Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Product Review: Super Pet Crinkle Tunnel

To be honest, we haven't thought very highly of many of the Super Pet products we've tried in the past. Their music chews were boring, and their leashes and exercise balls could potentially injure your guinea pig. However, this time, they finally did something right with the Super Pet Crinkle Tunnel.

At first, we were scared to try it, but the humans put a few pellets inside the tunnel, which gave us the courage to try it out.

This is pretty fun!

We should point out that the tunnel is too big to fit in our cage, so it's mainly a floor time toy for us. Also, our tunnel is brand-new and we haven't had much time to make a mess in it, but rest assured that we will. When that happens, we're a little concerned that we'll have to put up with our humans complaining about how hard it is to clean up after us. Others who have used this thing have said that it's hard to wash, and recommended an alternative on Etsy. (If anyone tries it, please let us know what you think!) We'll give the Super Pet Crinkle Tunnel 4.5/5 stars!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Ask a Guinea Pig: What Should I Know About Diabetic Guinea Pigs?

Rosangela Sarno writes: "My guinea pig is 6-7 months, but I think he's diabetic. He's too thin and drinks a lot of water. I was wondering if you could write a review of diabetic guinea pigs, that would be amazing. Specially if includes a food guidance."

According to the American Diabetes Association, "Diabetes mellitus (MEL-ih-tus), or simply, diabetes, is a group of diseases characterized by high blood glucose levels that result from defects in the body's ability to produce and/or use insulin." There are two main types of diabetes, as well as gestational diabetes that occurs during pregnancy. In type 1 diabetes, the body does not produce insulin. In type 2 diabetes, the body fails to use insulin properly. In gestational diabetes, hormones from the placenta that help the baby develop also block insulin in the mother's body. For guinea pigs, Type 2 diabetes is probably the most common.

Here are some things you should know about diabetes in guinea pigs:

  • The most common symptoms owners notice include: rapidly-forming cataracts, chronic wet bottom, and urinary tract infections. Other symptoms may include excessive thirst and urination, weight loss despite a normal appetite, bloody urine, and painful wheeking during urination.
    • If your guinea pig is displaying symptoms, go to a cavy savvy vet to discuss your concerns. Don't just assume it's diabetes- it could be a number of things, and only a vet will be able to tell you how to help your guinea pig for sure.
  • Remissions are common; about 1 out of 3 guinea pigs regain the ability to use insulin without medication.
  • Type 1 diabetes in guinea pigs must be treated with insulin injections.
  • Type 2 diabetes in guinea pigs can often be treated with oral medication. One medication that your vet may prescribe is called Glipizide (in the US; alternative names include Glyburide in Canada and Glibenclamide in the UK).
  • In terms of diet, you should make the following changes:
    • no treats with added sugar
    • Stick with green and yellow peppers, but avoid red peppers because they're higher in sugar.
    • Celery is fine for diabetic guinea pigs, but not everyday.
    • Lettuces are fine for everyday feeding.
    • Cherry tomatoes are low in sugar, and are fine to feed to your diabetic guinea pig.
    • In general, eliminate fruit from your guinea pig's diet unless your vet says it's okay to continue giving them small quantities. With your vet's permission, you may be able to feed small quantities of some fruits with lower sugar amounts, such as raspberries, strawberries and gooseberries.
    • no high fat foods like corn
    • increase hay consumption by reducing the amount of green vegetables fed

(Sources: Guinea Pigs With Diabetes, Hazel and Ginger - Diabetes TreatmentLy&Pigs - Re: Diabetic Guinea PigJanice Vannevel (Can Vet J Volume 39, August 1998) - "Diabetes mellitus in a 3-year-old, intact, female guinea pig")

If your piggy gets diabetes, they can still eat good stuff like red lettuce.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Radishes?

Today, we're going to review another food that supports our red food theory. Radishes are another one of those foods you have to feed sparingly and rarely (1-2 times per month).

We needed a little human assistance to find the last piece.

Radishes are delicious! 5/5 stars!

By the way, if you're curious if guinea pigs can also eat radish leaves, Happy Cavy has a review on this.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Toys for Guinea Pigs: Tissue Boxes

One thing that humans like to say is: "one man's trash is another man's treasure." If you ask us, we don't get what the big deal is with treasure. Gold and gems don't look tasty or particularly fun to chew on, so we're not sure why humans care so much about them. 

Despite this, we get the point of the saying: just because you don't want it doesn't mean that no one will find it tasty or fun to chew on. Which brings us to our latest toy review (idea courtesy of guineapigcages.com): tissue boxes. You probably throw your tissue boxes out after you're done with them, but have you stopped to consider that they might be fun for your guinea pig

For piggies, this is like a treasure chest!
I flipped it and made a cave!
The humans weren't sure if we would want to hide in the tissue box or eat out of it, so they put a little Carefresh along the bottom and some hay on top. We weren't interested in using the tissue box as a hide-away because it's too small. We generally don't like it if there isn't enough room for us to turn around comfortably. However, as a food dispenser, it was a nice change of pace. Even though we wouldn't put our whole bodies in, we didn't mind reaching in with our faces to pull out choice bits of hay. And for Buffy, it provided a new platform to climb on top of. We'll give tissue boxes 3.5/5 stars.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Red Cabbage?

Red cabbage can be fed to us 2-4 times per week, but only in small portions because it is a gassy food. Spoiler alert: we loved red cabbage, so we're disappointed we can only have a small portion today, but we're looking forward to having some more later this week.

We liked red cabbage so much that we even licked the plate afterwards! We'll give red cabbage 5/5 stars!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Product Review: Carefresh Timothy Hay

We have a great idea for a new invention. It's a giant scale for your hay that calculates how much we eat based on the change in weight per day, and then uses that to estimate how many days worth of hay we have remaining. Once we're down to a certain amount, it will automatically send an order for hay to Small Pet Select, allowing us to get more hay before we run out. Will someone please invent this? The humans need it. They're constantly forgetting to reorder on time, or underestimating how much we eat, causing them to buy hay from the store as a stopgap measure.

Anyway, the point is, we're reviewing Carefresh Timothy Hay today.

Hmm... The hay looked a little fresher in the picture on the Carefresh website.
Let's try it.
The bag of hay we got was not entirely that nice shade of fresh green like on the Carefresh website, but more of a pale yellowish-green for much of the stalks in the bag. Just as we feared from the color, a lot of the stalks were coarse and dry, and we weren't too enthusiastic about eating them. However, as long-time readers of this blog know, our favorite part of the hay is the seed heads, and there a good number of big seed heads in this hay. Yum!

So we'll give Carefresh Timothy Hay 3.5/5 stars, with the caveat that a fresher bag would definitely have gotten a higher rating, and it might have been the pet store's fault for selling an older bag.