best to get your fur baby to an exotic animal veterinarian immediately. Your veterinarian will examine your pet and develop an appropriate treatment plan. Part of this treatment plan could include adding Natural Science Digestive Support to your little loved one’s daily routine if appropriate.
Which Types of Small Pets can Benefit from Digestive Support?
Herbivores (Rabbits, Guinea Pigs, and Chinchillas)
When given to small herbivores, the Oxbow Digestive Support for guinea pigs, rabbits, and chinchillas can improve digestive and gastrointestinal health.
A healthy digestive system starts with a proper diet for your pet’s particular species. For small herbivores like rabbits, guinea pigs, and chinchillas, adequate amounts of appropriate fiber are key to keep the GI system moving. This fiber best comes in the form of an unlimited amount of a variety of high-quality grass hays, which should make up about 70% of the diet. Pair this hay with species-appropriate leafy greens and veggies and a nutritionally complete, uniform fortified food and you are setting your pet up for a long, healthy life. Don’t forget to sprinkle in small amounts of nutritious treats for a little fun! For information on species-appropriate leafy greens, check out our blogs for guinea pig and rabbit pet parents.
Omnivores (Hamsters, Gerbils, Rats, Mice)
Our Natural Science Digestive Support supplement can provide your small omnivore, such as rat, mouse, gerbil, or hamster the digestive support they may need as well.
For these pets, a balanced, uniform pellet paired with a plethora of proteins, fats, grains, and produce is key. But even with the best diet, sometimes health issues still arise. Our Digestive Support supplement is intended to provide that extra boost of digestive aid during these times of need and recovery. The herbal ingredients in Natural Science Digestive Support add great nutritional variety while also working to naturally mitigate gastrointestinal distress.
What Roles do the Ingredients in Digestive Support Play?
The role of fiber in the digestive health of small herbivores is well known; while omnivores don’t require as much fiber, it is still crucial to their overall digestive health. The staples of Natural Science Digestive Support include a balance of different types of fiber and additional natural ingredients that can help support a healthy digestive tract.
From antioxidants to fight off oxidative stress and inflammation, to prebiotics which support a healthy microbiome necessary for digestion, the ingredients in our Digestive Support were selected for their natural nutrients and properties that keep the gastrointestinal tract functioning properly. Ingredients in this supplement, paired with a balanced diet, proper husbandry, and regular veterinary checks, can help get your pet get back on the road to recovery and a long, happy, and healthy life.
|Promotes gut motility and a healthy gastrointestinal tract.
|Barley and Oats
|Help maintain a healthy microbiota and promote gut barrier function to protect against pathogens.
|Omega Fatty Acids
|Act as antioxidants and anti-inflammatory to reduce inflammation and maintain healthy digestive processes.
|Terpenoids and Flavonoids
|Exerts both anti-inflammatory and immune stimulant properties.
|Flavonoids, Vitamin C, Galatcomannan
|Has both anti-inflammatory and hypoglycemic properties.
|Brewers Dried Yeast & Hydrolyzed Yeast
|Act as prebiotics and promote growth of healthy bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract.
|Contributes anti-inflammatory properties to support gastric motility.
What’s The Appropriate Daily Feeding Recommendation For My Pet?
Before feeding Digestive Support to your little one, please make sure to consult with your veterinarian to ensure this supplement is right for your pet’s needs.
- For herbivores, we generally recommend 1/2 to 2 tabs per day. The particular amount fed depends on your pet’s weight.
- We recommend feeding 1/8 tablet daily for smaller species of omnivores (e.g. dwarf hamsters and mice) and 1/4 tablet daily for larger omnivores (e.g. rats, gerbils, and Syrian hamsters).
Are you unsure whether or not Digestive Support makes sense for your little one? To help, here are answers to some of the most common questions we receive about our Digestive Support supplement.
Remember: Before adding supplements to your pet’s diet, you should always have a conversation with your veterinarian about what’s best for your pet. Supplements should not be considered treats—supplements require careful consultation with your vet before adding to your pet’s diet.
Is it possible to overfeed Oxbow’s Digestive Support supplement to rabbits and other pets?
As with any supplement, there is a risk of overfeeding our Digestive Support supplement to your pet. Consult with your veterinarian before introducing the supplement to your pet, and make sure to follow the feeding guidelines we recommend for your pet’s particular species at all times.
Some ingredients used in our supplements may cause GI upset or other health issues if consumed in excess; this is why we cannot emphasize enough discussing with your veterinarian whether or not Digestive Support makes sense to add into your little one’s daily routine.
Can Oxbow’s Digestive Support supplement be given with prescription or over-the-counter medications?
Before giving Digestive Support to your pet with medication, speak with your veterinarian. The supplement can be given with some medications, but it should not be given with others. Your veterinarian can advise whether there’s a risk of a negative interaction between our supplement and any pharmaceuticals your pet may be taking.
Can this Digestive Support supplement be fed to young, growing, pregnant, or lactating animals?
Oxbow’s Digestive Support supplement is NOT intended for young, growing, pregnant, or lactating animals. The supplement should not be fed to rabbits or other small pets in these life stages.
If you have questions about Oxbow’s supplement line, check out our blog answering some of the most frequently asked questions regarding Natural Science Supplements.
Where to Buy Digestive Support
Pet parents can find Natural Science Digestive Support, along with other Oxbow products, at many retailers and veterinary offices. Take a look at our store locator to find a shop near you!