Small animals have to nibble

In Ireland, small animals are the third most popular pets. This includes hamsters, guinea pigs and mice. It is well known that all of them are rodents which means that they have to have something to nibble on all the time – their teeth do actually grow constantly. As a rule, it is advisable to provide “something to nibble on” to avoid causing problems due to teeth which are too long or even become infected and therefore endanger the life of a small animal.

The animals are known to chew on electric cables, furniture and carpets when let loose. You should take the relevant precautions in this case and supervise the quick four legged friends at all times. Unpleasant surprises can be avoided by providing enough choice of chewable material. This can be untreated fruit tree branches, soft wood pieces and hay or straw which is crunched up by many chewing motions. You can get special chewing sticks in the Maxizoo shops which your little ones like to demolish and which generally also contain important vitamins and minerals. Dry bread is not good because it contains too many nutrients which make them fat. In addition, it is softened up by the saliva and can be swallowed without many chewing motions.

Natural nibbles – fruit tree twigs

Pet owners like bringing back juicy twigs from the countryside for their little bird’s cage or enclosure. The experts from the Maxi Zoo specialist retail chain tell you what to look out for.


  • Many pets gnaw and nibble with a passion on branches and twigs. So pay particular attention to the type of tree or plant!
  • Most native fruit trees are considered harmless and nut and broad-leafed trees also, to some extent. Whereas walnut is slightly poisonous to pets and very poisonous for horses and birds. Whether your pet can tolerate the wood will depend on its enthusiasm for nibbling. The favourites are birch, hazelnut, apple or pear tree twigs. With rabbits, it’s quite OK for you to give them the young leaves!
  • Twigs from pine trees are controversial because of their ethereal oils and resins. The wood of the yew, ivy, laburnum, cherry laurel and red cedar, among others, is also poisonous.
  • Twigs found near industrial sites or busy roads are better left alone.
  • Information on the toxicity of plants can be obtained from pet advice books, on the internet or from your vet.



Call into your local store today to discuss your small animals personal needs with our Maxi Zoo Pet Experts