Monday, July 29, 2013

Five Reasons You Should Own a Guinea Pig

I'd imagine that most of our readers are guinea pig owners (or guinea pigs like us), but there might be some humans out there who are still asking themselves, "Should I own a guinea pig?" Assuming you can afford a guinea pig, here are some great reasons to bring some home:

1. Since we eat fruit and vegetables, you'll start stocking up more of these in your refrigerator, encouraging you to eat healthier.
2. Because we chew up papers, wires, etc. that we find laying around on the floor, we'll encourage you to keep your house cleaner.
3. Pets can be beneficial to your health by reducing stress.
4. We're an entertaining alternative to television and video games, especially if you get two of us. Guinea pigs are social animals, and should be adopted in pairs.
5. We can function like an alarm clock and make sure you wake up on time by wheeking loudly in the morning for our breakfast of pellets. Okay, maybe sometimes this can be a negative, but the humans are always on time for work!

I'm great company.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Product Review: CritterWARE Groom-N-Kit for Small Animals

Today we're going to review CritterWARE Groom-N-Kit for Small Animals, which actually contains four products in one. The kit contains: a shedding brush, a soft bristle brush, nail clippers, and a "tasty chew treat."
What does the chew treat have to do with grooming?
The humans didn't feel comfortable using the nail clippers. Even though a nail trim at the vet costs $18, so the humans would be saving money by doing it themselves, they were concerned about cutting too far and drawing blood. You can trim your guinea pigs nails at home, but you have to be careful and know what you're doing. Even experienced guinea pig owners can find it difficult. One time, Lola made a sudden movement while the vet was clipping her nails, and the vet cut too far. If even the vet can make this mistake, we'd prefer our humans skip using this particular product on us.

First, we tried the pin brush, also known at the "shedding brush" on the box:
This is kind of nice.

This was pleasant enough, but the human had to be very careful not to let the pins scrape against my skin. I imagine that this could have hurt if they weren't careful. I also think that the pin brush wouldn't have worked well on Buffy. It probably would have gotten caught on her curly full and pulled on it. Pretty sure she would have hated that.

Buffy seems confused by brushing. 

Buffy didn't hate being brushed, but she didn't seem to care much for it, either. She just seemed confused and a bit concerned by the entire experience. At one point towards the end, the brush seems to have pulled on her fur, which the human apologized for. (Keep in mind this is only the soft brush. The pin brush would have hurt more, I'm sure.) As we mentioned in our texels post, texels may have sensitive backs, and brushing can stretch out their fur ringlets, so keep this in mind.

Lola also seems confused/concerned by being brushed.

Lola didn't seem to hate being brushed, but it did make her a little jumpy.

We had no interest in the "tasty treat," by the way. The box said it was the "perfect diversion to entertain chewing pets during grooming sessions." It wasn't.

Our verdict: the soft bristle brush is the best part of this grooming kit. The pin brush and the nail clippers could hurt your piggy if you're not careful, and the chew treat is of no interest to us. It costs about $9.49, so you're paying for one decent product and several not-so-good ones. We'll give it 2/5 stars.

Product Review: Brown's Tropical Carnival Sweet Potato Baked Crisp Chips

Sometimes, our humans get us a new product with the best of intentions, but then realize it's not a good idea to actually give it to us. Readers may remember that we've reviewed sweet potatoes before, and they can be fed to us very occasionally. We did our homework, and determined that dried sweet potatoes are fine, too, as long as there's no added sugar or preservatives. Therefore, these treats seemed like they'd be okay to feed us at first glance:

Uh-oh. Lots of non-guinea pig animals up at the top. Not a good sign!
We took a closer look at the ingredients, however, and didn't like what we saw:
Huh? What is "annatto"?
There are two ingredients we have concerns about here. First, there's rice flour. Guinea Lynx warns that rice flour should be avoided in pellets because it's a byproduct with no nutrient value. Second, there is annatto, which Wikipedia says "is derived from the seeds of the achiote trees of tropical and subtropical regions around the world. The seeds are sourced to produce a carotenoid-based yellow to orange food coloring and flavor."  Guinea Links also warns that seeds should be avoided because they're too high in fat and protein, and that food coloring should also be avoided.

Much as it pains us to turn down a treat, we're going to have to err on the side of caution and insist that our humans not tempt us with this treat due to these questionable ingredients. We'll have to give Brown's Tropical Carnival Sweet Potato Baked Crisp Chips 1 out of 5 stars.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Figs?

Here is how the World's Healthiest Foods website describes figs: "Figs are lusciously sweet and feature a complex texture that combines the chewiness of their flesh, the smoothness of their skin, and the crunchiness of their seeds." Sounds like an exciting new food adventure for us!

Figs are high in sugar, so you should only feed them to us once per week. Make sure you only feed us small pieces, not an entire fig.

Hey! You two aren't allowed to start eating a new food without me!

Yum! I like this new food!
And now you're both bored of it? Oh well, more for me.
We all eventually got bored of figs without finishing, but we enjoyed them at first. We'll give figs 3/5 stars!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Guinea Pig Armor

Those of you who keep up with guinea pig news probably heard about this already, but we wanted to share this in case anyone missed it. Someone had a really cool fundraising auction on behalf of the Metropolitan Guinea Pig Rescue, our local guinea pig rescue, where they sold a handmade suit of guinea pig armor!

That piggy looks safe. I'd probably still run and hide from unexpected noises, even with armor, though!
If the winning bidder on this armor happens to be a reader, feel free to send us the armor and we'll be happy to do a product review of it. :-)

Monday, July 15, 2013

Guest Piggies: Alphalpha and Zeeby

It's time for another guest piggie post! These cute guys come courtesy of loyal readers Amanda and Jackie. Without further ado, we'll turn it over to Alphalpha and Zeeby.

Time for us to type our first guest post!
Hi we're Alphalpha (left) and Zeeby (right) :) our favorite treat is carrots and we are big tricksters! We will squeak when our mommy comes into the room and then get a treat, and when our other mommy comes in we will also squeak for another treat. That way we get two hehehe! We also really like celery leaves and our mommies think its hilarious when one of us tries to take the snack out of the other ones mouth.
We love yummy hay! Om nom nom.
We love a clean cage and fresh hay! Even though we are 3 years old, we still love to popcorn all around our cage. We also love to squeak and 'wheet'. Our mommy says we are great company, and she love us so much!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Warning About Guinea Pigs and Wires

Humans, you can't say we didn't warn you. We did. It was in our post on guinea pigs eating shoelaces. We told you that if you don't keep an eye on us during floor time, we might chew on your valuable possessions, including this iPod charging wire:

Not the best chew toy, but we did like it better than the sushi chews.
If you allow us to chew on wires, it's not just a problem for your property, though. It can also be a problem for our health. If we bite through a wire that's plugged into the wall, we could be electrocuted. If we eat pieces of a wire, it could cause internal injuries. Luckily, we didn't swallow anything that hurt us when we chewed up this wire, but if pieces of wire got into our gastrointestinal tract, we would have had to go to our vet.

If your guinea pig has chewed up one of your wires, make sure you keep a close eye on him or her for any signs that they aren't feeling well. If anything seems out of the ordinary, take your piggy to the vet! And, as the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. In other words, you're better off piggy-proofing your room as much as possible before floor time, and keeping a close eye on us during floor time, rather than trying to fix a preventable health problem!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Butterhead Lettuce?

Today we tried butterhead lettuce, also known as Boston or Bibb lettuce. Guinea pigs can eat butterhead lettuce almost daily. In the past, we've tried green leaf, red leafoak leaf, and romaine lettuce, and given them all 5/5 stars. We therefore have high expectations for butterhead lettuce.

Yum! New lettuce.
No fair! Lola is hoarding an extra piece for herself.
Lola is bad at sharing. Will you share with me, Broccoli? Please? Apparently not...

Butterhead lettuce did not let us down. (Haha! Get it?) 5/5 stars!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Ask A Guinea Pig: Best Hay For A 10 Month Old Pig?

In today's installment of "Ask A Guinea Pig", human Bella asks,
What type of hay does a 10 month old guinea pig need?

Great question, Bella. We guinea pigs need unlimited amounts of timothy hay (or another grass hay) past the age of 6 months. Other types of grass hays include:

Alfalfa hay is a legume hay, not a grass hay. Only give alfalfa hay to pregnant, nursing, or young guinea pigs under 6 months old. Alfalfa hay is too rich for adult guinea pigs because it contains high levels of calcium, and in excess can lead to health problems, such as bladder or kidney stones. Even if you have a young, pregnant or nursing guinea pig, certain piggies who are prone to stones or other medical conditions should not be given alfalfa hay. All of this goes for other legume hays, too. Other types of legume hay include:

  • Clover, Red
  • Clover, White
  • Lespedeza, Common

In addition, make sure you choose quality hay. Quality hay should look green, not brown. It should also have a fragrant, clean smell; avoid hays that smell musty or burnt. Also avoid hay with clumps that seem "welded" together, since this means they've probably been exposed to mold. There are many good suppliers of hay out there, but we recommend Small Pet Select. They've always provided us with quality hay, and their customer service seems excellent.

The reason hay is important to feed your guinea pig is because the fiber helps keep our intestines healthy by promoting gut mobility. Also, the chewing promotes healthy wear on our teeth; otherwise, they can grow too long. Pellets, treats and chew toys are nice, but are no substitute for a regular supply of good hay!

Quality timothy hay! This is the life. Definitely better than running around in the wild!
Got any more questions for us? Be sure to leave a comment, and we may feature your question in our next installment of Ask A Guinea Pig!