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.