We imagine that if something is sold in a pet shop, or by an online pet company, that they know what they are talking about and only sell what is suitable for our beloved fur babies, right?!
Unfortunately, this is often not the case, which makes it very worrying for pet owners, wondering what is suitable and safe, and whether what they buy is in fact dangerous. Let me walk you through what NOT to buy!
RABBITS - Just like with us, corn comes out the same way it goes in (ahem!) - totally undigested. This is the best case scenario. Worst case? They can cause a blockage in your rabbit's sensitive gut
GUINEA PIGS - guinea pigs can safely be fed small amounts, but I feel fresh is more easily digested than the very hard corn on the cobs sold in pet shops, so buy them a fresh one from the supermarket instead!
Guinea pigs and rabbits cannot digest dairy, it is not a natural part of their diet. The yoghurt drops commonly sold look like yummy, sweet treats, but they are full of dairy and also sugar, which is bad for your small furry's gut flora. Their gut flora is delicately balanced and easily upset, and this can lead to gut stasis.
Again, these are difficult for your rabbit or guinea pig to digest. An exception to this is black oil sunflower seeds which can be fed to rabbits as an occasional treat, and can help with moulting. Quite a few of the hanging stick type treats and 'bars' contain seeds, so beware.
Honey contains way to much sugars for small furries, and as I mentioned earlier, this can upset their delicately balanced gut floras which can lead to gut stasis. In addition it is too fattening, which can lead to other health issues, and contains little to no nutrients that are beneficial for rabbits or guinea pigs. It can also pose a choking hazard since it is so sticky, rabbits and guinea pigs may find it hard to swallow - their bodies just aren't made for eating sticky items. A lot of treat sticks and treat 'bars' are stuck together with honey.
Nuts are another item which should be off the menu for your rabbit or guinea pig. They are not a food they eat naturally in the wild, can cause choking and are fattening. They are low in any kind of nutrition that your small furry can actually use, and at best upset their digestive system and at worst can be highly toxic. Again you will find these in pet shop sold 'bars' and 'sticks'
Sometimes you will see dried fruit being sold at pet shops, - banana chips or apple slices for example. The issue with these is that they often fried in oils, coated in honeys and contain artificial flavours or colours that are used to preserve them and make them a nice colour. Dried fruit is much higher in sugar than fresh fruit, which should only be given as an occasional treat anyway because of this.
If they don't contain anything else, literally just the fruit, then they are ok, but give only as an occasional treat.
Companies like www.hayyourway.ie in Ireland, provide natural forage mixes and dried treats like parsnip, apple and banana without added ingredients as well as fresh hay delivered to your door.
It isn't difficult to make homemade treats for your rabbit or guinea pig and they will love you forever if you do! There are a lot of items you have at home that you can use such as bananas or things in your garden like dandelions that your small furry will enjoy fresh or dried.
I have an amazing class you are going to love if you are interested in improving your rabbit or guinea pig's longevity and quality of life through a more natural diet - it details exactly where to start, what you can dry or feed fresh, how to dry and store safely plus lots of tips to make the change to a more healthy diet for your rabbit or guinea pig!
Not sure what vegetables are safe for your rabbit or how to safely introduce them? Check out these classes
You can also easily make 'cookies / biscuits' for them! Want my recipe for rabbit or guinea pig treats? No added nasties, you will know exactly what is in them, which will give you great piece of mind and you can vary up the ingredients to keep your small furry entertained! Get it here!
https://www.therabbitrooms.ie/free-homemade-guinea-pig-treats-recipe - Guinea Pig Treat Recipe
Don't forget there is an amazing 15% off your Hay your Way orders for members of www.fionashappybunnyclub.com - and you can join now for just €1 for the first 14 days with our Bunny Bliss Challenge - 14 days of Hoppy Happiness! Get a fun challenge each day delivered right to your inbox with fun activities to do with or for your bunny, or information on an important care topic, all while having FULL ACCESS TO THE BUNNY CLUB LIBRARY AND LIVE EVENTS!
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