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They are right at a year old now. I've been worried about their fatness since I've had them, but have been unsure about what to do for it. One in particular is.. huge. The three were being fed a high protein dog food when I got them. Right away, I switched them to "PRAIRIE DOG DIET" which are pellets manufactured by the exotic nutrition company. This is their main food source each day. I have been giving each a small handfull of whole oats most every day(they LOVE oats). They also get lots of timothy hay each day, though they eat very little of it. Most of it is moved around and used as bedding or pushed behind their wooden "home". Maybe they would like their hay in cubes better? Is this a good diet for them? What should be added, removed, or changed?

As treats, they used to get frosted mini wheats(they only drop the unfrosted ones) and sometimes sweet potatoe baby food. I have removed the frosted mini wheats and replaced that treat with Fruit-Tastics.

Any help at all on this would be so very much appriciated.:yes:

Exotic Nutrition Prairie Dog Food:
INGREDIENTS:
SOY HULLS, CALCIUM CARBONATE, MANGANESE PROTEINATE, WHEAT MIDDS, GRINDING OATS, SOLVENT EXTRACTED SOYBEAN MEAL, ZINC PROTEINATE, COLBOLT PROTEINATE, COPPER PROTEINATE, MINERAL OIL, VITAMIN D-3, A AND E SUPPLEMENT.

GUARANTEED ANALYSIS:
CRUDE PROTEIN (MIN)------10.0%
CRUDE PROTEIN(MAX) ------12.0%
CALCIUM (MIN).------------40%
CALCIUM (MAX) ------------0.50%
PHOSPHORUS (MIN)---------15%
CRUDE FAT (MIN)-----------1.5%
CRUDE FIBER (MAX)---------40%
VITAMIN A (MIN) ---------1,200 IU/LB

Exotic Nutrition Prairie Dog Whole Oats:
INGREDIENTS:
WHOLE OATS

GUARANTEED ANALYSIS:
CRUDE PROTEIN (MIN)-------9.5%
CRUDE FAT (MIN)------------4.0%
CRUDE FIBER (MAX)----------13%

Exotic Nutrition Fruit-Tastic:
INGREDIENTS:
GROUND CORN, SOYBEAN MEAL, CRACKED WHEAT, WHEAT GERM MEAL, VEGETABLE OIL, SUCROSE, DECALCIUM PHOSPHATE, CALCIUM CARBONATE, IODIZED SALT, DL-METHIONINE, CHOLINE CHLORIDE, ASCORBIT ACID, (VITAMIN c), NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL COLORS, ARTIFICIAL FLAVORS, ZINK OXIDE, COPPER SULFATE, MANGANOUS OXIDE, CALCIUM IODATE, SODIUM SELENITE, VITAMIN K SUPPLEMENT, VITAMIN E SUPPLEMENT, VITAMIN D3 SUPPLEMENT, VITAMIN K SUPPLEMENT, VITAMIN B12 SUPPLEMENT, THIAMINE, NIACIN, CALCIUM PANTOTHENATE, PYRIDOXINE HYDROCHLORIDE, RIBOFLAVIN, FOLIC ACID, BIOTIN

GUARANTEED ANALYSIS:
CRUDE PROTEIN (MIN) -----------14%
CRUDE FAT (MIN) ----------------4.0%
CRUDE FIBER (MAX) --------------2.5%
MOISTURE (MAX) ----------------10%
 

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You need to weigh them all, establish each one's weight and then cut down on what you're feeding... you must continue to feed hay, and plenty of it should be available... my Rosie seems to eat very little hay too, most of it is used for her bed but she is provided with as much as I feel is necessary :) I have on odd occasion given a hay cube just to provide variety... you could do this now and then.

The prairie dog delight should not be the main source of food, more a supplement food and I suggest you reduce the amount you give considerably... hay and other grasses should be the main source of your prairie dogs diet.

I feed my Rosie...

Free choice good quality hay... this is the main part of her diet.

I supplement her main diet with (breakfast time)... horse oats and Bunny Basics T... she gets a table spoon of horse oats one day and BBT the next... sometimes I give both but reduce the amount accordingly... Rosie loves the oats but not so keen on BBT although, she does eat this.

To give her extra vitamins and of course variety, I provide Rosie with fresh raw carrot and dark leafy cabbage 2/3 times a week... Rosie loves carrot and it's a joy to see her eating it. :)

Treat examples... are, mini shredded wheat, small piece of dog biscuit, mini shreddies... nothing sweet, sticky etc.

A special treat is a piece of apple... maybe a small piece of sweet potatoe.

I try to stick to the same type of foods so that I do not upset her tummy... I do not feed very much fruit, just the small piece of apple now and then... I'd stay away from fruit, stick with veggies.

Personally, I'd not give them frosted shreddies and fruit tastics... go back to plain, much more healthy... give a nice raw piece of carrot (washed) instead.. carrot is sweet and way healthier.

Lots of exercise. ;)

I've provided you with a guideline of what I do with my prairie dog.. I hope you get something from this! :D
 

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Wendy said pretty much everything I was going to say! :lol:

Timothy hay should be the main part of their diet. They're not eating it because they prefer the sweets.....just like a child. Cut out the sweet stuff and they will eat the hay.

Same with the treats....no frosted mini wheats, go with stuff that isn't sweetened. They might not like it at first, but they'll eventually start eating it.

Obesity can cause so many health problems in pd's and shorten their life.

Good luck! They might be mad at you for a little while for taking away their sweets, but their bodies will thank you for it.
 

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When buying a new pet at a pet shop, don't assume the best advice on it's care comes from the pet shop. When I bought my first pd.,I asked the owner of the shop what & how much to feed it. I was told to feed rat blocks, & seed mixture, & keep some available at all times. As a result, my baby got obese & died at the age of 5. He spent the last 2 years on heart medication. He should have lived twice that long. I was never advised to feed it fresh grass, or vegetables, much less pellets made specifically for pds. They didn't sell those things at their shop. I won't buy another pd from a pet shop, even if it was legal. If FDA/CDC lifts the ban, I will catch my own. I caught several of my "babies". Anyway... it's nice to have information available on the internet now. Back when I got my first pd., I didn't have access to a computer. I couldn't find any books on them either. Prairie dogs are very much hated here in "cattle-country". That's why my husband & I started relocating wild ones from construction sites & other places where they are unwanted to places where they are. Unfortunately the places where they are not wanted far out number the places where they are. If anyone out there knows of any land owners who would like to re-introduce pds., to their land, please let me know. I have the permits to do this,legally. thanks Deana
 

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I bought my pd's a chinchilla running wheel and three of my four love to use it. I'm going to have to buy one or two more.

Watch the treats. I feed my kids timothy hay most of the time. On occasions I give them dry vegetarian dog food, but very little as they will get fat if I'm not careful.

Best advice, ask pdjenn. She's really great on the information for everything for pd's. I hope someday she'll write a book about caring and feeding prairie dogs. I know I'd buy the book if she ever does.
 

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A pet shop told me to feed my first prairie dog Alfalfa then we started giving inappropriate foods. She died of a failed liver from too much fat on the liver. That was 20 years ago. Since then I have researched and am usually careful. My pds get timothy,oat hay, mountain hay,orchard grass, sweet grass, and bunny brome. I sometimes give hay blocks but they dont like them. I also give prairie dog pellets by brisky, timmy rabbit pellets by American Pet diner, Timothy complete by kaytee and an occasional critter cube. As fresh foods go I feed grasses and some forbes, dandelines and a few clovers in the summer. Winter I feed carrots, sweet potatos ,collard greens, turnip greens,parsley, cilantro, green beens, califlower, and a tad bit of brocoli. These i feed in a mixed salad of 5 or more. They seem to know what they like and dont like and I try not to give too much of any one thing to cause gas. I also feed limited oat seeds, dry fruit, apple , grape, an occasional almond , raison, shredded wheat, or baby spinich leaf. These are treats only and I feed them by hand on command with their name. This taught them their name quickly and they come on command (I say Dusty comehere' or Diget comehere') and they will come immediately hoping for the treat. I give the treat first thing in the morning before all foods are added.They respond quickly and the rest of the day they respond . It has stopped them in their tracks when on the run to another room or a hard to reach piece of furniture or a sleeping greyhound. Feed these foods in multiples and mix it up enough to interest them. I plan on getting some prairie grass seeds to grow next year inside and out. I hope you get something from this. Fresh hay always, greens once a day and treat by hand and limited. My prairie dogs are not fat.
 

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Oh yes in case It isnt clear---Only one of those treats at a time in a day . Unless you need to get them out from under some furniture,then it comes in handyl.
 

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Oh no, no, no! Alfalfa is bad for prairie dogs! Stop feeding it to them now!

Prairie dogs need low fat, high fiber and protein diet. Alfalfa is the worse thing you can give your critters.

Although I am no longer speaking to her, Betsey Callis wrote a very indept book on how to care for your pets. In this book she states that alfalfa is very bad for prairie dogs. Timothy, brome, orchard and sometimes oat hay are better for them.

The pet shop who sold you your pets apparently know very little about the pets they sell. Pdjenn is another wonderful source on how to care for your pet. Please contact her through paw-talk. She's really great on helping you. She's raised a number of them for many years and knows as much if not more than Betsey Callis. Please contact her. She's a really kind person who loves to help others.
 

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You mis read my message. Sorry if it wasnt clear. The first prairie dog I got 20 years ago---I was told this was how to feed it. Then we started giving it people foods(cookies and stupid things that were sweet. It died at two years of age due to liver failure. Because of the poor diet. I would never give my current prairie dogs alfalfa. I do give them a variety of hays dailey and let them choose their needs. Same with the fresh veggies. I feel that in the wild they would not only have a variety of choices --but seasonal choices that I could not match. Thus a choice of foods each day allows them to make as much of a choice as possible according to their needs. The only sweets are fruits and they are treats only. Very limited. Sorry if I wasnt clear. I was trying to let her know what the consequences of alfalfa and suger could be to her pd. It was a sad and unnecessry death that still haunts me.
 

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I'm sorry I jumped to conclusions one of my weaknesses. I've tried sweet potatoes, but only on very rare occasions. Only one of my pd's like it, so I don't give to them more than once a year and very small portion.

How long have you had these pd's? They are really lucky they have someone who really cares for them.

If you decide to write a book on prairie dogs, I buy it. You really put a lot into caring for yours.
 

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I have had them since just before the ban. The rest of the litter I learned later had to be destroyed even though they were not sick. so did almost every thing else in the pet shop. Not one animal tested for pox. I was sick. Dusty and Diget are my third and fourth prairie dogs. First time I had a couple (girls both), I would always have more than one now. Dusty was a very calm baby and the largest in the group at the pet shop. Diget was one of the smallest and was so traumatized she didnt want to open her eyes --but she stayed next to Dusty and cuddled like it was her mother. I had gone in for one and just couldnt leave the little one behind. I broke the bank and came home with both. Among all the necessities. My pds never liked sweetpotatoes either. But when I offered them among all of the greens--I noticed they started testing them . Now I have noticed that they let them dry out before eating them . They both have different likes. One of them even likes the triaminic--of course not the one that needs it. I give a breakfast bowl of 5 to 9 veggies. I put in three kinds of hay and their feeding cups always have three kinds of pellets 'critter cubes and sometimes some dog food. I find they snack on dog food only during the night. They each have things they like best or dont touch, so I feel in the end they get to choose from enough types of food they can fill their needs. If they just start eating greens and ignore their hay then I cut way down or skip a few day sof greens to get them to eat their hay again. I groomed dogs for 33 years and the dogs that did best had a variety in their diet. Those on the same dog food year after year always had skin or other health issues. It would be like us picking one healthy meal and eating it over and over. At some point we would be missing vital needs in our diet . Age alone would change our needs. Knowing this and factoring in the seasonal needs of the pds---I just cant justify a limited diet. I am sure Dusty started to hibernate at least once and by letting her run around the floor alot brought her out of it. She hadnt had much exercize for a while due to house remodeling and family changes. My mother-inlaw came to live with us. It took a lot of work to set her up with a bedroom and personal bath. I have just torn three cages apart and rebuilt them to have large cage floor space and chambers . I am now working on things to do in them to keep them more active on their own, What do your pds do for fun and what kind of toys interest them. Mine are now playing with some toys they previously ignored. But they dont seem to chew like they used to. Do yours chew as much as they used to . What are the ages of yours and how many do you have.
 

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I have four. Moe is almost five, Tallulah almost four. Gussie and Lulu are brother and sister born in captivity. I won't go into detail about that.

I have a huge cage that could fit nine pd's so mine have plenty of room. I have a running wheel made for chincillas. It's purple and looks cool in their cage. They have two pvc pipes and two ramps to get them up and down to different levels (their cage has four). I also placed elbow and y pvc pipes in their cage and I hanged a parrot toy in their cage. It has wood chunks attached to a chain and a bell at the bottom.

It's a prairie dog Disney World for them. But I keep looking for more fun stuff for them. I spoil them.

Do you feed your pd's vegetarian dog food? I do mine and they love it. Less chance of gall stone problems, according to pdjenn.

I don't know if you ever communicated with her. She's really very nice and knows a lot about pd's. She also has met Lynda Watson and keeps in touch with her. Jenniffer knows her stuff about pd's. She owns a few but she's careful to protect them so no one knows how many. She's an amazing person. I hope you get to talk to her someday.
 

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joey

Not that I am an expert by any means, but I like think that I know people that do know alot. I have been a Pd owner since 1997. I have learned alot through experience and being introduced to a webite-luv-r-pds,through yahoo groups. The people on this website have gone through the trouble to spend countless hours of research and trials of years for personal experience, along with very knowledgable veterinarians.
I do know that a diet high in fiber is very important. If they are over weight as you say, then it is very important to not give them any treats containing any sugar, carbs or fats.(ideal weight for a standard PD should be approx. 2lbs) The higher the sugar the greater the risk of imbalancing the gut flora (the good bacteria in the digestive system). Also research shows that diets high these 3 things can drastically shorten their life span. Owbows Prairie Delight is the best food supplement for them, as well as any number of hays that are high in fiber.
Hopefully you will get a chance to go the website mentioned.
Good luck with the diet.
Joey
 

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thanks Joey, I'll look into it. Oxbows Prairie Delites was not a hit with my critters. They don't like the timothy hay cubes either. I've tried borme hay, orchard hay and oat hay. They love the oat hay best of all. They love danglion greens too, but I worry about chemicals so I don't feed it to them unless I know that the lawn had not be fertilized or had weed killer on it. Wish I knew where I could buy the d. greens.

I don't know if you have ever communicated with pdjenn, she's really good too, and she's super nice. I hope she still comes on paw-talk because she's very helpful.
 

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I never heard of buckwheat, flax or spelt for pd's. pdjenn would know. If you can get her on paw-talk. She's really knowledgable about prairie dogs. Maybe you can convince her to come on paw-talk.

Just remember high fiber, high protein, low fat. :)
 
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