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The Importance of Vitamin C for your Small Pet

Guest post by Linden of @CavyCoterie We all know it's important for our furry friends to get the best possible nutrition, but did you know some small pets, like Guinea Pigs, need vitamin C every day? There are a myriad of reasons why vitamin C is important for guinea pigs. It is essential for keeping teeth and jaws strong. Vitamin C also keeps both scurvy and dental disease away, while boosting the immune and vascular system. 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. However, if your guinea pig is young, sick, or pregnant, the best way to administer an extra boost of vitamin C is with a liquid vitamin administered via syringe. An average guinea pig needs 10-20mg of vitamin C daily but if the animal is sick, your vet may recommend more. Many pet stores sell water-soluble vitamin C drops marketed towards small animals but these products are ineffective. The dose of vitamin C, when mixed with water, becomes so diluted it will not provide your pet with the amount of vitamin C it needs each day. Plus vitamin C will break down too quickly and lose potency if used in a water bottle that is in constant sunlight. These drops are often flavored so if the animal doesn’t like the taste, it pollutes their fresh water supply and turns them off drinking and can lead to dehydration. There are vitamin C cookies sold for small animals but there is no way to be certain the vitamin C hasn’t been affected by heat during the baking process or by light, since the cookies are stored in light-penetrable bags. Like guinea pigs, Chinchillas need consistent vitamin C primarily for dental health. These critters spend so much time chewing, they need strong teeth to munch their hay. Before administering vitamin C to rabbits, consult a vet. While rabbits can synthesize their own vitamin C, there is debate over whether or not it can lead to further health issues. Omnivores, such as rats, ferrets, and hamsters, do not need daily vitamin C but benefit from the added boost to their immune system when ill. The dose needed is much smaller than for herbivores, so a quick phone call to the vet can confirm proper dosage.
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Bigger is Better Contest Recap

(Pictured: Grand Prize winner, Maddie)  Bigger is better when it comes to a small pet’s home—they may be little but even small pets need elbow room! A larger habitat allows pets’ the room they need for exercise and more space to sleep eat and play. Be sure to read our Bigger is Better for Your Small Pets blog, by Dr. Ruth MacPete if you haven’t already. The Contest Our carefresh community is chalked full of amazing small pet owners who are giving their little ones the absolute best life! To celebrate them AND proper small pet care, we launched the Bigger is Better Contest during National Pet Month. We asked for friends of carefresh to submit photos of their small pet’s home and we were absolutely blown away by all the amazing submissions we received! We wanted to toot their horn for them, and share some of our contest winners! Pictured, going clockwise, are winners Kaylee S, Rosie, @mydear.hammies, and Ava L. These are just a small sampling of the truly wonderful homes being provided for the smallest member of these families.  Updated Recommendations We’ve updated the habitat size recommendations on the back of your carefresh bedding bags to be in line with these recommendations for proper small pet care! These pint size pets may be small, but they give lots of love. Be sure you provide them with the space, bedding, hay and exercise they deserve. And remember, in this case bigger is better.
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Don’t Throw It Out - How to Compost Natural Cat Litter and Bedding

Did you know that all of Healthy Pet’s products are 100% biodegradable and compostable? Not only are we committed to making sustainable products at Healthy Pet, but we also strive to produce minimal waste.  If you are a cat parent and use okocat natural litter, if you have a hamster and use carefresh small animal bedding, or own a dog that uses Puppy Go Potty paper litter, then you can sleep better at night knowing that you are creating a smaller carbon footprint for your furry friend. In the past when changing the litter box or cleaning out a small pet’s home, it has been common to simply toss the old litter or bedding into the trash. However, composting has recently become a great way to reduce household waste. How do I start a home compost? If you are interested in starting a home compost, it’s important 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. It does take some effort but it’s well worth it in the end. After a few months your compost will be ready to be used in your garden, and you can make it available to others needing compost. It will be fun to share how your pets helped contribute. 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 and checking your state regulations. Can I compost poo?  It depends on what type of pet. You can compost the feces of any herbivore; bunnies, hamsters, guinea pigs, gerbils, and other small pets’ poo can all be composted along with the used wood or paper bedding like carefresh. Here are 3 basic steps on how to compost your herbivore’s poo: Place the droppings and used bedding on your compost heap, add straw and mix it in. Allow this to sit with other compostable items, turning the compost every so often as needed this allows for proper aerobic decomposition. Then place the “finished” compost on gardens once the compost has been sitting for at least six months. If you own an omnivore or carnivore (such as a cat or dog), 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 and use it for ornamentals, flowers, shrubs or lawn after at least six months to a year. When composting litter you will want to make sure that is made from 100% plant-based material, such as okocat. You do NOT want to compost clay, sand-based or crystal litter, as they can actually damage your soil, especially a litter with synthetic toxins. Additionally, 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. A word of caution: pregnant women should avoid handling cat waste under any circumstances as it sometimes carries a virus that may lead to birth defects in a fetus. What if I don’t want to start a home compost, but don’t want to throw my excess litter or 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. Some will take it if it is in a Biodegradable Products Institute certified compostable bag. BPI is a third-party organization that certified that every product being used will break down in its commercial composting facility. 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 Healthy Pet products today!  
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4 Tips on How to Litter Train Your Rabbit

Are you thinking of getting a rabbit, but concerned about litter training? Wonder can it really be done? The short answer is yes, it can! All it takes is a little consistency and planning. It can be very difficult to change a rabbit’s habits once established, so it is very important to focus on litter training them from the start, before they get used to going anywhere they choose. However, older rabbits are easier to train than younger rabbits, especially babies. You just need to stick with it until they learn. First, choose a convenient litter location. Bunnies naturally will tend to pick a corner (or two) when they need to go. Start by putting them in an enclosed area with the corner you will want to keep their litter box. If it is in a laundry room or bathroom, be sure to have a mat or rug down so the bunny can lay down comfortably. You will want to keep your bunny in this area in order to get them acquainted with and consistently going in their litter box. Keep in mind that rabbit urine does have a very strong odor and they like to spend a lot of time in their litter boxes. Second, choose and prepare a litter box.  The litter box you choose for your rabbit should be a rectangular shape that your rabbit can comfortably complete a 360 degree turn. If you choose to use a covered box, it can help keep the urine and litter contained. Then line the litter box with newspaper or a paper grocery bag, this will help for an easier clean up. Then add a layer of an ultra-absorbent paper litter, such as carefresh paper bedding or carefresh Rabbit & Ferret Litter. Do not use softwoods like pine or cedar shavings or clumping litters. Rabbits do like to nibble on some of the litter and these may cause liver damage or digestive and respiratory problems. Always be sure to monitor them closely after changing to a new bedding or litter.  carefresh clean white paper pellets are super absorbent and control odors to keep their home clean and fresh longer and reduce the time spent cleaning up after them.  carefresh paper bedding makes a great warm and cozy nesting material for baby rabbits. To dispose soiled litter, carefresh can be used as mulch or composted and rabbit pills can even be applied to plants as a great fertilizer! You may also want to include some yummy hay on top of the litter as rabbits like to graze while they go, plus, this helps to keep their digestive track moving. Third, introduce your bunny to their new litter area. Initially you should be in the room while your rabbit is first learning to use the box, so whenever they leave droppings outside of the box, immediately put the bunny and droppings into the box. When they urinate, wipe it up with a paper towel and then put both the rabbit and the soiled paper towel in the litter box, this will help them as they begin learn where they should go. (You will also want to clean and deodorize the area they urinated at, please be sure to use a pet-friendly cleaning solution). Once your rabbit is in the litter box, encourage them with words of praise. Continue doing this until you feel the bunny is consistently going in the litter box, this could take anywhere from a few days to two weeks. Finally, give your rabbit more space to roam. Once you are confident your bunny is going in their litter box, give them a little more space to explore. You can even repeat step three in a few different rooms, and you may want to have a few extra litter box locations for your bunny to go. If your rabbit has any accidents, be sure to just put them and their droppings or urine in the box and clean and disinfect the area they originally went. Once in the box, praise them again. It is helpful to take them to the box every ten minutes or so and encourage them to go with a treat to hand out if they do. It takes a little bit of consistency and patience, but follow these simple steps and you will have a litter- trained rabbit in no time. For more helpful information and details on litter training your rabbit, please visit the House Rabbit Society website.
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Selecting the best bedding for guinea pigs for ultimate comfort and odor control

Guinea pigs make a great first pet. Not only do they have fun personalities and make the cutest noises – they often purr when they are happy, but they are also very easy to care for. Make sure you have space in your home and your heart for two guinea pigs, as they are very social creatures; and it is recommended that you adopt a pair of same-gendered Guinea pigs.
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