Saturday, March 26, 2011

Can guinea pigs eat squash?

The humans decided to give us yellow squash a few days ago. It was okay, but not our favorite. We give 2.5/5 stars.

Meh.

We could hear and smell what was going on in the kitchen, but weren't that interested. When the humans cut up carrots for us, we have to scream to make sure they know we're interested. We love carrots! (Maybe we'll review carrots soon. Are you listening, humans?!) Yellow squash, on the other hand, is nothing worth yelling over. Sticking your nose out of the pigloo, maybe, but not yelling.

*sniff sniff*

Now I have to admit, once they put it down in our food dish, we ran out and started munching on it enthusiastically.

New food! Exciting.


I decided to take a piece back to my pigloo, leaving Buffy free to eat without harassment.

Or so she won't steal my food!

All for me!


The honeymoon period didn't last long, though, and we left half-eaten chunks of yellow squash around the cage. You'd never see that happen with carrots!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Buffy goes to the vet!

Today I went to the vet to get a mani pedi and a haircut. SEAVS exotic animal vet is the absolute best in the DC/Northern Virginia area. While waiting to see the vet, I met several other animals, including two friendly guinea pigs also in for a nail trim, a sick baby hedgehog, a bird, and a bunny rabbit. I like that SEAVS doesn't allow scary predators like dogs in their office- I felt much safer.

They trimmed my nails and shaved some of my long curls so they wouldn't become too dirty.
The knowledgeable staff who took care of me.
Getting my hair done :)

Now I look and feel much better! Guinea pigs need regular nail trims, which are best left to the experts. No offense to my human, but I'd rather the professionals handle sharp grooming tools around me.

I feel like a princess! Lola is totally jealous.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Buffy's bath

Today I had a bath. It's been about two months and my fur was beginning to get gross, so my human decided to give me a bath. I hate baths so much. It's not fair that Lola never has to get a bath. Sometimes I wish I was a short haired guinea pig. They never need baths. But my super curly long fur needs to be cleaned. Let me tell you all about the harrowing experience.

First, my human filled a large plastic bin with about three inches of warm water. Then she added a mild  fragrance free soap to the water and put me in.

Then she added a little mild soap directly to my fur and lathered it in. She had to change out the water a few times since I was so dirty. Then once she had rinsed all the soap off, she took me out. 
Pretty and clean!
Finally, she set me on a towel to dry. I shook off a few times and after a few minutes of drying off, I was put back home in the cage.

Lola sniffed me suspiciously. Apparently she didn't recognize me at first since I didn't smell like I usually do. I'm glad that's over with. I hope I don't have to have another bath for a long time.

BONUS: Here's a video of me shaking off:

video

Introducing Buffy

Ahhhh, humans! Run!

Okay now that I'm in my pigloo, we can talk. Hi, I'm Buffy. Don't come any closer! I'm the second pig in the habitat and I'm a breed of guinea pig called a texel. I have curly fur that never stops growing. I need to have regular baths with very mild soap and warm water about once a month to keep my fur clean. I hate it when humans brush me, though it's necessary to keep my hair from getting matted. I guess I'm sort of high maintenance.

Because my fur is all curly and because Lola's the dominant pig, she has a bad habit of biting and pulling on it. I hate that! I also hate being handled by humans. Curly fur feels different when pet than straight hair. When the human hold Lola, she seems to enjoy being pet. But not me! I make an angry sound to let them know to quit it. It's a low growl that sounds like I'm saying "Brrrrrrr". If the humans still don't get the hint, I may bite them gently on the hand to let them know to stop. And if they still don't get it, I bite them harder.

Not all guinea pigs enjoy being held, you know. It's not you, it's us. When I feel something touching my fur, it's usually Lola picking on me. So don't be surprised that I'm hesitant when humans approach my cage to pick me up.

When the humans open the cage door, I'm never the first to venture out into the big, scary world. I just follow Lola around- she seems to know what she's doing.

Shhhh! Did you hear that? Oh, it's just the sound of a window being opened. That was close. I generally run away and hide in one of the pigloos just in case it's a predator. You never can be too careful.

I enjoy fresh vegetables, vitamin C, and hiding out from Lola by sitting on top of the pigloos. She can't reach me as easily up there. But Lola tries to outsmart me by flipping the pigloos over so I have nowhere to hide from her. Yeah, she's really mean to me. Luckily, I can always hide out in the Tiki Hut since it's too heavy for Lola to flip over.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Can guinea pigs eat cantaloupe?

The humans decided to give us a new food to review: cantaloupe! We give it 4/5 stars. While delicious, it took a while for us to recognize it as food so we weren't immediately interested. When we were only a few weeks old we only ate hay. Gradually, our owners decided to introduce fresh fruits and vegetables. At first we ignored it since we didn't know if it was safe to eat or not. Lola was brave enough to try the carrots in our bowl and after that, Buffy followed suit.

We have to be careful with new foods, since we can't eat just anything. Once our owners put chives in our food bowl. Chives! Yuck. We screamed and screamed to let them know that chives were most definitely not okay for guinea pigs to eat. FYI, we can't eat onions or potatoes either. They not only taste terrible to us, but they can cause serious harm to our digestive tract. Just because chives are green does not mean we like them!

Anyway, back to the story of the delicious melon we tried today. Our owner held out a slice for us to sniff. At first we were nervous, but then we sniffed it and it seemed tasty:
What's this? Can we eat it?


Hmmm. Intriguing. Lola took a bite first, and Buffy tried to bite a piece. We enjoyed nibbling on the melon:
Lola steals the melon.
But then Lola got greedy and tried to run off with the slice of melon for herself! I, Buffy, am usually so passive, but I was not about to let Lola steal it from me so I snatched it back:
Note the angry look in my eye. My melon.

Within minutes the melon was gone. Afterwards, we ran around the room and wheeked happily. We hope the humans will give us more soon!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Introducing Lola

Hiya, humans! I'm Lola, the dominant pig in the cage. You see, when multiple guinea pigs live in a pen together, one of us has to be crowned top pig. We determine this ourselves within just a few days of living together. When I first entered the cage, I met two other female pigs (or "sows"). I went up to one of them and sniffed her face, as if to say, "Hi! I'm Lola!" But she ended up biting me, and now I have a small hole in my ear! Not cool. The pig that bit me, Annie, has since passed away from kidney stones, but I'll never forget her. How could I, with my pierced ear?

I'm also an American Short-Haired, the most common breed of guinea pig. I'm what you probably think of when you imagine a guinea pig, with shiny, straight, short hair. My cage mate, Buffy, is a texel, a rarer breed with curly, long hair. I think she looks sort of like a mop. Or a toupee. But enough about her for now. I'm the one you want to hear about, because I'm the dominant one and I know best about what we're all about! Here is a picture of me:



My favorite things include: carrots, red bell peppers, picking on Buffy (so she knows who's boss), wheeking at all hours of the day and night, and my nightly dose of vitamin C.

Guinea pigs are one of the few animals that need supplemental vitamin C. I get 4 units of liquid vitamin C per night in a little plastic syringe. It is delicious, and it's vital for me and Buffy.

And even though I enjoy teasing Buffy, there are some types of teasing that aren't good for guinea pigs to engage in. If you see one of your guinea pigs bite another pig hard enough to draw blood, of if the teasing seems to go on continuously, or if it basically looks like one pig is mauling the other, you need to separate them before one pig could get seriously hurt. Occasional chasing, butt sniffing, hair biting, or chasing is okay and is healthy because it helps us determine our places in the hierarchy.

In the wild, guinea pigs form herds, so it's important for us to know who the lead pig is. Want to know something cool? In the wild, when we are threatened as a herd, we have an awesome defense mechanism: WE STAMPEDE! Can you imagine a group of us running across the ground as fast as we can? Though you won't see much of that type of behavior in domesticated pigs, it's good to know our wild cousins are brave.

Here in the cage, my needs are simple. I need unlimited amounts of timothy hay (Oxbow brand is my favorite), clean bedding changed weekly (Carefresh is the best, since the natural oils in wood shavings can irritate my fur), fresh fruits and veggies (about 1/2 cup a day) and some vitamin C by syringe in my mouth at night. Never give it to us mixed in our water bottle or with a needle, just a plastic, needle-free syringe at night is fine. We never eat Alfalfa hay because we are older than 2 months, and if we eat Alfalfa hay now it might cause bladder stones, which can be deadly. Alfalfa hay has too much calcium, so it should only be given to very young pigs and pregnant mothers.

As for my cage, I have enough room to run around and only live with female pigs (or a neutered boar, if I were to get another cagemate in the future). I live in a 2 foot by 4 foot cage, which is really easy for my human to clean since she just scoops up all the litter with a dustpan once a week and replaces it with fresh Carefresh bedding.

Once a week, I'll review a new food in a segment I'll call "The Weekly Wheek". Goodbye for now!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Welcome humans!

Allow us to introduce ourselves. We are Lola and Buffy, two guinea pigs who decided to start blogging when we realized how clueless humans are when it comes to interpreting our needs, wants, and sounds. Fear not, we're here to help you! We will be reviewing different foods, products, toys, and bedding and giving you the cavy perspective on everything we can.