Sunday, July 31, 2016

Guinea pigs Painting Art

Humans like to think they're a pretty unique species. If you ask a human, they'll tell you that they're the smartest, and they're the only ones who do stuff like science and art. If you're a human who thinks like this, you better brace yourself for what we're about to say: Animals can make art, too. For example:
Painting by Congo the chimpanzee.
The Saint Louis Zoo even sells art by all sorts of their animal inhabitants, including sea lions, penguins, and rhinos. And, as you might expect us to mention on a blog like this, guinea pigs paint as well:

Pretty cool, huh? Just wait, humans. If we have guinea pig artists, guinea pig scientists can't be too far off!

Monday, July 25, 2016

Getting Guinea Pigs to Live Together in the Same Cage

As the new pig on the block, I have to say that that I wasn't crazy about the silly dominance rituals I've had to put up with--from certain individuals far more than others. (They know who they are!) Fortunately, the time has come to finally put such foolishness behind us.

As the newest member of the Cavy Savvy blog team, I've had a lot of catching up to do on previous posts. One thing I found fascinating was that Broccoli was introduced on the blog on November 9, but the post announcing that he was living with the others didn't appear until May 10 the next year. So that's about 6 months before everyone became one little old happy family. For comparison, I was introduced on March 31 of this year, and it's only in this last week that I finally joined the cage. So that's 4 months of grief I've put up with. But, I'm trying to be a water bottle-is-half-full kind of gal, so I suppose I should be grateful it took 2 months less this time around than the last time.

Let this be a lesson to humans out there who expect new guinea pigs to hit it off instantly. It takes time, so manage your expectations accordingly.
Yes, I know this is awkward. But please don't chase me around.
The humans want us to get along. If we work together and play nice, there could be some sort of treats in store for us. What do you say?
Well, I never thought I'd see the day!
So what made the difference? Honestly, it just took time. The humans allowed us to slowly get accustomed to each other's presence through the cage bars and during floor time. Eventually, they noticed a drop on the amount of chasing and fighting, and knew it was time. If you're having trouble introducing a new pig to your other ones, do it gradually, and be patient.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Guinea Pig Broke a Tooth

I've been incredibly excited about Lola (#2) ever since the humans brought her home! I think we could become good friends, but there's just one caveat: she's got to recognize my dominance. I'm the big bad boar; king of the cage, if you will. And I'm certainly not going to give up my crown without a fight. This all would have gone down so much easier if Lola would have just acknowledged my dominance rather than fighting me on this. Instead, she sometimes fights back and often runs away, avoiding the issue. This is something that needs to get resolved, Lola! Running away doesn't solve anything.

Anyway, because we're still having our "disagreements," the humans haven't been comfortable putting us in the same cage yet, and have been taking things slow with our introduction. I'm impatient, though! I've been wanting to meet her so badly that I've been biting the bars of my cage.

As it turned out, this wasn't my best idea. My tooth started hurting from this, which was aggravated when I ate, which made me eat less. (Even though I love eating!) The humans weighed me, and noticed that my weight was down a bit, which is cause for concern. They also noticed that one of my lower incisors seemed to be chipped. They decided it was time to bring me in to the vet.

Give it to me straight. What's going on?
What are you going with that cotton swab thing?
This thing is making my mouth numb.
I had a few minutes of peace and quiet, and then they wiggled off the tooth that was hurting!
Ouch! Thought that would hurt more, though.
Oh no! Now my smile won't look as good in blog pictures!
I've got to say that this was the second most disturbing thing to happen to me at the vet involving losing a body part! Guinea pigs have 20 teeth, but only 4 of them (the upper and lower incisors) are highly-visible. Our incisors are constantly growing, and we need to gnaw on things like hay to wear them down and keep them at a proper length. This means that I shouldn't have to wait too long for that tooth to grow back. In my case, however, the break occurred close to the gums, and there was a little bleeding and a bad smell when the tooth came off. Therefore the vet prescribed me an antibiotic and a painkiller for 10 days. The broken tooth should grow back in about 3 weeks.

In cases where a tooth breaks below the gum line, leaving a hole, your vet may recommend that your human uses a syringe with a mild saline solution to wash out the hole. If multiple teeth break at the same time and you're unable to hold and chew food, your human can use a vegetable peeler and hand-feed you thin slices of food, which you can chew with your back teeth. Neither of these things happened to me, so I guess things could be worse!

Monday, July 11, 2016

Product Review: Small Pet Select Meadow Ball

One thing we've learned from running this blog is that there are a fair amount of ball-shaped guinea pig toys out there. We've reviewed at least two types of willow balls, for instance. There's probably a third willow ball out there somewhere we could have reviewed, but we like to mix it up around here. Therefore, we're reviewing a different type of ball today: Small Pet Select's Meadow Ball. Their online listing says: "Lucious meadow grass, all twisted and wrapped into a ball of fun goodness. What is better than a treat you can eat and play with too?  Healthy high fiber, totally safe."

The humans opened the box during floor time, and they immediately got our attention!

Is this where the expression "having a ball" comes from? It's from guinea pigs chewing on toys like this, right?
Next, the humans dropped off the ball in Lola's cage. (They're still trying to integrate Lola into our little group, but it hasn't quite worked out yet.) Lola took one look at the ball and ran back to her pigloo! That poor piggy finds the world to be an incredibly scary place, and is not a fan of unfamiliar things.

We'll give Small Pet Select Meadow Ball 4/5 stars. As far as we can tell, it's made out of safe, good-quality materials, and two of us had fun chewing on it. But I suppose we have to take off a star since Lola found it scary.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Product Review: Oxbow Simple Rewards Baked Treats with Peppermint

I wouldn't be surprised if, after all the types of Oxbow Simple Rewards we've tried already (including Apple and BananaBell Peppers, Carrot and Dill, CranberryCranberry-Rosemary, Lavender-Chamomile, Papaya Medley, Timothy Treats, and Veggie Treats... and possibly others we've forgotten about!) that there weren't any new ones left to try. Well, it turns out there is! Today, we're reviewing Oxbow Simple Rewards Baked Treats with Peppermint, which our humans found at the vet's office the last time they refilled Buffy's medicine.

New Oxbow treats!
Good job, humans! Even though we weren't crazy about mint leaves, we tend to love Oxbow treats, so we have a pretty good feeling about this one.

Lola is still being fed separately because Broccoli and her haven't been able to settle their drama yet. She seems to like it. Our turn now!
I hope you're giving him a smaller one than you're giving me!
Although we hated mint leaves, the minty flavor in these treats is much milder. We loved them! 5/5 stars!