Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Cavies Outdoors? Why It Simply Cannot Be Done

There are many good reasons why an outdoor guinea pig isn't a great idea. I know last time I posted, I included a bit of info on why the cage location for your cavy shouldn't be outdoors. GuineaLynx, a popular cavy website on health and care states, "Do not house your cavies outside: Temperature fluctuations can be very hard on your guinea pigs. Predators sometimes break into cages. A guinea pig inside will receive better care as you will catch health problems more quickly."

And here is another great website link that thoroughly describes this.

And a UK website has a very nice statement in an article I've read:
"Indoor guinea pigs can have a spacious cage custom built around or over your furniture and storage. Indoor cages smell less without all that wood soaking up urine. Hutches do smell faster, and guinea pigs have much more sensitive noses than we do - they love to be clean. An indoor cage can be placed in a living room or other busy room and they will adjust their times of sleep to coincide with yours and your working hours. They will get excited and greet you even when they don't want fed. They will follow you around the room, come to fetch you from another, and most importantly of all, from all this observation you can spot illnesses far more quickly.

Guinea pig care and medical knowledge has improved drastically in the last 10 years, even in the last 5 years. Library books and vets are out of date, even the animal welfare organisations that bend over backwards for larger animals are failing smaller animals, including guinea pigs.

Just ask yourself this. Would you keep your cats or dogs in wooden boxes in your garden?

Guinea LynxCavy Spirit, and Guinea Pig Cages all advocate indoor guinea pig living. Doing a search on any of the forums will provide you with plenty of the sad stories of illness and death that have befallen outdoor guinea pigs, on a far bigger scale than any of the illnesses we all sadly come across in any guinea pig."

Finally, there are several links I'll give you from the news about the dangers of outdoor piggie living(all supplied from the above UK website).

Alright. Here are the described reasons I wrote.

First of all, there's the temperature issue. Outdoors it is much too cold or hot for your pet guinea pig, and is is nearly impossible to keep your cavy warm enough. Why is the temperature such a big deal? The hair of a guinea pig is no thicker than the hair on a human head. And as we all know from being made to wear hats in the autumn and winter as small children, that hair doesn't keep you very warm! On top of that, guinea pigs lack the ability to sweat, meaning that when they heat up they have no physical way of cooling themselves down again. The death rate of pigs kept outside in summer, or even left unattended in a run is sadly high.
If you have not read my post (about guinea pig safety), it says that 
The link to the US Department of Agriculture site is here:

You will find several parts about outdoor housing which includes the part about guinea pigs. It's hard to find, but it's there.
I looked for outdoor guinea pig laws in Canada, Austrailia, the UK, etc, but all I found was several laws that had a lot to do with crossing the borders and such. When you cross Canada's border you must register guinea pigs and rabbits and other small animals, and I know for Austrailia you MUST have your bunny in quarantine before they can travel with because there has recently been myxomatosis(bunny disease) outbreaks in Austrailia. I found things like that but I couldn't find any outdoor guinea pig laws. 

Guinea pigs can literally die overnight from heatstroke. They have sensitive skin and their fur can make them very hot.
This picture is of a guinea pig suffering heatstroke. He is not dead, and if his owner acts quickly by wrapping him in a towel soaked in cool water, he may live. (By the way, this is a spitting image of my guinea pig, Iggy! Just realized that)

An overheated guinea pig will lie in water bowls and drink excess water.

Not just heat can kill a piggie. Guinea pigs don't tolerate cold as well as rabbits do. They have no fur on their feet and their ears are very sensitive.
A guinea pig that looks like this may be too cold - 

Huddling together and the fur with a ruffled appearance is a sure sign of a cold cavy. A shaking pig is also a sign of being too cold.
Guinea pigs do much better indoors because it is just too difficult to keep them warm or cool. Guinea pigs have much more of a health risk because of this reason than their indoor counterparts.

Next reason is, predators. The below image shows a very spacious, secure hutch. Most hutches like this are. 

So, why are us guinea pig enthusiasts so concerned about predators? Guinea pigs are incredibly shy, sensitive animals. Just the mere sight of a fox or coyote near the hutch, or a raccoon trying to open a latch or tear at the fencing can kill a guinea pig. They will run in a frenzy, wheeking and squeaking, trying to escape the predator. Sometimes the predator is the one who kills the cavy, other times they just die in fright. They can literally get a heart attack, leaving puzzled owners wondering why the guinea pig is found dead without a scratch.

Next reason is parasites. Guinea pigs can easily get little bugs like fleas, ticks, and even intestinal parasites brought on by feral cats and dogs nearby. If you have an outdoor guinea pig, it is guaranteed that they have some sort of bug.
This is a guinea pig with a flea problem:

Gross, huh? Then here's another picture of a guinea pig that unfortunately got ticks as well as ringworm. Guinea pigs indoors don't get these type of parasites unless there's another infected pet, then they do have a possibility of getting these nasty blood-sucking parasites.

Next reason is a quickie. Guinea pigs are much healthier indoors anyways, but if they do get sick, their owners can spot the problem right away. Outdoor guinea pigs aren't easy to care for - it can be hard to go outside to care for them everyday. No person can stay outside for as long as they can inside.

Here's a very important reason: outdoor guinea pigs receive much less attention than indoor piggies. They are bored with lack of human attention. Did you know - 

That's right. Three hours! Guinea pigs need tons of human interaction to be healthy and happy - even more if they are kept single.

So, after reading this, what do you think of keeping a guinea pig outdoors? It's not just for good health, there's really no reason to keep a companion animal if you're going to keep it outside away from you. You'll never get to enjoy the popcorning, the funny antics, and the joy of keeping pigs as pets. 

Monday, January 27, 2014

Hey! Minnie here!

Hey. Minnie here. Today I wanted to just tell everyone here...hihhihihihi! Are you excited like all the other humans are too about the mysterious "Super Bowl"? I never saw it before. It's probably on the big TV that the humans look at. Humans are strange. I love my people though. They're so awesome.

Playing with my bouncy ball is fun! It was really cool and I got good exercise! (I like my toy a lot - thanks, Jenna!) 

Oh! And this is my bed. It's so much fun to dig at it and make it nice and cozy. This is where I sleep. Y'see, when I was a little, itty bitty puppy, I chewed up two really nice and expensive beds - that made the humans mad. My bed here is more like a big cushy blanket.

Oh, and now I'm going to get some toys out to show you. This is my toy bin where I keep all of my toys. They're lots of fun! I have this penguin one I like to chew on.

Maybe you can't see me, but I'm laying over here chewing on it. See my white fur? That's me.

Oh. Bummer! I gotta go now. But I'll be back soon. Maybe before that guinea pig comes on here and talks about whatever guinea pigs talk about. Dogs are soooo much better than guinea pigs. They just squeak and wheeeek away. Dogs don't! Dogs love people and lick them and loooove people and did I mention looooooooooove people? I did, didn't I? My bad!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Guinea Pig cage safety - Contributed by GUINEAPIGCAGES.COM STORE

Cage Safety

Cat, Dog, & Kid-Proofing your Cage 

There are predators and there are prey animals. Guinea pigs are a PREY animal. Cats and dogs are predators. Many prey animals in the wild have evolved with their own unique survival mechanisms. Please understand that a DOMESTICATED guinea pig will not and cannot survive in the wild. And by domesticated, we don't mean one that has been around people and is nice and friendly. We mean any guinea pig that wasn't found running wild in their native habitat of South America. Guinea pigs have been bred as pets and for show by hobby breeders. They are bred to look pretty on the show table and not for survival in the wild. Nor do the hobbyists breed for health or longevity or to 'improve the breed' as many would claim. Guinea pigs are not bred to withstand hot or cold temperatures, dramatic changes in humidity or inclement weather.
The guinea pig's only instinctual defense mechanism is to run and hide from predators. It is up to you to ensure that no predators--dogs, cats, birds, raccoons, snakes, ferrets, rats are able to get to your defenseless guinea pigs. And unfortunately, that can include kids--young kids who don't know any better and older kids who do and may be visiting.

Guinea Pigs belong INDOORS in an Appropriate Location

If you have a cat or dog inside, your guinea pig doesn't go outside. Did you know that the US Department of Agriculture states in their regulations governing commercial guinea pig breeders and dealers that it is illegal to house guinea pigs in an outdoor area or building without means of controlling the temperature? They recognize that it is simply not appropriate or healthy for domesticated guinea pigs to live outdoors in the United States. The regulations state that ambient temperature must be maintained between 60°F and 85°F and that adequate ventilation be provided so as to minimize drafts, odors, and moisture condensation.Guinea pigs easily succumb to heat stroke (fatal) at temperatures over 85°F -- even if they are in the shade.
The C&C cage design is NOT intended to be used outdoors, at all. For more information on appropriate locations for the cage, please visit the Cage Location page.

How do Cats and Dogs do with Guinea Pigs?

A C&C cage can be made to be incredibly strong -- as strong as any commercially available cage, and in many cases, more so. However, no cage is likely to withstand a large, aggressive dog attacking with blood lust. Common sense must prevail in your choice of pets and environment. The average dog and cat is usually just fine with guinea pigs. They tend to be curious or playful with guinea pigs or sometimes even afraid of them. However, you can never assume that just because your dog or cat seems okay most of the time when it's around your cavies that it will be all the time. You must always be aware that dogs or cats are predators to guinea pigs. A dog or cat can unintentionally do serious harm to a guinea pig even if they think they are only playing. Some breeds of dogs are more prone to viewing the guinea pig as prey than others.


Please be sure to ask questions on the FORUM, as the photo comments and guest book comments are not monitored or replied to.

Closed Cages

These are enclosed cages, usually to keep cats and small dogs (or small children) away from the guinea pigs.

Closed, Two-Level Cages

These are two-level cages that have been completely enclosed for safety from cats, dogs, and small children. For ramps, please see the Features and Options page.


How To Make a C&C Cage for Guinea pigs

How to Make a C&C Cage

Easy as 1-2-3! (really)

  1. Snap the grids (or cubes) together.
  2. Cut, score, fold and tape the Coroplast.
  3. Drop the Coroplast box into the grids, add bedding and pigs!
bulletConnect the grids to form the perimeter of the cage.
Some brands are harder to snap into the connectors than others. You may also want a pair of pliers or a rubber mallet to help complete some connections.
Grids and Connectors needed:

2 x 3 grid cage (10 grids/20 connectors)
2 x 4 grid cage (12 grids/24 connectors)
2 x 5 grid cage (14 grids/28 connectors)
2 x 6 grid cage (16 grids/32 connectors)


bulletMeasure the length and width of the inside of the enclosure
 See the see yellow lines in the photo. Remember to allow space for the connectors (measure from the inner edge of the connectors). The box will sit inside them.
With 35.5cm grids, the measurements should be:
1.04m x 68.6cm for a 2 x 3 grid cage
1.42m x 68.6cm for a 2 x 4 grid cage
1.80m x 68.6cm for a 2 x 5 grid cage
2.13m x 68.6cm for a 2 x 6 grid cage
bulletAdd 30 centimeters to the length and width for cutting dimension
 Add 30 centimeters to the length and width for a 15 centimeter wall all the way round. This gives you the outer dimensions to cut (photo is just to give you a perspective). If the cage is going against a wall, you may want to make the back wall 30 centimeters high to help prevent hay spillage. In that case, you'll add a total of 45 centimeters to the original measurement from above, for one 30cm side.
So, using the above measurements, you should get:
1.34m x 98.6cm for a 2 x 3 grid cage
1.72m x 98.6cm for a 2 x 4 grid cage
2.10m x 98.6cm for a 2 x 5 grid cage
2.43m x 98.6cm for a 2 x 6 grid cage
(2.44m is a full sheet length)
bulletMeasure and Mark and Cut the Coroplast
 Measure and mark the Coroplast (using a tape measure, yardstick and pen).Cut it to the outer dimensions with the scissors or box cutter. A pair of heavy duty scissors or a box cutter is easier than regular scissors, but you can still use regular scissors.
Cut lines depend on how big of a sheet you are starting with (partial sheet shown).

bulletMeasure and Mark and SCORE the Coroplast
 Measure and mark 15cm in from all sides (the inner dimensions).
Score the Coroplast along these lines using a razor blade or box cutter.

Be careful not to cut all the way through. Practice on a scrap piece first.

Scoring with the grain takes less pressure than scoring against it.   
bulletCut the flaps
Cut all the way through the Coroplast at each corner, just 15cm, to create the flap to make the corner.
bulletSnap the edges
Snap the edges away from the score line to form a box.
bulletTape the flaps
Secure the flaps with clear packing tape. A couple of wide strips on the outside work great.
bulletPlace box inside the grids!
Place the box inside the connected grids and you're all done - easy!


What You'll Need (in addition to Cubes and Coroplast)

bulletScissors or a box cutter. Regular scissors will work, but a heavy-duty pair is better.
bulletPen or Magic Marker
bulletTape measure or Yard Stick
bulletYard stick or straight edge for marking
bulletClear packing tape
bulletRazor blade or box cutter



bulletCable ties to secure connections or if you run out of connectors.
bulletOrganizational shelving for a cat-proof top.
bulletTable or desktop space to put the cage on! We recommend a folding work table for 2 x 4 grid cages and up (1.52m x 76cm  table top needed for a 2 x 4 grid cage). They are available at many office supply stores for around $30 - $35.
bulletPliers or "RoboGrip" pliers to squeeze together stubborn grid connections.
robogrips.jpg (35147 bytes) pliersongrids.jpg (25949 bytes)