October 25, 2019

DIY Halloween Jack-O-Lantern for Rabbits, Guinea Pigs, and Other Small Pets

DIY Halloween Jack-O-Lantern for Rabbits, Guinea Pigs, and Other Small Pets

Want a fun (and spooky) way to celebrate Halloween with your rabbit, guinea pig, or other small pet this year? Check out Oxbow's funny DIY Jack-O-Lantern!


  • Oxbow Products featured: 15 oz Oat Hay, Large Timothy Club Bungalow, and Enriched Life Rattan Ball
  • Materials Used: Jack-O-Lantern patterns, scissors, Dremel, safety goggles, and face mask
  1. Pick a pattern—simple is better
  2. If you are tracing the design:
    1. Cut out the pattern
    2. Make “pins” from Rattan Ball
    3. “Pin” pattern to the bungalow
  3. If you decide to freehand, simply follow the design or get creative!
  4. Use a Dremel to cut the shape of the Jack-O-Lantern’s mouth
  5. Use scissors to trim loose hay strands
  6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 for the nose and eyes
  7. Place the bungalow in a pet-proofed area
  8. Add your pet’s favorite hay inside or outside of the bungalow
  9. Supervise your pet while they explore your creation

Download Face Templates. Click face image to open and download template.


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October 23, 2019

Oxbow Animal Health Announces 2019 Rescue Grant Winners

Oxbow Animal Health Announces 2019 Rescue Grant Winners

Oxbow Animal Health has announced the recipients of its 2019 Oxbow Animal Health Rescue Grants. The ten recipient organizations will receive funding and donations totaling nearly $25,000 for a variety of projects and programs that benefit the welfare of small animals throughout the United States and Canada. Grant winners are chosen for excellence in the areas of educational outreach, public awareness, and project impact.

The 2019 Oxbow Rescue Grant Recipients are:

  • Toronto Humane Society - Toronto, Ontario
  • The Rabbit Haven - Scotts Valley, CA
  • The Raptor Trust - Millington, NJ
  • Minnesota Pocket Pet Rescue - St. Paul, MN
  • Bunnies and Beyond, Inc - New York, NY
  • Arizona Animal Welfare League, Inc - Phoenix, AZ
  • Second Chance Wildlife Center - Mt.Washington, KY
  • Hops-A-Lot Rabbit Rescue - Haines City, FL
  • Central Missouri Humane Society - Columbia, MO
  • The Bunny Bunch - Montclair, CA

“On behalf of the entire Oxbow family, it is my honor to congratulate the 2019 Oxbow Rescue Grant recipients,” said John Miller, President and Founder of Oxbow Animal Health. “Small animal rescue organizations and wildlife rehabilitators are the guardian angels of animals in need and Oxbow is humbled to support the work of these amazing organizations,”

“We are thrilled beyond belief at being chosen as recipients of a 2019 Oxbow Rescue Grant,” said Ronald Haley, President of Hops-A-Lot Rabbit Rescue in Haines City, Florida. “This grant will allow us to purchase and provide a shed/barn for the rabbits to be housed in while waiting for forever homes (we currently rely on foster homes only). We were afraid this would be an impossible goal for a small rescue such as ours. Now, we will be able to help the community with greater rescue efforts. Thank you for such incredible generosity!”

“The Toronto Humane Society is thrilled to have won a $1,500 grant from Oxbow Animal Health,” said Development Manager for Corporate Partnerships, Stephanie Ratcliff. “We care for a variety of small animals every year, such as rabbits, mice, gerbils, Guinea pigs, and many more. This product donation will go a long way in helping us make sure they are all comfortable, well fed, happy, and enriched while they wait to find their forever homes.”

“At 6,002 bird admits, 2018 was a record-breaker for The Raptor Trust,” said Director of Development, Ashlee Adams. “Food costs for so many injured and orphaned wild birds comprised 69% of our total bird rehabilitation budget. Quality food is important, not only because it provides high-protein nourishment, but it also helps teach the young how to survive on their own in the wild. It is critical to our mission. On behalf of all of us at The Raptor Trust, we are very grateful to Oxbow Animal Health for their help in our wildlife conservation efforts.”

“Bunny Bunch Rabbit Rescue is ecstatic about receiving the 2019 Oxbow grant,” said President and Founder, Caroline Charland. We are currently seeking donations for a building to open our third location “Bunny Bunch Los Angeles” so we will have a place in Los Angeles County for rescue, adoption, and education. Many more lives will be saved. Thank you, Oxbow!

“The Rabbit Haven is thrilled to receive a $1,000 grant award from Oxbow’s Rescue Grant Program,” said Founder, and Director, Heather Bechtel. “We plan to put the $1,000.00 in products to use by stocking our 70+ foster sites with Critical care and other products needed to care for our rabbits. We are 100% foster based. Thank you to Oxbow Animal Health.”

Applications for the 2020 Oxbow Rescue Grants will be accepted from June 1, 2020, through August 31, 2020, for small animal rescue and rehabilitation projects throughout the United States and Canada. For more information about the program and Oxbow Animal Health, click here.*

*The application deadline for the 2020 Oxbow Rescue Grants have since been changed to June 1-July 31, 2020.

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October 22, 2019

Five Ways to Provide Daily Enrichment for Small Animals

Five Ways to Provide Daily Enrichment for Small Animals

Most of us know that a nutritious, balanced diet is essential to the daily health of our small furry friends. But, did you know that daily opportunities for enrichment are essential to your pet’s health and happiness as well?  Enrichment can come in many forms, and providing enrichment opportunities is enjoyable for pet and pet parent alike.  Here are five fun and easy ways to provide enrichment for small pets each day:

1. Support their instinctual behaviors in fun and challenging ways

Rabbits, guinea pigs, chinchillas, and other small animals are intelligent and curious creatures with strong instincts to play, chew, explore, and hide.  You can support these instinctual behaviors by outfitting your pet’s habitat with safe and natural chews, toys, and hideouts.  Rotate these items regularly to keep pets engaged with their habitat and surroundings. 

2. Build a loving bond with enriching play every day 

Small pets are social by nature and love interacting with their caretakers.  Set aside time every day for active, enriching play.  One fun, interactive activity to engage in is to hide healthy treats in different places throughout the habitat.  This simple, enriching activity can provide hours of entertainment as pets search their environment for their favorite treat.  Always be sure to follow the feeding guidelines on the packaging of your pet’s treat of choice to avoid overfeeding.   

3. Keep it safe and natural

Every element of a pet’s daily routine should be safe and natural - enrichment included.  Choose enriching accessories carefully, opting for items made exclusively from safe and natural materials.  Some examples of enriching, pet-safe materials include woven hay, untreated woods, natural fibers (e.g. sisal), apple sticks, and vegetable-based dyes.    

4. Offer a variety of hays each day to keep mealtime fun and stimulating 

Small herbivores such as rabbits, guinea pigs, and chinchillas should have unlimited access to fresh grass hay each and every day.  Grass hay should make up at least 70% of the diet of these fiber-loving herbivores.  Pets with daily access to a variety of tastes and textures via their hay will be less likely to develop picky eating habits and will remain engaged and enriched throughout the day.  Make every day a hay day by providing a variety of hay tastes and textures! 

5. Provide spatial challenges with some simple “interior decorating”

We all benefit from a change of scenery, and pets are no exception!  Try rearranging elements of your animal’s habitat to provide mental enrichment and fun spatial challenges.  This can be as simple as putting your pet’s hideout or food dish in a new location in the habitat.  Pets will love this spatial challenge, and you will have just as much fun watching them explore their “new” environment.         

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October 09, 2019

How Can I Help Prevent Excessive Weight Gain in My Pet?

How Can I Help Prevent Excessive Weight Gain in My Pet?

Pets naturally gain and lose weight due to many factors like age, activity level, time of year, and health status. While weight gain is not always in itself a bad thing, the underlying factors that can cause excessive weight gain, or obesity, need to be understood, as they can lead to secondary health issues such as diabetes and skin disease, or worsen naturally-occurring, age-related diseases like arthritis and degenerative joint disease. In observance of Pet Obesity Awareness Day, here are some tips and tricks to help your small animal maintain a healthy weight:

Know when you’re loving your pet with food and work to curb your own behavior.

Some pet owners might feel guilty they’re not spending enough time with their pet and can repeatedly compensate for this offering a little extra food or a few extra treats here and there without realizing how many extra calories they are providing to their pet. Your pet values your attention more than they value food (even if they have you convinced otherwise!)—instead of additional food, reward your pet with attention every chance you get.

Just because your pet is begging doesn’t mean they’re starving!

We’re all guilty of giving in to our pets when they beg for food, but it’s important to remember that the immediate food reward we give our pets can have negative effects to their long-term physical wellbeing. Giving in to begging also sets unreasonable expectations for future interactions. Pet owners should actively balance what kinds and amounts of food their pet receives, as pets might still seek out food to eat even though they aren’t particularly hungry.

Make sure your pet gets plenty of exercise.

Just like us, your pet’s ancestors didn’t live a sedentary lifestyle. While we might be long-removed from our ancestors, we still inherit our metabolism and need for a healthy amount of exercise. Encouraging natural behaviors through safe enrichment options such as natural chews can help get your small animal engaged in their surroundings. Make sure to also set aside time each day for your pet to explore outside their habitat in a pet-proofed space, such as an exercise pen. Depending on where you live and the time of year, supervised outside time can also provide an excellent opportunity for physical activity.

Ensure your pet is eating a proper, uniform fortified food.

Specifically avoid muesli mixes that encourage selective eating, as your small animal will try to choose more tasty morsels over healthier pieces of food in mixes, which can lead to imbalanced nutrition. Choose instead a uniform food where the same nutrition can be found in every bite. Also make sure your pet’s food is appropriate for your pet’s species, and that the ingredients are appropriate for your pet’s age. For herbivores like rabbits and guinea pigs, alfalfa-based pellets should only be given to young, pregnant, or nursing animals; adult animals who are not pregnant or nursing should receive a grass hay-based fortified food, such as timothy grass hay.

Avoid dairy and added sugars in your pet’s food and treats.

Dairy-based treats, such as yogurt drops, are unhealthy for small animals like rabbits and guinea pigs and should be avoided completely. They often contain both natural and added sugars to make them appealing to your little one. While the occasional seed can be a nice treat for omnivores like rats, hamsters, and gerbils, these energy-dense foods can also be high in fat and cause weight problems if given too often. The best treat options are hay-based treats like Oxbow’s Simple Rewards baked treats, freeze-dried fruit without any added sugars like Oxbow’s Simple Rewards freeze-dried strawberry or banana treats, or controlled amounts of dark leafy greens.

Moderate your pet’s fruit intake.

While fresh fruits in small, infrequent amounts can certainly be nutritious and enriching, too much fruit can provide an excessive amount of sugars, which can lead to GI disturbances.

Discuss what your pet’s ideal, healthy weight is with your vet.

Some pet owners can have a skewed perception of what a healthy animal looks like. At your pet’s next veterinary appointment, make sure to discuss what your pet’s ideal weight is, and make a plan with your veterinarian about how to get to and maintain this ideal weight.

Weigh your pet at home regularly.

Weight is a physical factor that pet parents can easily monitor at home. Purchase a scale for your pet’s weekly weigh-ins to monitor their weight. The type of scale you should purchase depends on your pet’s species and breed (guinea pigs can often be weighed on a kitchen scale that registers up to 10 pounds, for example). We recommend weighing your pet at the same time of day once a week (i.e. 9 a.m. every Saturday), and keeping a physical log of your pet’s weight each week. This is the most effective way to see if your pet is consistently gaining, losing, or maintaining their weight. While owners should always make note of weight changes, these changes aren’t always something to be concerned about. If your pet is having rapid weight fluctuations, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as possible.
If you’re following these steps and your pet is still struggling with their weight, explore the possibility of underlying health issues. Sometimes weight gain can be a symptom of health issues that are not as readily visible, such as osteoarthritis and metabolic or thyroid problems. Investigating these issues with your veterinarian can help ensure that your pet lives as healthy and happy of a life as possible.


Learn More

Guinea Pig Nutrition

What Should I Feed My Pet Rat?

Healthy Treats and Foods for Hamsters and Gerbils

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October 04, 2019

Dr. James Carpenter Recognized with 2019 Oxbow Quest Award

Dr. James Carpenter Recognized with 2019 Oxbow Quest Award

Oxbow Animal Health has announced Dr. James Carpenter as the winner of the 2019 Oxbow Exotic Mammal Health (Quest) Award. Established in 2009, the Quest is presented annually to an animal health professional who advances the field of exotic mammal medicine and care.  Dr. Carpenter, who serves as Professor of Exotic Pet, Wildlife, and Zoological Medicine at Kansas State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, was presented with the award at the 2019 ExoticsCon conference in St. Louis, Missouri at a reception in his honor. 

“Throughout Dr. James Carpenter’s 40 years in the field of exotic animal, wildlife, and zoo animal medicine, he has contributed to the development of countless veterinary professionals through his research, teaching, authorship, and industry leadership,” said John Miller, President and Founder of Oxbow Animal Health.  “Dr. Carpenter’s contributions to the advancement of exotic medicine simply cannot be overstated and we are truly honored to recognize him with this award.”

“I am greatly honored to be the recipient of the 2019 Oxbow Quest Award (Oxbow Exotic Mammal Health Award),” said Dr. Carpenter.  “It was the most amazing, emotional, and memorable celebration of my professional life, which has spanned over 40 years in the field of exotic animal/zoological medicine. I am greatly appreciative of Oxbow Animal Health for envisioning, sponsoring, and hosting this event.”
James W. Carpenter, MS, DVM, Dipl. ACZM, has been a clinical and research veterinarian for over 40 years in the field of exotic animal, wildlife (including endangered species), and zoo animal medicine, has assisted in developing an internationally-recognized program in Zoological Medicine at KSU, and has trained 42 Interns and Residents. He is the author of 185 scientific papers, 47 book chapters, and 250 proceedings articles, and is Co-editor of Ferrets, Rabbits, and Rodents: Clinical Medicine and Surgery (2004;2012; and 3E in prep) and is the Editor of the Exotic Animal Formulary (1996, 2001, 2005, 2013, 2018).  Dr. Carpenter is the Past-President of: the American Association of Zoo Veterinarians, the Association of Avian Veterinarians, and the American College of Zoological Medicine.  He was awarded the Edwin J. Frick Professorship in Veterinary Medicine from the KSU College of Veterinary Medicine in 2002, and named the Exotic DVM of the Year for 2000, and the T.J. Lafeber Avian Practitioner of the Year for 2012.  He was also named an Alumni of the Year by the Oklahoma State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 2009.  In 2013, the Veterinary Health Center (KSU College of Veterinary Medicine) named the new veterinary facility at Manhattan’s Sunset Zoo the “James W. Carpenter Clinic at Sunset Zoo”. Dr. Carpenter is also the former Editor of the Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine, and is currently the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Avian Medicine and Surgery. 

The Oxbow Quest Award is based on excellence in one or more of the following areas: exhibiting leadership in the field of exotic mammal health, advancing the understanding of clinical diseases and treatments in exotic mammal pets, promoting the field of exotic mammal medicine, promoting the field of exotic mammal nutrition or providing innovation to the field of exotic mammal medicine. Nominations are made by submitting a CV and letter of recommendation describing the individual and how they exemplify the above qualities. For more information, visit www.oxbowvetconnect.com.

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October 01, 2019

Oxbow Animal Health Introduces Matt Bair as Manufacturing Engineer

Oxbow Animal Health Introduces Matt Bair as Manufacturing Engineer

Oxbow Animal Health, a global leader in small animal nutrition, has announced the hiring of Matt Bair as Manufacturing Engineer. In his role, Bair will be responsible for designing and installing new equipment, managing capital projects, and serving as a key contributor to continuous improvement processes.

For the last 6 years, Bair has worked manufacturing aerospace composites at Royal Engineered Composites in Minden, NE. During his time at Royal, he held roles ranging from Project Engineer, in which he helped to onboard new programs, to his most recent position as Manufacturing Engineering Manager in which he leads a team of nine technical employees.

Matt graduated from the University of Nebraska- Lincoln (UNL) in 2013 with a Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering. He is currently pursuing his Master’s degree in Engineering Management from UNL. Recently, Matt completed his requirements and passed his professional engineering exam to become a licensed Professional Engineer in Nebraska.

“We are very excited to welcome Matt to the Oxbow Team,” said Jeff Gottwald, Oxbow’s Vice President of Manufacturing. “Matt’s professional experience and training make him an ideal fit for Oxbow as we continue to grow and evolve our manufacturing processes and increase efficiencies companywide.” “I am very excited to have the opportunity to join the growing and dynamic team at Oxbow,” said Bair. I look forward to being a part of Oxbow’s bright future.”

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