Thursday, December 25, 2014

Cavy Savvy Christmas 2014

To all our loyal readers: Merry Christmas!

As the dominant piggy, I think I should be the only Santa. Broccoli has gotten too big to push around easily, though.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Product Review: The Busy Bunny's Chew Ring

As you may know, we are big fans of Small Pet Select hay. The last time the humans reordered hay for us online, they noticed that some new products were available, and they decided to order some for us. One of these was a willow ring, which, as it turns out, was actually made by The Busy Bunny, not by Small Pet Select. (We would like to point out that Small Pet Select did list this product under their "guinea pig food" tab, despite this ostensibly being a bunny product. Both bunnies and piggies like to chew on some of the same things, I suppose.)

Please note that willow are generally safe for guinea pigs to chew on as long as it is untreated. However, we've heard reports of piggies chewing on the willow until sharp edges are formed which can cut them. Therefore, if you give your piggies something made of willow, make sure you monitor it regularly for sharp edges.

This chew ring kind of looks like a Christmas wreath, so with Christmas coming up, this seems like a timely review.
I'll try it!
We have reviewed two willow products in the past: All Living Things Willow Tunnel and Ware Willow Branch Ball. And as with those previous reviews, our interest in willow products is somewhat inconsistent. I was way more interested in the willow ring when the humans put it in our cage than Buffy or Broccoli was. My interest quickly waned, although we still nibble on it now and again.

We'll give The Busy Bunny's Chew Ring 3/5 stars!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Are Poinsettias Toxic to Guinea Pigs?

Last year, we did a post on Christmas safety for guinea pigs, which is worth a read if you're one of the many people who celebrate Christmas and you have piggies. In that post, we reviewed safety for different types of Christmas trees, and associated Christmas plants like holly and mistletoe. Poinsettias are another type of plant commonly associated with Christmas that we didn't touch on, so we'd like to talk about them now.
Warning: That's not guinea pig food! Stay away! (source: André Karwath/Wikipedia)
Poinsettias have had a reputation for being highly toxic due to an urban legend about a two-year old kid dying from eating a leaf. The truth is poinsettas are only mildly toxic--not deadly like the urban legends claim. Mild signs of vomiting and diarrhea could occur in pets if they eat enough, and it could be mildly irritating to the skin and eyes with sufficient exposure.

However, unlike other pets, rodents like guinea pigs are unable to vomit, even if they eat something toxic, which could make poinsettias somewhat more of a risk for us than for other pets. Fortunately, the worst thing that typically happens if we eat a poinsettia is an upset stomach. If your guinea pig eats a poinsettia, make sure they are still eating and drinking, and otherwise behaving normally. Call your vet if you notice any behavior changes.

Of course, the best thing to do to keep toxic plants away from us, whether they're mildly toxic or very toxic.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Guinea Pig Charities

Our recent Thanksgiving giveaway featured a donation to a guinea pig charity. Your participation in that giveaway resulted in us donating $30 to the Metropolitan Guinea Pig Rescue. Some readers may want to know how they can do more for guinea pigs in need, however, so in this post, we're going to provide a list of guinea pig charities.

Guinea pig charities provide food to less fortunate guinea pigs, and food is important! And delicious!
For the purposes of this post, we're defining a guinea pig charity as:
  • U.S. non-profit organizations that have obtained 501(c)3 status from the IRS
  • Non-profits that explicitly mention guinea pigs in their name, and have a mission to help guinea pigs
In addition, we're going to provide some links to Guidestar and review sites so you can read up on them before donating. Also, in case you would like to assist in other ways besides donating money (such as volunteering or donating items), we're listing the location of each one.

Here's our list:

Cavy Care Inc (Aurora, CO)
  • Guidestar listing:
  • Reviews:
  • Organization website:
  • Donate:
Cavy World Guinea Pig Rescue (El Sobrante, CA)
  • Guidestar listing:
  • Reviews: none found
  • Organization website:
  • Donate:

Crazy Cavies Guinea Pig Rescue Inc (Coral Springs, FL)
  • Guidestar listing:
  • Reviews: ;
  • Organization website: ;
  • Donate:
Metropolitan Guinea Pig Rescue (Fairfax, VA)
  • Guidestar listing:
  • Reviews:
  • Organization website:
  • Donate:

North Jersey Guinea Pig and Hamster Rescue: A NJ Nonprofit Corporation (Budd Lake, NJ)
  • Guidestar listing:
  • rescue.aspx
  • Reviews: none found
  • Organization website: none found
  • Donate:

Orange County Cavy Haven (Fullerton, CA)
  • Guidestar listing:
  • Reviews:
  • Organization website:
  • Donate:
Piggie Poo (Phoenix, AZ)
  • Guidestar listing:
  • Reviews:
  • Organization website:
  • Donate:

Texas Rustlers Guinea Pig Rescue Inc (Lewisville, TX)
  • Guidestar listing:
  • Reviews:
  • Organization website:
  • Donate:

There are also other guinea pig rescues out there that didn't meet our definition of a guinea pig charity for the purposes of this post (in other countries, or not registered with the IRS as a charity), but probably still do good work. Here are a couple lists of them:
  • Guinea Pig Zone:
  • Guinea Lynx:

Have you donated or volunteered for one of these organizations? Let us know about your experiences in the comments section!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Violets?

After squash blossoms and marigolds, this will be our third flower review. As always, make sure any edible flower you feed your guinea pig comes from a safe source and has not been treated with chemicals. To be safe, we had our humans get certified-organic edible flowers from Whole Foods.

Guinea pigs are allowed to eat the flowers and leaves of violets in moderation. However, do not feed African violets to guinea pigs, as they are toxic.

Look for something like this--"edible" and "organic"!
What beautiful flowers! Let's eat them!
We devoured all the violets in about 2 minutes because they were that good. We give violets 5/5 stars!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Marigolds?

We've reviewed a lot of different foods since starting this blog, but one area we haven't delved much into is edible flowers. We've reviewed squash blossoms, but I think that's it. As we mentioned in that review, make sure any edible flower you feed your guinea pig comes from a safe source and has not been treated with chemicals.

Today we're going to review our second flower: marigolds. Marigolds are a yellow-orange flower that humans often use in salads, and has been used as an herbal medicine when applied topically to the skin to treat cuts, bruises, skin inflammation, and ear infections.

Guinea pigs can eat marigolds, although marigolds should be an occasional treat, not part of our daily feeding. (Let's say once a week to be cautious since we haven't seen a specific feeding frequency quoted.) Dried marigolds appear in Kaytee Timothy Hay Plus Marigolds, which we've previously reviewed.

The humans got the marigolds from Whole Foods, and checked the package to make sure they were organic. The package said "rinse when ready to use," so the humans made sure they did that.
"Edible" and "Organic" are good words to look for when buying flowers for your piggies to eat!
I like this much better than the last time we tried marigolds in that hay.
More flowers, please?
We didn't much care for the dried marigolds in hay, but fresh marigolds are really tasty! We liked the petals much more than the little stringy parts of the flower. Marigolds get 5/5 stars!

Monday, December 1, 2014

How to Find a Good Veterinarian for your Guinea Pig

We would assume that many of our readers already have a local vet for their guinea pig. However, people who are first-time guinea pig owners may not already have a local veterinarian yet. Also, people who are moving to a new area, or have sick guinea pigs while traveling may need to find a good vet. So where should you look?

We have found several lists that should help you get started finding a vet if you're in one of these situations:
Hopefully, you can use this list to find at least exotic vet in your area who treats guinea pigs. Assuming you do, your next step should be to make sure the vet is well rated. Check out Yelp reviews, or try seeing if your vet is mentioned in the links above. If your vet is unrated, and you want to make sure they are able to care for your guinea pig properly, you can next try calling up the vet with some specific questions you know the answer to, and see if they also know the answer. Here is an example test question from Guinea Lynx
  • Q: What antibiotic do you prefer to use on adult guinea pigs with a URI (upper respiratory infection)? 
  • A: Baytril, Doxycycline, and Chloramphenicol are good choices. If they list any penicillin based drugs, hang up the phone...
If the reviews look good and/or they pass the test, then it sounds like you've just found yourself a good guinea pig vet!

I'm so lucky to have a good v--Hey, don't touch me there! I'm ticklish!
In some cases, there might not be a good guinea pig vet in your area. For example, we had some guest piggies from Palestine who had a lot of trouble finding a good vet in their part of the world. If you find yourself in this situation, here's what we recommend:
  • If you know in advance that you're going to be traveling to an area where good veterinary care for your guinea pig will be harder to find than where you currently are, then consult Guinea Lynx's Rural Emergency Medical Guide. It describes how you should explain your situation to your current vet before leaving the area, and he or she may be able to give your human some long shelf life drugs in cases of emergency for where you're going.
  • If no other options are available, you can find a good dog & cat veterinarian who is willing to work with you. Make sure you educate yourself as much as possible online before meeting with the vet. If you have any doubts about any of the advice you've received, post about your situation on a reputable guinea pig site and get some feedback.
Does anyone have any stories about finding a good vet they'd like to share? Let us know if the comments section if you do!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Flying on Airplanes with Guinea Pigs

In past posts, we have talked about what options humans have for their guinea pigs when going out of town, and took an in-depth look at car trips with your guinea pig (both short and long trips). In this post, we're going to explore issues and options when it comes to flying with your guinea pig. As mentioned in those previous posts, we prefer staying in familiar environments, and find travel to be stressful. So, if you're just flying somewhere for a couple days and then coming home, you're probably better off looking into other options than bringing your guinea pig on a plane. However, just like with driving, sometimes flying might be your best (or only) option, such as if you are moving overseas.
Credit: "When Guinea Pigs Fly" by Lesley DeSantis.
If you have determined that flying with your guinea pigs is necessary, here's what you need to know:

Before You Fly

  • Before traveling, make an appointment with your vet. Some states require a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (CVI) from a licensed veterinarian, which indicates your pet is healthy enough to travel and is free of communicable diseases. For example, guinea pigs must have a CVI within 7 days prior to arriving in Hawaii. Even if it's not required for your travel plans, it's still a good idea to discuss your travel plans with your vet first to make sure your guinea pig is healthy enough to fly. Note that very young and very old guinea pigs might not be good candidates for flying, and neither are pregnant guinea pigs.
  • Make sure you research the laws and policies of the state or country you plan to visit. For example, if you were planning on moving to Guam with your pet, you should be aware of their strict policies to prevent the spread of rabies that include vaccinations, microchips, and blood serum tests. Even though guinea pigs "rarely get rabies and have not been known to cause rabies among humans in the United States," the Guam webpage uses the terms "pets" and "animals," which would seem to include guinea pigs. When traveling to another country, you should contact their consulate first (at least 4 weeks in advance of your planned trip) to ask about their health and quarantine requirements for guinea pigs. Certain states and countries are stricter than others; Australia, Britain, New Zealand and Hawaii are said to be particularly strict with their pet requirements.
    • We cannot stress enough that you need to take this very seriously! If you do not have the required paperwork for state or country you are traveling to, "you run a very high risk of having your guinea pig confiscated, quarantined, or in some extreme cases even destroyed." Don't risk your guinea pigs' life by being too lazy to make a few phone calls and send a few emails! A good place to start your research is to call the USDA at (800) 545-8732 and ask about what forms are required for your specific travel plans.
  • Try to book a non-stop flight to reach your destination as quickly as possible and minimize the amount of time we'll be spending in a stressful situation. In addition, be aware that if your connecting flight is on a different airline, there may be different policies on guinea pigs between them.
  • Make sure you buy a carrier that is large enough for your guinea pigs to comfortably move around, but not so large that it exceeds the maximum size allowed by the airline. In addition, if the carrier suddenly moves or falls over, there is a greater risk of injury in large carriers since there's more room for your guinea pig to roll around. Many guinea pig-specific carriers are too small. Small cat carriers tend to be good choices. Include plenty of towels and/or fleece lining to help keep us warm. Bring food for us as well.
    • We've heard that's Pet Carrier for Small Animals is a good choice for flying with guinea pigs. It's supposed to be a good size for small animal comfort, and compliant with airline size requirements. We haven't tried it ourselves, however. (Let us know in the comments if anyone has.)

Ways to Travel with Your Guinea Pig

  • Carrying on your pet: This is where your guinea pig can travel with you in the cabin. This is the preferred option.
  • Checking your pet: This where your guinea pig is accepted as checked baggage. Due to noise, temperature changes, pressure changes, and other stressful conditions, this is not a preferred option. Pets have been known to die from these conditions on rare occasions; even if the chance of this happening is very low,  flying is stressful enough for a guinea pig without the added risks and discomforts of being treated as baggage or cargo.
  • Shipping your pet as cargo: This is where your guinea pig is shipped without the owner, and will be made available for pickup at a cargo facility. As with checking your pet, this is not a preferred option.

Guinea Pig Policies for US Airlines

Pet policies vary by airline. Some will let you carry on your guinea pig; most will not. Airline officials have said that the reasons they don't allow animals other than dogs and cats as carry-on is because dogs and cats are required to receive vaccinations, and owners are required to show proof of this, while animals like guinea pigs are not. In addition, they worry that small animals like guinea pigs would be difficult to catch if they escaped their carriers.

If you can find an airline that accepts guinea pigs, make sure you let the airline know you have a guinea pig at the time you make your reservations. Reconfirm with them that you will be bringing your guinea pig 24-48 hours before departure. Only a certain number of pets are allowed on each flight, and these are usually given out on a first-come, first-serve basis. You'll want to take every precaution that you don't show up at the airport with your guinea pig for nothing.
We currently only know of a few airlines that are believed to allow you to carry on your guinea pig (always confirm with the airline before making travel plans!):
  • Frontier Airlines: Guinea pigs are allowed to fly in the cabin on Frontier on domestic flights only. Only dogs and cats may be carried on international flights. There is a $75 fee for this service. Your pet carrier will count as your carry-on or personal item. Carriers need to large enough for pets to stand up, lie down and turn around, but cannot exceed the maximum dimensions of 24" length x 16" width x 10" height. No more than 2 guinea pigs per carrier are allowed. Certain seats on the plane cannot accommodate carry on pets, such as exit rows.
  • Island Air (Hawaii): Guinea pigs are accepted in the cabin on this airline, although they will require "State Dept. of Agriculture inspection."  Only 4 pets are allowed per flight, and only 2 in the cabin. Pet carriers must fit comfortably under the seat. There is a $35 fee for this service.
  • Ravn Alaska: The language used on their website suggests guinea pigs should be allowed in the cabin (although you should call to confirm before planning a trip with them). Animals crossing state lines must have a current health certificate from their vet. There is a $75 fee for this service, which increases to $100 if connecting to other airlines or checking your pet.  
Other US Airlines have stricter policies:

If Your Airline Doesn't Allow Guinea Pigs

  • In some cases, it may be possible to get exceptions to standard pet policies if your pet receives a special classification. 
    • Service animals are defined by the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) as "dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities." As far as we know, it is not possible for a guinea pig to be considered a service animal. 
    • Emotional support animals (ESA), also known as comfort animals, provide therapeutic support to people with mental illness. To be an ESA, there must be a prescription from a mental health professional stating that the human has a major impairment, and the animal helps with their condition.
      • Some airlines do have special accommodation policies listed for ESAs. For example, while Alaska Airlines normally does not allow guinea pigs as carry on pets, they also state: "You may travel with an emotional/psychiatric support animal in the cabin if you are a qualified individual with a disability and certain documentation requirements are met."  In 2013, a student at Grand Valley State University sued the school to have her guinea pig consider an ESA due to her pacemaker and chronic depression, and the school settled the lawsuit. If you have a legitimate mental health issue that your guinea pig helps you with, don't be afraid to look into getting them registered as an ESA!
        • However, we would like to emphasize that this should only be used if you have a legitimate mental health issue. Skeptical articles of ESAs are starting to appear in the media (e.g. The New Yorker, The New York Times), in part due to people abusing the system. Don't contribute to this.
    • Therapy animals "provide affection and comfort to various members of the public, typically in facility settings such as hospitals, retirement homes, and schools." Therapy animals do not generally receive special accommodations from airlines and other businesses, however. 
  • Another option you can look into is a specialized pet transportation services. However, make sure you do your research on them first! You'll want to make sure that your guinea pig would be in the main cabin and not in a cargo area, and you'll want to check their online reviews to ensure they're someone you'd want to entrust your guinea pig with. Some companies include (not necessarily recommended):

International Travel with Guinea Pigs

  • If you plan on flying your guinea pig internationally, things can get even more complicated.
    • There is probably going to be a lot of paperwork involved. One person who was moving to Germany claimed she needed to get her guinea pig a European Union (EU) pet passport, a CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) certificate "saying she is not wild caught nor an endangered species," a "USDA certificate saying she's healthy and not directly harmful to humans," and "a US Fish and Wildlife certificate saying she's not an invasive species."
    • An admin at gave the following advice about traveling overseas with guinea pigs: "Start well ahead of when you think you will need to to get all the forms, certificates, etc. You'll need to talk to government agencies as well as to airlines. Keep notes on who said what when so you can refer back to them when arguing with the next agency."
    • The USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has a page on traveling with pets that has some good information to get you started.
    • Due to the complexities involved with traveling internationally with your pet, we're only going to be able to scratch the surface here. (We may go more in-depth in a future post.)
Has anyone flown with your guinea pig before? If so, tell us about your experiences in the comments section!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Cavy Savvy 2014 Thanksgiving Giveaway Winner Announcement

Using a random number generator, we chose a winner from all valid entries to the Cavy Savvy 2014 Thanksgiving Giveaway. And the winner is... Arwen and Eowyn!

Congratulations, Arwen and Eowyn! You just won a Thanksgiving costume from Cuddly Cavy Creations! Please send us an email in the next 30 days with your mailing address to and we will mail you your prize. (If you email us right away, it might actually arrive in time for Thanksgiving!)

In addition, because we received 10 unique entries, we will be donating $30 to the Metropolitan Guinea Pig Rescue!

Thank you to everyone who entered. If you didn't win this time, don't worry, we will have more giveaways in the future. Be sure that you are a follower of Cavy Savvy if you want to be considered for future giveaways. To follow us, just click the "join this site" button on the right.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Car Safety and Comfort for Guinea Pigs

We're generally not a fan of change. For example, when the humans let us roam, there are certain rooms that we never go into because they're unfamiliar to us. We tend to just stick to the rooms that are closest to our cage. Therefore, you can probably imagine that we're not thrilled about going for car rides. However, sometimes your humans might deem it necessary for you to take a car ride to go the vet, to attend a social event like a pignic, or if your humans need to go out of town and they don't have good pet-sitting options. If you absolutely have to ride in a car, here's what your human should know about keeping you safe and comfortable:
  • Trip Length: Unless it's absolutely necessary, try to keep road trips under 2 hours. If it's necessary to take longer trips, make sure you stop at least once every 2 hours (see below).
  • Carriers: Use a well-ventilated pet carrier rather than allowing us to roam free in cars. Cages are also generally not a good option since we could be thrown around. (If a cage is your only option for some reason, make sure it's secured, and there are no heavy objects in it that could hit us if you suddenly stop the car. Also, expect to get guinea pig poop in your car if you use a cage.) To get your guinea pig accustomed to a new carrier, before your trip, you can leave it on the floor during floor time for us to explore. For most car trips, we use All Living Things Small Animal Carrier (Large size). (This carrier is fine for just shorter trips, but if the humans were ever thinking about taking a 2+ hour trip, we may insist on something larger.)  Small cat carriers are a better option than guinea pig carriers that are too small. Line the bottom of our carriers with small towels or blankets. (Our humans took an old towel, cut it in half with scissors, and made a nice carpet for our carriers.) Some people like to add a layer of newspaper underneath the towel layer. Guinea pigs may share carriers if the carriers are large enough and there is no history of fighting between them; in fact, being together may be comforting to us.
  • Carrier Placement: Having some objects like boxes around us may help to keep our carriers secure, but don't put our carrier in an area that's too crowded with other objects, as this can impede air flow. Do not expose us to wind or direct sunlight. Ensure that our carrier is properly secured with a seat belt so that it won't go flying or fall on the floor if you hit the brakes. The back seat is preferable to the front seat. Putting us in the open bed of a pick up truck is extremely unsafe. Never put us in the trunk of the car, either.
  • Food and Water: According to Guinea Pig Today, allowing guinea pigs to eat while in a moving car is a choking hazard. On longer trips, plan to take breaks from driving where you can feed your guinea pig safely. Don't go longer than 2 hours between breaks. Make sure you offer us hay, vegetables, and our water bottle during these breaks. (Pellets may also be offered on especially long trips.) Vegetables like cucumbers can help prevent us from getting thirsty on car trips; it's a good idea to keep your vegetables in a cooler. Don't be surprised if we don't have much of an appetite due to the stress of traveling. It's a good idea to make sure we are well-fed before the car trip, unless your guinea pig is prone to motion sickness (in which case, withhold food and drink for no more than 2 hours before the trip).
  • Temperature: Be mindful of the temperature in the car, and use the AC or heater if necessary. Remember, the ideal temperature range for most guinea pigs is about 65°-75°F (18-24°C), and the ideal humidity level is about 50%. On very cold days, you may want to let the car heat up before bringing your guinea pig into it. In addition, try to keep the temperature and humidity from fluctuating too much.
  • Monitoring: Don't leave your guinea pigs alone in the car. Temperatures can change quickly, rising or falling out of our ideal temperature range, which can make us uncomfortable, sick, and even kill us. In addition, many states have laws that protect animals from being left alone in vehicles, and law enforcement may be allowed to break into your car to rescue an endangered animal. (By the way, if you happen to see a guinea pig or any other pet in serious danger due to being left unattended in a car, please call 911 immediately and let the authorities handle the situation.)
Here is a All Living Things Small Animal Carrier (Large size) secured with a seat belt in the back seat of a car. This carrier is a fine option for shorter trips. No one's in it now because we don't currently have a reason to go on a car trip. Honestly, you'd have to be crazy to leave a warm, comfortable pigloo to get into a pet carrier in a car on a cold November day just for a photo op.
Has your human ever taken you on a car trip? Tell us about your car experiences in the comments section!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Cavy Savvy 2014 Thanksgiving Giveaway!

It's been a while since we've held a giveaway, and Thanksgiving is fast approaching, so we figured this would be a great opportunity to show how thankful we are for the 256 (and counting) Cavy Savvy followers we have. Thanks to everyone for reading!

To show our thanks, we're going to be giving away a Thanksgiving costume this time to one lucky winner:

This is a product we have never reviewed before, so the winner will have the option of writing a guest post review of their costume if they want to.

Thanksgiving is not just about turkeys and pilgrims, however. Charity is also an important part of Thanksgiving, so we would like to give back to the less fortunate piggies out there. Therefore, we've convinced our humans to part with $20 of that money stuff they care so much about, plus $1 per entry we receive, up to a maximum of $50. The money will go to the Metropolitan Guinea Pig Rescue (MGPR), an organization that rescues, rehabilitates and finds good homes for guinea pigs. As an abandoned guinea pig himself, helping homeless guinea pigs is a subject very near and dear to Broccoli's heart; we encourage everyone to feel free to donate to MGPR on your own as well if you're feeling generous. They do good work.

As usual, here are the rules:

Giveaway 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, as well as something you're thankful for.
  • All entries must be received by November 20th at 12:00 pm (US Eastern time) to be eligible.
  • One winner will be chosen at random from all eligible entries and announced on this blog on November 20th sometime after the giveaway closes. 
  • The winner will be instructed to email us to provide us with a mailing address to send the prize to. Winners must provide us with a mailing address within 30 days to receive their prize.
  • Winners have the option of writing a guest post for Cavy Savvy reviewing the product. Cavy Savvy reserves the right to edit or reject guest posts at our discretion.
  • A donation will be made to the Metropolitan Guinea Pig Rescue in the amount of $20 plus $1 per eligible entry, up to a maximum of $50.
Good luck!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

More Information on Texels!

Hi readers, this is Buffy. I know we've already told you a little bit about texels, but there's more you should know about us! For example:
  • Texels are prone to getting hay tangled up in our fur. Fur trims can help prevent this.
  • Texels (and certain other guinea pig breeds) are more prone to entropion, a condition where the eyelashes of newborns turn inward and irritate the eye. This can be treated with a sterile eye lubricant.
  • It is important to keep the hind leg nails of your texel clipped because if we scratch ourselves with long nails, we can pull hair out or start a tangle.
So we're perhaps a little more work than your average short-haired guinea pig, but we're totally worth it!

Does everyone remember Gloria, the texel I got to meet when we when to the pignic? Well, while we're on the subject of texels, the Metropolitan Guinea Pig rescue recently released a new video of her that I feel I have to share:

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Golden Nugget Squash?

If you do a web search for "golden nugget," you'll get a lot of casino-related search results. As far as we know, this squash has nothing to do with gambling, however. Golden Nugget Squash was actually developed at North Dakota State University in 1966. This squash is rather small compared to pumpkins and hubbard squash. Since golden nugget squash is a winter squash, we can have it 2-4 times per week.

It's smaller than most squash. I wonder if I can drag it through the door of my pigloo?
Munch, munch...
More squash!
How about you let me in there to get a nugget of Golden Nugget?
This is one tasty squash! Golden nugget squash gets 5/5 stars!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Feijoa?

Here is a fruit that we were wondering not too long ago if we would ever be able to find it. One day, after having our humans look everywhere and giving up on finding it, it just turns up at the local grocery store!

Feijoa, also known as pineapple guava and guavasteen, is a green fruit about the size of a chicken egg. This fruit was originally native to Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, but is now grown in many other countries. They seem to be especially popular in New Zealand, where there is a New Zealand Feijoa Growers' Association. There are many varieties of feijoas, including "Gemini," "Apollo," and "Mammoth," although we're not sure exactly which type we're trying for this post.

Guinea pigs can eat feijoa 1-2 times per week in small portions. We've read different things about whether you can eat the skin of a feijoa or not; one website says "The entire fruit is edible," while another says: "you cannot eat the skin of a feijoa fruit raw." The humans ate the skin and seemed fine, but to be on the safe side, they cut the skin off of ours before feeding it to us.

Here is a feijoa. (I couldn't tell you what variety, though.)
Out of my way! I want to try it, too!

Did you see Broccoli eat part of his, and then go for mine before finishing it? That could cause a fight later on...

Let go! We can't all have the last piece!
I think any food worth fighting over is worth rating highly. Feijoa gets 5/5 stars!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Raisins?

Raisins are dried grapes, and guinea pigs can eat grapes. This doesn't mean that you can feed us raisins exactly the same way as you would grapes, however. The drying process compresses the sugar that was originally in the grapes into a much smaller space, so that raisins are about 72% sugar by weight. While fresh grapes can be fed 2-4 times per week in 25 gram portions, you'll want to feed us raisins only 1-2 times per month, and only 1-2 raisins at a time. You'll also want to check to make sure there are no added sugars or preservatives before feeding us raisins. Organic raisins are probably your best bet.

You're smart to feed her separately. I'd probably take that raisin!
His raisin wouldn't be so easy to take.
Saving the best for last, I see!
Raisins are sweet and delicious! It's a shame that they have to be such a rare treat due to the sugar content. (Humans, is this how you feel about donuts and cupcakes?) We'll give raisins 5/5 stars!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Signs of Illness in Guinea Pigs

For a while now, the humans have been a little worried about me. "Does Lola seem different to you?" I'd hear one human say to the other. They noticed how my fur would get puffed out, and I wouldn't run to eat my pellets with the same level of enthusiasm I usually do. They then weighed me, and noticed that I had lost a significant amount of weight (about 80 grams). Once they saw that, they called the vet immediately and took me in as soon as possible.

If you keep poking and prodding me, I'm going to nibble on your little drum on a tube!
Even though your guinea pig may complain about it (and trust me, I had a thing or two to say about the vet poking her fingers into my belly!), you should take your guinea pig in to the vet's office, both for regular checkups and whenever you suspect there is a problem. Our old cage-mate Annie died from a bladder stone, so our humans were really worried that my behavior could suggest I had stones as well.

Fortunately, the vet did an X-ray on me, and didn't find any stones, only some gas. The vet sent us home with some antibiotics, painkillers, and anti-bloat medicine, suspecting that I might have some sort of infection, or possibly some pain from arthritis. They also sent me home with a dip stick to test my urine to test for a possible UTI. Now, I'm hearing the humans talk to each other about how much better I seem. I'm back to running to the food bowl immediately when I hear the sound of pellets!

The moral of this story is that you should familiarize yourself with the symptoms of guinea pig illness, and be willing to take us to the vet (despite how expensive it can be). Here is Guinea Lynx's list of illness symptoms and possible causes:
  • Refusal to eat or drink (anorexia) -- URI, Malocclusion, other 
  • Weight Loss -- Malocclusion, other 
  • Labored breathing, wheezing -- URI, Circulatory Problems, other 
  • Crusty eyes, sneezing -- URI, other 
  • Rough or puffed-up coat -- URI, other 
  • Swollen abdomen -- BLOAT, other 
  • Dull and/or receding eyes -- URI, other 
  • Lethargy, hunched posture -- URI, other 
  • Drooling -- Malocclusion, other 
  • Watery diarrhea -- Diarrhea, other 
  • No feces -- Anorexia (not eating), Bloat, other 
  • Unable to urinate -- Bladder Stones, other 
  • Blood in urine -- UTI, Bladder Stones, Pyometra, other 
  • Bleeding from rectal area -- UTI, Bladder Stones, Pyometra, Retained Placenta, other 
  • Limping, hopping, severe injury -- Injury, Vitamin or Mineral Deficiency, Arthritis, other 
  • Hair loss, excessive scratching -- Mange Mites, Fungal Infection, other 
  • Loss of balance -- Ear Infection, Injury, Poisoning, other 
  • Head tilt -- Ear Infection, wry neck, other 
  • Delivery problems -- Dystocia, Retained Placenta, other
Read this list carefully so you'll know what to look for the next time your guinea pig is feeling sick!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Turban Squash?

Halloween is just around the corner, so it's time for us to review a pumpkin-like squash! (We've already reviewed pumpkin itself a while back, so that's not an option.) The humans brought us back something called a turban squash from the grocery store this time, presumably because it looks like it's wearing a turban. Please be aware that this squash will probably be difficult for your human to cut; you may want to hide out in your pigloo while they angrily shout at the squash and attack it with their largest, sharpest kitchen knife.

As a winter squash, we can have turban squash 2-4 times per week. Like just about all winter squashes, you'll want to have your human only serve you the flesh, not the skin, seeds, or stringy parts in the middle.

It kind of looks like a smaller squash got stuck inside a larger squash!
Hey, just because you have your foot on the plate doesn't mean you control the squash!
I've got my eye on that piece right there. Don't try to stop me! 
That's enough squash for now. I'm going to eat some of this hay that spilled on the floor instead.
After getting bored of it for a bit, I decided to give it another shot before Lola and Buffy ate the last piece. Turban squash is pretty good, but not quite as enticing as something like carrots. We'll give turban squash 4/5 stars!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Product Review: All Living Things Cookie Treats

Long-time readers know we've reviewed some bad products and given them 1-star reviews. Sometimes, we don't realize right away that it's a bad product, and other times, it's pretty obvious upfront that we're dealing with a bad product. In the past, the humans have purchased some products that they suspected might be bad a few times just to give us something to review. In retrospect, this seems like a waste of that money stuff that they care so much about, so we came up with a new idea: Why not just have our humans take pictures of suspected bad products at the pet store, which we can then research further to determine if they're actually bad? This way, the humans save their money for stuff we can actually use and appreciate, and we're not supporting companies who put out bad guinea pig products. (If our initial hunch turns out to be wrong and there's nothing wrong with them, we can always get them later on.)

Our first suspected bad product that we're going to use this method on is: All Living Things Cookie Treats. These treats are designed to look like human junk food, and come in at least two varieties that we saw:

I can see why the humans thought we probably couldn't eat these.
I wonder if those things have little fortunes inside. Since they're a suspected-bad product, we'll probably never find out.
Let's take a look at what's in these things:
Ingredient list #1.
Ingredient list #2.
Here are the ingredients listed in these things, along with our notes where applicable:
  • Added color (FD&C) - Guinea pigs should not eat artificial colors.
  • Buckwheat Flour
  • Corn starch - The diet expert at and Guinea Lynx state that: "Corn products (including corn bran, corn germ, corn gluten, ground corn, etc. There is no legal definition of 'corn' alone in animal feed, so it may be any combination of products. Corn is not a normal feed for cavies, may contribute to allergies, and can be high in fat and certain sugars/starch depending on the product. Additionally, some corn is contaminated with deadly aflatoxin which can cause liver failure and death.)"
  • Dried Egg Powder - Guinea pigs are herbivores and shouldn't be fed egg.
  • Maltodextrin
  • Mixed Tocopherols (preservative) - We suspected at first that all the preservatives in this things were probably bad, although they might not be as bad as we initially thought. The diet expert at says: "Not all preservatives are bad. The bad preservatives are ethoxyquin, BHA and BHT and there is one other one I can't think of offhand at the moment. These are the potentially cancer causing preservatives that need to be avoided. The others are not harmful and thus ok."
  • Oatmeal - We've read some concerns that too much oatmeal could swell in the digestive tract and cause blockages, although we've also heard that some vets have recommended oatmeal. Oatmeal might be fine in small dosages, although we'd like to see more information before making a recommendation one way or the other.
  • Palm Oil - Not only is this high in fat, but it may have negative environmental impacts
  • Peanut Butter - Guinea pigs should not be given processed foods like this, especially those high in fat.
  • Potassium sorbate (preservative) - There are some health concerns associated with this preservative.
  • Salt - According to the diet expert, "Too much salt or minerals in a pigs diet only cause problems later on down the road."
  • Sodium Bicarbonate
  • Sodium Erythorbate (a preservative) - See previous note on preservatives.
  • Soy Flour
  • Sucrose - Sucrose is sugar, and guinea pigs shouldn't have too much sugar
  • Wheat Bran
  • Wheat flour
  • Whole Wheat Flour
As we suspected, All Living Things Cookie Treats are full of bad and questionable ingredients, so it gets 1/5 stars.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Toys for Guinea Pigs: Mirrors

We just realized that it's been a while since we've reviewed any toys, so we took at look at the toy ideas from to see what we haven't tried yet. One toy idea that the humans could easily set up in our cage was a mirror. suggests placing the mirror "on the outside of the cage. If they are on the inside, make sure they are pet-safe." Since the humans weren't sure if the mirror was pet-safe or not, they attached it to the outside of the cage with a clip.

Hey, is that another guinea pig? Do I need to assert my dominance?
Wait, I think that's just me.
We know that there are guinea pigs out there who seem to enjoy looking at themselves in mirrors. Some will even rumblestrut, talk to, or lick their reflection. For us, there was a brief moment of novelty when we saw our reflections, and then we quickly got bored and forget it was there. We'll give mirrors 2/5 stars.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Can Guinea Pigs Eat White Peppers?

Readers, I hope you're not sick of reading bell pepper reviews, because we're certainly not sick of eating them! As we've previously mentioned, most bell peppers start out as green, turn yellow and orange, and then eventually end up turning red. However, there are some types that start out as different colors (e.g. purple) before eventually turning red. White bell peppers are just like the purple ones in this regard; they start out as white, then turn peach, orange, and eventually red. The color of white can vary, such as a pale yellow-white or an ivory white. Treat these as green peppers since they haven't developed the sugar content of a red pepper yet; this means you can feed white peppers almost daily.

This one is a pale yellow-white, so maybe this is a White Holland bell pepper.
Can I have some?
Let me just reach in there if you don't mind...
Here's a tip for you non-dominant piggies out there: When your cage mates are trying to establish dominance with each other, that's the perfect time to swoop and grab some food while they're distracted! I may not be the biggest, baddest pig in the cage, but I still manage to eat well.

We'll give white peppers 5/5 stars!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Frequently Asked Questions about Guinea Pigs

In this post, we're going to try to answer some questions about guinea pigs that are commonly asked online.

Q: Where to buy guinea pigs? How much are guinea pigs?
A: Although these questions are frequently asked, we contend that this is the wrong line of thinking. You should think twice before buying a guinea pig from your local pet store! See our post on What's Wrong With Guinea Pig Breeding for details. We'd recommend a good rescue shelter or Craigslist; there are plenty of nice piggies out there currently in need of a good home, which is a better option than supporting commercial breeders.

Q: Are guinea pigs nocturnal?
A: Guinea pigs tend to adapt to the sleep habits of our humans. See our post: "When Do Guinea Pigs Sleep?"

Q: What to feed guinea pigs?
A: Basically, you'll want to feed us unlimited hay and water, about a cup of vegetables a day (about 2/3 leafy greens, and 1/3 other vegetables), about 1/8 cup of  quality pellets, and occasional bits of fruit as treats, See our guinea pig food list and our post on guinea pig nutrition to figure out the right foods and the right amounts to feed your guinea pigs.

Q: How to take care of a guinea pig?
A: There's a lot involved with this! For complete beginners, you may want to start by reading GuineaLynx's care pamphlet. After that, you can search our blog (or other reputable sites) for particular care issues of interest. Some of the care issues we've dealt with in the past include:
Q: How long do guinea pigs live?
A: Guinea pigs typically live 5 to 7 years, but we can live longer than this. The the longest living guinea pig lived 14 years, 10.5 months!

Q: Are guinea pigs rodents?
A: The simple answer is yes. Here's how guinea pigs are scientifically classified:
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Mammalia
  • Order: Rodentia
  • Suborder: Hystricomorpha
  • Family: Caviidae
  • Subfamily: Caviinae
  • Genus: Cavia
  • Species: C. porcellus
There has been some debate about this in the 1990s, however. While the proponents of reclassifying guinea pigs had some evidence on their side, "guinea pigs are generally considered part of Rodentia."

Q: Are guinea pigs good pets?
A: In my opinion, we're absolutely delightful!

Give me that hay! I deserve it for being so darn delightful!
And, if you've seen our post on guinea pig ownership statistics, you'll see that a lot of humans seem to agree with us. But that doesn't mean that we're right for everyone; see our post on 10 Things You Should Know Before Buying or Adopting a Guinea Pig for details.

Did we answer all your questions, Internet? If not, feel free to add your questions in the comments, and we may take it up in our next Ask A Guinea Pig post!