Let’s face it, we’ve all done it … walked into a pet store, saw the cute treats they have for guinea pigs and thought “my piggies would love this!” The fact of the matter is though, not everything that pet stores advertise as “for guinea pigs” is not always safe, or healthy, for them.
Despite the fact that pet stores are supposed to be full of helpful advice and healthy toys and treats, they are actually full of harmful options for your piggies if you are not careful. Now, they do have some healthy toys and treats, you just need to know what to look for. To help you, I have created a list of things to stay away from as you walk through the isles of your local pet store.
1. Store-Bought Cages
Store-bought guinea pig cages are very cramped for piggies. They do not foster their curious nature and can cause weight gain from lack of space to roam around. These are appropriate, however, should your piggies have free-roam of a room and have come and go access to the cage. I do use a store-bought cage though for traveling to the vet (get your very own downloadable care binder here to keep everything organized!) and when I volunteer with Grizzly. (To find out more about volunteering with guinea pigs, click here).
2. Sugary Processed Snacks
Sugary processed snacks are not foods that guinea pigs would normally eat in the wild, thus their digestive tracts and stomachs are not made to handle these types of foods. They have no nutritional value, and may cause excessive weight gain and diabetes. So, next time you see those sugary “treats” at the pet store, resist the urge my friend!
An alternative to these sugary processed snacks are:
My piggies love both, and I haven’t found a flavor of either that they don’t quickly scarf down!
Seeds are not very good for guinea pigs, as they have a high fat content and really do not have nutritional value for your piggy. They are fine in moderation, however the sweet seed sticks they sell at pet stores are not of any nutritional value for your piggy.
4. Exercise Wheels + Exercise Balls
Both of these items are very dangerous for guinea pigs and should not be bought for your piggy under any circumstances! The spines of guinea pigs are not meant to bend the way that they do while in an exercise wheel or ball, thus causing spinal damage.
Some alternatives to keeping your guinea pig entertained are:
Barrel Roller Chew Toy *my piggies favorite!
So there you have it my friends, five things to stay away from while shopping at the pet store! Remember, just because it is advertised as safe for guinea pigs, does not mean that it is!
Ashlee + Piggies