3 Things Even Experienced Guinea Pig Owners Aren’t Doing

We all want to be the best guinea pig owners, right?

Well, even if we have been owners for years, sometimes there are some things that we just forget about! (Myself included!) So, here are the top three things that I have found that even experienced guinea pig owners sometimes forget to do.

1. Weigh Weekly

It’s okay, sometimes we all forget to weigh our piggies. We get caught up in our day to day routines and just want to love on our piggies when we get home and not have to worry about getting down and dirty with the nitty gritty of care.

As I’m sure you know, weighing your guinea pig weekly is SO important! (jump on over here to learn more!) It is also important to keep in mind that it is best to weigh them the same day of the week and the same time. You also need to be keeping a record of your piggy’s weight, both to monitor health and take to your veterinarian during check-ups. If you would like to have a FREE weigh tracker, scoot on over here to snag a copy for yourself!

2. Boar Cleanings

Now, this one only applies to you if you have a boar (male guinea pig), obviously. I must admit though, at one point I felt as though I was a pretty knowledgeable guinea pig owner, then one day I heard the term “boar cleaning” and I though, “What the heck is that?” I looked it up and instantly felt like the worst guinea pig momma EVER! My babies were 1 and 1 1/2 at the time, meaning that they should have had boar cleanings for a long time, but I just had no idea!

What are boar cleanings?

Male guinea pigs can become compacted quite easily, thus their anal sack must be cleaned out on a monthly basis with a Q-Tip and Mineral Oil. (I will be posting a video soon on how to do this, so keep your eye out!)

Some months your piggy may not need a deep cleaning, a quick swirl of a Q-Tip to get any hay and fur out may be all they need! Just keep an eye on them as they begin to move into their later years.

For example, one of my older piggies needs to be cleaned once a week if not twice. He gets really dirty and has other digestive issues causing the more frequent cleaning. If you think your guinea pig may need to be cleaned out more often than once a month, this is something for your vet to look at and advise you what is best for your individual guinea pig.

3. Measuring Food

I will be the first to admit that sometimes I get lazy, or flat out forget, and don’t measure the pellets or the veggies that I give to the piggies daily. This is so important because being overweight can be so dangerous for guinea pigs. One thing that it may cause is bumble foot.

Do you know how much they should be eating? Skip on over to my Nutritional Guide to find out!

So, those are the top three things that I have found even experienced guinea pig owners forget to do sometimes.

What do you know you should be doing but forget to do sometimes? Leave your comments bellow!

If you have any questions please feel free to comment down bellow, connect with me on any of the social media platforms, or shoot me an e-mail at hi@littlecavylove.com

Don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE HERE for exclusive content and updates!

Love,

Ashlee + Piggies

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Learning to Care for a One Eyed Guinea Pig

To start off, you may be wondering who the cutie is in the picture above, well this is my 3 year old piggy Popeye. I rescued him in 2015, 2 weeks after he had to have his eye removed.

So, why did this handsome man have to have his eye removed?

Popeye had gotten an eye infection, something that could have been taken care of quite quickly should his previous owner had taken him to the vet, however he did not want to spend the money on a “rodent”. (His words, not mine). This poor little guy was then put through the tragic ordeal of having his eye removed, after being abandoned by the only person he had ever known..

Most of the time, eye infections are quite easy to cure, if you take your piggy to the vet.

The day I went to the vet’s office to pick up Popeye, the moment I picked him up he melted into me and began to purr. He knew he was going to be taken care of and given all the love he would ever need for the rest of his life!

Now that’s get into the nitty gritty of caring for him. I learned a lot with this little guy; his eye did not heal as it should have and is still open to this day.

Three days after Popeye came to his forever home, he was able to get his stitches out. Not going to lie, I bawled like a baby hearing Popeye squeal while they were being removed. Once they were out, we realized that due to excessive swelling that occurred after surgery, his eye lids had not healed together. His eye socket was completely open. I was so worried he would get something in there, and begged the veterinarian to do another surgery and close his eye together.

She did not want to put his little body under anesthesia again unless he really needed it.

We went home and hoped that everything would be okay. It was, for a little while.

Several weeks after Popeye got his stitches out, I noticed that there was a lot of extra drainage in his eye and took him to the vet as soon as I could get him in. Unfortunately, he had developed an abscess in his eye. He was put on Baytril (an antibiotic) and I was instructed to clean the outside of his eye with warm water and a Q-tip twice a day.

After a round of Baytril, the abscess cleared up!

 About 6 months ago, the veterinarian that had taken care of all my guinea pigs, and did Popeye’s surgery, moved out of state and I thus the search for a new exotic veterinarian began.

I was extremely fortunate enough to be able to find such a knowledgeable and caring veterinarian to start seeing!

Our first visit with her did not turn out as I had expected, though. Upon first look at Popeye, she asked me how long he had had the eye infection. I looked at her dumbfounded, and told her that all the drainage Popeye was experiencing I had been informed by the previous veterinarian was normal.

It was then her turn to look at me dumbfounded.

She apologized and informed me that drainage is normal after an eye removal, but not to the extent that Popeye was experiencing it.

He was put on two rounds of an high dosage antibiotic and Ciprofloxacin, a medicated eye drop. Once the infection cleared up I was instructed to clean the outside of his eye daily with warm water and a Q-Tip, put a few drops of Saline Solution in his eye twice a days to keep it moist, and use the Ciprofloxacin should it start to have extra drainage again.

Taking care of Popeye takes a bit longer than any of my other piggies, but I wouldn’t trade him for the world. Despite being let down by humans before, he loves me unconditionally and purrs each and ever time I pick him up.

I didn’t adopt him, he adopted me.

Do you have a beautiful one-eyed piggy?

Share their picture bellow or e-mail it to me at hi@littlecavylove.com to be featured!

Don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE HERE to exclusive content and updates!

Love,

Ashlee + Piggies

P.S. It is worth the extra time, and money, to find a veterinarian that truly knows what they are talking about when it comes to guinea pigs, or any exotic animal for that matter. I learned this the hard way. Don’t take your piggy’s health lightly, you never know what could happen. For help in finding the right veterinarian, jump on over HERE.

Why You Should Weigh Your Guinea Pig!

Did you know that you should weigh your guinea pigs on a weekly basis?

Do you know you should but you have no idea why?

Well, welcome! I am glad you’re here!

Let’s jump in…

Guinea pigs are prey animals, this means in the wild they have other animals that are trying to harm them all the time.

Aside from being prey animals, they are also heard animals.

So what do those two facts have to do with weighing your piggy on a regular basis?

Guinea pigs have become amazing at hiding their illnesses from those around them for two very important reasons:

1. Should a predator see that a guinea pig is sick or injured, they then become vulnerable to attack before any of their heard-mates.

2. If the other guinea pigs in their heard should see that a particular pig is sick, they are highly likely to abandon the sick pig in order to prevent a predator from targeting their heard.

For these very reasons, your guinea pig will hide their illness from you as well. They will still act “normally” and weight loss may be the only indication that there is something serious going on with your piggy.

Theodore

So now that you know why you should be weighing your guinea pig on a weekly basis, let’s get down to the nitty gritty of actually weighing them!

Q: How often should I weigh my guinea pig?

A: Weekly. Same day and same time preferably, that way the weight recorded is most reliable.

Q: How should I weigh my guinea pig?

A: Using a small kitchen scale is the best (and cheapest) option. Because guinea pigs are so small, a normal bathroom scale will not pick up on their weight accurate enough. Using some sort of container to contain your piggy during weighing will make it easier for both of you and will make the weight you record more reliable. *Don’t forget to zero out the scale after you place the container on the scale but before you place your guinea pig in the container.

Q: How much should my guinea pig weigh?

A: Adult male guinea pigs should weigh between 32-42 ounces.

Adult Female guinea pigs should weigh between 25-32 ounces.

Q: How much weight loss is too much?

A: As a rule of thumb, follow the following guidelines:

1 oz decrease is OK

2 oz decrease = go on alert and weigh DAILY

3 oz decrease = extreme alert, weigh every two hours and CONTACT YOUR VET

4 oz decrease = get to a vet ASAP

As promised, I have attached a FREE Guinea Pig Weight Tracker to help you track your guinea pig’s weight. It is also great to take to your vet during checkups so they too can monitor your guinea pig’s progress.

If you have any questions please comment down bellow or connect with me on any of the social media platforms.

As always, don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE HERE for exclusive content and updates!

Love,

Ashlee + Piggies

What Do Guinea Pigs Eat?

Are you a new guinea pig owner?

Do you know for a fact that your guinea is getting all the proper nutrition?

Do you want a review of everything your guinea pig should be getting on a daily basis?

Well, you’re in luck! I have created a comprehensive guide to walk you through everything your guinea pig should be eating on a daily basis!

1. Plenty of FRESH, CLEAN Water

First and foremost you want to make sure that your guinea pig has access to water 24/7. This water should be fresh, changing it at least once a day is going to guarantee this; however, I recommend that you change it twice a day. Personally, I change my guinea pig’s water once in the morning and once in the evening when I give them their pellets (morning) and veggies (evening).

You also want to make sure that the water bottle your guinea pig is drinking from is clean and doesn’t have any mold build up. I clean all the water bottles once a week with water, a cleaning brush and Q-Tips, and disinfect them in the dishwasher once a month. (I don’t use soap in the dishwasher, the hot water is enough to make sure they are clean!)

2. Fresh Hay 24/7

Your guinea pig should also have access to fresh hay at all times. Why? Because not only is this your guinea pig’s main source of food, but a good quality hay keeps them healthy and their digestive tract running smoothly! So, make sure the hay that you are buying is a high quality hay!

So what type of hay should you get?

If your guinea pig is under 2 months of age or pregnant, they should be eating alfalfa hay primarily. This type of hay is higher is protein and caloric content, timothy hay on the other hand is higher is fiber content but lower in protein and calories. If your guinea pig is older than 2 months and is not pregnant, then they should be eating timothy hay.

Now, not all timothy hay is going to be equal. I have tried so many kinds of timothy hay and have found that my guinea pigs prefer Small Pet Select Timothy Hay. It is the freshest hay I have found and you get a lot for the price you pay. You end up paying more in the long run if you buy from your local pet store.

How much hay should you give them?

As much as they want! 🙂

3. Pellets with Vitamin C

Each guinea pig should ONLY get 1/4 cup of pellets each day. Over feeding your guinea pig will lead to obesity which can lead to other health problems. Again, these pellets should be high quality, made from timothy hay (despite age or pregnancy status), and contain STABLE vitamin C.

The best brand of pellets that I have found are from Oxbow or Small Pet Select.

A lot of piggie parents as me about using liquid vitamin C in their piggy’s water. I tend to shy away from liquid vitamin C being added to water for two reasons:

1. This form of vitamin C is highly unstable and thus breaks down, no longer providing the health benefits to your piggy.

2. Not all guinea pigs will drink the water with the added vitamin C, thus leading them to become dehydrated and not receiving adequate amounts of vitamin C.

Overall, it’s best if your guinea pigs get their vitamin C from their pellets and fresh veggies.

Why do guinea pigs need vitamin c?

Like us humans, guinea pigs can not produce their only vitamin c. If they do not receive adequate supplies of this vitamin, they will ultimately end up with a life threatening condition known as scurvy.

4. Fresh Veggies

Guinea pigs also require 1 cup – 1 1/2 cups of fresh vegetables each day. These vegetables should be washed and chopped and provided once daily (or throughout the day if you prefer).

Leafy greens (Romaine NOT iceberg lettuce) should be the bulk, with a sprinkling of carrots, celery, cucumber, and other veggies added in.

You can find vegetables that are high in vitamin C to provide to your piggy as well that aids in them receiving enough vitamin C.

Not all vegetables are safe for your guinea pigs to eat on a daily basis. Click this link >> Safe Food List for a free downloadable PDF of a list of veggies safe for your piggy and how often they can eat them.

5. Fruits and Other Treats

Fruits should only be given to your guinea pig once a week, as the high sugar content can cause obesity and diabetes. Treats that you find at the Pet Store should also be given sparingly.

*Caution: Stay away from treats with seeds and nuts, these are NOT good for your guinea pig despite them being found at the pet store!*

What veggies and treats do you feed your guinea pig? Comment down bellow!

As always, if you have any questions, you can reach out to me on any of the social media platforms or simply shoot me an e-mail at hi@littlecavylove.com

And don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE HERE for exclusive updates and content!

Also, skip on over to my Etsy store HERE for resources to help keep all your piggy’s care organized!

Love,

Ashlee + Piggies

What is Bumble Foot?

Fortunately, I have only had to deal with bumble foot in two of my rescues and both were very minor cases; however, bumble foot can be a very serious medical condition, one in which a visit to a qualified exotic veterinarian is absolutely necessary.

So what exactly is bumble foot?

Well, bumble foot occurs when the foot pad of your guinea pig becomes swollen and infected.You may even notice some scabbing and bleeding on the base of the foot.

The scary part of this is that bumble foot can travel to the bone of the foot/leg, resulting in the your little piggy having to receive an amputation.

Before we get into treatment, why does this happen to guinea pigs to begin with?

Bumble foot can occur for any of the following reasons or combination of reasons:

  • Moist/Unsanitary Bedding
  • Rough bedding (like wood shavings or a grid floor) that cause cuts and thus bacteria is allow into the foot pad.
  • Obesity (click here for what your guinea pig should be eating on a daily basis)
  • Lack of exercise

The only way to know exactly if what your piggy has is bumble foot, and for the best treatment plan for your specific pig, is to go to a reputable exotic veterinarian.

If you can not get in right away, an Epsom Salt soak has been known to help with the swelling and is how I have cured bumble foot in the past with my rescues.

*Be careful to not let your pig groom while soaking, if they get the solution in their eyes this can cause an infection*

To soak your piggy’s foot, mix one 1/2 tbs of Epsom Salt per 1/4 cup of warm water. You want the water hot enough to dissolve the Epsom Salt, but you want to allow the water to cool to a temperature that is comfortable for your piggy.

You can test this by putting dropping some of the solution on your wrist, just as you would check the temperature of a baby bottle.

Next, get a small dish (I personally use shot glasses) and soak your piggy’s foot in the solution for 15 minutes (or as long as they will tolerate it) about 3 times a day. After soaking, rinse the foot off and dry completely.

Some other tips:

  • Switch your piggy’s bedding to a soft paper or fleece. I prefer fleece bedding because the fleece will wick away any moisture from the top, keeping the fabric dry. I have a beginners guide to fleece bedding here.
  • Sweep up pellets several times a day if using fleece, or spot clean if you are using paper bedding. Keeping it swept up will help keep the cage sanitary.
  • If obesity is an issue, make sure you are feeding your piggy the right amount of vegetables and pellets a day. They should be having about 1/4 of a cup of pellets and roughly 1-1.5 cups of fresh veggies each day. Also make sure that you are staying away from the colorful and sugary snacks that you can find at pet stores and opt for a timothy hay and veggie based snack.

I hope this post was helpful, if you have any questions comment down bellow or shoot me an e-mail at hi@littlecavylove.com!

Don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE HERE for free content and exclusive updates!

Love,

Ashlee + Piggies