Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Ferrets and Guinea Pigs at the shelter

OOPS! This post is supposed to be under my "Critter Corner" blog, not this blog. Oh well. I got very confused yesterday and did all my posts on the wrong blogs. I fixed most of them, but this one already has a comment and everything, so I will just leave it here.   : )   

Currently the shelter has four ferrets and eleven guinea pigs!!!

For guinea pigs there are in total  .... five girls and six boys. The three newest arrivals are a single male piggy who is shy at first, but I discovered that he loves to cuddle and rub his nose on my face. The other two came in together in pretty bad shape. Their names are William and Kate. They are VERY malnourished. They are both just skin and bones. One of them has an ear that was torn previously and Kate has sore feet. So now they have fleece for bedding which is nice and soft for Kate's feet, and I gave them two heaping bowls of food and lots of treats and hay. (I think the other piggies were jealous, but Kate and William need to eat a lot to gain some weight). I think it is a good thing that they are at the shelter now, because I don't think they would have made it long in their previous home. They are both pretty lethargic, they aren't as noisy, messy, and playful as most pigs. They seemed to perk up after they had some of the treats I gave them. Hopefully they get to be healthy real soon. They are both very sweet, and friendly and very cuddly.

The ferrets I believe are all male. All four don't live together. They live in pairs. One pair is very funny. One of them is an old ferret and the other one is very young and a little fat. They are VERY playful. I had them in a ferret proofed room and they were CRAZY. They ran around and wrestled with each other, and when I was in there, they jumped all over me and bounced all around my feet. I am now calling this pair "The Flying Ferrets", because their new favorite thing to do is get up on something as high as they can get and then jump of and soar through the air with all their feet stuck out. It was HILARIOUS! I wish I had a camera with me it was the funniest thing. I decided their names should be Wilbur and Orville like the Wright Brothers (they invented the first airplane). The other pair is much calmer but still playful. 

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Rat Care: Furnishing the Cage Part 3

Food and Water Dishes

Obviously you need dishes for water and food in your rat's cage. There are a lot of different dishes you can use, so here are some tips:

Food Dishes

Look for ceramic or locking food dishes

Why? Rats like to sit in/on the food bowl when eating, which means that if it is not heavy ceramic or locked to the cage, it will tip over and there will be a big mess of food everywhere. Trust me, this happens a lot at the shelter. Another plus is that ceramic food dishes are really easy to clean.

If you can, get two food dishes

Why? Rats benefit from small amounts of fresh veggies and treats like whole wheat cereals and crackers. If they don't eat them right away and extra bowl comes in handy. 

Make sure the bowl is big enough.

Why? How big is "big enough"? As I mentioned before, rats like to sit in/on the food dish. The dish should be big enough to fit the proper amount of food and the bowl should be large enough that the rat can sit on it, they seem to like eating that way the most. If the bowl is too small, they will most likely knock it over.

Water Bottles

Look for bottles, not bowls.

Why? Using bowls for water is not practical for rats. They may knock it over, which means they will have no water. Water bowls also get dirty very easily. Rats like to play with everything, which may include a water bowl, which will result in a mess. A water bottle is generally more practical, clean, and easy to use. The only small pet that I would use a bowl for is a rabbit, because many rabbits prefer to drink out of a bowl. Rats however, will gladly drink out of a water bottle. 

Make sure the bottle is big enough.

Why? How big? The "why"is pretty obvious; you need to have enough water for each rat. You should have at least eight ounces or more water per rat, so make sure the bottle holds enough, and if not, get a second bottle and so on, until you have enough. 

Tip: Generally a guinea pig water bottle (usually sixteen ounce) is enough for two rats, and a rabbit water bottle that is 32 oz, is enough for four rats. So looking for guinea pig or rabbit water bottles is a good idea. Rat and mouse water bottles generally only hold enough water for one rat.

Tip: Sometimes rats like to drink at the same time. Sometimes that leads to squabbles. If your rats are fighting over the large group water bottle, get one smaller water bottle for each rat, so that there is always a water bottle available for each rat. 
(I haven't seen many rats with this problem, but it does happen occasionally)

Tip: A good brand of water bottle to buy is SuperPet. In all the water bottles that I have dealt with at the shelter, the SuperPet ones leak the least or not at all. Also if you shop at Petsmart avoid the cheap "All Living Things" water bottles. The shelter has had quite a few and most of them are now in the trash because after a while all the water leaks out. 

Quiz Answers!!!!

Here are this weeks quiz answers:


You guys are just getting too good at these quizzes! Almost all of you got this one right. The answer is the Roborovski hamster.

 (roborovski hamsters are also called a "robo" hamsters for short, since "roborovski" is a mouthfull!) 


The answer is: true. Generally speaking female rats are very active. Males tend to be a little more mellow. For example, when the female rats at the shelter see me they literally jump from the bottom of their cage to the top and the start jumping around and climbing the bars really fast. When I go to see the males, they are cuddled up in their hideaway and when I take them out they are all sleepy. So when choosing a rat gender is an important factor. If you are looking for a cuddly rat that likes to be pet and just hang out, a male would be a better choice, and if you want a rat that is entertaining to watch, you will most likely want a female.

Note: Of course each rat is unique, some males may be very active, and some females can be mellow, just generally speaking females are more active than males.

Don't forget to check out the new quizzes!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Rat Care: The Wheel

A lot of small animals require a wheel. But do rats need wheels? 

It depends on the rat. Some rats won't even touch them, but other rats LOVE their wheels. If adopting from a rescue you can ask the staff if the rat you are adopting uses a wheel. If you don't know provide the rat with one anyway, because if they do like the wheel it is a great way for them to get exercise. If after a few days they don't seem to like it, you can remove it from the cage, but keep it handy in case you want to try again, or for if you get another rat that might want a wheel. 

When looking for an appropriate wheel here is what to look for:

A solid surface

Mesh wheels or wheels with rungs can potentially cause injuries to the rats tails or legs. Also a solid surface wheel is easier to clean and they don't squeak like the metal wheels.

Bigger is definitely better

Make sure the wheel is appropriately sized for a rat. Look for a diameter of at least 11 or 12 inches. Anything less is best suited for a hamster, not a rat. 

Some good wheels:

Super Pet Comfort Wheels: These are great, albeit a little noisy. Make sure to get the largest size.

Silent Spinner: The largest one is great for rats, and for you because it is SILENT! (it really is silent, it is amazing!)

Wodent Wheel: This is probably the best wheel for rats. It comes in two types for rats: Senior (which is great for older, smaller, or female rats) and Wobust (which is best for active rats or large male rats). There is also Junior which is great for young rats and hamsters but is too small for adults. This is probably the safest wheel you will find.

Note: The Wodent Wheel is only available online. Here is a link to one site that sells them (you can also find them at some other online stores, such as ebay and amazon):


Rat Care: Furnishing the Cage Part 2

Furnishing the cage part 2:


As I said before, rats need to be entertained. Hammocks and tunnels provide entertainment as well as places to sleep, but rats also need toys that provide entertainment as well as opportunities to chew! Rats teeth are always growing so they need lots of things to chew to wear them down!

For toys just take a trip to the pet store and head to the small animal section. There you will find tons of great toys for your rats like:

wood blocks and sticks
applewood sticks
fruit twigs
straw balls
willow sticks and willow balls
sisal rope chews
hanging chew toys
loofa chews

All of the above toys are great for rats!

Another place to look for some great rat boredom busters is the bird section. Hanging bird toys, ladders, and rope toys are great for rats to chew and provide lots of climbing opportunities. 

Note: when purchasing bird toys for rats avoid the ones with plastic and beads. Look for toys that only contain rope and wood.

Homemade toys:

You can even find great rat toys just laying around the house! Cardboard boxes are awesome for rats to play with (preferably ones without dye). Paper towel and toilet paper tubes are great too. Tip: Cut toilet paper and paper towel tubes in half or make one long cut along the tube lengthwise. Why? Rats trying to crawl through the tubes can get stuck! 

Rat Care: Furnishing the Cage Part 1

Now that the basics of choosing a rat cage have been covered, I am moving on to what goes in the cage:

Tunnels, Hammocks, Hideaways, etc.

Rats are very intelligent and get bored very easily. To keep them occupied you should have plenty of hideaways and things to climb in the cage. Their should be at least one or two hideaways or beds per rat. A good idea is to have at least one or two plastic or wood houses, and some tunnels, hammocks, and other sleepers. Make sure that everything is big enough for your rats. And also make sure that more than one rat can fit inside each item to prevent fights. 

SuperPet makes a lot of good tunnels, hammocks, and hideaways such as these:

These are all great for your rat. The plastic igloo can be washed, and the hammocks and tunnels can be washed in the washing machine. Most of these items and others like them can generally be found in either the small pet section or the ferrets section of most pet stores.

Another good brand of hammocks is Marshall Pets. They are meant for ferrets but work great for rats too! 

You can also find plastic tunnels and some cardboard tunnels which are great too. Just make sure the rats don't chew the plastic. Chewing the cardboard is fine. 

Tip: You will want to wash the hammocks, tunnels, and hideaways regularly too keep your rats environment clean. For fabric hammocks and tunnels, a good idea is to have extras so you can always have some in the cage even when others are being washed.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Quiz answers!!!!

Here are this week's quiz answers:


This statement is true. Rats can have curly hair, although it is very uncommon.


Wow. You all nailed this one! The answer is rabbits, which most of you guessed. Rabbits are different from rodents in that they have and extra set of incisor teeth. Rabbits are lagamorphs along with hares and pikas. 

Don't forget to check out the new quizzes!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Rat Care: Choosing the Right Cage for Your Rats

Choosing and finding a proper rat cage can be tricky. Hopefully this post makes it a little easier.

Here is what to look for when choosing a rat cage:

A wire cage with horizontal bars

Why? Wire cages provide proper ventilation and rats LOVE to climb so horizontal bars are a major plus! A wire cage is generally a better option than a tank/aquarium. Tanks do not provide enough ventilation, (they start to STINK very quickly!), and no climbing.

Solid flooring and shelving

Why? As with all small pets, wire floors and shelves cause sores on the bottoms of a rat's feet. 

Adequate space

How much is adequate? That depends on how many rats. The MINIMUM for one (maybe two) small rats is two square feet of floor space and plenty of vertical space. A cage with three feet by two feet of floor space (six square feet) and two to three feet of vertical space is better. And remember the more rats, the bigger it needs to be!


Why? Rats are climbers and should have more than one level in their cage.

Proper Bar Spacing

What is proper bar spacing? Rats can squeeze through TINY spaces. For small or juvenile rats the bars should not be spaced out more than a half of an inch. Large adult rats may be able to he housed in a cage with one inch bar spacing, but smaller rats can possibly squeeze through that. And definitely nothing bigger than one inch spacing or you will have a rat on the loose!

And now for some important "niceties" (not necessities, but some features that are nice)

Escape proof/locking doors

Why? Rats are smart!

Large doors

This is for you, not the rats. Trust me, small doors are a PAIN. It is hard to get to the rats and to clean the cage with small doors.


This a plus for the rats and you. Rats are more comfortable in a cage that is up off the floor. Many cage stands have a shelf which provides storage space for you. Of course, you could also place the cage on a table or something instead of using a stand.

Some cage brands and my reviews: (you can click the links below each description to see pictures of the cages)

Super pet rat cages: Most of these are too small for rats. However, their "exotic pet cage" is large enough for a couple of rats. However, I find that the cage is a hassle to clean. The shelves cannot easily be taken out through the tiny doors, the shelves have a sort of "moat" around the edge that gets really dirty and is hard to clean, the small doors mean that you must take the top off the bottom to easily clean the whole cage. So while it is large enough it is very inconvenient. It is also rather pricey for its quality.

Super Pet Exotic Deluxe cage

Ware cages: Most are too small. The natural cage is adequate for one rat or temporarily for two or more juvenile rats, but the shelves are made of wood. And that is nice for the rats to chew, but they get really dirty and can't really be cleaned.

Ware Wood rat cage

Prevue: Prevue has a very nice rat cage... no actually it is a rat mansion... RAT HEAVEN!!! It is huge, has two upper levels, and some pluses for the owner: a slide out pan, a locking large door, a stand with a shelf. This is the dream home for rats! Just do not use the removable wire floor grate unless you cover it with a solid surface. The only setback to this cage is that it is the most expensive cage on the market, the cheapest I have seen is 160 dollars, but in may opinion it blows most of the other cages away!

Prevue Rat Cage

Critter Nation: This cage is made by midwest and is very similar to the Prevue cage. It is really big like the Prevue cage, has a slide out pan, HUGE doors (the whole front is basically two doors), locking mechanisms on the doors, and it has a stand with a storage shelf. The only difference is that it has one upper level as opposed to two. It is pretty pricey, but cheaper than the prevue cage and definitely worth the cost. Another plus is that you can purchase an add-on to double the space if you want more rats. It can be purchased from Amazon or Petsmart for about 140 to 145 dollars.

Critter Nation cage

Petco: Petco has its own rat cage. It is not too shabby. It has LOTS of levels, but they are wire and would need to be covered with wood or fleece so that they would not irritate the rat's feet. It is fine for two adult rats, or two or more juvenile rats, but anymore than two rats would need a bigger cage. This cage is priced at 75 dollars which isn't too bad. 

Petco Rat Manor cage

I can't think of any other brands, but I would say that the BEST rat cages are the Prevue rat cage and the Critter Nation cage.

Rat Care: A few important things to know

Before you become a rat owner there are a few important things that you should consider:

Rats live to be 2-3 years

They require regular cage cleanings

They require a fairly large cage to be happy and healthy

Rats should always be kept in groups of two or more, rats do not like being alone

They can be prone to rat colds, and they can also get overheated very easily so they should be kept somewhere with a temperature above sixty degrees but definitely no more than eighty!

Rat Care

I'm going to be doing a series of posts about pet rats and how to take care of them. So to start off:

An Introduction to Pet Rats:

Despite rats' unpopular reputation, they actually make excellent pets. They are very social and love attention, they are fairly low-maintenance and are very entertaining to watch. 

Rats can grow to be up to about 18 inches long (this includes their normally seven inch long tail) and with proper care they can live to be two and a half to three years old.

Here are some common rat myths:

Pet rats carry and spread diseases. 

As long as you keep their surroundings clean and they get proper nutrition, a pet rat will most likely get no diseases, with the exception of a minor rat cold. They will not spread the plague! (it was actually the fleas and unsanitary conditions that caused the plague, not the rats. The rats were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Rats infested with fleas helped spread the disease, but they did not cause the disease.)

Rats bite a lot:

Actually most rats generally never bite. I handle a lot of rats and the only rats that have ever bitten me are rats that are alone. Rats need a lot of social interaction, and they need to be with other rats.

Rats are ugly.

Technically this isn't a myth, it is just personal opinion. I happen to think that they are very cute! The hairless ones are kind of ugly, but I think that ugliness makes them cute. 

Stay tuned for rat care posts!

*image courtesy of aspca.com

Friday, July 15, 2011

"Easy" pets

I so often hear people talking about how easy and cheap a certain pet is to take care of, and very often that is not the case. 

In my book, there really isn't such a thing as an easy pet. Some pets are more difficult to care for than others, but taking care of any pet requires knowledge, time, money, work, and commitment. 

Here are some pets labeled as "easy" pets:

Fish- fish may be easy for someone who has a lot of experience with them, but for beginners fish keeping is a whole new world. 

For me I find that Squirt is easy to feed, and cleaning his tank is a breeze, but with fish there are no fish vets. That is up to the owner. Diagnosing and treating fish ailments is anything but easy.

Rabbits- It is said that rabbits are easy pets to care for all the time. Well, I have never really met a rabbit that is easy to take care of. Rabbits require a lot of attention and companionship. They require daily cage cleanings and regular feedings of hay, pellets, and veggies, and they require a lot of space. They are also very mischievous and love to get into trouble and chew everything that they shouldn't, so they need a lot of attention and toys to keep them from being bored. And they are definitely not cheap to take care of (properly that is). 

Guinea pigs- They may be fairly easy to handle and pet, but that is where easy stops. I LOVE guinea pigs but they are MESSY. They need a spot cleaning every day (sometimes more than once a day) and they need a big top to bottom cage cleaning once to twice a week. Their diet requires a lot: pellets, hay, veggies, and you have to be sure they are getting enough vitamin C. Hay and bedding for guinea pigs can be pretty pricey.

Hamsters and mice- Granted, they are easier to take care of than a lot of pets, but if you want a really good cage, complete with the tubes and such, cleaning it is going to take a while. (Hence most hamster owners, including me, only wash the tubes when they actually need it. Everything else I wash once a week.) 

If they live in a tank, cleaning can be a bit easier, except that the tank is heavy.

Reptiles: Caring for reptiles can be easy, but only if you know exactly what you are doing. A lot of knowledge is required for reptiles. Owning a reptile also means you will have to be willing to take care of crickets, worms, and even mice and rats to feed them. 

It is funny, I never hear anyone say that gerbils are easy to care for, and in my experience they actually are a lot easier to care for than most pets. As long as they have a spacious tank and LOTS of (safe) things to chew on (along with a water bottle, bedding, a hideout, and a wheel), all they require is a cage cleaning every two weeks, and daily feedings. Those few things plus some time in a ball, and interaction with their human(s), and that is about it! 

Although... they are definitely not the easiest to handle. They are fast! But they generally don't bite. 

The only TRULY 100% easy pet to care for is.....

a pet rock.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Quiz answers!!!!

Here are this week's quiz answers!!!


The answer is far/long sighted. Cats are hunters and they hunt small prey. Since the prey is so small, cats need to be far sighted. Cats especially have difficult seeing things that aren't at least eight inches away from their face, which is why their whiskers are essential, because they literally can't clearly see what is right in front of them.


The answer is a warren. 

A business is a term used for a group of ferrets, a herd is a term used for livestock, a flock is a term used for sheep and birds, and a pack is generally used for a group of dogs, wolves, lions, and other carnivores.

Don't forget to check out the new quizzes!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

responding to comments

"Healthy additions to a dog's diet":

Is this why dogs are always eating grass?

Also, I saw a commercial lately for refrigerated pet food. Is that a new thing?

Loved this post. So much interesting information. Thanx!


No one seems to be 100 percent sure why dogs eat grass. A dog eating grass can mean different things. It can mean that they are not getting enough nutrients in their diet, they have an upset stomach, or they are bored. I happen to think that sometimes they just feel like it. My dog likes to eat grass, but I know her diet is not the problem, nor upset stomach, and she isn't bored when she does it so she must just like it.

I have seen commercials for refrigerated dog food. It is made by a company called FreshPet, I believe. I am pretty sure that FreshPet is a new thing. Their have been a few refrigerated dog food rolls on the market before, but the whole FreshPet refrigerated food is pretty new. I have yet to see a pet store around here that sells it though.

"Healthy additions to a dog's diet":

How do you feed the salmon oil? Do you just add it to their dry food? I tried doing that and our dog and cat just didn't like it. Of course, she was a fussy cat and only ate dry cat chow, water drained from a tuna can, a little freshly cooked chicken or beef and the occasional mouse head (she always left most of the body behind for us to find!).

One of our dogs now loves carrots and apples and will do all kinds of tricks to get them. Apples are the best attention-getter. He comes when he hears me just cutting an apple.

Thanks for all the info.

-Animal Gram 

I just add a spoonful of the salmon oil to their dry food daily. Sheba just eats it because it is food and it is there to be eaten, but Lacey LOVES the stuff. I actually cover Lacey's spoonful of kelp in the salmon oil so that she eats the kelp all at once and doesn't make a mess out of it. (the kelp is dried and in tiny little pieces so unless I wet it, she gets it everywhere.

I add a small squirt (about 1/4 teaspoon or less) to the cat's food daily, and I mix it up really well so that she doesn't notice it as much and try to avoid it. It works pretty well, she doesn't seem to mind it.

"AWESOME NEWS!!!! / updates":

What an exciting week at the shelter! Was that a record? Can't wait to be introduced to Squirt II. As always, looking forward to new videos; although, I have to tell you that I keep going back to look at the one of Lacey chewing her bone - what an expression!
-Animal Gram 

I don't know if that was a record, but it was really awesome! If it was a record, it was beaten a couple weeks ago, where 32 cats were adopted!

"Updates and this week's shelter profile":

Dear one, have you ever met an animal you DIDN'T think was "super cute"?

Love and hugs,

No <3

"Updates on Squirt!":

Goodness! - Sure hope Squirt gains perfect health soon. These fish must come with things that you can't detect at first. Is it just the bettas or do most fish have lots of possible issues? I've got my fingers crossed for Squirt2!
--Animal Gram 

Yes, other fish do come with issues. My sister once brought home a fish and it died that very day. Betta fish tend to come with a lot of issues from living inside a small cup, which in Squirt's case had a pretty high ammonia content. They also get stressed out from seeing other betta fish constantly because they put the cups right next to each other. Once they recover bettas are pretty hardy fish and amazing for being able to live in the cups. 

I am happy to report that Squirt is still happily swimming around. I have now had him for 12 days. His fins are still slightly clamped but are still slowly improving. He is very active and wow, does he have an appetite! I think the "problem" with is eyes is just me being a paranoid fish mom. I am now pretty sure that he doesn't have popeye, since his eyes have stayed the same size since I have had him and haven't grown larger, or shrunk. They are also perfectly clear and free from whiteness or cloudiness, so he may just have bug eyes naturally. So I think his eyes are fine, but to be on the safe side I am continuing to medicate him until his clamped fins go away and he seems to be in perfect health. 

"Quiz Answers and updates!":

What would a lack of salt do to the guppies and mollies?

The term "dust bath" always sounds like such an oxymoron!

Love and hugs,

Guppies and mollies will be unhealthy and stressed without the salt or minerals in the water. They are more susceptible to infections and fin rot. It can also shorten their lifespans.

"Munchkin and his leash":

Have you ever tried taking him out? Martha

Despite the fact that the whole reason for getting a leash was to take him outside, I have not yet. I couldn't when I first got the leash because it was winter and too cold, and this summer I haven't gotten a chance to because either it has been wet and rainy, or it has been to hot for him. And on the nice days I am too busy, or I forget. : ), I am hoping to take him out sometime this week! I also have to locate a good spot that is free of buttercups which are growing in abundance in my yard this year. (buttercups are toxic to bunnies). When I do take him out, I will be sure to take a video!

"Dog baths":

I think that our friend may have just gotten a dog. She's never had one before. And, Emily (newly married) has a dog that she could probably use some help with. Do you do visiting consultations? Martha 

Sounds cool! I would love to help with her dog!

"Rabbit food and treats TO AVOID!":

I wonder, do you think that the onions and other foods are less bothersome after being processed? Martha 

Probably. Pretty much every food becomes less potent and nutritious after processing. Although I still wonder why they put it in the food. I also saw a rabbit food that listed "algae" as one of the ingredients. Why algae would be in rabbit food baffles me. It is common in fish food, but I haven't seen it in any other animal food before!

Wow! I didn't realize I had so many comments to respond to till I actually did this post! : )

UPDATE: Oops! A few of these comments (like the ones from my Squirt posts and a few others) were from my Critter Corner blog. I think I have done this before. I always forget to go check which comments are from which blog! Sorry about that!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Rabbit food and treats TO AVOID!

I like to browse pet supplies in the store and online and look at what all the different brands offer in the way of food and treats for rabbits. And, it really shocks me at how many of the foods are:

filled with treats
filled with ingredients that rabbits should not be eating!

I have also noticed that there are a lot of treats on sale that should not be fed to rabbits, that many of these foods and treats use faulty and untruthful advertising, and have really bad instructions.

So... since the brands of food and treats that have one or more of the above issues far outweigh the food and treats that are actually healthy and really are made for rabbits, I am making this post.

Rabbit foods (pellets) to AVOID:

Whenever buying food for any pet do your research. You should be able to know what they need in their diet, what they don't need in their diet, and what is unhealthy for them. This way when you go to the store you can avoid purchasing food that is not the best for your rabbit.

The first thing to do when buying rabbit food is to look for plain pellets. Once you narrow that down (buy this time there are probably only a few brands left to choose from. A lot of rabbit food are full on unhealthy treats and seeds), check the ingredients. The first ingredient should be timothy hay. Not alfalfa. (unless your rabbit is a baby, then you want the ones with alfalfa.) After that there should not be much more ingredients. You may see things like wheat middlings, mixed tocopherols (a natural preservative). Those are fine. But here is what you want to avoid:

ingredients such as treats or seeds
potato (every rabbit expert will advise you against feeding your rabbit potatoes. they are not good for them and not natural. Wild rabbits do not eat potatoes.)
vegetables (vegetables should be given as fresh leafy greens such as romaine lettuce mixed with some herbs daily with just a small amount of veggies such as carrots)


This list could go on forever but those are the main things to watch out for.

Another thing to check is to make sure that the protein content is fairly low and the fiber content is HIGH. 

Another thing you can check is the best by date. Rabbit foods do go bad. (although the dates usually don't expire for at least a year, so finding a bag that is past the date is a pretty rare thing.)

Here are some good brands:
Oxbow. This is the best rabbit pellet you can find in the U.S. The adult formula is timothy hay based and has the highest fiber content around at 25 %. They also make a juvenile rabbit formula based on alfalfa. Rabbits also love the taste of these pellets. Another thing I like is that the instructions on the back are actually good instructions.

Mazuri. These pellets are pretty good. They are almost up to Oxbow standards with the exception that the fiber content is lower. I am currently feeding this to Munchkin. I prefer to feed him Oxbow, but the Petco near me doesn't carry it, and Petsmart has been out of it for a couple of weeks. The only thing about this brand that really bugs me is that the instructions tell you to free feed them to the rabbit and that you don't need to feed them anything else. Which is not true. Rabbits pellets should be limited and they need unlimited hay and some veggies every day. A rabbit only fed pellets is not as healthy and generally overweight.

This is sad to say, but I can't think of any other really good rabbit food brand. There are some good ones you can find online, such as Science Selective (which actually comes from the UK) and others, but you won't find those in US pet stores.

Brands to AVOID!!!


Previously this brand wasn't too bad, just had some extra grains and stuff in it, but I was looking at the ingredients on their new formula and I was appalled. For many reasons:

it is alfalfa based (fine for babies but not adults)
it contains:
spinach (fine for rabbits in SMALL quantities. Fed daily and it can become toxic enough to kill your rabbit.) 
onions (Major NO-NO. Onions are really bad for pretty much any pet. Especially rabbits. Too much can be toxic and even a teeny bit can cause gas, which can lead to gastreointestinal stasis which is a common killer of rabbits.)
leeks (which is basically like an onion for rabbits)
tomatoes (rabbits should never be fed tomatoes, they can't handle the acids)
peanuts (not especially harmful, but they are not good for rabbits)
dates (talk about a high sugar content. Dates are one of the top ingredients in this food along with molasses, carrots, apples, and pineapples. That is like us eating cake and cookies for all of our meals.)
egg (okay, an egg is pretty much a meat. Rabbits are herbivores. An egg should definitely not be in a rabbits diet.)
The rest is basically all soy which isn't very digestible, and rabbits already have a complicated digestive system so giving them food full of undigestible ingredients isn't going to be great. Soy is basically just a filler. The rabbit won't be able to get nutrients from it.

And I just have to say that they put a picture of a tomato right on the front of the bag. Which I don't think will help sales because every rabbit owner I know knows not to feed tomatoes to rabbits.

Other brands to avoid are Grreat Choice ( a very cheap low quality brand), All living things, Nutriphase, any Kaytee brand (I like their hay, but their food is bascially all treats with a few pellets thrown in the mix.) and I know there is more but I can't think of it all.

And I have to mention treats:

Only feed all natural treats. Fresh fruits are good treats. Oxbow brands are good treats.

Avoid treats with potato and other ingredients rabbits shouldn't eat. 

I have recently noticed a lot of candy- coated treats for rabbits and yogurt drops. Yogurt drops are okay once in a great, great while, but pets should not be fed candy- coated anything. Candy is for human consumption. Also avoid sugar coated treats. I have seen a lot of those. Rabbits are not meant to eat a lot of sugar.