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Reduce Your Waste - How to Compost carefresh Small Pet Paper Bedding

Did you know that carefresh bedding is 100% biodegradable and compostable? carefresh is a made from scratch small pet paper bedding, which allows it to be returned from where it came—the earth! Not only are we committed to making sustainable products, but we also strive to produce minimal waste and help you do the same! Did you know that roughly 80% of the items buried in landfills in the United States could be recycled or composted? Landfills are one of the largest contributors to soil pollution. In the past when cleaning out a small pet’s home, it has been common to simply toss the old bedding into the trash. However, composting has recently become a great way to reduce household waste. Small pet parents who compost their old bedding can sleep better at night knowing that they are creating a smaller carbon footprint for your furry friend. How does it work? Organic waste will break down naturally if given enough access to oxygen, allowing microorganisms to feed on the organic materials, breaking it down into usable compost! This is called aerobic decomposition, organic materials converted to compost can be used as a soil amendment, improving the quality of your soil by adding essential plant nutrients. In landfills, waste lacks access to oxygen causing decomposition to take much longer and producing lots of greenhouse gasses like methane and takes up so much space! How do I start a home compost? If you are interested in starting a home composting system, do your research to find the right composting system for your home – there are tons of methods out there that will require different amounts of space and even work on your end. The basic principles of creating healthy compost are the same, it’s critical to practice good composting standards for optimal aerobic decomposition. This means stirring, turning, watering, checking the temperature, and covering your compost every few days. Make sure there isn’t too much of one type of organic material in your compost pile, you want an overall balanced content. Variety is the spice of life, and that holds true to your compost pile as well! It does take some effort but it’s well worth it in the end and after a few months, your compost will be ready to be used in your happy and healthy garden. If you have any questions or concerns regarding composting at home, we recommend checking your local ag regulations, reading more through the tips at EPA.gov, or checking your state regulations. Can I compost poo?  It depends. Many of the compost blends you can buy on the market will contain manure from animals like cows and horses. These animals are herbivores, meaning their waste will only contain plant matter and this creates amazing compost! So the rules of thumb for composting your pet’s waste is: herbivores only! Rabbit, guinea pig, or chinchilla feces are a great addition to your compost piles. Parents of omnivore or carnivore pets can still compost their excess carefresh bedding, but we recommend removing the solid waste from the used litter and properly disposing with the use of a biodegradable bag. The feces of any omnivorous or carnivorous animals may contain harmful bacteria and should NOT come in contact with anything edible. After removing any solid waste, you can safely compost the rest of the litter. Composting How-to: Place the droppings and used bedding on your compost heap, add some straw and mix it all together. Allow this to sit with other compostable items, turning the compost as needed to allow for proper aerobic decomposition. Each composting system has different requirements for turning and tending, so make sure to tailor these steps to your specific system. Depending on the size of your pile and your method of composting, it can take anywhere from two to six months for your compost to be ready to use and mixed into your garden. Important Tips for Success: Do not compost the waste of any animals who are ill, contagious, or taking medication, as these unwanted elements may wind up in your soil. Do not compost the feces of carnivores or omnivores Keep your compost pile balanced Don’t want to Start your Own Composting System? What if I don’t want to start a home compost, but don’t want to throw my excess bedding into the garbage? If you are not interested in creating your own home compost bin or don’t have the available space, you may be able to use a yard waste bin or simply bring your compostable materials to local farms or a nearby community garden. Be sure to ask first if they will accept compostable materials with pet waste and what the requirements are. Most waste management companies have a commercial composting facility, especially if you live in a larger town or city. If you are struggling to locate one, we simply recommend googling “composting facilities near me”, give them a call and ask: If they provide a waste-management bin and the times they pick up compost If they do not pick up, when and how your compostable materials can be dropped off Any regulations of what should/should not be included in your compost materials The cost associated with working the yard-waste management Any additional benefits they provide (such as finished compost at a reduced price).  So what are you waiting for? Start composting your used carefresh bedding today!    
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Best Tips for Adopting a Pet Guinea Pig

Guinea Pigs are super sweet and social and can be fun, wonderful pets to add to your family. They generally enjoy people and other guinea pigs but are also independent and easy going, while also being curious and inquisitive. They are very social so they should have a companion guinea pig at all times. Here are a few tips to think about before deciding to bring a guinea pig home: What to consider:  Guinea Pigs can live between 4 and 8 years, some even older. This is a longer life expectancy than other small pets such as gerbils or hamsters that only live 1-2 years, so be sure you are committed to care for them that long.  They need a companion so be prepared to adopt at least two.  It is best to adopt the same gender only, however some males will fight.    Do you have enough space to provide a large habitat for them? Please adopt responsibly. There are usually plenty of guinea pigs available at your local humane society or an animal rescue.  Make sure they are spayed so they cannot reproduce and have them checked by a Vet for any healthy issues if possible.  Guinea Pig Diet: Fresh water must be provided at all times. Use a water bottle or a water dish that does not tip over easily. Two sources is best.  Guinea pigs are herbivores meaning they only eat plant material. Fresh greens and vegetables are an essential part of a guinea pigs diet, especially as a source of Vitamin C, which they cannot make on their own.  Fruit can be given but in moderation, no more than once or twice a week Hay MUST be available at all times. Grass hay, preferably Timothy Hay, provides the fiber guinea pigs need for digestion and helps grind their constantly growing teeth. They should be eating a pile of hay that is about twice the size of their body each day.  A pellet based food especially formulated for guinea pigs should be given every day. Make sure it does not have "fillers" like nuts, seeds, etc. Vitamin C is very important for their overall health. Guinea pigs are unable to make or store their own vitamin C so the best way to make sure they receive their daily vitamins is with a delicious offering of vitamin-rich vegetables. Red and green peppers, rosehips, parsley, kale and other dark leafy greens are all excellent sources of vitamin C. Read more  Treats can be given in moderation, just make sure they do not have added sugar or fattening ingredients like nuts and seeds. NO chocolate, it poisonous for guinea pigs.  Their Habitat Needs: Make sure their home is large enough to move around and get enough exercise, with appropriate hidey spots and enrichment like chewy toys.  We like the Midwest habitats (pictured below) that are both expandable and easy to clean. Total size depends on number of guinea pigs kept together but should be at least 10.5 sq ft for two.  Place the habitat in an area that is free of drafts and stays between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep in mind that guinea pigs can be most active at night so be sure to place in an area where they won't disturb your sleep. Use a super absorbent bedding like carefresh for the bottom as guinea pigs like to poop and pee a lot! Spot cleaning every day is best, with a total refresh once a week.  Guinea pigs should also have access to additional space or play yard a few times a day for exercise.  A pet playpen works great for this.      Other Supplies:  Your guinea pig will need some fun things to do to keep them entertained safely.   There are lots of safe toys at pet supply stores. Always ensure they are meant for guinea pigs and don’t contain any toxic ingredients or hazardous materials that could be dangerous for the pig to chew on or ingest.   Guinea Pig’s teeth grow constantly. They need to chew a lot to keep their teeth in proper condition. If their teeth grow too long or crooked, it can impact their health and their ability to properly ingest food.   Safe guinea pig chewable toys include wood, apple sticks and some fibers. Be sure to only give your guinea pig items that are safe. Sticking with items from pet supply stores is the best way to ensure your pig’s safety.   Here is a basic list of supplies that you will need to get and setup before bringing your new pet guinea pig home.  Large Habitat & play yard – safe and secure and big enough for them to move around and get exercise Water Bottle or bowl – most guinea pigs will drink out of a water bottle with spout. Two sources.  Hay feeder – Some guinea pigs enjoy pulling the hay out of the hay feeder and it can help to keep the hay sanitary. Some guinea pigs will pull all the hay out and it will just end up on the floor of the enclosure. Heavy Food Bowl – Check that it is shallow enough for your guinea pig to dip their face into  Hay & pellet food, greens, vegetables, source of Vitamin C Enrichment/Chew Toys – apple sticks, woven fiber, wooden chew toys are all great options Igloo or Hidey Hut – Make sure it is big enough for your pig to turn around in. If you are adopting a young pig, they may grow, and you may end up needing a bigger hidey hut. Grooming – Small guinea pig nail trimmers, brush *Note – if you are adopting a long-haired guinea pig, consult your veterinarian regarding grooming needs as some long-haired varieties need regular bathing, brushing and grooming to stay healthy.   Bedding:   carefresh natural paper bedding is a great option and is safe, absorbent and easy to clean with little dust for them to breathe in. Plus there are lots of fun colors to choose from for a fun habitat theme.  Since guinea pigs are herbivores, their bedding along with their poop is compostable! Learn how >>> Composting Tips Do not use wood shavings of any kind as these can emit odors and dust that can be harmful for your guinea pig’s respiratory system.     Socializing Some guinea pigs enjoy being cuddled or snuggled. Others prefer to be left alone. Since they are prey animals, they naturally try to avoid being picked up. Getting down on the floor with them with regular quiet contact and slow approaches with patting and gentle picking up over time will get them used to their owner and help them realize that they are safe. Still, some piggies will prefer to be left alone and that is ok. Learn more They may all sorts of fun and silly noises. Sometimes to communicate that they are hungry or excited to get a treat. Sometimes they chutter or make a clicking noise when they are unhappy or stressed.    
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5 Quick Tips for Proper Hamster Care

Many of us love our small animals and would do anything for them to make sure they are happy. It is important we care for them to the best of our ability. This includes putting the extra effort into learning about their needs and providing them with those things. Hamsters can make great pets but do require a good amount of care so that they can live a happy life. There are many key factors that go into giving a hamster proper care so they can thrive. Some of these include enclosure size, the amount of bedding provided, wheel size, cleaning their enclosure, and giving them enrichment to prevent boredom. It is not only important to provide them with these things, but to make sure you are giving it to them properly!   1. Large enough enclosure It is a common stereotype that since hamsters are small, they should live in small cages. This is very untrue. Small cages do not allow enough space to fit a proper sized wheel,  hides and tunnels, allow burrowing, and other basic needs. Hamsters are highly active animals, so when not provided enough space, they commonly will show signs of stress. This can include bar biting, constantly trying to escape, and showing aggressiveness. To avoid this stress, I recommend giving a hamster at least 800sq in. of unbroken floor space, but more is always better and recommended!   2. Deep enough bedding Hamsters are “natural burrowers”, therefore in the wild they build deep tunnels and burrow underground. It is important we always give them the option to do this so they can act on their natural instincts. I recommend providing at least 8” or more of bedding at one end of the enclosure giving them a “deep end”.  As always, more is always recommended. Providing deep enough bedding will allow them to replicate what they do in the wild.   3. Cleaning their enclosure When a hamster has a properly sized enclosure, this can make the cleaning process easier. It is never recommended to fully empty and replace the bedding in the enclosure completely, but to “spot clean”. This means removing and replacing bedding from the areas where your hamster pee/poo’s in, but leaving other clean areas left alone. Hamsters tend to choose certain spots to do their business, so cleaning those areas is the most important. When emptying the whole enclosure, this removes their scent and causes stress.     4. Proper sized wheel Since hamsters are such active animals, they need a wheel to allow them to get exercise. Hamsters can run up to 5 miles a night, therefore, are running on their wheel for long periods of time. Their wheel should be comfortable for them to run on. This means it needs to have a smooth and solid surface, upright, and most importantly large enough. Syrian hamsters should have a wheel size of 11”-12” in diameter while a dwarves wheel should have a diameter of 8”+. A large enough wheel will prevent your hamsters back from curving while they are running!   5. Enrichment Since a hamster's life is mostly spent in their enclosure, they need enrichment to keep them busy and provide them with mental stimulation. You can have a large enough enclosure but should also provide activities for them to engage in or they may get bored. Since hamsters are naturally clean animals and cannot have the traditional bath with water, providing sand is an important enrichment that allows them to clean themselves. Not only this, but they enjoy digging and playing in the sand as well! Some other enrichment options can include scatter feeding their dry food to encourage foraging, providing chew toys, hideouts, and tunnels.   Overall, there are many important factors that play a role in proper hamster care. Yes, a hamster can survive without these things properly given to them, but they will not be thriving. Therefore, it is especially important to provide these needs for your hamster, so they can live their best life! Guest Post by Haley M. @honeythehamster28 (above photos are all taken by her) - be sure to follow her for more great hamster care and adorable photos!  
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Tips & Tricks for Bonding With Your New Small Animal Pet & Introducing a Companion

Playtime and socializing are an essential part of being a small animal pet parent. As with everything when it comes to your new pets, start gradually. Once you’ve let your new furry friend adjust to their new home then you’re both ready to have some playtime! >>> Read more about getting a new small animal pet Whether you are going to just sit together and cuddle or let them roam a bit on their own, always make sure your space is ready and safe for playtime. Put away anything you don’t want your pets to get into or chew on like electrical cords, and keep loud noises to a minimum, close open windows and doors so they do not escape. When picking up your new pet, use both hands and be sure to support its bodyweight. Be gentle but firm, holding its feet against your body, and take care when you put it back down on the ground. Always supervise young children to make sure they are handling them gently. Have toys, tubes and a hidey place available to them, as well as a few small fresh treats. DO go slowly with socialization. Start with sitting beside them and letting them sniff you – once they get used to you, you can start to pet them and eventually pick them up. Try limiting initial handling to a few minutes at a time. DON’T ignore signs of distress. A scared bunny may cower, squeal or grunt and thump the ground with its feet, while a nervous guinea pig might wee on you, and a frightened hamster may try to bite. If your pet displays any of these behaviors, put them back in their habitat and try another time. Be patient and in no time they will be interacting and snuggling.   Tips for introducing companion pets Most small pets except hamsters are social and need a companion. In a perfect world, you would be adopting your rabbits or guinea pigs at the same time. The smoothest transition is likely with littermates, previously bonded pairs, or babies, but that may not always be an option. Neutered males and females often make great pairs, as does two females, but we would advise against more than one male cohabitating as they can become aggressive or compete for resources. When you bring your companion home, do not put them straight in your other pet’s habitat. Once again, it is very important to move forward gradually! Start by placing two habitats near each other so they can adjust to each other’s presence without feeling threatened. Allow them to swap scents by putting a bit of bedding from each habitat into the other. Then you can progress to physically introducing them in a neutral space, like a different room than they are used to or a playpen, without lots of distractions in the environment. Provide them with places to hide if they are nervous, but with two open ends so they don’t get cornered. And offer them some fresh veggies as a distraction and so they may associate positive feelings with each other. Keep these initial introductions supervised and short, around 15 minutes, you can gradually build up the duration as long as they remain happy together. At every step on this process, make sure to monitor their behavior closely! Look for signs your animal is happy. These are the clues you need to see to progress to the next step. Look for behaviors like grooming each other, squeaking to each other, sniffing each other, spending time close together and ‘popcorning’ for guinea pigs or binkies for rabbits. These are good signs! Don’t be alarmed if your rabbits try to mount or chase one another, this is to be expected and as long as the other doesn’t become aggressive they are ok. If your pets show no signs of aggression and have taken to each other, then you get the green light to allow cohabitation. Just make sure their habitat is large enough for two or more. The bigger the better!
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Helpful tips for a healthy diet & fun playtime with your new small pet guinea pigs, rabbits or hamster

Deciding to adopt a new small pet and choosing the right one can be a big decision!  Be aware of all their special needs and behaviors to ensure you are choosing the right furry friend so you can provide the very best care they deserve. carefresh is here to give you some helpful tips to ensure your new small pets live a happy, healthy life!   Your Small Pet Diet Needs: The perfect diet for your small animal will vary by species, but most share common threads like always making sure they have plenty of fresh water! Rabbits, guinea pigs and chinchillas are herbivores and have some similar dietary requirements. They all need a constant supply of nutritious Timothy Hay which should make up 75% of their diet with essential fiber for digestion, dental care and enrichment, along with a pellet food that is specially formulated for them. Guinea pigs, like humans, are unable to make their own vitamin C. Because their bodies cannot synthesize or store it, they need to receive around 10-30 mg per day through their diet. Guinea pigs that don’t get enough vitamin C are at risk for scurvy​. Dark leafy greens and fresh vegetables daily are a great source of vitamins and minerals and all natural treats like strawberries or apples can be given occasionally. Hamsters and gerbils, on the other hand, are omnivores and thrive on a high-variety diet consisting of high fiber seeds daily, fresh vegetables and dark, leafy greens every 1-2 days, fruits (no citrus) 1-2 small amounts per week, insects and nuts. (Hamster hideout forum has a great list of foods and how much, how often) http://hamsterhideout.com/forum/topic/96457-safe-and-unsafe-foods-for-hamsters/ Rats are also ominvores but need higher protein with plenty of dark greens and veggies   Be sure to follow the feeding instructions on the bag and consult your veterinarian with questions regarding proper feeding amounts. Introduce new foods gradually and watch for any abnormal behaviors. Small pets have very sensitive digestive system, contact your vet if you notice anything amiss, from lethargy to bloating or constipation. Be careful not to overfeed treats as it will encourage your pet to refuse their nutritious foods or become overweight.   Providing a well-balanced diet is just one part of giving your pet the best care and attention.   Providing the best home for your new small pet:  Guinea pigs and rats, especially need a mate and should always be adopted in pairs. While certain species of hamsters will become very aggressive if they share a home with another hamster. If you are adopting more than one new pet at a time, make sure to scale up their habitat accordingly! Our sweet small pets are typically very social creatures and will need lots of human interaction. But remember to start slow! To get your new pet used to your presence, you can start by feeding them treats by hand or spending time near their habitat reading or speaking to them gently. Provide as large of a habitat as possible – remember, bigger is better, with plenty of soft, absorbent carefresh bedding. Spot-clean daily with a full refresh and deep clean every 7-10 days. Guinea pigs and rabbits need time outside of their cages each day for exercise and play. You’ll want to animal proof their play area and be sure to watch them closely! A playpen works great. If they free roam in your home, be sure to remove or protect any cords, wires, or other hazards. Small animals have teeth that continuously grow! This is one of the reason hay is so essential for rabbits and guinea pigs, but toys can also help. Providing your small pet with toys will help with mental stimulation and teeth maintenance. Dry branches from untreated trees, wooden chew toys for birds, any unfinished, unpainted wicker or straw baskets are perfect chewing toys! Toilet paper/paper towel rolls, small empty cardboard cartons also work and are inexpensive. Hamsters have lots of energy and love to run it out on their exercise wheel! Just be sure it’s large enough so their back stays straight and is anchored so it won’t tip over. You can easily make sure your pet is feeling your love by providing plenty of space for their home and lots of soft, absorbent carefresh bedding to encourage nesting, playing and burrowing. Just spot-clean daily with a full refresh and deep clean every 7-10 days. Which is the perfect time to switch to a new color or theme! It’s fun to decorate their home for each season or holiday.  Now that you know more about caring and feeding your small pet, be sure to watch our other videos for other helpful information and tips from carefresh.    
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