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.