Natural Science Supplements: Frequently Asked Questions

Written by Oxbow

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March 8, 2021🞄

Updated: April 10, 2024


Oxbow’s Natural Science supplements were designed with the natural diet of small exotics mammals in mind to address some of their most common health ailments. With the help of leading exotic animal veterinarians and nutritionists, these supplements were developed with herbal ingredients specifically selected to help mitigating these health issues.

When considering adding supplements to your pet’s diet, it should always start with a veterinarian consult to discuss what is best for your pet.

To help facilitate this conversation, we’ve put together answers to some of the most commonly asked supplement-related questions we receive.


Why are Supplements Important?

Even when pet parents provide the best diet, habitat, and exercise options possible for their little one, pets can still develop disease or ailments related to genetics or aging. In cases like this, supplements from Oxbow’s Natural Science product line can provide a bit of extra support to small pets during times of chronic or acute disease.


Are Oxbow Supplements Safe for My Senior Small Pet?

Generally speaking, Natural Science supplements are safe for senior pets like rabbits, guinea pigs, chinchillas, hamsters, gerbils, rats, and mice. However, before adding any supplement into your pet’s routine, make sure to consult with your veterinarian to ensure that the supplement will fulfill the unique needs of your pet, and that the supplement will not interact with any medications your senior pet may be taking. Always follow the feeding directions on the back of each supplement’s packaging.


How Were Oxbow’s Natural Science Supplements Developed?

Through partnership with leading exotic animal veterinarians, nutritionists, and herbalists, we identified key ingredients shown to positively support 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 supplement. 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.


Chinchilla eating Natural Science Joint Support

Will Natural Science Supplements Help Cure my Pet? Or do They Work as a Preventative?

Natural Science supplements were designed for:

  • Small animals with particular conditions that are diagnosed by their veterinarian
  • Small animals in need of supplemental vitamins or additional support as recommended by their vet

Natural Science supplements are designed to support animals with acute or chronic disease as well as minimize the disease impacts on their bodies, but our supplements should not be used prophylactically (to prevent a future possible condition) and are not intended to be a “cure” for any ailments.


How Much of a Supplement Should I Give to my Pet?

Feeding recommendations are not the same from one Natural Science supplement to another, nor are they the same for all species. Be sure to read the back of each particular supplement’s packaging for directions. If an amount is not given on the back of our packaging for your pet’s species, please reach out to our customer care team or work with your small pet’s vet for guidance.


Is it Possible to Overfeed Natural Science Supplements?

Yes. As with any supplement, it’s important to follow feeding guidelines at all times. Some ingredients used in our supplements may cause GI upset or other health issues if consumed in excess. It is highly recommended to consult with your veterinarian before incorporating any new supplements into your pet’s diet.


Guinea pig with Natural Science Vitamin C

Can I Feed Multiple Natural Science Supplements at the Same Time?

Supplements can be given in conjunction with one another if you and your veterinarian deem it appropriate. In these situations, it is imperative that you follow the specific feeding instructions for each supplement and do not exceed the daily recommended amount for any supplement.

You can stagger providing two supplements by feeding one supplement type in the morning and one in the evening, but if you desire to feed more than 2 supplements, you should work with your veterinarian to determine the types, amounts, and frequencies of each supplement offered.


Can Natural Science Supplements be Given with Prescription or Over-the-Counter Medications?

Interactions between medications and supplements are possible, but both the safe combinations and unsafe combinations of supplements and prescriptions are too numerous to list here. It’s vital to work with your veterinarian to go over supplement and prescription ingredients together to determine if the two products may interact.


Can any of the Natural Science supplements be fed to young, growing, pregnant or lactating animals?

This answer depends on the specific supplement you are intending to feed.

Natural Science supplements that CAN be fed to young, pregnant, or nursing animals:

Natural Science supplements that SHOULD NOT be fed to young, pregnant, or nursing animals unless your veterinarian states otherwise:


Rabbit with Natural Science Urinary Support

Are Natural Science Supplements Safe to give to Animals with Bladder Health Concerns? Do they Have a Low Calcium Content?

All of our Natural Science supplements, when given as recommended, contribute very little calcium to a pet’s overall diet. Only two Natural Science supplements, Multi-Vitamin and Papaya Support, have added in minimal added calcium amounts solely for functional processing purposes. All other Natural Science supplements only contain the small amount of calcium naturally found in the ingredients.

If your little one has a history of bladder health concerns, check that your veterinarian is comfortable with the addition of any supplement before adding it to your pet’s diet. You can find the guaranteed analysis for each of our supplement varieties on their respective product pages, or you can reach out to us directly if the information cannot be found or you would like additional insight.


Why is there Cane Molasses in These Supplements?

Cane molasses is included in small amounts in most of our Natural Science supplements to act as a natural binding agent to help hold the high fiber, plant-based ingredients together. This ensures the formula is a uniform source of nutrition to your pet. Other types of binders can be synthetic or derived from animal sources and are not appropriate for many small mammal species.

Plant-based cane molasses is an unrefined carbohydrate, meaning it is absorbed much slower over time when compared to rapidly-absorbed, refined carbohydrates. This prevents sudden spikes in blood sugar that are often noted with the consumption of simple carbohydrates.

You can learn even more about cane molasses and why it is included in some of our formulas in one of our previous blogs.


Are there Any Other Sources of Sugar in Natural Science Supplements?

No, there are no added sugars in our Natural Science supplements.


Chinchilla eating Natural Science supplement

What if my Pet Won’t Eat Their New Supplements?

Most pets readily accept Natural Science supplements. However, there is sometimes a transition period that is needed to help your pet become familiar with new foods or flavors. Below are a couple of tips to encourage even the pickiest pet to accept a new supplement:

  • Release the natural aroma of the supplement by rolling one of the tablets in a warm, damp (not overly wet) towel for about a minute before offering it to your pet. You can even use a towel from the dryer that has not finished drying. This will soften the supplement, and the natural aromas may increase your pet’s interest.
  • Impart a hint of sweetness by adding a small amount of unsweetened (preferably organic) 100% apple juice diluted with water. Only use a couple of drops to provide that enticing flavor without adding excessive sugar.
  • Offer the supplements during daily floor time or snuggle time. You can also offer broken up pieces of the supplement by hand (make sure to follow the supplement’s feeding guidelines specific to your pet’s species). This can lead to a positive association between the supplements and fun activities.
  • Break the supplements up or crush them into a powder and add them to the dish with your pet’s daily allotment of pellets or leafy greens. As your pet roots around to pick out the pellets or greens, they will usually bite into a piece of supplement and realize how tasty it is.
  • Remember that introducing a new food or treat can take a lot of time and patience. While some animals take to new things very quickly, others can take weeks or even months. Persistence is often the key.


Ferret in a Large Cozy Cave from Oxbow

Can Natural Science Supplements be Offered to Dogs, Cats, or Ferrets?

Our hay-based Natural Science supplements were specifically created to help assuage common health concerns faced by exotic companion mammals. As a hay-based product, they are intended to be used for small herbivores (rabbits, guinea pigs, chinchillas, etc.) or small omnivores (hamsters, gerbils, mice, rats, etc.) who naturally thrive on a high-fiber diet.

Dogs, cats, and ferrets have significant protein requirements, meaning their nutritional needs are quite different from that of the species we have designed our supplements for. Some of the ingredients in Natural Science supplements could lead to digestive upset, stool abnormalities, or other undesirable effects in species like cats, dogs, and ferrets.

Additionally, we have not completed trials regarding the use of any of our Natural Science supplements in dogs, cats, or ferrets, and cannot guarantee the safety or efficacy of using Natural Science in these species. Thus, we do not recommend the use of any of our supplements  for dogs, cats, or ferrets of any age or health status.


Do Natural Science Supplements Contain Probiotics?

No, Natural Science supplements do not contain probiotics.

While probiotics are gaining popularity in both the human and animal supplement industries, probiotics have not been proven to survive after the process of conventional food manufacturing. There is also little evidence of probiotics surviving the acidic environment of the stomach. In addition, we also do not yet understand which strains are present in some species’ GI tracts.

We generally recommend avoiding foods and supplements that make probiotic claims unless a product is specifically recommended by your veterinarian.


Why Does my Bag of Supplements Look Different from the Last One?

Natural Science supplements are fixed formulas, meaning that we use the same ingredients from the same sources for a consistent product. However, due to the ingredients of the supplements being derived from nature and subject to natural variation, it is possible for there to be slight differences in taste, color, aroma, and/or texture from batch to batch.

Rest assured, even though there is some natural variability in our supplements, all of our supplements are nutritionally correct and undergo quality testing to ensure the best for your little one.


How is Papaya Support Different from Digestive Support?

If you find yourself asking, “how do I choose between papaya and digestive support?”, check out our blog post comparing the uses of the two supplements to learn how they can best serve your small animal.


Two Guinea Pigs eating Natural Science supplements

Still Have More Questions?

Our Natural Science supplements take the safety and health of your pet into the highest consideration, but we know there is a lot to consider when evaluating a supplement with your veterinarian. There is no doubt a plethora of other questions that may come to mind. If you don’t see your question addressed above, please always feel free to reach out to us directly with any product questions you have.

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With the perfect balance of enriching variety and delicious nutrition, Forage Wise is made to engage your pet's foraging instincts with a fun blend of shapes, colors, textures, and flavors. Every piece of our Variety Smart recipe is formulated to deliver essential nutrition.