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.
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    Make sure to have all the essentials for looking after your guinea pig. Do not forget a place to hide.
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    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.

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    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.
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    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.
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    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.
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    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.
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    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.
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    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.
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    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.


My iPad has been left behind, so before we can get it back I'm using a phone instead. I had about 6 or so posts saved for publishing, but they will not show up here. As soon as we get the iPad back, those posts will be published. I had a post about the C&C cage and a few other lengthy announcements, so I really hope nothing has happened to them.

- Julia

More Chick Pics

The Great Outdoors

(Tip Submitted by Kate and her lovely guinea pigs)

Some guinea pigs love being outside; others are nervous about open spaces (and strange noises and smells). Don't trust your guinea pig to stay next to you; make a small play area out of wire, short fencing, or wire shelving. You can use anything, as long as your guinea pig cannot escape! Place something for the guinea pig to run into when frightened. One of my guinea pigs heard a crow in the distance one day, and just ran in circles from fright! I put a small tree branch with leaves in the play area, and she dove under it for a few minutes.

Guinea pigs are adorable munching happily on grass, basking in the sun and making happy wheeking noises. Only take them outside on warm days — if you can wear short sleeves comfortably, then it's warm enough. The ground should be dry, never damp, and the area should be free from pesticides, animal droppings and chemicals. Do not leave your guinea pig in full sun; it will get overheated too easily. It is essential to provide a water source, either through slices of watermelon or other watery fruit, or a water bottle. Once you've made sure that your guinea pig is comfortable and happy outside, enjoy yourself! Just keep a close watch.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Important announcement!

I know I've been gone FOREVER, and there's a reason why. This  crazy internet, that's why.

Here is the latest news that I will put into detail later. O_O

* The chickens have gone into the coop! And are much bigger now!
* I am getting a C&C cage!
* Minnie is now 1 year old!
* Mickey has a broken tooth! (Sad news.)

I promise I will post the extent of these announcements very, very soon. I apologize for making you guys wait. Hang in there, I'm working on it! 

And, I promise, promise, promise I'll do a post when Iggy's cage is bought and arrives. With pictures!

- Julia