Blog

January 18, 2022

Which Oxbow Fortified Food Line Is Best for My Small Pet?

by Dr. Cayla Iske & Dianne Cook, LVT

As pet parents, it is our responsibility to make sure our furry family members receive the most wholesome, well-balanced, species-appropriate diet possible. So, it’s no surprise that one of the most common questions we answer at Oxbow is, “Which of your diets is best for my pet?” 

The truth is that all Oxbow food lines have been formulated with the guidance of top exotic veterinarians and nutritionists to feature nutritionally correct, fortified, uniform nutritional profiles that are specially tailored to meet the unique requirements of their intended species and life-stage.  

So, while the simple answer to the above question is that all our diets are great for your small pet, there are certainly some differences. Keep reading to learn more about our full range of diets and what makes each line unique. 

If They’re So Similar, Why Do You Have So Many Options?  

As any experienced pet parent will quickly point out, every one of our furry little companions has their own unique personality, complete with individual needs, preferences, tolerances, and opinions! Similarly, each pet parent has their own specific priorities, lifestyles, and nutritional factors that are important to them.  

By offering multiple nutritionally complete premium diets, Oxbow is able to provide a diverse range of options and flavor profiles that speak to the specific preferences and tastes of as many pets and pet parents as possible while still ensuring your little one is receiving a delicious, complete, balanced, and species-appropriate meal.

Essentials 

Oxbow’s Essentials line-up is arguably our most recognizable, well-known food line and has been providing high-quality, well-balanced, species-specific nutrition for our exotic companion friends for more than 25 years. These tried-and-true formulas utilize traditional ingredients such as timothy, alfalfa, soy, and wheat products (depending on the species and life stage) to create a nutritionally balanced, complete diet. 

Additional Product Highlights  

  • Adult Rabbit & Guinea Pig 
    • Western Timothy Hay-based 
      • Calcium concentrations are 0.35% - 0.75%, finding themselves on the low end of most commercially available foods 
      • Optimal blend of healthy proteins and fats using soybean meal and soybean oil 
  • Young Herbivores 
    • Alfalfa hay as the primary ingredient to provide a high-fiber diet with optimal protein and calcium for healthy growth 
    • Wheat middlings, soybean hulls, and soybean oil balance phosphorus, fat, and additional fiber for a nutritionally complete food 
  • Chinchilla  
    • Features an alfalfa-based diet to meet the energy needs of chinchillas at any life stage 
    • Added fiber, protein, and fat with soybean ingredients and wheat middlings round out our original chinchilla food 
  • Small omnivore options for rats, mice, hamsters, and gerbils deliver optimal protein, fat, and energy sources when paired with species-appropriate supplemental foods 
    • Contain a variety of nutritious grains such as barley, oats, millet, and wheat 
  • Available in a full range of species and life-stages 
  • Comes in a variety of sizes, including bulk (15-25 lbs) 
  • Most readily available Oxbow diet – found in many brick and mortar retailers as well as numerous online pet specialty stores 
  • No artificial preservatives, flavors, or colors 
  • Contains prebiotics like yeasts (mannan-oligosaccharides (MOS)) to support digestive health 
  • Fortified with stabilized vitamins and chelated minerals 

Garden Select 

Garden Select formulas offer a “garden fresh” flavor profile that is particularly appealing to many picky pets. This diet boasts an enticing herbaceous aroma with ingredients that mimic those found in your very own garden. Our Garden Select line also offers certified non-genetically modified (non-GMO) formulas in every bag. 

Additional Product Highlights  

  • Adult Rabbit & Guinea Pig 
    • Three high-fiber grass hays (Timothy, Oat, and Orchard) are the base of these formulas 
    • Garden-inspired ingredients: Yellow Pea, Tomato, Rosemary, Thyme 
    • Like Essentials, Garden Select boasts a low calcium concentration of 0.35% - 0.75% 
    • No cane molasses, soy, or wheat 
  • Young Herbivores 
    • An optimal blend of timothy and alfalfa hay that provides the balance of fiber, protein, and calcium your little one needs 
    • Garden-inspired ingredients: Yellow Pea, Tomato, Rosemary, Thyme 
    • No cane molasses, soy, or wheat 
  • Chinchilla  
    • Contains three grass hays (Timothy, Oat, and Orchard) for a fiber and taste profile that is appealing to chinchillas 
    • Garden-inspired ingredients: Rosemary and Thyme 
    • No cane molasses, soy, or wheat 
  • Full offering for small omnivores (rats, mice, hamsters, and gerbils) containing the appropriate balance of protein, fat, and energy  
    • Nutrient-packed grains including oats, barley, and rice 
    • Garden-inspired ingredients: Yellow Pea, Spinach, Tomato, Banana, Carrot 
  • Often well-received by the pickiest of our little furry friends making for an easier diet transition 
  • Available in a full range of species and life-stages  
  • Many varieties come in numerous size options, including bulk 
  • No artificial preservatives, flavors, or colors 
  • Contains prebiotics like yeasts (mannan-oligosaccharides (MOS)) and inulin (fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS)) to support digestive health 
  • Fortified with stabilized vitamins and chelated minerals 
  • Certified non-GMO formulas 

Organic Bounty 

Organic Bounty diets are certified organic, making them perfect for pet parents who prefer offering an exclusively organic diet. These antioxidant-rich diets are made from a delectable array of ingredients including rosemary, cranberry, dandelion leaf, and blueberry. 

Additional Product Highlights 

  • A mixture of Timothy, orchard, brome, alfalfa, and clover grown naturally in the same field (Organic Meadow Hay) is the base of these formulas 
  • No cane molasses or soy 
  • 100% Certified Organic product 
  • Available in Adult Rabbit and Adult Guinea Pig formulas 
  • Available in 3 lb packages 
  • No artificial preservatives, flavors, or colors 
  • Contains prebiotics to support digestive health 
  • Fortified with stabilized vitamins and chelated minerals 

Simple Harvest 

Last, but far from least, Oxbow’s Simple Harvest line is comprised of “farm-inspired” ingredients such as canola, oat groats, and sunflower.  Simple Harvest diets are only available through farm and feed retailers such as Tractor Supply Company, Fleet Farm, and Rural King. We have partnered with these companies as a way to offer high-quality diet options for families with small mammals who may live in rural settings, or otherwise do not have convenient access to the larger or independently ran pet stores.  

Additional Product Highlights 

  • Adult Rabbit & Guinea Pig 
    • Western Timothy Hay-based 
    • Canola and Sunflower utilized as main protein & fat sources 
  • Young Herbivores 
    • Alfalfa hay-based followed by Timothy hay for a tailored nutrient profile fit for young, growing animals 
    • Canola and Sunflower added to provide optimal plant-based protein & fat 
  • Chinchilla  
    • Features a balance of alfalfa and timothy hays to provide adequate protein, fiber, and energy for chinchillas at any life stage 
    • Canola and Sunflower added to provide optimal plant-based protein & fat 
  • Small omnivore options for hamsters, gerbils, and adult rats 
    • Grain-based diets that deliver high-quality protein, fat, and energy sources as part of a balanced diet 
    • Contain a variety of nutritious grains such as oats, sorghum, wheat, and barley 
  • Available in a full range of species and life-stages (with the exception of Mouse & Young Rat) 
  • Available in various sizes, including bulk 
    • Bulk sizes excluded in young guinea pig and hamster/gerbil formulas 
  • Sold exclusively in the farm and feed channel  
  • No artificial preservatives, flavors, or colors 
  • Contains prebiotics to support digestive health 
  • Fortified with stabilized vitamins and chelated minerals 

So…How Do I Choose?  

At the end of the day, rest assured that there is no wrong choice with any of Oxbow’s fortified foods for you small pet. Every single bag of food is specifically formulated to meet the nutritional needs of each species at each life stage. The ingredients in each diet may be a bit different, but the end product is always one that provides the nutrients your little one needs to thrive.  

We recommend starting by choosing the diet that you feel most comfortable with, whether that is because of certain ingredients or certifications. Then, leave the choice up to your pet. If your pet loves your selected food as much as you, it’s a great fit! If they are indifferent or just not as enthusiastic as you’d like after completing a gradual diet transition, try another! As always, variety is the spice of life so don’t be afraid to try each line of Oxbow’s fortified foods. 

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