Many people have jumped on the bandwagon of using hardwood stove pellets as bedding or litter box litter for small animals. Hardwood stove pellets are typically made of oak wood. Oak contains tannins and this component can cause causes anemia in small animals after . I have personally witnessed this after using hardwood stove pellets in litter boxes for 6 months. Changing to a safer alternative alleviated the problems in my animals. I am not asking anyone to take my word for it. I have done research on it, and encourage others to do their own research also. I will include some information I have found to get you started. http://www.freedomfuelusa.net/can-fuel-pellets-be-used-as-litter-bedding-for-small-pets.html
Email on the subject from a wood stove pellet plant: Thanks for your questions concerning Indeck Energy Premium Wood Fuel Pellets. Our pellets are manufactured using a blend of northern hardwood species, but also may contain a very small amount of softwood fiber. There are no chemical or other additives used in the manufacturing process. However, Northern Red Oak fiber makes up the larger portion of our fuel pellets, and as you may be aware, that species is generally recognized as being quite high in tannin content. We have never specifically tested for tannins in the pellets, so it is unknown if the tannins survive the heat and pressure of the pelleting process.
As an alternative, Indeck also produces a premium horse bedding pellet (known as “Aspen Gold”), that is made exclusively from 100% Aspen wood fiber. Aspen, being one of the lightest colored hardwoods, is generally considered to have comparatively very low tannin content. In addition, using 100% Aspen avoids potential problems that some animals may have with the phenols and aromatics in pine and/or cedar products. We can help you find a source to purchase Aspen Gold bedding if you are interested.
I hope this information has been helpful – please contact us if we can be of further assistance.
Indeck Ladysmith, LLC
1951 Meadowbrook Road
Ladysmith, WI 54848
715/532-3042 FAX: 715/532-3043
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jat.2550140409/abstract http://cal.vet.upenn.edu/projects/poison/plants/ppoaks.htm http://www.ehow.com/facts_7157671_effects-tannic-acid-body.html
"...ABLE TO KILL COW BY DAILY ADMIN OF 50 G FOR 16 DAYS, ALTHOUGH 25 G DAILY FOR 28 DAYS FAILED TO PRODUCE TOXIC SYMPTOMS." Think of the size of a rat.
"ADDED TO DIET OF CHICKS, TANNIC ACID @ LEVEL OF 0.5% CAUSES DEPRESSION OF GROWTH RATE, @ LEVEL OF 5.0%, 70% MORTALITY."
"ADMINISTERED ORALLY, IT CAUSES HEMORRHAGIC GASTRITIS IN RABBITS... IN HORSE, DOSES OF 50 TO 300 G GIVEN BY STOMACH TUBE CAUSE COLIC & JAUNDICE, WITH HEMOLYTIC ANEMIA, NECROSIS OF GASTRIC MUCOSA, DEGENERATION OF HEART MUSCLE, NEPHRITIS, & CHANGES IN LIVER."
"...ADMIN BY IP OR SC INJECTION TO RATS... SEQUENCE OF EVENTS WAS CONCN OF TANNIC ACID IN NUCLEI, INHIBITION OF NUCLEAR RNA SYNTHESIS, INHIBITION OF PROTEIN SYNTHESIS, & PRODUCTION OF NECROSIS." http://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/summary/summary.cgi?cid=16129778#x332
Yes, the studies in there many are from being directly fed tannic acid, but that our animals would be contained in close contact with it, cleaning it off their fur, feet, eating the occasional pellet they put in their food etc, due to being such small animals it would not be difficult for them to get these amounts. 50 grams can kill a cow? So if a cow weighs average of 1500lb? That is really not much! For comparison the average lab mouse weighs 20 grams. The concern with hardwood stove pellets we are talking about repeat contact, daily to a wood which is known to have some of the highest tannin levels. Is it worth the risk to our animals? It can seem fine, but how about when the animal is already ill? Does it need another factor working against it?