Sunday, December 29, 2013

Product Review: Oxbow Harvest Stacks Western Timothy Hay with Carrots

This product was a gift from Santa, so I hope we like it. Otherwise, we might seem ungrateful. Santa seems to know us pretty well, though; we generally love Oxbow products, so this is a pretty safe bet.

Although these things look like guinea pig birthday cakes, they are marketed as an alternative way to feed your piggy hay. It claims to produce less dust than loose hay, and to be a good option for traveling or if you have limited space. (One person said they could see using it in their hurricane evacuation kit.) They come in three types: Western Timothy, Western Timothy with Chamomile, and Western Timothy with Carrots (which is the kind we're trying).

What is that? Some sort of a giant treat? Feed it to us now! Wheek! Wheek!
According to the package, the humans were actually supposed to pull on opposite ends of this thing to form an S-shape before feeding it to us. We were too excited to try it to allow the humans to stop and read the package's instructions, however!

This is fun to chew on!
In case you're concerned about us getting too much carrots in our diet from this thing, you probably don't need to worry. The ingredients say it's 97% timothy grass hay, and only 3% dried carrots. Just enough to make it extra-tasty!

Someone is late to the party.
We really like this stuff. We actually got into a few fights over who gets control of the hay stack. We can definitely see a need for this product when you need to travel somewhere, or as Oxbow puts it, to "supplement with loose hay to encourage enrichment." However, we have a tendency to drag this thing around the cage through our own waste products, so we're concerned that it will eventually become inedible. In addition, these things were $13 for 35 ounces (a little over 2 pounds) of hay, compared to $40 for 20 pounds of hay from Small Pet Select. You can be sure your human will start grumbling about money if you were to try to switch to this stuff completely! Still, as a hay supplement and traveling substitute, we'll give this product 5/5 stars!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Product Review: Kaytee Soft Granule Blend Small Pet Bedding

Today we're going to review Kaytee Soft Granule Blend Small Pet Bedding.

Another bedding? I hope this one isn't too hard on our feet!
The last two bedding products we reviewed, Oxbow BeneTerra Eco-Straw Litter and Vitakraft Fresh World Bedding Crumble, were both too hard on our feet. We want a litter that doesn't feel like we're walking on pebbles, and in that regard, this bedding delivers.

Hey, that stuff does look softer!
However, there are three problems with this bedding, two of which are minor, and one of which is major. Let's start with the minor ones. Problem number one is that the granules are so small that when we walk on it, the stuff moves around. After a few days, we had moved enough of the litter to expose the bottom of the cage, resulting in bald patches. Problem number two is that this stuff has a tendency to stick to the fur of longer-haired piggies:
Do I have something on my chin?
Problem number three (the big problem) is that the back of the packaging says the following: "WARNING: This product contains wood dust, a chemical known to the state of California to cause cancer." Say what?! I think the humans didn't read the package carefully enough before buying this stuff. They say they are going to replace it with something without health warnings ASAP.

Shame on you, Kaytee, for selling a carcinogenic bedding to guinea pigs! Because of this, we're going to have to give Kaytee Soft Granule Blend Small Pet Bedding our lowest rating of 1/5 stars.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas 2013 from Cavy Savvy!

Merry Christmas and happy holidays, everyone! Thanks for reading our posts, leaving comments, and listening to our feelings about guinea pig things!

Just to be clear, I'm not pulling any sleds around anywhere.
What did we get for Christmas, you ask? Take a look:

We'll be reviewing our Christmas present sometime soon.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Should I Take My Guinea Pig to the Vet?

Taking your guinea pig in for his/her annual physical at the veterinarian will cost you about $77 (it could be higher or lower, depending on what your vet charges). The humans recently took all three of us in for a checkup, and if you type 77 * 3 into a calculator, you get a number high enough to make humans start grumbling about money.
Where are we?
Uh-oh. I remember this place...
It was no picnic for us, either. The vet stuck stuff in our mouths, and she pushed her fingers against our bellies, feeling for bladder stones. None of us liked that, and we wheeked loudly just to let her know that!

Poor Broccoli! Getting poked and prodded like that. Oh well, better him than me! Wait, what do you mean I'm next?!
How often do humans and guinea pigs need to go through this unpleasantness? Some people feel that you should only take your piggy to the vet when you have identified a health problem, and not for regular checkups, because going to the vet is stressful. However, this viewpoint is debatable, and we personally don't subscribe to it. Going to a veterinarian regularly allows them to become familiar with your piggy before he or she is in a crisis. You should be monitoring your guinea pig's weight on a regular basis and looking for any other signs of illness, but how many of you humans out there feel as competent as your vet when it comes to checking for bladder stones, listening to our hearts and lungs, and so on? We guinea pigs are good at hiding symptoms of illness and things can go downhill very quickly once symptoms appear, so why not do everything in your power to ensure our good health? This means weight monitoring, watching for symptoms, AND annual wellness visits to the vet. You'll probably get some angry wheeks at the time, but we'll thank you in the end.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Product Review: Oxbow BeneTerra Eco-Straw Litter

Today we're going to review a new Oxbow product: Oxbow BeneTerra Eco-Straw Litter. In general, we love Oxbow products, although we usually review the edible kinds.

Hey, that looks like our pellets!
Although this stuff kind of resembles our morning pellets (Oxbow Essentials Cavy Cuisine Adult Guinea Pig Food) at first glance, there's no mistaking it once you get up close. This are bigger, fatter pellets that don't smell tasty at all. They don't smell like much of anything.

Why would someone create bedding that looks like our morning pellets? Is this a prank?
If your guinea pig somehow gets fooled by this trick and ends up eating some, don't worry. The package claims it is "Safe If Consumed," and the only ingredient is wheat straw (which isn't very nutritious, but is harmless as far as we can tell).

We are fearful creatures in general, so we were kind of scared of the new bedding at first. (Lola pretended not to be since she wants to prove she's the dominant one, but trust me, she was scared too). The humans had to lure us onto it with a treat to give it a chance. (The things we'll do for treats!)

I'll just wait here a couple minutes and make sure this new litter doesn't swallow Lola whole or anything like that. You never know!
Even after we got over our initial fear of the new litter, however, there were problems. One of the problems with this litter is that it's too hard, making it unpleasant to walk on. This was the same problem the last bedding we reviewed had. We didn't hear the humans complain much about odors or being difficult to clean, which is good. However, this is probably because we didn't spend much time in the little cage once they put this stuff in, so there wasn't a lot of mess for the litter to absorb. In addition, some humans have complained about this stuff being expensive, and that if your guinea pig actually goes to the bathroom a lot on this stuff, it will break down into a "powdery, fibrous mess" that your human will probably complain about cleaning up. Yuck! On the plus side, this stuff is environmentally friendly.

Oxbow, we love your treats, but we didn't love this litter. We'll give it 2.5/5 stars.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Cavy Savvy 300th Post Giveaway Winners

Hi there, loyal readers. (All 200+ of you!) It's time for us to randomly pick winners to our 300th post giveaway!

(Side note: As Andrew pointed out, we are aware that Blogspot was having some issues earlier in the day with the Join button not showing up. The problem appears to be gone now, but since it wasn't there for part of the time, we'll use the honor system and let Andrew and anyone who wanted to join have a chance to win. We'll trust you to join when you get a chance!)

And the winners are:
  • Grand Prize - marianberry! (Wow, you're a lucky one! You also won our last contest.  What's your secret? Four-leaf clovers? Horseshoes? Lucky pennies?)
  • Second Prize - Plushpussycat
Please email us your mailing address to and we will send mail you both your prize. (Marianberry, we just need you to confirm that the address you sent us before is still valid. Also, if you're interested in reviewing the Snuggle Hut, just email us your review.)

Congratulations to our winners, and thanks to everyone for reading!

Giveaways are so exciting that I need some cool-down time in my pigloo!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Are Christmas Trees Safe for Guinea Pigs?

It's that time of year where the humans go crazy with lights and decorations.
Look at all those colorful things! Are those treats for us?
We're all for humans having their holiday fun, but guinea pig owners need to be careful when it comes to guinea pigs and Christmas trees. Some people worry about the Christmas tree giving off fumes that can hurt your piggy, although this is probably not what you need to worry about. What you need to worry about is your piggy eating branches and needles that drop off your tree. One little nibble probably won't be instantly fatal; we found one guinea pig owner who claimed this his/her piggies nibbled on fir tree bits without any apparent ill effects. However, you shouldn't push your luck when it comes to Christmas trees and your piggies.

Typical types of Christmas trees include spruce, pine and fir, so let's look at each:
Here are a few more holiday warnings you should be aware of:
  • Artificial trees can also be bad for your pet's health if ingested, though it's probably less likely that you'll have artificial leaves/needles falling off that your piggy might chew on. 
  • Christmas tree flame retardants can make your tree more toxic to guinea pigs. 
  • You should also make sure that you keep mistletoe and holly plants away from your guinea pig if you've decorated your house with them for Christmas. They're toxic to piggies.
  • You will also want to be very careful when it comes to Christmas tree lights. As long-time readers probably know, we will chew on all kinds of things if you let us, including shoe laces and iPod wires. Chewing on wires carries an additional risk of electrocution.
With all this in mind, here are some Christmas safety tips:
  • Keep your Christmas tree (and mistletoe, holly, etc.) away from your guinea pig cage, and away from where they enjoy their floor time if possible.
  • As an extra precaution, you should purchase a gate to put around your Christmas tree to keep your guinea pigs away from any tree droppings.
  • Keep Christmas light wires away from your guinea pig. If your Christmas tree is next to an outlet, make sure all the wires are protected within the gate.
  • Sweep and vacuum frequently around your tree to remove any temptation.
  • Do not use flame retardant products on your tree. It will make your tree more toxic to your guinea pigs, and according to at least one study, they are not even effective at making your tree more fire-resistant.
  • If your guinea pig ate something that he or she shouldn't despite your best efforts, you should call call the ASPCA's animal poison control number (888-426-4435) or your local vet immediately.
Have fun and stay safe this Christmas!

Now here's a "tree" that's safe for piggies!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Broccoli Raab / Broccoli Rabe / Rapini?

There are so many vegetables with similar names, so let's distinguish a few things from each other:
  • Broccoli - If you're a human, your parents probably made you eat this before you were allowed to eat your dessert. (If you're a guinea pig, you're probably a lot better about eating your vegetables than human kids are!)
  • Broccolini / Broccolette - This is a hybrid between regular broccoli and Chinese broccoli.
  • Chinese broccoli - Also known as kai lan, gai lan, and Chinese kale. I don't think we've tried this one yet.
  • Broccoli Raab / Broccoli Rabe / Rapini - This is what we're reviewing today!
(And, of course, there is Broccoli the guinea pig, who no one would confuse with a vegetable!)

Please be aware that broccoli raab is very high in vitamin A, so you should only feed it once or twice a month, and limit other foods that are high in vitamin A (for example, kale) around those times.

Let me in! I want to try Broccoli Raab!
Sometime you just got to be pushy, or you'll miss out on a new food!
It's tasty.
Broccoli raab was good, although we got bored of it towards the end and left some chunks for the humans to clean up. It gets 3.5/5 stars!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Product Review: Vitakraft Fresh World Bedding Crumble

You may remember that we reviewed a product with a very similar name: Sunseed Fresh World Bedding. Well, turns out that Vitakraft and Sunseed are the same company, and some bedding products get the Vitakraft logo while others get the Sunseed logo. Last time, the Vitakraft/Sunseed Fresh World bedding we tried was the "grey" one; this time, we're going to review the "crumble" kind.

There is a guinea pig on the front of this. He or she is to the right, but seems to have been cut off in this photo.
So this is what we'll be walking on for the next few weeks, huh?
Like the other bedding in this product line, we were pretty happy with this one in terms of odor control, color, dustiness, price/value (so we don't have to listen to humans complain about money!), being easy for the humans to clean, and being made of natural stuff. The one area where this bedding wasn't as good was being fun to walk on. We found the pellets to be too hard, like we're walking on little pebbles. This is not a bedding that you're likely to catch us napping on. We'll give Vitakraft Fresh World Bedding Crumble 3.5/5 stars.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Cavy Savvy 300th Post Celebration and Giveaway!

Can you believe it? It's our 300th post! So many foods devoured, products reviewed and questions answered during these last 3 years. Time to celebrate!

In honor of our 300th post, we're going to eat the number 300 made out of collard greens, kiwi and apple.
Accomplishment tastes delicious!

We're feeling good about our accomplishment, so we want to spread a little holiday joy. This means it's time for a new giveaway! We are going to be giving away two prizes this time: the first is a Guinea Pig Snuggle Hut by DreamersStudio. (This a product we've never reviewed before, so the grand prize winner is also invited to do a guest post review of the Snuggle Hut if he or she would like.) The second is a bag of Oxbow Organic Barley Biscuits.

Grand Prize image from DreamersStudio on Etsy
As usual, here are the rules:

Contest Rules:
  • You must be a resident of the continental United States.
  • You have to be a follower of this blog. To follow us, just click the "join this site" button on the right.
  • To enter, leave a comment on this blog post expressing your interest in participating in the contest. 
  • Two winners (1 grand prize winner, and 1 second prize winner) will be chosen at random and announced on this blog on December 17th. All entries must be received by December 17th at 12:00 pm (US Eastern time) to be eligible.

Good luck!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Stonehead Cabbage?

Today we're reviewing Stonehead Cabbage. This food isn't on any of the food charts that we know of, so it took some research to determine whether it was safe to eat. Stonehead cabbage is a type ("cultivar," or cultivated variety) of cabbage. There are 73 cultivars of cabbage in the United States, according to one source, although there are just three main groups of cabbage: green, red and Savoy, and we can eat all three. (Chinese cabbage, AKA bok choy, is a different species, which we can eat as well.) So even though we didn't find anything specific on stonehead cabbage on the food charts, since we can eat all three major groups of cabbage about 2-4 times per week in small portions (because they are very gassy), we're going to recommend you feed us stonehead cabbage no more often than this (and also in small portions).

Fun fact: The stonehead cabbage gets its name from the density of the cabbage head, which can weigh 4-6 pounds
This is nowhere near 4-6 pounds of cabbage! Why must you be a gassy food, stonehead cabbage?
The last piece... Don't even think about it, Broccoli! It's mine!
Hey! Not cool! I called it!
So it looks like the struggle for dominance continues. Why won't you just give up, Broccoli? I was here first, and I'm obviously the natural choice to lead this herd.

Oh, right. We were reviewing stonehead cabbage. It was delicious enough to fight over, so it deserves 5/5 stars!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Product Review: Vitakraft Timothy Hay Sweet Grass

Once again, the humans forgot to order more Small Pet Select hay in time, and we ran out. Criticizing the humans isn't working, so we're thinking of using positive reinforcement the next time the humans remember to order more hay on time. You have our permission to eat a cupcake or cronut, or whatever you humans like to eat. Deal?

This time, the humans the humans bought us Vitakraft Timothy Hay Sweet Grass to deal with the hay shortage.
Looks okay at a glance...

Why is the hay in giant bundled bricks?
It's not bad...
The hay was okay, but not great. It was not very fresh, certainly not as fresh as the Small Pet Select we usually get. Also, it didn't have a lot of the fat seed-heads, which are our favorite part. Finally, each piece of hay was cut up into short pieces, which meant it would spill out of our hay ball and fall onto the floor. Therefore, we'll give Vitakraft Timothy Hay Sweet Grass 2/5 stars.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Acorn Squash?

Do you ever have a problem with lazy humans? They go to someplace called "work" all day, then they come home and don't feel like doing anything useful, like buying new foods and products for us guinea pigs to try. Well, we came up with an idea: why not suggest that some of the new foods we want to eat can also be used by the humans for their own treats? We found a recipe for "Classic Baked Acorn Squash" that they seemed to love, and we got to have some acorn squash before they did. (By the way, make sure your humans don't share any of their treat. They'll put stuff on their acorn squash we shouldn't eat like butter, and we should always eat uncooked foods anyways.)

Acorn squash is a winter squash, which means we can have it 2-4 times per week. Don't feed us the stem, skin, seeds or stringy parts around the seeds. Just feed us some raw cubes of the orange flesh.

There's edible goodies inside there.
And there they are!
I am the guardian of the plate!

We finished every last bite of this delicious food. Acorn squash gets 5/5 stars!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Can Guinea Pigs Learn Tricks?

Our humans have pretty much given up on getting us to stop rattling the bars of our cage. However, that doesn't mean guinea pigs can't be trained, as the cute piggies in this YouTube video demonstrate:

These piggies got a treat for doing tricks. Maybe we just need the proper motivation to not chew on the bars. How about a treat for every minute we don't chew on the bars? What do you say, humans?

Monday, November 4, 2013

Guest Piggies: Fluffy, Olympia, Sandy and Celery

It's once again time for us to turn the keyboard over to some of our adorable readers out there. You're up, Fluffy, Olympia, Sandy and Celery!

Hello! My name is Fluffy! I am the dominant piggie on our island of cavies. I love my water...(as you can see by my photo).

I'm Olympia. I'm the same age as Fluffy (both of us are four years old), but I'm very shy. Despite my shyness, I'm very curious. The humans think my round nose is very cute.

Hi, I'm Sandy. I'm even shyer than Olympia. The only time I'll ever say hi to the humans is 1) if they have bananas or they smell like bananas or 2) if they have an Oxbow Timothy Treat.

I'm Celery, the youngest of the piggies and the only boy! I was actually sold as a girl at Petco, but they made a mistake. I wish that I could type a whole paragraph on myself, but I can't...

We like to play with each other, and it is very fun. We also all read Cavy Savvy. We try some of the foods that the Cavy Savvy pigs recommend. Thank you to Lola, Buffy, and Broccoli for inspiring us to try new foods!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Cavy Savvy 200 Members Fall Giveaway: Winner Announcement

And the winner of our fall giveaway is...

Marianberry! You can let Merry, Pippin, and Fatty know that tasty Oxbow treats will soon be on their way! Just send us an email at with your mailing address and we will send you your prize.

Thanks to all who entered! We will be holding another contest soon, so keep checking back.

To everyone else: You might not have won the treats, but if you read our blog, you're still winners in my eyes!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Cavy Savvy 200 Members Fall Giveaway

We started this blog two years ago with the idea of bringing a guinea pig perspective to the foods we eat, the products we use, and the issues we face. Back then, we had no idea that this idea would resonate with so many of you. We just reached 200 members, so now we feel like celebrating with a giveaway! With Halloween just around the corner, we thought it would be appropriate to give a bag of Oxbow treats! (No tricks. We promise! ) You're probably wheeking with excitement now, so here is how to participate:

Contest Rules:

  • You must be a resident of the continental United States.
  • You have to be a follower of this blog. To follow us, just click the "join this site" button on the right.
  • To enter, leave a comment on this blog post expressing your interest in participating in the contest. 
  • One winner will be chosen at random and announced on this blog on November 3rd. All entries must be received by November 3rd at 12:00 pm (Eastern time) to be eligible.

Good luck!

Can I enter our contest? I love Oxbow treats!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Product Review: Kaytee Clean & Cozy Small Pet Bedding

Today we're going to review Kaytee Clean & Cozy bedding. On the Kaytee website, they have a picture of this bedding in white. (Long-time readers of this blog know our feelings on white bedding.) We went instead with the "natural" brown color instead.

Looks a lot like our usual Carefresh bedding
You know how humans are obsessed with that money stuff? I think they said this was a dollar or two cheaper than Carefresh. I think that's right, anyway. Money isn't that interesting to us guinea pigs. Although we might chew on dollar bills if given the opportunity.

Looks comfortable.
Feels comfortable.
This bedding was soft, had good odor control, and wasn't dusty. This stuff is pretty much identical to Carefresh, which is a good thing. 5/5 stars!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Persimmons?

The humans were going to feed us persimmons one time before, but they decided not to. Why? Because there are two types of persimmons, and they got the wrong kind. Hachiya persimmons are the wrong kind, and fuyu persimmons are the right kind. Fuyu have flat bottoms, and taste sweet, while Hachiya persimmons are painfully tart; they're so tart that the humans were making funny faces after tasting them. They threw them out without feeding them to us. We protested, but the humans insisted that they would hurt our mouths and we'd hate it. I suppose after criticizing the humans for not knowing better when they fed us lemons, we should be glad they spared us from a food we'd hate.

Guinea pigs can have persimmons as an occasional treat in small quantities. (We didn't find anything more specific as to the frequency, so we're going to say no more than once a week.) Our humans cut up one-quarter of a fuyu persimmon to be shared between the three of us.

This is a fuyu persimmon.
It's tasty!

We did get a little bored near the end and left a chunk for the humans to clean up, but otherwise, we loved it! We give persimmons 4.5/5 stars!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Products Review: Super Pet Bunny Flip 'N' Toss Carrot

Today we're going to review Super Pet Bunny Flip 'N' Toss Carrot. Despite the word "bunny" being in the name of this product, the front of the package claims it is also for guinea pigs.

Is that a carrot? We love carrots!
Wait, that's just orange and green rope.
That's boring. I'm going to drink some water now.
In fairness, many of the bunnies who tried this thing seem to like it. However, this blog comes from a guinea pig perspective, and from the perspective of these three piggies, this is one boring toy! We also find it highly disappointing that this was not a real carrot, which we would have enjoyed much more. We give this toy 1/5 stars.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Product Review: Super Pet Apple Orchard Sticks

The nice thing about the pignic that we recently attended is that they had some guinea pig accessories on-sale at a deep discount. While we personally don't care about money (Can we eat it? Then we don' care...), we know that our humans complain if they spend too much of it, and they're more likely to get us stuff if they don't have to spend too much of it, so we care about money indirectly. Thanks to the pignic, today we're trying Super Pet Apple Orchard Sticks.

Hmm... Doesn't look very fun.

I see them, but is there anything else to chew on?
No? Oh well. Let's just eat hay, then.
Bad choice, humans. These sticks are totally boring, and we give them 1/5 stars. (Note that like the music chews, these things are supposed to going in the Super Pet Ka-Bob dispenser, which we don't have. However, we can't imagine liking these things any more if they were dangling in front of us.)