Pet Store Items that Harm Your Guinea Pig

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:

Katee Timothy Baked Biscutes

Oxbow Simple Reward Treats

My piggies love both, and I haven’t found a flavor of either that they don’t quickly scarf down!

3. Seeds

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:

Tunnels

Wooden Houses

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!

Love,

Ashlee + Piggies

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A Beginners Guide to Fleece Bedding for Guinea Pigs

When I rescued my first two guinea pigs, Alvin and Theodore, they came in a small store-bought cage with wood shavings. I knew nothing about guinea pigs at this point, and naïvely used the rest of the wood shavings that came with them.

After a couple weeks of having the piggies, I switched over to paper bedding, buying into the “odor control” marketing on the packages.

The odor was horrendous; the dust and paper were all over my room and the piggies were laying in pockets of wet paper…I could tell they were miserable.

I was miserable.

And I was spending close to $60 a month on this paper bedding…

Then my life changed forever…

I discovered the magical world of fleece bedding…my life and the lives of my piggies were forever changed! (And my bank account loved it too!)

Now, you may think I’m being a bit dramatic, but I tell you, once you switch over to fleece you will never want to use any other bedding in your guinea pig cages again!

1.The odor was minimized

2. I no longer have wood or paper shavings all over the place

3.I have saved so much money since switching to fleece! (Since switching to Fleece 3 years ago, I estimate I have saved roughly $2,160!)

The first thing that you must know before switching over to fleece bedding is that sweeping the cage daily is a must; however, I am able to sweep four cages in under 20 minutes, it is very quick! You can do this with a small hand held broom and dustpan, or a vacuum (preferably a filter free vacuum or you will spending a majority of your time cleaning the filter out…I learned my lesson the heard way!).

Next, choose the kind of fleece that you want to use. There are three options, no way is better than another, it all comes down to your own personal preference:

1. A simple sheet of fleece at the bottom of the cage with some sort of absorbent material under (I prefer U-Haul pads, but you could also use puppy pads or old towels).

2. Fleece Flippers from Guinea Pig Market which is what I prefer to use due to the small removable pieces of fabric, making cleaning a lot easier! (Note, they are not a sponsor of this post, I just REALLY love their products!)

3. You can get a custom made fleece cage liner on Etsy or Amazon. If you have a Midwest cage, I absolutely LOVE the liners by Cozy and Clean. They have the most adorable patterns! Or even if you don’t have a Midwest cage, you can get a few of them to match your guinea pig’s cage size.

Now that you have decided on the type of fleece that you are going to use for your piggy’s cage, you must prepare the fleece for use.

One of the benefits of using fleece is that it will wick the urine from the surface of the fabric to the absorbent material underneath. This helps keep not only the odor down, but the cage nice and dry minimizing the possibility for bumble foot and urinary track infections.

In order to make sure that the fleece that you have chosen will wick the urine through, you must wash it roughly 3 times in order to remove the waxy substance that is found on the fleece after production.

*Tip: Do NOT use any dryer sheets on your fleece, as this will cause the fabric to lose it’s wicking ability.

All in all, fleece is my absolute favorite bedding! I have used wood shavings and paper bedding in the past, but I have found that my piggies even seem to prefer the fleece as well.

If you have any questions about using fleece in your guinea pig cages, please comment down bellow or shoot me an e-mail at hi@littlecavylove.com

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Love,

Ashlee + Piggies

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Popeye says “YES” to fleece!