December, 2019

December 30, 2019

New Year’s Pet Resolutions for 2020

New Year’s Pet Resolutions for 2020

With 2020 just around the corner, it's the perfect time to be thinking about how you'd like to create a happier, healthier, and altogether more enriched life for you and your pets!  Here are some fun and useful tips and tricks to make the upcoming year the best one ever for you and your pets!

Include Daily Play Time

There's nothing better for your pet than supervised play time out of their habitat! Pet-proof an area of your home where your pet can play and explore with you for at least several hours every day.  The more time your pet has to explore outside the habitat, the better!

For fun and safe ideas, check out Oxbow's Games with Pets Handout!

Ensure Your Pet Receives A Balanced Diet

One of the greatest gifts that you can give your pet is the gift of a well-balanced diet. Make sure that your pet has access to plenty of fresh water, unlimited quantities of fresh hay, and the appropriate daily amount of pellets, fresh greens, and treats. Use a size-appropriate scoop to measure out pellets to avoid over or under feeding!

To learn more about your pet's nutritional requirements, visit our online"Small Pet Care" section!

Support Instinctual Behaviors With Daily Enrichment

Supporting your pet's instinctual behaviors is essential to their health and happiness.  Support instinctual behaviors such as playing, chewing, hiding, and exploring each day.  Daily enrichment offers many essential benefits, including physical activity, mental stimulation, and much more.  

For additional enrichment ideas for your pet, learn more about Five Ways to Provide Daily Enrichment for Small Animals!

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December 27, 2019

Oxbow Animal Health Announces Critical Care® Line & Formula Enhancements

Oxbow Animal Health Announces Critical Care® Line & Formula Enhancements


Omaha, NE, December 27, 2019 -- Oxbow Animal Health, a global leader in small animal nutrition and care, has announced a number of newsworthy updates to its Critical Care line of nutritionally-complete assist-feeding formulas for herbivores and carnivores.  All of Oxbow’s assist-feeding formulas will now fall under the Critical Care line name.  Additional exciting updates include a packaging redesign and formula enhancements to Critical Care - Herbivore and Critical Care - Herbivore Fine Grind.    

Oxbow’s Professional Line is Now Critical Care® 

For years, the name Critical Care has been synonymous with premium recovery nutrition in small animals.  Oxbow is excited to announce that all of its Professional Line recovery products will now fall under the Critical Care line.  This update helps improve product line consistency while limiting the opportunity for marketplace confusion.  Today’s Critical Care line consists of: Critical Care - Herbivore, Critical Care - Herbivore Fine Grind, and Critical Care - Carnivore.    

New Look, Even Better Formula 

Along with a new name, Oxbow’s Critical Care products will feature a premium new look with improved information on the package.  Key updates to on-pack information include flavor designators for Critical Care - Herbivore products.    

Oxbow’s nutrition experts are constantly reviewing product formulations to ensure that Oxbow products provide the highest level of nutrition to small animals.  As a part of this ongoing review, the company identified an opportunity to enhance the nutritional profile of its Critical Care - Herbivore and  Critical Care - Herbivore Fine Grind products.  The addition of key ingredients provides an enhanced nutritional profile via additional sources of beneficial amino acids, Omega 3&6 fatty acids, prebiotics, and an all-natural preservative for product quality & freshness.  

“For the past 20 years, veterinary professionals and pet parents worldwide have trusted Critical Care to support the recovery of small animals with poor nutritional status resulting from illness or surgery,” said Dr. Micah Kohles, Oxbow’s Vice President of Technical Services & Research.  “As a part of our unwavering commitment to small animal health, we are always evaluating opportunities to enhance the nutritional value of our products.  The addition of key beneficial ingredients to Critical Care - Herbivore and Critical Care - Herbivore Fine Grind allows us to make these landmark products even more beneficial to veterinary professionals and pet parents in need of recovery support.”  

Measuring Scoop Now Included!

For added convenience, all Critical Care products (36g excluded) will now come with a measuring scoop included. 


Oxbow Animal Health is a worldwide supplier of premium nutrition and care products for small exotic animals.  Recommended by veterinarians worldwide, Oxbow’s premium product lines include farm fresh hays, nourishing fortified foods, wholesome treats and supplements, enriching accessories, and premium recovery formulas with animals with poor nutritional status resulting from illness or surgery.  Learn more about Oxbow’s commitment to total pet health and happiness at    

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December 26, 2019

Oxbow Animal Health Welcomes Danielle Zeigler as Innovation Transfer Specialist

Omaha, NE, December 26, 2019 -- Oxbow Animal Health, a global leader in small animal nutrition and care, has announced the hiring of Danielle Zeigler as Innovation Transfer Specialist.  In her role, Zeigler will coordinate the transfer of new products from the innovation process to internal and external manufacturing and packaging groups, assuring compliance with quality and regulatory standards and ensuring the availability of finished products for on-time launch and order fulfillment.  Additional responsibilities will include maintaining all product, component and process specifications, and assisting with supplier identification and verification.  

Zeigler’s experience includes over 12 years in the pet care industry holding various positions in consumer affairs, supply chain, product development, and project management.  Throughout her career, she has been involved in the development of pet care items designed to better the lives of pets & their owners.  Zeigler is Lean Six Sigma Green Belt trained and enjoys process improvement and identifying opportunities for positive change.  When not at work, Zeigler enjoys spending time with her family, which includes her husband, teenage daughter, 3 dogs, 2 guinea pigs, and Lionhead rabbit.  

“I am thrilled to join the Oxbow Family as Innovation Transfer Specialist,” said Zeigler.  “As a pet parent to 3 small animals, I know how well respected Oxbow is in the small animal community and that they truly lead the way in innovation in the small animal category.  I look forward to utilizing my experience to help bring new premium products to market to improve the lives of pets & their owners.”

“Danielle brings many years of valuable industry and innovation experience to Oxbow,” said Melissa Ross, Oxbow’s Vice President of Marketing and Innovation.  “It’s a very exciting time of innovation and growth for Oxbow, and Danielle’s experience, passion, and positivity will be essential to our success as an organization.  We are very excited to welcome Danielle to the Oxbow team!”    


Oxbow Animal Health is a worldwide supplier of premium nutrition and care products for small exotic animals.  Recommended by veterinarians worldwide, Oxbow’s premium product lines include farm fresh hays, nourishing fortified foods, wholesome treats and supplements, and enriching accessories.  Learn more about Oxbow’s commitment to total pet health and happiness at 

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December 23, 2019

Prebiotics and Probiotics: It’s All About the Bugs

Prebiotics and Probiotics: It’s All About the Bugs

by Dr. Cayla Iske, PhD

With all of the hype over the last few years, you’ve likely heard the terms probiotics and/or prebiotics at least a few times. Whether related to animals or humans, pre- and probiotics have recently garnered a great deal of attention. But what exactly are these “magical bugs” and what do they do? Are they simply two words meaning the same thing? All great questions that deserve some answers.

For Starters: Understanding The Microbiome

You cannot define pre- or probiotics without first understanding something we’ve referenced a few times in previous blogs: the microbiome. The microbiome refers to billions and billions of microscopic living organisms (e.g. bacteria, protozoa, fungi, etc.) which reside throughout the entire gastrointestinal tract, but the largest diversity and abundance are located in the large intestine and cecum. The microbiome also varies widely between species; for example, the population compared between rabbits and cats looks very different. In recent years, scientists have been heavily focused on this topic which as led to more and more discoveries of the processes, functions, and pathways that the microbiome plays a role in and influences. Processes including fiber digestion, immune system health, pathogen colonization, inflammation, mood regulation, and many others have all been linked to the microbiome. Research in humans, dogs, and cats continues to highlight ways in which the microbiome contributes to numerous physiological pathways. Unfortunately, microbiome research is far less bountiful in exotic species.

What Are Prebiotics and Probiotics?

Prebiotics and probiotics can be supplemented to an animal via many different routes, diet being one of the more common. These products are generally added to the diet with the intent of strengthening the healthy microbiome to provide a health benefit to your animal. A prebiotic is an ingredient that is not digested until it reaches the large intestine/cecum where a majority of the microbiome lives. Once it reaches the large intestine or cecum, the good bacteria feed on the prebiotics, which in turn promotes the growth of more beneficial bacteria. Probiotics, on the other hand, are the actual good living bacteria themselves. These microorganisms are added directly to food (or via other routes such as capsules, etc.) and should be capable of withstanding most digestive barriers of the target host species until reaching the large intestine, where they help repopulate the healthy microbiome.

Pre- And Probiotics: Miracle Ingredients?

While it may sound like pre- and probiotics could be the cure for any and all ailments, and while they certainly have the potential of offering many health benefits, those benefits are often overstated and not all are created equally. Furthermore, what is good for one species may not be good for all. For probiotics to be beneficial, you must first understand the population and function of the animal’s natural microbiome. As mentioned earlier, the microbiome has been fairly well established in humans, dogs, cats, rats, and even some livestock species. However, for hindgut fermenting species such as rabbits and guinea pigs, this has not been well-defined. We do know from preliminary research that significant differences do exist in our species as compared to those species more routinely studied. For example, the rabbit microbiome does not appear to include Lactobacillus species, a prominent good bacterium in the human microbiome and a very commonly marketed probiotic across many species. For this reason, not all probiotics are applicable nor appropriate for all species, as the introduction of a bacteria not native to an animal’s microbiome could have serious negative consequences.

When selecting a probiotic for a specific species, there are numerous characteristics the probiotic needs to possess to be effective and viable.  They should:  

  • Be native to that animals’ microbiome.
  • Provide beneficial effects in the target species.
  • Be proven to survive the manufacturing and storage process and be stable in the product.
  • Resist the acidic gastric environment of the animal consuming them to reach the intended location for colonization (many times this is the large intestine/cecum).
  • Contain the species and listed label number of live organisms. Unfortunately, many probiotics on the market do not abide by this and, in many cases, the type of probiotics offered lack published data supporting clinical benefits in the targeted animals.
  • Probiotics are also not a one and done fix.  To sustain benefits once the appropriate probiotic is identified, the animal must consume the probiotic regularly.

Prebiotics - A Better Bet For Today

Because so little research exists in our species and there is the potential of negatively disrupting the healthy microbiome with inappropriate probiotics, it is currently safer to utilize prebiotics versus probiotics in the diet. Common examples of prebiotics found on pet food labels include inulin (chicory root), hydrolyzed yeast, yeast culture, and brewer’s dried yeast. You may have also heard the terms fructooligosaccharides (FOS) and mannan-oligosaccharides (MOS). These are general terms used to describe classes of prebiotics. The FOS category describes prebiotics that naturally occur in plants, such as inulin, and MOS are composed of complex carbohydrates such as yeast cell walls. The advantages of prebiotics are they aren’t species-specific and can be utilized by the animal’s natural microbiome to promote the good bacteria without introducing new bugs. They are also not live microorganisms and thus don’t have to “survive” the food processing, storage, and digestion in the animal to be beneficial.

Future Benefits of Prebiotics and Probiotics

To recap, prebiotics are food for the healthy microbiome to feed on and probiotics are the living microbial organisms themselves. While there is more and more research taking place, currently prebiotic usage has been more studied and universally applies across a large range of species. There is no doubt the potential to influence and strengthen the microbiome through probiotics in Oxbow’s core species is tremendous. But we must first understand what is naturally occurring in their specialized GI tract and what beneficial changes should look like. The talk and research behind pre- and probiotics are only gaining momentum.  So, while we don’t have all of the answers for our little guys yet, more is sure to come.

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December 23, 2019

Top 15 Holiday Pet Parent Presents

Top 15 Holiday Pet Parent Presents

Need a last-minute gift for one of the loving pet parents in your life? Here are our top 15 favorite gift ideas!

Bunny Wall Clock—Maybe you know someone who lives by a schedule…or someone who could do better at keeping track of time. Either way, it’s likely that a wall clock with adorable bunny illustrations will be a good fit!

Rabbit Notebook—A great gift for the writers you know, as long as they don’t get too distracted by the gorgeous cover!

Dutch Rabbit Hand Towel—For the person in your life who enjoys more functional gifts, a towel will always be welcomed. Bonus points for cuteness.

Guinea Pig Throw Blanket—This is the perfect gift for those who prefer nights in and spending time with their guinea pigs.

Guinea Pig Throw Pillow—This gift is sure to get a laugh from the guinea pig pet parent in your life. All guinea pig parents know that piggies don’t share!

Chinchilla Lapel Pin—For those pet parents who love to add something extra to their outfits.

Chinchilly Coffee Mug—The perfect mug to warm up with in the wintertime, be it coffee, tea, or hot chocolate!

Custom Pet Portrait Ornament—It’s hard to go wrong with a custom pet portrait!

Dwarf Hamster Duffle Bag—An overnight bag patterned with cute dwarf hamster illustrations is sure to win the heart of the hammy pet parent in your life.

Hamsters with Flowers Decorative Washi Tape—Great for scrapbooks, stationery, or gift wrapping, washi tape has many uses for those pet parents with an affinity for craftiness.

Rat Colors and Markings Carry-All Pouch—What’s better than an illustration of one rat? An illustration with 20 rats! The rat pet parent you know will always want to show off this zipper pouch.

Small Mammals Magnet Pack—Whether for the refrigerator, a school locker, or a file cabinet at work, we all could use these magnets to remind us of how adorable small animals are.

Paw Prints on My Heart Sticker—This sticker is a great small gift for the pet parent who loves all small animals.

Rabbit Greeting Cards—We all have a friend who enjoys taking time to write letters. These greeting cards are sure to wow the pet parent in your life as well as the recipients of their letters!

Guinea Pig Tote Bag—An ideal gift for that pet parent who’s always on the go!


The holidays are a magical time of year, and they’re even better when spent with pets. Treat yourself or your favorite fellow pet parent with any one of these gorgeous pet-centric gifts and your holidays are sure to be merry and bright!

Please note that Oxbow does not have a partnership or affiliation with any of the above vendors and does not receive any portion of the proceeds made from any of the sales of any of the above products.

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