A large part of taking good care of less traditional pets is feeding them correctly. Each species has its own unique nutritional needs and requirements, and sometimes it can be hard to know if you are doing it right.
Proper pocket pet nutrition is extremely important for your pet’s health and well-being. Thankfully, you aren’t alone when it comes to feeding these smaller critters correctly, Animal Kind Veterinary Hospital is here for you and your pet.
Knowing is Half the Battle
When you choose to bring a pocket pet into your family, you take on the responsibility for learning how to properly care for that animal. Different pocket pet species have different characteristics and needs – it’s not one-size-fits-all!
- Understanding specifically what types of and how much food is appropriate for your pet is especially important. Some species have certain vitamin or mineral needs that must be adequately met as well.
- Different species are also prone to different toxicities. For instance, while rabbits typically love leafy greens, too much of oxalate-containing varieties like rhubarb can cause problems.
Before or upon welcoming a new pocket pet into your home, please make an appointment with us so that we can help you set your new friend up for success. Nutritional imbalances are one of the leading causes of health problems in pocket pets.
Proper Pocket Pet Nutrition
When it comes to proper pocket pet nutrition, you can start back at the basics. All pets need:
- Carbohydrates (fiber and digestible)
It is pretty safe to say that all pocket pets should have a constant source of fresh, clean water. Beyond that, species differences can be widely varied, for instance:
- Many small mammal species are herbivores, and pets like rabbits, guinea pigs, and chinchillas need large amounts of hay, leafy vegetables, and strategic fruits to thrive.
- Mice and rats are omnivores that also need nuts and seeds. Ferrets, however, are obligate carnivores. This means that they need lots of quality protein to stay healthy.
- Hedgehogs are insectivores and do best with things like mealworms in their diet.
- Species like rabbits and chinchillas need a large amount of fiber in their diet, typically in the form of timothy hay. Other sources can be very calorie dense, resulting in an unhealthy body weight as these small mammals take in a huge volume of food.
- Other species do better on calorie-dense, pelleted complete feeds.
Some species have very specific nutritional needs as well. Guinea pigs, for instance, are often deficient in vitamin C and need a constant source of foods rich in it or additional supplementation.
Our expert doctors are happy to make dietary recommendations for your pet based on species, lifestyle, age, and overall health. It’s important to look at each pet as an individual. No pocket pet is the same, and neither is pocket pet nutrition from each animal to another.