Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Savoy Cabbage?

So far, we've reviewed several types of cabbage, including Green, Red, and Stonehead. Savoy cabbage is new to us, though. We can eat savoy cabbage 2-4 times per week, but only in small portions because it's a gassy food. We found that many guinea pigs didn't care for it, though. I wonder what we'll think of it?

This is a savoy cabbage. You'll only want to feed us a little bit of a leaf, not the whole thing.
How do I get to the savoy cabbage? Can I chew through these bars? Oh, I got to go through the door!


Don't even think of taking mine, Lola. Go see if the human has more.

Now I'm out! Give me yours, Buffy! Please?

Although I really would have liked some more, I'm not going to push the issue too hard if Buffy doesn't want to share like Lola would. I'm just a nicer dominant pig, I guess. It had nothing to do with the fact that she's gotten good at turning away and eating quickly.

We have no idea why those other piggies didn't like savoy cabbage. We all loved it, so it gets 5/5 stars!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Delicata Squash?

Delicata squash is also known as peanut squash, Bohemian squash, and sweet potato squash. It is relatively small compared to some other squashes. It is a winter squash, which means we can eat delicata squash 2-4 times per week. However, unlike most winter squash, the skin of the delicata squash isn't that tough. The humans still weren't sure if it was soft enough for use to eat it, though, so they peeled our delicata squash to be on the safe side. You'll also want to have your human use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and stringy parts before feeding it to us.

It's like a yellow squash and a pumpkin had a baby.
New food! New food! Me first! Me first!

At first, all three of us ate delicata squash together...

...But then Broccoli got bored, and it was just Buffy and myself left.

We were definitely excited to try delicata squash at first, although one by one, we each got bored of it, until we left several chunks untouched on the plate at the end. We're still glad we got to try it, though. Delicata squash gets 4/5 stars!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Grass?

It's time for another installment of Ask A Guinea Pig! Heather Smith asks: "I love my guinea pig but I don't know if I can feed him fresh grass?"

Image via                          

Yes, we can definitely eat fresh grass. In fact, fresh grass provides us with vitamin C. However, this doesn't mean you can just turn us loose on just any patch of grass you find and assume it's healthy for us. There are some other considerations you must take into account:

  • Avoid grass that has been treated with chemicals like herbicides and pesticides.
  • Avoid grass that is close to roads, as car fumes can pollute the grass.
  • Avoid areas with mold, mildew and fungus.
  • Avoid areas that other animals (such as dogs) frequent; their poop can spread parasites.
  • Make sure you have identified the plants in the area as safe
  • If we're not used to eating fresh grass, we might get a stomach ache if you let us eat too much to start with.
  • Be aware that if you bring us outdoors, you'll want to get a pen of some sort so you don't lose us.
  • Also be aware that it is possible for us to pick up fleas and ticks from the outdoors.

As you can see, there's a lot to consider before you turn your guinea pigs loose outside somewhere. Taking your guinea pig to a pignic is a good way to pick a safe place for your guinea pig to graze since organizers specifically choose locations with untreated grass.

You could also just cut some grass and bring it indoors for us to eat if you're sure it's safe; however, we've heard that you shouldn't use a lawn mower to bring us grass since it can cause the grass to ferment, which can cause stomachaches and bloating. Alternatively, you can probably find fresh wheat grass at your local pet store, which is a healthy option for your piggies. Some people have even grown their own wheat grass for their piggies.

If you want to be safe, feed us lots of dried hay instead. Guinea pigs should have unlimited access to hay, and when you think about it, hay is just grass that has been dried to use as animal food. As we explained in an earlier installment of Ask A Guinea Pig, timothy hay is the most common type of grass hay that guinea pigs eat, but there are several other types, such as oat hay and orchard grass. (Legume hay is another category of hay that includes alfalfa, lespedeza and clover; unlike grass hays, legume hays are high in calcium, and can cause health problems.)

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Toys For Guinea Pigs: Ping Pong Balls

Ping pong balls are something humans play with. Apparently, they hold up some paddles and hit the ball back and forth until it falls on the floor. That's it. Seriously. Humans are weird, aren't they? The fine folks over at came up with an idea of how guinea pigs could use ping pong balls that's a little less silly than how humans use them: you can put them in our cage for us to push them around.

Humans, if we don't like this toy, feel free to hit it with paddles to your heart's content.
Hmmm... Do I like this?
No, I don't think so. I'm going to chew on my mat instead.
We're sorry to say that we had no interest in this toy. Feel free to remove these things from our cage and hit them back and forth. 1/5 stars.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Gold-Plating your Guinea Pig Litter

Earlier this month, we reviewed Carefresh Confetti Soft Pet Bedding, and concluded that it worked pretty much the same as cheaper bedding, but costs more because of the cool colors. This gave us an idea of how we could have an attractive-looking home without as much complaining from our humans about money. We call this idea "gold-plating" your litter, which is what humans do to jewelry to make it look like it's made entirely of gold when it's really not. You can do the same thing with your litter if you have a premium litter and a cheaper litter. In this case, we used All Living Things Paper Pet Bedding for the bottom later, and Carefresh Confetti Soft Pet Bedding for the top layer.

Layer 1.
Layer 2.
Oops. I scratched up layer 2!
Here's our verdict: It requires a little more time to set up than just putting down a single, thicker layer of one type of bedding. After that, it works, but sometimes we'll expose the cheaper bedding by walking around. To maintain the illusion, your human will have be ready to patch up these exposed gaps at a moment's notice. Our humans didn't seem too enthusiastic about this idea, but maybe yours will feel it's worth it.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Shaved Guinea Pig Baby Hippo

There's an image that's been making the rounds on Facebook recently which you may have seen:

That's also not how you spell "guinea pig."
That's not a shaved guinea pig, by the way. That's a breed of guinea pig called a skinny pig. Skinny pigs originated as a crossbreed between a laboratory breed called an IAF Hairless and another breed called a Teddy in the early 1980s. It is a misconception that skinny pigs are somehow less healthy, although they do require some special care. The right temperature for skinny pigs is 75 - 79°F, a little higher than ordinary guinea pigs prefer. Skinny pigs need to eat more food in order to maintain their body temperature. Cozies are also important for skinny pigs to maintain their body temperature. You may want to use coconut oil on your skinny pig's skin once a week. Skinny pig skin can be sensitive, so some prefer to be pet on their heads where they have hair. Skinny pigs should not be confused with Baldwins, which are another hairless guinea pig breed.

If you happen to see someone post this image on Facebook, make sure that they know that this is a skinny pig. Long-haired guinea pigs like Buffy do need an occasional trim, but as the Metropolitan Guinea Pig Rescue pointed out, "it would be a truly torturous thing to shave a guinea pig this close."

Product Review: Oxbow Timothy Mat

Today we're reviewing Oxbow's Timothy Mat. We weren't sure what this product was intended for at first. Is it just another way to feed us hay like the Harvest Stacks? Is it another chew toy like the Snak Shak Activity Log? Are we supposed to wipe our feet on it before entering our pigloos? The front of the package doesn't help explain it. It just says: "An enriching addition to your pet's habitat." But how exactly will it enrich our habitat?

So confused by this thing...
The Oxbow website finally shed some light on how to use this thing: "Oversized, all-grass accessories offer a place to rest and relax inside or outside the cage. Edible construction offers your small pet the high fiber he needs and craves." Okay, got it! It's supposed to be an edible pet bed. Let's open it up and give it a try.

Okay, so how do we want to use this thing? Rest on it? No, let's all just chew on it!
Wow! This thing is fun to chew on!
So it turns out we're not really interested in resting on this thing. We've got a great pet bed for that. The way we see it, this mat is for chewing, and it's really fun to chew on! 5/5 stars!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

What Should I Name My Guinea Pig?

Our first guide to naming your guinea pig was well-received, so we decided to do a follow-up. Here are some more ideas for naming your guinea pig:

* Something space-related: Astro, Comet, Galaxy, Nebula, Nova, Meteor.
* Fuzzy creatures from science fiction: Chewie, Ewok, Tribble, Wookie.
* Characters from literature, movies or television: Aladdin, Beowulf, Bilbo, Captain Kirk, Frodo, Homer, Romeo, Sherlock, Starbuck, Xena, Simba.
* Musical instruments: Banjo, Bugle, Calliope, Fiddle, Kazoo, Piccolo, Trumpet, Tuba.
* After official titles: Baron, Chief, Duchess, General, Professor.
* After famous people: Elvis, Einstein, Ghandi, Lincoln, Mozart.
* After other animals: Bear, Moose, Tiger

You can also give your guinea pigs color-specific names, depending on what color they are:
* For black guinea pigs: Inky, Licorice, Midnight, Pepper.
* For blonde/cream guinea pigs: Biscuit, Buttercup, Caramel, Custard, Honey, Cream, Mustard, Toffee.
* For brown guinea pigs: Bear, Brownie, Dr. Pepper (Doc for short), Truffles
* For grey guinea pigs: Dusty, Misty
* For red guinea pigs: Blaze, Cayenne, Cherry, Garnet, Magenta, Rosie, Ruby, Scarlet.
* For white guinea pigs: Blanco, Cloud, Crystal, Frosty, Ghost, Marshmallow, Pearl, Popcorn, Snowflake, Sugar.
* For black and white guinea pigs: Chess, Oreo,

What is your guinea pig's name? Tell us in the comments!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Product Review: Carefresh Confetti Soft Pet Bedding

Today we're going to review Carefresh Confetti Soft Pet Bedding. This product is so festive-looking that we had originally planned on reviewing it on New Year's, but we had a lot of other things to talk about so we didn't get around to it. We made it our New Year's resolution to get around to this review, however, so mission accomplished!

It's so colorful!
Can't wait to try it out!
This stuff is more expensive than the regular, Carefresh Natural soft pet bedding. We've found that prices can vary quite a bit depending on where you buy your Carefresh, but just for comparison purposes, we pulled the list price (not the sale price) and sizes for Carefresh Natural and Carefresh Confetti from Petco's website:
  • $8.99 for 14 liters of Natural VS. $12.99 for 10 liters of Confetti
  • $13.99 for 30 liters of Natural VS. $17.99 for 23 liters of Confetti
  • $23.99 for 60 liters of Natural VS. $25.99 for 50 liters of Confetti

In other words, your human will pay more to get less of the Carefresh Confetti bedding. If you pay extra for this stuff, do you get anything for your money? Well, turns out it works just as well as the regular Carefresh. The only real difference is the appearance. It's so fun and festive!

We were up last night partying on our Carefresh Confetti. Time for you to clean it up, human!
If you've got the kind of human who wears a monocle and top hat, and buys you cages with solid gold bars to chew on, then they can probably afford to buy this stuff everyday for you. If your human isn't like that, however, then they're probably better off sticking with Carefresh Natural (or one of the off-brand equivalents that's even cheaper) for everyday purposes. Still, if you want to have the occasional celebration or if you're trying to impress someone, then we would say it's time to get Carefresh Confetti. (You can always switch back after the holidays are over and your judgmental house-guests go home!) For being a quality product that looks great but is a bit too expensive for everyday use, we'll give Carefresh Confetti 4/5 stars!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Orange Bell Peppers?

We reviewed red bell peppers way back in 2011, but never got around to the other colors of bell peppers. Until now, that it is. Today, we're reviewing orange bell peppers. Green, yellow, orange and red bell peppers all come from the same plant, but are at different levels of maturity. Orange and yellow bell peppers are in the middle between green (the least mature) and red (the most mature).

That pepper is semi-mature.
Orange bell peppers are not on our favorite food chart, although green, yellow and red ones are. According to the chart, red bell peppers should be fed less often than green and yellow because they are higher in sugar. Since orange and red bell peppers seem to have the same amount of sugar, we're going to recommend that you feel orange bell peppers by the red bell pepper guidelines, which means you can feed them 2-4 times per week.

Orange bell peppers are just as good as the red ones, and also get 5/5 stars!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Ask A Guinea Pig: What's Wrong With Guinea Pig Breeding?

It's time for another installment of "Ask A Guinea Pig!" Andrew Carpenter asks: "Do you guys think you could make a post about why you frown on breeding? ...i want you guys to tell me how you feel so i can show you my side of the pig pen."

Good question, Andrew. We want to make it clear up front that we think we are a pretty great species, and we're definitely not in favor of guinea pig extinction. Therefore, we're not claiming that no guinea pigs should ever breed again anywhere in the world.

The way we see it, there are two motivations for breeding guinea pigs: Either you love guinea pigs and really have their best interest in mind, or you're just trying to make a buck. We're not so cynical as to think that all breeders only care about money. We found a great essay entitled "That Truly Rare Breed: 'The Responsible Breeder'" by Serafina Cupido which lays out what it takes to be a truly responsible breeder of guinea pigs. Some of the points this essay makes include:

  • Breeders must educate themselves about guinea pig care and health issues. Otherwise, ignorance could lead to tragedy.
  • Guinea pigs should be kept in good living conditions, including adequate space, clean cages, clean water, a healthy diet, and all those other things we post about on this blog.
  • Breeders must realize that pregnancy carries risk for the mother, and they must not add to the risk by breeding them too early or too late in life, or by having more than 1-2 litters in a lifetime.
  • Breeders should continue to care for guinea pigs past their breeding age, and will not just dispose of them.
  • Breeders that give or sell their guinea pigs should make sure they end up in suitable home.
  • Breeders should realize that overpopulation is a problem, and find a positive way to contribute to addressing the issue.

If you're reading our blog, we're guessing this means you're probably one of these responsible ones since you're choosing to invest your time in reading about guinea pig care. However, if you're buying a guinea pig from a big pet store, how sure can you be sure that the breeders who supply them also adhere to these ideals? From what we read, many of them don't, and the results are truly horrible (warning: disturbing stories below). Highlight the space below to read on.
  • One investigation revealed that "one of PetSmart's main animal suppliers, Rainbow World Exotics in Hamilton, Texas, also revealed that live animals were thrown into the trash, were deprived of desperately needed veterinary care, were suffering and dying alone in their cages, and were cannibalizing each other; that rabbits underwent crude neuter surgeries at the hands of a layperson in a filthy, dark room; and more." 
  • A woman from Chester, NH had 33 guinea pigs that "were not being well cared for. The shelter deemed it a 'puppy mill' of guinea pigs: the animals were bred continuously only to sell to local pet stores... The adoption center is now busting at the seams with guinea pigs and is in need of fosters or adopters."
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture inspection reports from 2004-2006 reveal a variety of Animal Welfare Act violations, including "11 guinea pigs housed inside a small tub only large enough for four."

That last story brings up another point we want to mention regarding guinea pig breeders. The Animal Welfare Act only applies to breeders who make $500 or more annually from the sale of guinea pigs (and/or other animals covered under the Act). Not all who should register do. Even if a guinea pig breeder does register and comply with the Animal Welfare Act, it only requires a cage size of 10" x 10" per guinea pig. recommends a minimum of 30" x 36" (more is preferred) for one guinea pig, so the Animal Welfare Act standards are pretty weak. A breeder could comply with the letter of the law and still keep their guinea pigs in pretty bad conditions.

Know where your guinea pig comes from. All guinea pigs should live in comfort like this!