Wednesday, September 10, 2014

I got my C&C Cage!

(Note: I've been trying to publish this for awhile, but the WiFi wouldn't let me publish it, although by all other means it was working fairly well. I actually got this cage almost about a month ago, give or take a few days. Sorry. ^_^ )

 I ordered my 2 x 3.5 (grids) C&C cage on Friday and it came today for a very happy owner to assemble and place her very happy pig in the brand new cage!
It was very easy to assemble, and it gives enough room-to-roam for Iggy. I used decorative duct tape to put on the corners so it was very secure, and I picked out nice white grids and a navy-blue Coroplast base that makes it very similar to the old cage.

(Speaking of, the old cage is going in the basement with Mickey's old cage, and it will eventually be used for future animals.) ^_^

A very happy piggy explores his new cage. (I imagine him saying, "Wha...? You're taking a picture now?")

A view of the right side.

A view of the left side. (The green bag is a homemade hay bag I made out of a bag I got a long, long while ago at a gift shop. I never used it, so the creation of a guinea pig hay bag happened. Things like these seem to be begging me to make good use of them, and so, what better use for this than a hay bag? It's very cute and Ignatius loves it.)

And, I am sorry for forgetting to take pictures during the assembling part of it. I was going to, then I forgot, and realized after. I hope this mini-tour is okay instead. :3

Monday, September 8, 2014

Guinea Pig Treat Review: Brown's EXTREME Baked Gourmet Small Animal Muffins

I got these a while ago from a friend, for Iggy and Mickey and the rabbits to try. 
These treats are by the 'Brown' animal food and supply company. They say that they are perfect for guinea pigs, but in reviews it's important to take a closer look.

Let's look at the ingredients first. 

Ingredients: Wheat Flour, Sun-Cured Timothy Grass Hay(Ground), Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, Papaya, and Calcium Propionate (a preservative).

All of these things seem safe for the delicate tummies of guinea pigs, but do they taste good?

(And just in case you thought so, I'm not going to taste it. Iggy is.)

These look chock-full of healthy Timothy hay! They come in adorable shapes, too. And they smell very fresh. 

Iggy Pig doesn't seem very interested in it. After eating off a bit of papaya, he settled on some crunchy hay instead. 

Rating: 2.5 stars. 
Although the treats are pretty healthy(and cute), it doesn't seem to have a lot of piggy appeal.

Piggy Appeal may vary among guinea pigs.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Goodbye, Mickey

Today was the day that little Mickey passed away. It might of been in the night, or this morning - but I found him at about 8:56, curled up in his little hamster hideout. I'm not quite sure how it happened - he seemed very thin and his scent gland had yellow discharge coming from it, so it may have been some type of blockage.
Goodbye little Mickey, I will miss you. 

(Blogger is giving me troubles, but on Friday or so, there will be a post, hopefully.)

- Julia

Friday, August 29, 2014

How to Clean Guinea Pig Fleece

Using fleece in your guinea pig's cage seems dead simple: Buy a few yards of thick fleece, put it in the piggie's cage, and every two days or so, shake/clean it out. Around the third or fourth day, you wash it, and in goes a second piece of fleece. In theory, it seems simple, but actually, it varies among guinea pig owners. Some like it to look super meticulously clean, while others don't mind if the pig gets messy a bit. There is a great overview of the stuff on the forum, called The Fleece Project: The Study.  It covers purchasing, preparing and using fleece. 

The Fleece Project recommends a Vacuum-Shake-Brush-Beat routine. I prefer a Brush-Shake-Baby Wipe-Air Dry-Shake routine for cleaning fleece. You probably have (or will have) your own favored routine. As I pull the fleece out of the cage, I sweep much of the debris into the cage with the hand held sweeping brush. All of this brushing  often crushes some of the hay, so I find running the dust buster over it briefly can pull off the crumbs and any of the loosened hair. Then I shake the remaining, stubborn bits outside followed by the baby wipe where there's urine. Then I drape it over a patio chair and let it air-dry for a bit, which removes any other hairs or hay bits and makes it less wet. 

If the weather is good, I do all of this outdoors, because the hair and hay bits will just blow away. Plus, I don’t have to sweep up the floor when I’m done. Less dust in the house, too. It takes some time and effort, but the results are impressive. You can see the difference with Willow’s fleece.

I have found that thin fleece is better to wick away the urine, and is easier to clean during this process. Polar fleece is downright impossible, but it does absorb well. The reason I use thinner fleece because I only have one pig, but if your guinea pigs are masters at using the bathroom all over the place, or you have a tricky cage base(if it's the kind that absorbs the urine easily) add towels underneath and a puppy pad or two. 
It takes some time and effort, but the results are impressive. You can see the difference with Willow’s fleece.  The prep-work also makes the washing machine (and my mom) a whole lot happier. It doesn’t need to be wiped down after a load of piggy fleece. As an added bonus, if I dry the fleece in the dryer, the lint trap doesn’t look like half a guinea pig was shaved into it. :)


Even if you use the tecniques described above, your pig's fleece still needs to be washed twice or even three times a week. Pretty much everyone agrees that vinegar is great for removing urine and odor from fleece. Beyond that, laundering techniques can vary as much as the prep-work. 

If you pour in about 1/2 to 1 cup of vinegar, a scoop of OxiClean and maybe a drop of detergent with a large load of pig fleece, it gets rid of odors and icky urine stains. Some washers have an extra rinse options, so if yours does, use that and run with warm/cold water (instead of hot). Fleece doesn’t hold onto the water, so you can just leave it out to dry.

That’s my basic cleaning routine. Nothing complicated. I sweep daily with a sweeping brush or the lightly with the rubber mitt. I do the Brush-Shake-Baby Wipe-Air Dry-Shake thing every few days. Fleece that is dry, clean and doesn’t smell may go back in the cage; stuff that needs washing goes in the hamper. I run a load whenever the hamper is full or when I’m on my last set of clean fleece for the cage.  Your mileage will vary, based on number of pigs, their habits, humidity, cage setup (including what you use under the fleece) and your personal sense of what’s clean or not.

Cleaning Fleece 

Images courtesy of Sally 
Willow's fleece: before and after

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Hedgie Body Language

You will be able to tell how your pet hedgehog is feeling from its body language and the sounds it makes. Here are some of its typical responses and what they signify.

Rolling up

Rolling  into a ball is a defence mechanism and it means it is frightened or doesn’t like what’s going on around it. Reasons for this could be sharp noises, the smell of a predator or when a person it doesn’t know tries to handle it. Hedgehogs also sleep rolled up in a ball but not as tightly as when it is in its defensive posture.

Raising its forehead spines

Hedgehogs will raise the spines on their foreheads to protect its eyes whenever it is feeling wary or distrustful.  It will often raise its spines when you are caressing its back and your hand strays to close to its head. When young hedgehogs play together they always keep their forehead spines raised.

Flat spines

Once your pet hedgehog gets to know  and trust you, it will keep its spines flat while you are caressing it. It might take a while longer for it to stop raising its forehead spines.

The flehmen response

When a hedgehog smells something interesting or dangerous it will hold its snout high with its mouth slightly open and its top lip curled back. This behaviour is known as the flehmen response and is also seen in cats and dogs.


You will sometimes see your hedgehog foaming at the mouth and if you don’t know what’s happening it can be quite disconcerting at first.  This behavior typically occurs when it smells something new in its cage or its surroundings.  It will sometimes lick or chew the scented object and salivate profusely producing foam. It will then spread the foam over the spines of its back and neck and the hair along its flanks. Nobody is really quite sure why it does this and theories range from it being a way adding a form of toxin to its spines to deter predators, a kind of perfume to attract a mate or a defensive strategy to make the hedgehog blend in with its surroundings.


The most noticeable and frequent sound your hedgehog will make is the huffing and snuffling noise you will hear as it searches for food or moves things around in its cage.  It will also hiss and make a jumping motion if it disturbed or annoyed. You’ll hear soft grunts or sniffs of contentment as it goes about the important business of feeding. If you hear loud screaming or squeals it means your hedgehog is in severe pain or danger. If you have more than one hedgehog in a cage it may mean they are fighting and they should be separated immediately. Baby hedgehogs make a chirping sound that later turns into a cry which can become loud and piercing if they find themselves separated from their mother.  A happy hedgehog will make soft snuffling noises as they crawl all over you but will hiss and huff if they are startled by something while being handled. Hedgehogs will often snore while sleeping and make other noises that may indicate they are dreaming.

Observing your hedgehog

Apart from the typical responses and behavior mentioned above, you’ll also find that your hedgehog will develop its own individual characteristics and quirks. One author reports that one of his hedgehogs learned to stand on its back legs and lean its fore paws against his leg when it wanted attention. If you observe your pet you’ll soon learn about how it is trying to communicate with you and further increase your enjoyment of owning your spiky little friend.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Ramps in Piggie Cages

Ramps, Stairs, and Ladders

If your pets' cage is split over several levels, they will need some way of getting up and down between them. Ramps are the best thing for the job, although there are alternatives if you don't have much space. You can also use guinea pig ramps to allow your cavies to get in and out of their cage, and to add interest to a run or playpen.


Guinea pigs are most comfortable walking on solid, flat surfaces, so a ramp is the best thing to use if you need to give your animals something to walk up and down. Try to keep the angle as shallow as possible by getting a ramp of a good length - if it is too short and too steep, your pets will have difficulty getting up and down it, and may avoid using it completely.

A cage ramp
Provide ramps for your pets to move between different cage levels. This one doubles back on itself to save space.

Many pet stores sell ramps which are made from solid wood. These are ok, but can be a little uncomfortable on your guinea pigs' feet, and you might also find that they can't get enough grip to walk up it properly. You can fix both of these problems by covering the ramp with a soft, grippy material such as carpet, towelling, or rubber.

If your guinea pigs' cage doesn't have much room for a ramp, you can buy or make one which doubles back on itself. This gives the benefits of a shallow angle without taking up lots of space. These are particularly common in hutches which have a built-in guinea pig run underneath.

When buying or making a guinea pig ramp, make sure it has plenty of width. This will make your cavies feel safer and more confident when using it.


If your pets have a steep angle to climb, or if you are very pushed for space, you can use stairs rather than a ramp. Guinea pigs are actually quite comfortable using them, and can get up some surprisingly large heights - they can even be taught to climb the stairs in your home! When buying them, make sure that each step is large enough for them to sit comfortably before tackling the next one.

Wooden stairs
Stairs are a good alternative if you haven't got space for a ramp.


Guinea pigs have very delicate, sensitive feet which makes it painful for them to walk on wire mesh ladders, so they should be avoided. They also tend to be far too steep for your cavies to climb, so you will find they won't use them anyway.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Litter-training Piggies - Is it possible?

When new pet owners bring their furry little bundles of joy home, it doesn’t take them long to realize how much poop piggies can produce. This often leaves them asking the question: Can I litter train my guinea pigs? The answer quite simply is yes, but only to a certain extent.

If you want your pigs to only use their litter box and never have accidents when they are out of their cage, then perhaps you are setting your standards too high. Be realistic. If your guinea pig manages to use it’s litter box even just 50% of the time, it will still help keep the cage tidy and reduce your work for cage clean outs.

We’ve all seen the small corner litter trays available at pet supply stores for various sized rodents, and dream that perhaps our piggies, too, could learn to be more ‘accurate’ with where they go. Well, the next time you’re shopping, I suggest you pick one up to try it with your piggies, or try constructing your own.

Both female and male guinea pigs can be territorial and like to scent mark around the cage. Often guinea pigs will choose corners in their cage to go to the bathroom in, constantly returning to the same corner. When you have seen that your guinea pig has chosen a corner, place the litter box in the spot. Put your normal bedding in the litter box before trying any new types of litter.

Steps for Success

  • Allow your guinea pigs to scope out their perfect toilet corner, before placing a litter tray in the cage
  • Put the litter tray in the corner that the guinea pigs seem to pee/poop in the most
  • Fill the litter box with a familiar smelling and looking litter to the one the guinea pigs are currently on
  • Wait to ensure that the guinea pigs are content using the same corner before changing the litter
  • Change the litter box every three days as needed, and wash it every other week. This ensures that the guinea pigs’ scent is still strong on it, so they will more willingly go back to use the litter box and ‘re-scent’ it.

If all succeeds, your piggie should still be happy to go in his/her chosen corner; but now you can more easily clean it by simply emptying and refilling the litter box. Some guinea pig owners have tried putting food dishes in their litter trays so that as they eat, they will also pee/poop in the same location. This is a conflicting method as many animals avoid urinating and defecating near their food source. As your guinea pig becomes more comfortable with using the litter tray, try using your preferred litter such as Carefresh or Yesterday’s News.

Despite guinea pigs sometimes not seeming to be the brightest, like when they popcorn, they are surprisingly smart and clean animals. So give your guinea pig the chance to try the litter box, and maybe they’ll be happier to use it than you think!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Homemade Rat Toys

Rats are intelligent and playful and need a variety of toys to keep them amused and active. With a little creativity, you can provide inexpensive and entertaining homemade toys in addition to a variety of store-bought toys.

Safety First 
The most important thing when choosing any pet toy is that it is safe. Anything you give your rat must be non toxic, and you should also watch bits that might be swallowed and cause a blockage of the digestive tract. This includes threads off of fabric items and ropes. Also, loose threads might become wrapped around toes or pose a strangulation risk (fleece is a good choice as it avoids the loose thread problem).

Cardboard boxes and rolls from paper towels, toilet paper, and other rolls make good toys. Boxes are great for hiding in, though they will often be shredded fairly quickly (but that is fun too).

Another great idea is to take a variety of boxes and other items to create a rat playhouse for enjoyment outside of the cage during playtime. You can tape together a bunch of boxes and create a network of rooms connected by doors, ramps, bridges and ladders. See an example at The Dapper Rat.

Some concerns have been raised about potential toxicity of the ink and glues used in cardboard and paper towel roll cores. Little data is available on the safety of these; I think these items are safe in moderation, but efforts should be made to use plain cardboard or paper whenever possible.

Most rats love shredding paper. Small plain brown paper lunch bags are great for playing in as well as shredding. Crumpled up paper makes a fun, if temporary, ball. Your rats will likely love digging, diving, and hiding in a plastic bin or box filled with crumpled or shredded paper. Paper towels and tissues are also great for shredding, and your rats can make a nice bed out of these too.

Also, try wrapping or folding a piece of paper in layers around a favorite treat; shredding and unwrapping the treat will keep your rat busy for a while.

Wood is good for chewing (and rats need to chew on to keep their teeth in good condition). Make sure wood is untreated, not painted, and non-toxic. Branches from apple or willow trees are good as well (make sure no pesticides have been used).

Digging Box
Hard-shelled nuts provide good chewing opportunities as well as a tasty treat inside (use sparingly as many nuts are high in fats).

Most rats love a digging box. Take a small cat litter pan or other shallow plastic box and fill it halfway with plain sterilized potting soil (not treated with any chemicals or fertilizer, and with no additives like vermiculite). Plant some birdseed or wheat grass and water it for a while to let the seeds sprout and grow for a bit, then let your rats go crazy in the box. To minimize the mess, don't water the box for a day or two before offering it to your rats, and place it a bathtub or spread a tablecloth or newspapers around the box to contain the mess. Your rats will love to dig in the soil and snack on the sprouts or unsprouted seeds.

Tubes and Tunnels 
PVC pipe is pretty indestructible, and comes in a variety of sizes and configurations at your local hardware store. You can get a simple straight piece or use a variety of connectors to create a network of tubes. Choose a size you are sure your rats will be able to fit through without getting stuck.

If you are handy with a sewing machine, you can also make great collapsible tubes out of fleece or other sturdy fabrics. You can even sew a ring cut from a plastic bottle or wide cardboard tube into the ends to help hold it open. Sleeves cut off old sweatshirts are also handy tubes/sleep sacks.

Other Containers For Hiding and Climbing 
Clean jars and clay plant pots placed on their sides make neat hiding spots for rats. Mini stacking bins (like those meant for office or workshop supplies) make great hiding spots too. Washed coconut shells are also good for hiding, climbing and chewing.

Rats are very agile and like to climb on ropes. You can make little rope ladders and bridges for in the cage. Cotton rope comes in some nice thick widths and is usually available at hardware or horse supply stores. Just make sure the configuration of ropes doesn't post a strangulation risk and that your rats are not unraveling the threads.

If you are really creative, you can get supplies (such as vegetable tanned leather or other bird toy parts) and make your own elaborate toys.

More Great Ideas: see The Dapper Rat for more interesting and fun ideas to keep your rats busy.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Critter Terms (Vol. 1)

Critter-Lovers can be...well, odd to the general public.
What is a cavy?? What about a binky?

Here is a short guide to help you out.

cavy - a 'scientific' term for those little squeaking creatures that look like a furry brick, a.k.a guinea pigs, wheekers, piggies, and other less professional but still-cute terms.

binky - When a rabbit wildly jumps in the air, twisting its body as it lands and ending up in a new direction than which they started. A bunny that binkies is a happy bunny indeed.

rattie - A cute term that we rodent owners call our pet rats. Far better than 'rodent.'

lagomorph - A VERY scientific term that classifies rabbits and pikas. NOTE: Rabbits are noooot rodents. Nuh-uh. NOOOOPE.

bunny 500 - When a rabbit runs crazily about the house, going in circles and zipping past your feet at break-neck speed. It isn't quite like a binky, but it still is a sign of immense happiness.

eyelights - I just made this up, but it is a great term for those cute eyes our pets make at us. Here's a visual example -

bunnimom/bunnidad - A rabbit 'parent', or as our bunnies like to put it, slave.

bun - A shortened term for bunny. Far more civilized. It can also describe this -

dook - The sound a ferret will make. This onomatopoeia-ish word is a sign we truly endear ourselves to our wittle weasels by making an official word for a sound they make. Just a thought.

wheek/wheep - Yet another onomatopoeia-ish word, but this time, it's a sound guinea pigs make. They are very well known for this sound, and I hear it a million times a day.


glider - A shortened term for 'sugar glider', which are little exotics that many of us keep as endearing pets.

piggy - A cute term for 'guinea pig'.

pig - Another name for 'guinea pig.'

chub - The rolls of fat on small pet's bodies. Fun to pinch. Especially on those Shar-Pei dogs or my hamster Mickey. 

adurable - 'adorable' and 'durable' mashed together into one word. It describes animal that is small but acts fiesty and tough. An Example of this -
Our chicken Primrose is adurable.

wittle weasel - A term of endearment to our furry ferrety friends.

bruxing - A sound a happy rat makes. A bruxing rat makes a deep throaty sound, grinding its teeth and bulging its eyes out a bit. It's actually a very sweet expression.

bed-binkying - Where a bunny binkies on a bouncy bed. There are oodles of YouTube videos on this - Look it up.....You will be amazed at such cuteness.

chubular - See chub. Basically, it's descriptive term to describe a chubby pet.

hammie - Cute-speak for 'hamster.'

wheeker - What some of us call our wheeking guinea pigs.

boar butt - A less than eloquent term to describe the buildup in a male guinea pig's anal gland. Whether you like it or not, ya hafta clean that gland out, piggy owners!!

boar - A male guinea pig.

sow - A female guinea pig.

popcorning - The guinea pig version of binkying. While pigs 'popcorn', they make a popping noise, also called 'chuttering' or muttering.

kangaroo rats - Another word for 'gerbil.'

What Do I Call My Pets?

Yesterday, I recieved this question: 
"Do you have nicknames for your pets? If so, what are they?
Also, do you have pet middle names??"

I thought this was a very interesting question. Prepare yerselves, folks. Here is my very extensive list of my pet nicknames. After I do those, then we have middle names.

Ignatius Sir Pig ~

Red(I don't really know why)
Blue Eyes
Maple Syrup

Mickey ~

Mickey Hamster

Daisy ~

Pepper(Not sure why I call her this, either.)
Cadence(Her middle name)
Daisy Petal
My Inspiration

Minnie ~

Loving Girl
Minnie Moo
Girly Girl

Lily ~

Darth Bunner
The Dark One
Silent But Deadly (Emerson actually made that one up for Lily. It's not thaaat funny.)
The Midnight Hour
She Strikes At MIdnight
Vampire Bunny
Red Eyes
O Evil One
Tiger Lily

Next up, Middle Names.

Daisy's full name is 
~ Daisy Cadence Anastasia ~

Minnie's is
~ Minnie Petal Rose ~

Ignatius's is  
~ Ignatius Sir Pig ~

Mickey's is 
~ Mickey Khomyaka McHammie ~

Lily's is
~ Lilliana Midnight Star ~


Fun Rattie Activity - Pea Fishing (Reader Tips)

Peas + Rats = FUN!

To give ages of fun to your rat buddies, prepare a shallow bowl of water and drop a handful of peas into it. INSTANT Rat Boredom-Buster!

This tip was provided by Kelsey(and her whole 'zoo' of pets, including several hairless rats!) Thanks for submitting!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014


When you think about it, guinea pigs are pretty odd critters. 
At birth, they are fully-furred with wide-open eyes and can eat solid foods. Cavies wheek and squeal like pigs.
Guinea pigs have portly little bodies with floppy ears and no tail. They were previously classified as a rodent, but scientists are considering changing this because it was discovered they have no family ties with them.

Piggies also have fairly strange sleeping habits. They learn to sleep when we do, taking a few afternoon naps to catch some extra Z's. 
They typically like sleeping houses but Ignatius chooses to doze out in the open where he has no fear of being 'caught'. A comfortable little guy, isn't he?

While their sleeping habits are somewhat simple, if you delve deeper into these wheeking creatures's minds, you will find that they do in fact dream.
That's right!!

Studies have shown that guinea pig's minds are intelligent enough for them to dream. 
This also means piggies can remember hundreds of images, linking them to other senses like smell.
They can recognize faces of people and other animals as well. 
So, what do they dream about? 
Guinea pigs usually dream simpler than we humans do. Mostly, the dreams are bits of the day playing back to them, just like video clips. If there is a new piggie that has been introduced, or a brand new toy or cage, your pig is very likely to dream of these things. 

The next time your piggie is snoozing away, leave him be! His incredible mind is at work - and that is nothing to mess around with.

Why I'm Getting A C&C Cage For Ignatius

Here we are again. It's been a week since I've last 'seen' you, and I already miss this blog! (oh, and....Hellllooo, Free WiFi! I thank you for your presence!!)

(Also, my BlueTooth keyboard is working again, so my posts'll be more fluent and longer. :3)

As you may know, I am getting little Iggy Pig a brand new C&C cage. The 'model', if that's how you put it, is from, and it's a 3.5 x 2 sized cage. On this site there's no such thing as a 'small' cage. The 'smallest one' is a 2 x 3. The one I'm purchasing is a Medium sized one, and it'll fit perfect in my space and give Iggy the home he needs. 

Why exactly am I buying this?

Well, for many reasons. The main factor is that the new cage will be very big - just right for my growing little guy!

A few other reasons - 

~ Ease of Access
~ Less Smell
~ Easier to Clean
~ More Room For Items
~ Less Stress and Health Issues

The list goes on and on!

I highly recommend these cages - I think I've fell in love with the one I'm getting already.

I can't wait 'till I buy it! Can you? As soon as it arrives, pictures will be on their way!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Things To Avoid Buying For Cavies

There are quite a few things on the market that can be very harmful for cavies. They may seem perfectly okay, but they are actually not made for our sensitive little pets and should be avoided.

- Exercise Wheels/Balls.  Pigs have solid compact bodies with relatively small legs; their spines are not flexible like some other rodent species and are not as flexible.  They can get serious spinal injuries from these items and can also break legs, ankles and toes if their nails catch in the small holes.  Aside from the danger, they are simply not fun for your cavy.  Many pigs will not even move while in them – which is the safest thing for them! 

- Hammocks.  Can be dangerous to pigs for the same reasons as harnesses, leashes and balls – leg, spine and other injures can occur if they become tangled up getting in and out of one. 

- Treats with Seeds/Nuts.  Pigs are not seed eaters; seeds can be very harmful.  Pigs have choked on seeds, gotten them stuck in their teeth and other harmful and painful things.  At best, seeds and nuts are empty calories for pigs with no nutritional benefit. 

- Treats with Yogurt.  Pigs are lactose intolerant so all dairy products are bad for them, no exceptions.  Yogurt treats can be high in sugar and also have no nutritional value.
 - Treats with Honey.  Honey is another form of sugar and is “junk food” for pigs.  Honey is coated on a lot of treats so be sure to read all labels before you buy.
 - Treats in general are tricky.  Most contain too much sugar (in the form of honey or “hidden” sugars) or have dangerous ingredients (seeds, nuts, dairy).  There are acceptable treats available but they can be hard to find.  Keep in mind, your guinea pigs’ favorite treat is going to be a variety of fresh veggies from your refrigerator!

 - Salt or Mineral Wheels/Blocks.  Both items are potentially harmful.  Excess minerals can build up in the body and cause health problems.  Pigs get all the salt they need in their regular diet; there is no need to supplement.

- Chew Stones/Rocks.  Pigs need to chew to keep their teeth worn to the correct length but chew stones are NOT the way to accomplish that.  They can be a choking hazard and can injure soft piggy mouths.  Good quality unlimited grass hay is the perfect choice for wearing their teeth and is good for their health in lots of other ways too. 

- Vitamin and Mineral Drops for water.  Guinea pigs need plenty of vitamin C but they don’t need extra minerals, those can be harmful.  Vitamin C should never be added to water bottles; the C will lose its’ potency rapidly and will not benefit the guinea pig anyway.  Worse, additives in water can cause it to taste odd and many pigs then won’t drink enough. 

This is not a comprehensive list but it is a collection of things I’ve seen, done or heard about.  When shopping for your guinea pig try to keep in mind their physical safety and nutritional requirements to help you make your decisions; your guinea pig will be happier and healthier! 

Secrets to a Guinea Pig's Long Life

  1. How can you ensure your piggy will live a long, happy life? Here are some top tips.

    Find a vet. Many vets will see guinea pigs, but finding one that specializes in guinea pigs will help your guinea pig out in the long run. A guinea pig and exotic specialized vet may be able to detect illnesses more efficiently than a regular vet.
  2. 2
    Make sure to have all the essentials for looking after your guinea pig. Do not forget a place to hide.
  3. 3
    Provide at least 10 square feet of living space for two guinea pigs, this can prevent impaction in males, fighting between guinea pigs, and reduces the risks of bloat, obesity, and gas buildup by providing adequate room to exercise. If you find that your guinea pigs are fighting, then separate them with something like a wire shelf, which allows them to see and smell each other, but prevents them from fighting.

  4. 4
    Do not allow females to become pregnant. Pregnancy and especially birthing is hard on females and one in five females that is bred will die as a result of complications during pregnancy or birth, or as a result of toxemia after birth.
  5. 5
    Keep guinea pigs in same sex or already spayed/neutered pairs. Guinea pigs are social animals and are happy living with compatible guinea pigs of either the same sex or spayed/neutered. Living in pairs also encourages exercise which promotes good blood flow and greatly reduces the risk of obesity which takes a toll on the joints, impaction, and bloat or gas buildup.
  6. 6
    Buy Oxbow or Kleenmama's Hayloft guinea pig food (Timothy hay based for guinea pigs six months and older, and alfalfa based for guinea pigs under six months). Look for a food enhanced with Vitamin C, as Guinea pigs can't make it themselves.
  7. 7
    Keep your pet in a comfortable temperature range. Guinea pigs can't stand high temperatures, drops or increases.
  8. 8
    Change bedding regularly. The more your guinea pig is living in it's own feces, the worse their health is going to be.
  9. 9
    Wash your hands before and after you play with your guinea pig. This will decrease the amount of germs transmitted between you and your guinea pig.
  10. 10
    Provide fresh, preferably organic, well washed (you can use a commercial vegetable wash or water and vinegar mix, rinse well after) leafy greens. These include green leaf lettuce, escarole, red leaf lettuce, cilantro, and curly endive.
  11. 11
    Constantly check for any injuries. Older guinea pigs sometimes have a problem under their feet. If this happens, see a vet and get softer bedding or spread out a soft cloth for it. Observe your guinea pig actions. If anything seems wrong, take it to the vet. Don't take too long or a small infection can turn bigger.