Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Guinea Pig Breeds: Texels

In 1980, an English breeder combined a Silkie and a Rex to create Texels. Texels were recognized by the American Rabbit Breeders Association in 1998.

There are a few things you should know about caring for a Texel:

  • Our backs may be sensitive, so we might not like being pet as much as other breeds.
  • Some people say Texels should be brushed daily, although many Texels hate that. If you do brush your Texel, you should be careful not to stretch out and ruin our ringlets with the brush. Texels may get used to being brushed over time. Alternatively, you can run your finger through their fur and untangle any knots you find.
  • Like all long-hair breeds, we need to washed regularly. We recommend using Gorgeous Guineas.
  • We need to get our fur trimmed regularly around our backsides. Otherwise, waste may stick to it, and this could lead to infection.

 Do you think I need another fur trim? 
Texels are just normal guinea pigs, except cuter. 

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Ask A Guinea Pig: Why Are Guinea Pigs Skittish?

Delores asks:
Why does my guinea pig run from me when I try to pick him up - even though he loves to be held?
Answer: According to Guinea Pigs: A Complete Pet Owner's Manual by Katrin Behrend, "Guinea pigs are defenseless animals, and they must use flight as their sole means of survival. For this, nature has endowed them with speed and agility" (p. 41).

In other words,we don't have fearsome teeth or claws like some other animals, so our first instinct as a species is to run and hide if something seems like it could be dangerous. You're probably thinking, "But why would my little piggy consider me dangerous? I treat him/her well." I'm sure you do (you do read Cavy Savvy, after all!), but you humans are so much bigger than us that it's hard not to be terrified.

That said, there are some personality differences between piggies; some of us are more skittish, and some of us are friendlier than others. Sometimes we can learn to be less scared of you over time, especially if you feed us treats; on the other hand, some of us will always be fearful. The best thing you can do is to treat your piggy well, and accept them as they are, whether they become less fearful or not.

I could go outside, but I feel safer in here.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Fun Facts About Guinea Pig Tongues

Here are some fun facts about guinea pig tongues:

  1. Guinea pig tongues are have a domed portion in the back.
  2. Some guinea pigs like to get "kissy" with their tongues.
  3. Guinea pigs groom themselves with their tongues, so don't put anything in our fur that you wouldn't want us to eat!
  4. Some guinea pigs drink from their water bottles by pushing with their tongue, while others use their teeth. It's a personal preference.

Why are these bars so tasty?

By the way, if you would like to see Lola's tongue, please see our post on strawberries.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Jicama?

Jicama can be fed to guinea pigs, but we weren't able to find information on how often, so feed this food sparingly until better information is available.

Jicama. That's new. Let's try it!
Jicama isn't very good. I'd rather eat shoes than jicama!
I can't believe you girls like this stuff. I'm going home!
I don't know what the girls see in this jicama stuff. It's like an apple without the flavor. I suppose I'll give jicama 3/5 stars since they liked it, but if it was up to me, it would get a much lower rating.

5/5 stars for the shoe though!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Beets?

Today we're going to try beets. You can feed us beets 1-2 times per week, and beet greens (the top part of the beets) only 1-2 times per month since they're high in calcium, A, and oxalates. Here are a couple interesting facts about beets before we try them:

1. They can stain human hands pink if they don't wear gloves when cutting them, so if your human has pink-stained hands and hasn't given you beets, they've been holding out on you. Wheek at them loudly until they share!

2. Eating beets can turn your urine pink. It's no big deal, but try to reassure your human that you are not peeing blood, or they probably will never give you beets again!

Should I eat the beets or the beet greens first?
Beets are tasty!
It's too bad you can only feed us beets occasionally since they're so good! 5/5 stars!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Apricots?

Can you believe that we've tried apriums, a plum-apricot hybrid, before we've tried real apricots? Today, we're going to fix that. We can have apricots 1-2 times per week. Make sure you cut out the big seed, and feed us about two thin wedges each. The humans like to cut our wedges up into small pieces to encourage us to share our food. (They're sneaky like that.)

Buffy, I saw your sneaking your pieces off the plate! That won't stop me from stealing them if I want them.

The competition between Broccoli and me for apricot pieces is heating up.
And Broccoli forfeits! I win at apricots!
Broccoli got bored of apricots in the middle of our meal, and then later, Buffy got bored of them too. I have no idea why because I thought apricots were delicious! At first, this made me happy because I thought I could eat their portions, but the humans took it away and said that was too much sugar for me. Not cool, humans! Since not all of us liked apricots, I guess I'll be fair and only give them 3/5 stars, though I'd give them a higher rating if it wasn't for the other two.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Artichokes?

Today, we're going to try a food that was once banned in New York City. On December 21, 1935, Mayor Fiorello La Guardia actually banned the sale, display and possession of artichokes. Fortunately, we are not living in New York City in 1935, and are free to eat artichokes if we want to!

We can have artichoke 2-4 times per week, but don't just stick the whole thing in our cages! Artichoke requires some preparation before feeding it to your piggy. First, remove the outer leaves, so that you're only going to feed your piggies the lighter-green and white leaves. Second, cut of the sharp thorny part at the end of each leaf. Now you're ready to feed us artichoke. Each piggy can have several leaves.

Get rid of all that bad stuff, and only give us the good stuff!
Why are you holding it down with your foot and biting it, Lola?
You can just pick the whole thing up in your mouth and eat it!
Where did you come from, Broccoli?
One thing we learned from this experience is that each piggy has their own way of eating artichokes. Lola likes to hold them down with her foot and gnaw off pieces of them, I like to pick up the whole thing and eat it, and Broccoli likes to run off with a leaf and eat it in hiding. We all liked artichokes, although we found them to be a bit chewy. 4/5 stars!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Celeriac (Celery Root)?

Celeriac, AKA celery root, is an ugly-looking vegetable. It's lumpy and brown, and doesn't look like the kind of thing you'd want to bite into. However, we guinea pigs aren't superficial and don't judge vegetables just based on appearance. We don't need to judge based on appearance because of our sophisticated sense of smell, which is somewhere between a human's and a dog's, and probably closer to a dog's. While you humans may look at celeriac and see an ugly brown lump, our sense of smell instantly tells us that there's probably a tasty treat beneath that ugly exterior!

Celeriac is safe to feed us, although we didn't find any information on how often, so we recommend only making it an occasional treat until better information is available.

Crunchy and yummy!
Must eat as much as possible as fast as possible!
Hey, human! Got any more celery root? We're all out!
Celery root gets 5/5 stars!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Product Review: Vitakraft Happy Frutti

Vitakraft Sunseed Inc. recently sent us these Happy Frutti treats to try. Other piggies loved them, so we really wanted to try them.
I see yummy fruit on the package.
Unfortunately, we couldn't after we read the ingredients:
Oats? These are guinea pig treats, right?
Yes, oats are listed twice in the ingredients list, and oats are not good for guinea pigs to eat. They are hard for guinea pigs to digest, and can cause bloat and obesity. Maybe you could get away with feeding them as a very occasional treat, but why would you when there are much better treats out there without the health risks? We feel bad about doing this since Vitakraft was nice enough to send us these to try, but we have to give these treats 1/5 stars.

Vitakraft Sunseed also sells yogurt treats for guinea pigs, which are also not good for them. While I'd be careful about feeding Vitakraft treats to your piggies, they do, however, make plenty of other great products that are safe for piggies, such as Vitakraft Eco-bedding and Sunseed Fresh World Bedding, so check them out!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

January 2012 Timothy Hay Sale

If you buy Small Pet Select timothy hay from now until the end of January 2013 and use the coupon code "2013" at the check out, you can get free shipping! Just click here to check it out!

I know a good deal when I see one!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Ask a Guinea Pig: Can Guinea Pigs Have Juice?

Myshala Forster asks: "hi, what juice can my lil piggy Topdeck [have], [he's] starting to get a little bored of his water, even if it just something I can water down just to give him a taste in his water, thanks xx"

Fruit in our water bottle? What an intriguing idea!
Answer: Under a very specific set of conditions, you can give us juice. We were surprised that we can have juice at all, given the high sugar content.

Guinea pig can have unsweetened apple juice and unsweetened cranberry juice. We really need to emphasize the unsweetened part because fruit juices are already naturally sweet, and you don't want to give your piggy too much sugar. In fact, even unsweetened juices need to be diluted before you let them drink it. Their bottle should have no more than half juice, and the rest should be clean water.

You should let them have this no more than once a week because of the sugar, even when watered down like this. Make sure you give your piggies less fruit if you're going to give them juice that week. In addition, you should refrigerate any remaining juice overnight at the end of the first day, and discard any remaining juice after the second day to avoid bacteria.

Cranberry juice may actually help prevent urinary tract infections, so it's probably the better choice if your guinea pig likes it (not to mention the recent study finding trace amounts of arsenic in many brands of apple juice!). Just make sure the label says 100% cranberry juice on it. If it just says "100% juice", it may be juice from a variety of different fruits, and if it uses words like fruit "beverage," "drink," or "cocktail," it's probably not 100% juice.

Even with this in mind, deciphering labels can be complicated, so you should probably buy the juice from a health food store like Whole Foods to be on the safe side. Lakewood Organic appears to be a good brand.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy Guinea Pig New Year!

It's been a great year here at Cavy Savvy, which has been thanks to you! We love our readers and hope our piggie rantings have helped you understand us a little bit better. We're excited for a new year of trying new foods, more givesways, and new product reviews! Happy 2013, everyone!
What's in our glass, you ask? It's not champagne...
It's organic salad mix with carrots slices! That's our kind of party!
From the three of us here at Cavy Savvy, happy new year to all our loyal readers!