August, 2019

August 16, 2019

Help Us Give Back To Rescues! - “Nurture Their Nature” Donation Campaign

Help Us Give Back To Rescues! - “Nurture Their Nature” Donation Campaign

We're Giving Up To $5,000 To Rescues In Need!

Our pets depend on us each day for the nutrition and care they need for health and happiness.  And we know that rescues everywhere work tirelessly to provide for small pets in need.  That's why we're so excited to announce our "Nurture Their Nature" campaign - a new donation campaign benefitting small animal rescues.  Through Nuture Their Nature, a portion of the proceeds from every Enriched Life item purchased from August 1 - September 30, 2019 will be donated to small animal rescues in need.  Up to $5,000 will be donated amongst the winning organizations.  

We Need Your Help!

Do you know of a rescue that is deserving of some extra support?  Nominations for support through Nurture Their Nature are open to the public and can be made between now and August 26th at  Finalists will be chosen by an Oxbow panel and voted on by the public online between September 9-23.  

Show Your Support In The Store!

A portion of every Enriched Life purchase you make between now and September 30th will go toward the campaign.  That means it's the perfect time to start providing daily enrichment for your pets!

“At Oxbow, we know that the health and happiness of small animals depends on the right nutrition and daily opportunities for enrichment each day,” said Melissa Ross, Vice President of Marketing and Innovation at Oxbow.   “Through our Nurture Their Nature campaign, we look forward to providing financial support to deserving rescues so that they might provide enrichment for animals as they wait their forever homes.  We applaud the work of rescues everywhere and are humbled to be able to support the great work they do.”

Features of Enriched Life Include:  

  • Innovative designs that support natural behaviors
  • Safe, natural materials such as hay, untreated wood, natural fibers, and vegetable dyes
  • Customizable play centers with replaceable toys to prevent boredom 
  • A wise assortment of chews to encourage mental and physical enrichment 

For campaign details, visit:   

To learn more about Enriched Life, visit

Resources on Enrichment: 

All About Exploring

All About Chewing

Chewing Behaviors Video

The Importance of Natural Chew Variety Video



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August 13, 2019

Healthy Treats and Foods for Hamsters and Gerbils

Healthy Treats and Foods for Hamsters and Gerbils
by Dr. Cayla Iske and Dianne Cook, LVT

Hamsters and gerbils are fun and entertaining companions, but they come with unique nutritional requirements. Proper nutrition is one of the most important decisions a pet parent can make to set their pet up for a long, high-quality life. The foundation of their nutrition should be a well-balanced and biologically appropriate diet. The best approach to meeting their caloric and nutrient needs starts with ~75% of their diet being supplied through a uniform complete fortified food. This uniform presentation prevents selective eating and ensures that they receive a balanced intake of both macronutrients (protein, fat, fiber, etc.) and micronutrients (calcium, iron, vitamins, etc.) The remaining ~25% of their diet, however, is a great way to not only introduce variety and nutritional enrichment but provide supplementation based on your individual pet’s needs.

Other Foods for Hamsters and Gerbils

When creating a well-rounded diet for your fur baby, it is important to consider species-appropriate food items. If we consider their digestive physiology, both hamsters and gerbils are omnivores by definition. Given their natural, plant-based environment, however, wild hamsters and gerbils do tend to be predominately herbivorous as those are the food items most available to them. When considering what additional diversity of foods to offer beyond their uniform diet, it is important to keep in mind their nutritional needs and common natural food items. Therefore, greens and veggies should be a predominant proportion of supplementary foods along with a variety of grains, proteins, fats, and fruits. Insects, such as mealworms, can provide great nutritional benefit and enrichment when fed infrequency as a treat as well. It is best to offer new and novel supplemental foods in very small amounts initially, no larger the size of a pea, to avoid digestive issues. Some great options for each of these categories are listed here:

As a starting point, a total of 1.5 to 4.5 tsp of veggies, greens, fruits, seeds, and/or proteins should be offered per day based on the size of your companion. It is important to also note that these are just suggestions and an exact feeding regimen will vary by individual and their needs. We recommend you consult your veterinarian about the best feeding schedule for your pet’s specific needs.

Prepackaged Treats

You can choose from a wide array of prepackaged treats on the market labeled for hamsters, gerbils, and other small animals. Everything from yogurt drops to seed sticks to hay-based treats; which all bring different nutritional impacts, some good and some not so good, to your animal. While you may think of yogurt as healthy and providing nutritional benefits in your diet, for your pet yogurt drops may bring some fat and protein but unfortunately, also contain a high amount of unnecessary sugar. Your pet may love these yogurt drops (because who wouldn’t love a tasty bolus of sugar) but fed too often they could contribute to obesity and other gastrointestinal issues. Seed sticks offer a more complete nutritional profile with some variety, but they often also contain sugary products to bind them together. Additionally, while small amounts of seeds are a natural part of these animals’ diet, seed sticks allow for the selection of seeds and binders which leads to consumption of the most calorically dense and sweetest portions. Uniform treats that align more closely to these species natural nutritional needs are a great way to prevent selective eating and ensure balanced nutritional intake. Oxbow offers treats in several different flavors and physical presentations that you may choose to add to your little friends’ diet to add flavor, texture, and nutritional variety. Furthermore, adding a diversity of nutrients, and especially different fibers, to hamster and gerbil diets can support proper gut health (Grant, 2014).


There is a common and important theme when discussing diets in a range of small exotic companion mammals, such as hamsters and gerbils. That theme is the nutritional benefit as well as physical and mental enrichment of variety. Knowing what you can feed allows pet parents to construct a personalized menu for their pets to keep things stimulating as well as nutritionally beneficial. Through this variety you are providing dietary enrichment, offering a diverse nutrient profile, and finding fun ways to interact and connect with your little guys and gals. Hamsters and gerbils are natural prey species that may be leery of new foods, so be gradual in your introduction of new items but don’t forget that providing variety in their diet can help them adapt and keep mealtime interesting.


Grant, K. 2014. Rodent nutrition: digestive comparisons of 4 common rodent species. Vet Clin North American Exotic Animal Practice. 17.3: 471-83.

Learn More About Hamster and Gerbil Care

What is the best food that I can feed my hamster or gerbil?

Hamster & Gerbil Care Guide

What signs should I watch for that indicate that my hamster or gerbil needs to see a vet?

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August 02, 2019

How to Support Your Pet’s Exploring Instincts

How to Support Your Pet’s Exploring Instincts

Small pets such as rabbits, guinea pigs, chinchillas, and others have a natural instinct to explore their surroundings.  You can encourage this instinct in your pets by providing safe and enriching accessories, as well as by making simple modifications to “change up” the habitat.  Learn more as Dr. Micah Kohles of Oxbow Animal Health provides helpful tips on how to support the healthy exploring behaviors of your pet!

Other Great Enrichment Resources: 

All About Exploring Article 
All About Chewing Article 
All About Chewing Video 

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August 02, 2019

Oxbow Animal Health Introduces Sara Innes as Innovation Manager

Oxbow Animal Health Introduces Sara Innes as Innovation Manager

Oxbow Animal Health, a global leader in small animal nutrition, has announced the hiring of Sara Innes as Innovation Manager.  In her role, Innes will lead product development activities from ideation to launch, interfacing cross-functionally with key individuals and teams to ensure all new products deliver the desired brand attributes while meeting quality standards, regulatory requirements, cost targets, and delivery timelines. 

Innes comes to Oxbow from Conagra where she served as Innovation Research Manager, spending the last several years overseeing the company’s innovation and marketing research facility.  In her position, Innes managed a team in charge of consumer insights projects including new product evaluations, competitive assessments, product ideation and other research based projects for the Marketing and R&D departments.

“I am excited to join a company with such a rich history of innovation, as well as an ongoing commitment to developing products that promote healthy, happy lives for small animals,” said Innes.  “I look forward to working alongside my team to help develop “what’s next” for Oxbow.”   

“Sara brings considerable innovation and market research experience to Oxbow,” said Melissa Ross, Oxbow’s Vice President of Marketing and Innovation.  “She joins our team during an exciting time of innovation and has hit the ground running in helping bring innovative new products to the market.  We are extremely excited to have Sara on the Oxbow team.”    

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