Archive for the ‘Guinea Pig Care and Feeding’ Category
We Have Informational Videos!!!
Just a short note to let you know that BlueStoneCommerce has produced a few informational videos on Guinea Pig Supplies (and we are in the process of producing more). Here are links to the videos – you can choose your favorite video website to view them on…
Guinea pigs are hunted and eaten in the wild. In the wild, it is the guinea pig who struts proudly across large open spaces that is the guinea pig who gets eaten first. The cavy who scurries and hides, lives to scurry and hide another day. So it’s no wonder that they like to hide for comfort and security. For this, reason, when shopping for guinea pig supplies, always remember to select a suitable nest box.
In the wild, guinea pigs are food. No matter how much we love our little pets, we have to face this reality. The fact that guinea pigs are hunted and preyed upon in the wild is what drives many of their behaviors. Perhaps you’ve noticed that your pigs do not naturally like to be picked up. Eventually, as you handle your cavies regularly and make friends with them, they may learn to tolerate the lifting; but they always look uneasy when you first pick them up. This is because, in the wild, being picked up meant danger. It was never a friendly, loving act. It was usually done by a bird of prey—or a much larger (and hungry) mammal.
It is for this reason that your domestic guinea pig instinctively loves to hide in small places. And it is also for this that a nest box or other shelter should absolutely be at the top of your shopping list of guinea pig supplies if you want your cavy to feel safe and secure.
Nest boxes come in several forms with a variety of advantages and disadvantages.
The Plastic Nest Box
Several varieties of plastic nest boxes are available. Some are shaped like igloos. Others are box-shaped. Some advantages of plastic nest boxes are that they have easy-to-clean surfaces, they come in a variety of colors and guinea pigs will generally not chew them up. Many of them come in translucent colors so that you can see your pigs right through the walls. A popular example of an igloo-shaped nest box is the
PETCO Small Animal Igloo Hideaway .
An interesting variation of the plastic nest box is one constructed from Super Pet Waffle Blocks. The nest box is reconfigurable because it is built from snap-together colorful plastic panels.
The Wooden Nest Box
Wooden nest boxes usually come in simple cube-like shapes. Most are a natural wood color although there are some colorful wooden nest boxes such as the Super Pet Tropical Hide-Out (which also offers adjustable vents to allow airflow through the nest box).
Guinea pigs like to chew on wooden nest boxes. (One manufacturer has even named their product Gnawsome Hut to emphasize this feature.) Depending on your point of view, this is either an advantage or a disadvantage. If you view your nest box as a shelter for your pigs—and only a shelter for your pigs—then you are not going to appreciate them chewing on it. On the other hand, if you view it as a multi-purpose object for your pigs to enjoy as a shelter and as a chew-toy, then this is the choice for you.
The Fabric Nest Box
A less popular option is the cloth tent for guinea pigs. An example of this is the
Super Pet Sleep-E-Tent . Advantages are that it is lined with fleece so that it is soft and plush for added comfort. The disadvantages are that it must be washed regularly. As an added feature, this particular model also unzips to form a hammock for your pigs.
The nest box is an important item that many people overlook. When it comes to guinea pig supplies, many items are frivolous and unnecessary. Other items are absolutely essential for your guinea pigs’ health, safety and wellbeing.
Do you know the difference? CLICK on this LINK for lots more FREE INFORMATION on essential guinea pig supplies . Or, CLICK ON THE PHOTO below for more information on the Super Pet Topical Hide-Out (with food-safe colors):
When we got our first guinea pig, we knew that we also needed a few guinea pig supplies—especially food. We grabbed a bag of hay because we had heard that pigs liked hay. As we looked through the huge offering of guinea pig supplies at the pet store, we noticed that there were many varieties of hay. But the most popular seemed to be alfalfa hay—so we grabbed some of that and headed home—content, dumb and happy with our newest pet. But, we did some research later and found that we had unwittingly made a poor choice regarding our pig’s nutritional needs.
When we think of hay, we tend to think of grass or fibrous grass-like plants. However, alfalfa is not a grass hay. It is a legume hay. This means that it’s more closely related to peas, beans, lentils and peanuts than to your front lawn. As such, it’s much too rich in protein and calcium for your guinea pig. Alfalfa hay may be given to guinea pigs with increased protein and calcium needs—young, growing guinea pigs (under six-months of age); convalescing animals and pregnant or nursing sows. However, it should not be given daily to mature guinea pigs as it may cause excess weight gain and may increase the likelihood of kidney stones. Our exotic pet veterinarian likes to say that alfalfa hay is like a Snickers bar to your pet. It tastes great, they love it, but it’s simply too rich to be eaten very often. Much better to stick to the healthier grass hays like Timothy hay, orchard grass hay or oat hay.
In recent years, Timothy hay has become the standard hay for healthy guinea pigs. Unlike alfalfa, Timothy is a grass hay. As such it contains the long strand fibers that are so very vital for your cavy’s digestive processes. And with a much lower protein and calcium content that alfalfa hay, Timothy hay is well-equipped to meet your pig’s nutritional requirements. Timothy hay is the hay most commonly recommended by veterinarians.
Orchard Grass Hay
As the name implies, Orchard grass hay is another grass hay. Because it is very similar in fiber, protein and calcium contents to Timothy hay, it is also a very healthy choice for your guinea pig.
Oat hay is highly recommended because it is also a grass hay. It is comparable to Timothy and orchard grass hays in terms of fiber and protein content. It is also slightly lower in calcium content than the other two varieties.
In terms of nutritional value, Timothy hay, orchard grass hay and oat hay are virtually interchangeable as far as guinea pig health is concerned. All three should be given in unlimited quantities. That is, they should always be available to your guinea pig 24/7. Not only do they satisfy your cavy’s nutritional needs, but they also serve to grind down their teeth in order to keep them from growing out of control. And while your pig can certainly thrive on any of these three hay types alone, we suggest that when choosing guinea pig supplies, you choose all three (as well as other grass hays). This will serve to add variety to your pet’s diet.
If owning a guinea pig is new to you, the world of pet guinea pig supplies is probably also new to you. If this describes you, then this article will clear up much of the mystery behind selecting and purchasing the correct guinea pig supplies. If you are an experienced cavy owner, you may still pick up some important tips and details in the words that follow.
7. Pet Guinea Pig Food
When selecting hay for your pet guinea pig, you can’t go wrong with Timothy hay. Exotic animal veterinarians can’t say enough good things about Timothy hay. For some reason, alfalfa hay is very popular for small animals. Read the ingredients list and you will find that very many guinea pig pellets contain alfalfa or alfalfa meal as the primary ingredient. These foods are to be avoided. Small animal vets claim that alfalfa hay is “like a Snickers Bar to guinea pigs”. In other words, it is much too rich for their system. If contains far too much protein and calcium for daily use.
6. Feeder or feed bowl
You will need either a feeder or a feed bowl to dispense guinea pig pellet food to your pet. The advantage of a feeder is that holds a larger amount of food than a bowl so it does not have to be filled as often. It attaches to the side of the cage so that it will not tip over.
A food bowl holds smaller portions so food stays fresher.
5. Hay Rack
In addition to daily meals of Timothy hay-based food pellets, give your pigs unlimited access to Timothy hay in a hay rack. Timothy is nutritious for guinea pigs and is great for their digestive systems.
4. Water Bottle
You will need a good quality water bottle. Water dishes do not work well for guinea pigs as they tend to knock them over. A 16-ounce bottle is a good size for guinea pigs.
3. Vitamin C Supplementation
Guinea pigs, like humans, are unable to manufacture vitamin C in their bodies. Because of this, and because they are unable to store this vitamin in their body, they require vitamin C on a daily basis. The best method is to crush vitamin C tablets and sprinkle on their food.
Putting vitamin C in the water bottle is not recommended. If you change water daily, much of the vitamin C may be thrown away. In addition, guinea pigs sometimes will drink less water because they do not like the sour taste in their water.
2. Bedding or Fleece
If you choose to use bedding, choose a low-dust bedding. Bedding materials like pine chips or clay litter create a lot of dust and may cause respiratory issues in your guinea pigs. Fleece is gaining in popularity. It is more economical in the long run, but it does require frequent washing.
1. Guinea Pig Cage
Most pet store cages are too small for a full-grown cavy. Many guinea pig rescue organizations recommend the following minimum size standards for cages:
- One guinea pig: 6-7 sq. ft.
- Two guinea pigs: 7.5 sq. ft.
- Three guinea pigs: 10.5 sq. ft.
- Four guinea pigs: 13 sq. ft.
Cages this large can be difficult or impossible to find in pets stores. A different style cage—C&C (Cubes and Coroplast) cages—have risen sharply in popularity over the past few years. People often build them as homemade do-it-yourself cages, but you can also readily find them online in kit form. A good place to find a large selection of quality C&C guinea pig cage kits is, of course, this very site you’re on!
Adopting a new pet into your home brings you not only fun, but also additional responsibility. With the correct choice of guinea pig supplies, you will be able to create a safe, happy and healthy environment for your new cavy friend.
So you’ve just brought home your first pet guinea pig. Perhaps it’s just now dawning on you that you don’t really know what you’re going to need in terms of guinea pig supplies. Or maybe you’re farther ahead of the game than I’m giving you credit for. Maybe you are in the process of shopping for your first cavy now and are doing your research on guinea pig supplies ahead of time so you will be well prepared when your little piglet (technically they’re called pups) comes home. Either way, this essay will make the acquisition of your newest family member go as smoothly as possible.
Guinea Pig Cage
Your first and largest purchase will be a cage. The cages provided by pet stores are typically too small for a full-grown cavy. Most rescue organizations recommend the following de facto standards for minimum cage sizes:
- One guinea pig: 6-7 sq. ft.
- Two guinea pigs: 7.5 sq. ft.
- Three guinea pigs: 10.5 sq. ft.
- Four guinea pigs: 13 sq. ft.
Cages this large are difficult to find in pets stores. C&C (Cubes and Coroplast) cages have become extremely popular over the past several years because they allow you to purchase a large cage at reasonable prices. These cages are often homemade do-it-yourself cages, but can also be purchased online in kit form.
We recommend paper bedding. Guinea pigs tend to be susceptible to respiratory problems, so bedding materials such as clay litter or pine shavings (bedding materials with high dust levels) are to be strictly avoided. Also, certain woods such as cedar contain relatively large amounts of tree oils. They should also be avoided because tree oils are generally not good for guinea pig health. Paper bedding (often made from recycled newspapers) is highly recommended as it suffers from none of these issues.
You will need a water bottlethat attaches to the sides of your cage. Water bowls are not suitable for guinea pigs because the cavies like to stand on them (or in them) causing frequent spills. 10-16 ounces is a good size. Be sure to change the water daily so it doesn’t get stale.
Feeder or Food Bowl
You will need either a feeder (which also attaches to the side of your cage) or a food bowl. This item will be used to serve guinea pig feed or pellets to your pet. If selecting a food dish, make sure that it is heavy and stable so that it will not tip when your pet guinea pig decides to stand in it.
When it comes to guinea pig supplies, one frequently overlooked item is the hay rack. Your pet guinea pig loves hay and it should be readily available to her at all times. One easy way to do this is to use a hay rack which attaches to the wall of your cage. If using a C&C cage, you may be able to find a model with a built-in hay shelter.
Food and Hay
Almost nothing is better for your pet guinea pig than some form of grass hay. Timothy hay is a great choice—containing both high-quality nutrition and the long strand fibers necessary for good digestion. Timothy hay can be given to your pet directly or as the main ingredient in food pellets.
Guinea pigs are a delight and a great addition to the family. But, like any pet, they also create additional responsibility. To insure that they live a happy, healthy and comfortable life; you must provide safe and comfortable living quarters, plenty of clean drinking water, and quality nutritious food.
With a hamster, you can just toss a wheel in its cage and it’ll hop right on it and chug away – going nowhere – and he’ll be perfectly happy. It reminds me of the people you see at the health club – chugging away on their elliptical trainers – going nowhere – but getting healthier. Toss a wheel into your guinea pig’s cage and see what happens. Chances are she’ll chew on it – that is until she gets bored and ignores it.
You’ve brought home your new guinea pig(s), chosen a suitable and roomy cage – now, where do you put it? A) Garage, B) Closet C) In front of a window D) None of the above. The correct answer is D) none of the above. Among other requirements, cavies must be kept in a room with a stable temperature – free of drafts and out of direct sunlight. Finding a suitable location for your guinea pigs’ cage is a task that requires careful thought and diligence. When placing your pigs’ new home within your home, several factors should be considered.
If children are older and reasonably responsible, they can (and should) take on a role in the care of your family’s guinea pig. With the words: Okay, we’ll get a guinea pig – but you will have to take care of it, many parents are tempted to completely abdicate their pig care responsibilities and assign them all to the child. This is almost never a good idea. While caring for any living creature is a great learning opportunity (and the parent may even tell the child that they are totally in charge of the animal’s health, safety and welfare); ultimately, the final accountability should always remain with the responsible adult.
Guinea pigs are intensely social creatures. In the wild they used to live in groups called herds. If you are planning on getting a guinea pig, you must realize that, in addition to obtaining a new family member, you are also making a binding social commitment. As descendents of herd animals, guinea pigs do not do well in solitary situations. As such, you must be prepared to set aside significant time each and every day as a guinea pig owner to interact with your pet – an easy and enjoyable task for animal lovers. If you are more of a hands-off admirer of animals – or if your busy schedule prohibits rich daily interaction with your cavy, then it is highly recommended that you get a second or third pig to satisfy your pet’s social requirements.
You and your guinea pig may have more in common than you realize. Both you and your guinea pig must have vitamin C to survive. Unlike other mammals who manufacture vitamin C from glucose in the body, you and your guinea pig both lack a particular enzyme needed to perform this process. Thus, both human and guinea pig vitamin C requirements must be satisfied by external sources.
Your guinea pig must have a regular source of vitamin C or it will perish. Vitamin C is a water-soluble substance. Fat-soluble vitamins (like vitamins A, D, E and K) are dissolved by lipids – fat globules. Once these vitamins are absorbed by lipids, they are stored in your body’s tissues. Vitamin C, on the other hand, is not stored in the body. It is dissolved by water and any excess vitamin C in your guinea pig’s body will be excreted in the urine. Because vitamin C passes so quickly through your cavy’s body, they must be given supplements on a daily basis.
A great way to supplement your pig’s diet with the C vitamin is to feed them a diet rich in dark leafy vegetables such as parsley, kale or romaine lettuce. Be sure to avoid iceberg lettuce as it is mostly water and empty calories. It is essentially devoid of any nutritional value. As a general rule of thumb – the darker and richer the color of a fruit or vegetable – the more vitamins it contains.
To insure that your pig is getting sufficient amounts of daily vitamin C, it is also recommended that you supplement its diet with vitamin C supplements in the form of tablets or liquid drops. Tablets can be crushed and sprinkled on food or dissolved in drinking water. Liquid supplements can be added to drinking water or sprinkled on your guinea pig’s food.
Be careful when adding vitamin C to your pig’s drinking water. Vitamin C can be destroyed by substances found in tap water in certain regions. Your safest bet is to use distilled or purified water.
Your cavy needs vitamin C to survive. While supplementation is recommended, it should not be the only source of vitamin C for your guinea pig. Your pig’s diet should also contain plenty of dark green vegetables. Since vitamin C is water-soluble, there is little danger of giving too much vitamin C to your cavy. All excess vitamin C will be safely eliminated from the body in the urine.
Guinea pigs are wonderful pets with great dispositions. They require little maintenance and make terrific pets for older children. But guinea pigs are not for everyone. Here are just a few factors to think about before running down to your favorite animal shelter or pet store to pick one up.
So you’ve just brought your new guinea pig home from the shelter or pet store. And now, you’re not entirely sure what to do. Let us help you get off to a good start with this Quick-Start Guinea Pig Owners’ Guide.
Guinea pigs make great pets. They are generally friendly and good-natured – although some may tend to be on the shy side. Like any other animal, guinea pigs have a natural language for communication. As a curious guinea pig owner, being able to understand some of the more common “messages” from your little pets will make your experience with your pigs more meaningful, memorable and enjoyable.
When we think of a guinea pig, we usually picture the American Guinea Pig – the “classic” or “standard” guinea pig – and also the most common. But there are also several other breeds in addition to the common American Guinea Pig. This article will introduce you to a few of the breeds commonly found in homes today.
True or false: Guinea pigs are small, hybrid animals that have been cultivated and cross-bred from wild pigs originally captured on the island of New Guinea. The fact that this animal was originally cross-bred in the laboratory to establish a pig breed that was both of friendly disposition and small enough to keep as a house pet, is the reason that the guinea pig still remains associated with labs in most of our minds today.