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The Best Foods to Keep Your Beloved Pets at a Healthy Weight to Help Them Live a Longer Life

The recent trend toward weight gain and obesity hasn't been limited to humans and places pet family members equally at risk. But weight control is crucial to well-being and quality of life, so finding ways to help your pet maintain a proper body weight becomes crucial for health as well as lifestyle reasons.  When it comes to pets, like people, there isn’t an ideal weight that is appropriately clear across the board. Your cat or dog’s breed, size, and age will all enter a formula that will determine the correct weight for individual pets. To begin, regular check-ups with your veterinarian will aid in determining appropriate body weight and identifying early signs of weight-related issues.  How Will I Know if My Pet Is a Healthy Weight? If your cat or dog is a healthy weight, the ribs and spine can be felt but not seen. Visible spine and ribs indicate that your pet is underweight. Because pet weights vary, your vet will use a “Cat Body Condition Score” to evaluate a pet’s muscle mass and weight which is similar to the Body Mass Index used for people. It will determine if a pet is too thin or too fat.  Pet parents can use a “Hand Test” to get a pet’s weight. Feel your pet’s ribs located behind the front legs.  Ribs feel like the back of a hand, indicating an average weight. Ribs with a cushion similar to the palm of a hand point to your pet being overweight.  Photo by Rick T.T. on Unsplash Why Your Pet Needs to Be a Healthy Weight Apart from contributing to a better quality of life, there are serious health issues related to being overweight. These illnesses or medical conditions can compromise comfort and quality of life easily and rapidly. The most common weight-related issues include:  Arthritis Cancer Cardiac disease Diabetes Kidney Disease Pancreatitis  Food’s Role in Maintaining Healthy Weight If a pet is underweight or overweight, your veterinarian will likely recommend that a pet be fed weight loss, weight management, or high-calorie food to achieve a more appropriate calorie intake and, consequently, a healthier weight. Commercial pet foods will contain variations in formulas to guarantee essential nutrients but at the same time aid in increasing or decreasing weight.  It’s All About the Food The bottom line is that your pet’s diet determines if a pooch or kitty packs on the pounds or perhaps is not eating sufficiently to keep its weight on. While weight gain is generally associated with an intake of too many calories and too little exercise, pets may suffer weight loss from:  Age Arthritis may cause a pet not to walk even to the food dish. Cancer Dental issues like toothaches or periodontal disease can dissuade a pet from eating. Diabetes may cause a decrease in eating and an increase in thirst. Diseases Parasites like worms can cause weight loss. Medication may provoke an appetite change. Insufficient food or insufficient food intake due to boredom or dislike of taste or texture can contribute to weight loss.  And weight loss can be just as devastating to a pet’s general health as obesity. Foods for a Healthy Weight: What kinds of Pet Foods Are Available? Dry Pet Foods Dry pet food should offer a balance of fiber, protein, and fat formulated for weight maintenance, weight gain, or weight loss. Dry food lacks moisture, but a crunchy texture can be appealing. Dry foods also tend to be non-odorous, so your home won’t smell.  Wet Pet Foods This is a favorite food type among pets, often taking the form of chunky stew, ground meat, pate, or bite-sized pieces drenched in gravy. It contains much more moisture aiding hydration.  What to Search for in Pet Food Protein, Fiber, and Carbohydrates Protein and proper carbohydrate content assist in weight management while offering essential nutrients. Fiber content is necessary for digestion. Quality Ingredients High-quality ingredients are essential in weight management, so take the time to learn what’s inside your pet’s food. Fillers often used in dry kibble may be empty calories that offer no specific benefits.  Allergens Pet foods should not contain ingredients that your pet is allergic to. Food allergies can cause general discomfort. Nutrients and Vitamins Vitamins can aid in overall health. Vitamins A, C, and E are known to shore up the immune system and improve muscle tone.  Foods to Keep Your Pet a Healthy Weight: Dog Foods Dog Food for Weight Management Timber Wolf Organics Black Forest Legends Dog Food Principal Ingredients: Venison Meal, Salmon Meal, Whitefish Meal, Lentils, Lamb Timber Wolf Organics has developed a selection of carnivore-specific foods that are fully balanced and not only ideal for weight management but also for specific challenges faced by pups with allergies and food intolerances.  Dog Foods for Gaining Weight Nature’s Logic Canine Beef Feast Canned Dog Food Principal Ingredients: Beef, Beef Broth, Sardines, Porcine Plasma, Herring oil Nutrient-dense and highly palatable, this food contains lots of meat protein and a dose of vegetables and fruits to guarantee essential nutrients. Each can has 549 calories.  Dog Foods for Losing Weight Blue Buffalo Life Protection Healthy Weight Dry Dog Food Formula Principal Ingredients: Chicken Meal, Deboned Chicken, Brown rice, Pea Fiber, Barley This is a low-fat formula with added calcium and potassium. Filled with I-carnitine to develop lean muscles, it features fewer fat calories. Omega-3 fatty acids work on joint strength and mobility to assist in increased exercise and physical activity.  Photo by Lina Angelov on Unsplash Foods to Keep Your Pet a Healthy Weight: Cat Foods Cat Food for Weight Management Timberwolf Organics Ocean Blue Legends Principal Ingredients: Salmon, Salmon Meal, Herring Meal, Pea Protein, Canola Oil Featuring the very best of the deep blue sea, this particular cat food contains lots of omega-3 fatty acids to promote brain, heart, and skin health while keeping your kitty at a healthy weight. It’s also perfect for cats with allergies to land-based meats. Great flavor and balanced nutrition in the same food. Cat Foods for Gaining Weight Royal Canin Recovery RS Canned Diet Principal Ingredients: Water, Chicken, Chicken Liver, Gelatin, Natural Flavors A specially formulated soft pate cat food designed for essential nutrition and weight gain. It’s a great solution for finicky cats or those suffering from poor appetite.  It requires a veterinary prescription and tends to be more costly.  Cat Foods for Losing Weight Hill’s Science Adult Cat Perfect Weight Principal Ingredients: Chicken, Brewer’s Rice, Corn Gluten Meal, Wheat Gluten, Chicken Meal A dry kibble blended to encourage weight loss but maintain muscle mass. The manufacturer claims that 70% of cats using this kibble lose weight in ten weeks. It does contain grain in case your kitty has allergies—very low calorie.  READ MORE ABOUT CAT OBESITY PREVENTION The Bottom Line Simple actions that will assist your beloved pet in achieving its appropriate weight include:  Eating healthy pet-appropriate foods Veterinary visits at regular intervals Portion Control Intelligent treats and treating No Feeding from the table and no people food Lots of exercise and physical activities   
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Potentially Dangerous Household Chemicals for Your Pets

Most people commit a certain amount of time and money to clean their houses on a regular basis. This is particularly true of pet owners, especially those that have pets who shed a lot. Unfortunately, many of the household cleaning products are not necessarily safe for our pets, whether cats, dogs, or even our pet birds or small animals. This is why it’s essential for pet owners to pet-proof their homes properly.  Dogs and some cats will eat food and crumbs that fall on the floor. All pets, including birds, breathe the air inside our homes. Plus, most pets clean themselves, lick their paws, etc and can potentially ingest harmful chemicals that way too. Consequently, our pets are at risk of ingesting harmful chemicals that are potentially dangerous to their health regardless of whether they eat something or breathe in fumes.   There are many products and product types that are potentially dangerous to our furry and winged family members and should be eliminated and substituted with natural alternatives if possible. Those that you are not able to stop using should be appropriately stored. You also need to recognize symptoms and signs that your pet has ingested a toxin.  Potentially Dangerous Household Products Cleaning products and disinfectants contain many harmful chemicals even when indicated as green or natural. Exposure to cleaning products that contain toxic chemicals can result in a range of symptoms in cats, including gastrointestinal, respiratory, and skin irritations with varying degrees of damage from red, flaky skin to an internal hemorrhage.  READ >>> Easy Ways to Cleanup After Your Cats Highly toxic chemicals are dangerous to your pets and are pretty standard in cleaning products, from oven and fireplace cleaners to wood and glass cleaners. Ingredients often include: ●        Ammonia Ammonia may appear in the ingredient list of drain cleaners, floor waxes, oven cleaners, and even window cleaners because it is an excellent sanitation agent. It can cause damage to the eyes and skin if touched, to the lungs if inhaled, and to the digestive tract if ingested. Causes damage to eyes, lungs, skin, and stomach.  ●        Cationic surfactants Found in dryer sheets and fabric softeners, chemicals such as benzalkonium chloride or cetrimonium bromide are extremely poisonous to pets. Even if only through skin contact, your pooch or kitty may cause burns or irritation. Ingestion causes worse with potential damage to the lungs, kidneys, and the nervous system. Causes damage to the lungs, nervous system, and kidneys. It can cause ulcers and depression.  ●        Chlorine This is the principal ingredient contained in bleach and is likewise found in detergents from dishwasher detergents to laundry products and bathroom cleaning products like toilet bowl cleaners and general all-purpose cleaning materials.  ●        Formaldehyde This chemical is often employed in cleaners because it is antibacterial. Although considered carcinogenic for humans, it may still be lurking in the ingredient list under names such as formic aldehyde, formalin, methanol, methyl aldehyde, glycol, or oxide. Considered a carcinogen.  ●        Glycol Ethers These chemicals are used against grease and may even be found in supposedly green cleaners. Look for 2-Butoxyethanol, 2-Ethoxyethanol, or 2-Methoxyethanol in the ingredient list, especially for products that are great at eliminating grease. Linked to cancer, birth defects, and delayed development.  ●        Phthalates Included in household cleaning products for fragrance purposes, the most recognizable is BPA. Linked to weight gain, cancer, developmental delay, cancers, and reproductive problems.  Other types of products often found in homes that are equally toxic to pets include: ●        Antifreeze (Ethylene Glycol) Antifreeze is highly poisonous when ingested, even if in a microscopic quantity. It is sweet-tasting and odorless. If you keep antifreeze in your garage, store it so that it is inaccessible to pets. If you think your pet has ingested even a tiny amount, take your pet to your vet immediately. Antifreeze ingestion can cause kidney failure and be lethal.  ●        Fertilizer and Herbicides Fertilizers and herbicides are generally in the form of granules or liquids. Chemical-based products need to be used with caution, and pets should be kept indoors to avoid hazards.  Nowadays, there are various organic options available that will not place your pet in harm’s way. Watch for symptoms such as vomiting, drooling, diarrhea, or seizures.  ●        Gasoline and kerosene Gas and kerosene are often kept at homes for cars, motorized power tools and equipment, and even grills. They must be stored so that your pet does not have any contact of any kind, whether through skin contact, ingestion, or inhalation. Watch for symptoms such as drooling, abdominal pain, lesions, mouth ulcers, and collapse.  ●        Heavy Metals Heavy metals such as lead or zinc are poisonous. This means that even a coin swallowed can create a problem.  ●        Ice Melting Products Even if you do not personally use this type of product around your home, know that these are used on streets and sidewalks where you may take your dog for a walk. They commonly contain chemicals and compounds such as calcium salts, potassium chloride, magnesium chloride, sodium chloride, and urea. Because some pets like to play in the snow, your pet may get these substances on their paws and then ingest them during licking. Watch for diarrhea, vomiting, hyperthermia, labored breathing, and irregular heartbeat.  ●        Paints Paints used in home improvement projects, whether latex, oil-based, water-based, or unleaded, will have some toxicity for pets. Areas of your home that have been freshly painted should not be accessible to pets and need to be well-ventilated. Paint products need to be stored out of reach. This also includes paint thinners and turpentine. Watch for symptoms such as nausea, stomach upset, respiratory difficulty, vomiting, and lack of coordination.  ●        Pest Control products While pest control products, more often than not, are used in spaces not directly inhibited by family members, such as an attic, a basement, or perhaps in cupboards, a curious pet may investigate if these spaces are accessible in some manner. Pest control products such as mothballs, insecticides, and rodenticides (rat baits) are very dangerous to pets. Even something like slug bait can be very poisonous, so you also need to be careful where you use these products indoor or outdoor.  Watch for symptoms such as fever, diarrhea, vomiting, pale gums, lethargy, seizures, and difficulty breathing.  The Importance of Using Natural Cleaners Using natural cleaners in your home is a healthier choice for you and your pets. Inhaling toxic fumes can lead to respiratory irritations and infections or long-term conditions such as asthma. Exposure to chemicals also can affect the skin resulting in allergic reactions, eczema, or irritations.  By selecting a natural cleaning product, you can reduce these risks and safety concerns and contribute to the well-being of the environment. Green cleaning products are formulated to be non-toxic and non-corrosive. Chemical products, by contrast, are often highly corrosive.  A natural product formula will avoid dyes, formaldehyde, sulfates, or bleach. More common ingredients in natural cleaning products include vinegar, natural fragrances, plant-based surfactants, and oils, and the amount of each ingredient will usually be specified.  Natural Pet Products Some of the same considerations are valid for the products specifically designed for pets. This includes toys, pet foods, grooming products and accessories, and even cat litter.  Using a natural litter without harmful chemicals or added scents like okocat is better for your cat, your family and your home. Think about your cat digging in the litter box and breathing in any harmful chemicals or licking it from their paws. Learn more
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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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