Is ‘how’ you feed as important as ‘what’ you feed?
Choosing the right food for your pet is an important element of pet care. However, not only what you feed but how you feed can have a significant impact on their wellbeing.
In the wild, small mammals would spend most of their time searching for, storing, and eating enough of their food which gives them the energy and nutrients that they need. You can encourage these natural behaviours in your pets by creating the right environment to help them stay active and stimulated by working for their food reward. While playing and exercise can help reduce boredom and stress in pets, feeding time is also a great opportunity for physical and mental activities and improving your pet’s quality of life.
General benefits of feeding enrichment for small mammals
• Prolonging the feeding time which reduces boredom.
• Creating stimulating challenges to make them work and achieve rewards.
• Encouraging natural behaviour such as foraging, digging and stretching.
• May help prevent obesity by keeping pets active.
• Dental health benefits by helping to wear down teeth (for those pets with constantly growing teeth).
• Useful for training purposes and bonding between owner and pet.
Click on the factsheet image to read more specifically about behavioural enrichment ideas for Rabbits, Guinea pigs, Hamsters, Gerbils, Mice, Rats and Ferrets. Download the factsheet here.
• Only give treats and toys that are safe for your pet’s species and size.
• Consult the pet food or toy manufacturer if you are not sure about a product.
• Treats should form no more than 10% of their daily calorie intake.
• Uneaten fresh food should be removed after a few hours to prevent spoilage.
• Fresh drinking water should always be available for pets.
• Consult your vet if you have any concerns over the health of your pet.