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!