Like any animal, whee guinea pigs can get bored. Some signs of boredom include, not running around as much, overeating, barbering (chewing the hair of ourselves or another guinea pig) and biting cage bars. These things can be annoying and upsetting to your hoomans
There are things other than toys that can prevent boredom. The most important ones are:
– A fellow piggy as a furfriend. This is super important. Whee guinea pigs need companionship or whee can become very lonely.
– Hay, Hay, whee always love a bit of hay! Unlimited hay is not only needed for good health but also a great thing to play in
– Fresh fruits and vegetables. Try to change it up. You wouldn’t like eating the same thing efurryday and neither do whee.
– Regular floor time. Running in the garden in a run or inside the house in a piggy proof area gives us stimulation and keeps things interesting!
– Cuddles with hoomans and interaction. Whee often squeak to our hoomans and have long conversations. Hoomans aren’t great at listening and don’t always seem to understand but with practice they improve!
Now onto the fun part! The toys! Firstly, the very best toy whee can suggest is a hidey place. Some hoomans say that you shouldn’t give us a hidey because whee will just hide and never get used to you but our Mummy found that letting us hide and slowly gaining our trust was a far better option and now if whee really don’t want cuddles or to talk to anyone whee can hide. In the wild whee are prey animals so whee run and hide when whee are afraid or want to be alone. Mummy says they make us feel more secure and that is true. Good hideys include:
– Cardboard boxes, a favourite of ours. Shoe boxes are best!
– Shop bought ‘igloos’ fondly known as pigloos in the cavy world!
– Wooden huts, also available from pet shops
– Fabric pet shelters such as tents or other animal beds
This leads us neatly into snuggle toys such as:
– Flat cushions, these can be bought or hand made quite easily. The one Buddy models below was a first attempt by our hooman. She just used a fleece blanket and some pet safe wadding bought from an arts and crafts shop.
– Blankets, most fabrics are ok but fleece is best
– Dog, cat or rabbit cosies and beds (or the little hoomans build a bear dog bed toy for their teddy!)
– Cuddlecups which are essentially fleece snuggle pouches. You can make your own or buy them using online guides
(Even our Mummy has made them so it can’t be too hard!)
– Fleece tunnels, also can be made or bought using online guides (relatively advanced though so not for your average can only just sew in a straight line hooman, like our hooman!)
Finally toys to chomp and chew and play with!
– Brown paper bags. Primark in the UK do some good one’s for this. Stuff them with hay and treats for good fun.
– Screwed up balls of newspaper (sometimes hiding treats in there is fun as it makes us forage like whee would in the wild)
– Kitchen and toilet roll tubes. Stuff them with hay and treats and you have hours of fun.
– Tennis balls or other sports balls so long as they’re a good size and fun to push around.
– Plastic tunnels you can buy in most pet shops.
– Wooden garland gnawing toys, available in most pet shops. If you have bar biting piggies hanging these across the affected areas can help deal with this by giving us something else to chew on.
– Willow twig balls and twigs to play with. Mummy uses the twigs to kebab veggies on for us as something fun to do sometimes. In hot weather, high water content veggies on a kebab are a fun way to keep cool.
– Slightly messier but still good fun, a plant pot or container, stuffed with shredded newspaper, hay, bedding and strip of fleece and fabrics. This works with most animals as a good toy, just adjust the size of your container to match your pet!
– Maze of books and boxes. Our little hoomans love designing mazes for us to play in. They have a toy piggies which is the same weight as us and life size so they can be sure it is a safe. They hide treats and whee have great fun tracking them down!
– A wash cloth cut into strips (not completely, leave a 2cm gap uncut at one end) and hung across the cage can be fun to run under and play in.
– Mirrors. Whee are slightly obsessed with our reflections so bird toy mirrors are really good fun.
There are plenty of fun things you can make or do for your piggies. Imagination is key! Mummy just spent fifteen minutes playing with Basil and a square of tissue he liked chasing and shredding. Whee don’t need you to spend money to have fun!
Do you have any boredom busting tip? What are your favourite toys?
Nutty, Nacho, Buddy & Basil
~ After a storm, the sun will shine ~
After the sadness of the last week whee have been wanting to share some good news and today it was hot a sunny so whee spent it in the garden with the hoomans. Nutty is still very sad so whee didn’t take any pigtures of him but I had lots of fun being cheeky and playing games in the hoomans, Mummy’s hat! She was cuddling me when I pulled it off her head and climbed in. I think it really is my colour!
How are you enjoying the sun? Are you using hats to stay cool or something else.
For tips on how to keep piggies cool in hot weather check this out.
Recently whee have had a couple of questions about guinea pigs in general and although whee have done this before whee would like to hear any questions or problems you might have that whee can help with.
Those questions you
never desperately wanted to ask.
The issues you need advice on.
Well today the bidding wars officially begin for Leo the poorly kitty. Get over there are get in before all the bargains are gone! Whee just managed to sneak a little something in for you to big on but it was a close thing because one of us had a little accident last night . . .
Yes, the drama. Unfortunately Buddy and Basil had a little argument last night and one of them got hurt. It was poor little Basil (whee say poor but he is suspected of starting the fight in the first place) Usually they say that if they draw blood you must separate guinea pigs immediately but straight after they were cuddled up together with Buddy caring for Basil so Mummy decided it would do more harm than good to separate them.
Basil had what is a quite nasty deep cut which goes all the way through his lip and is a little over 1cm. Mummy called the out of hours vets last night in a bit of a panic for some advice. Whee have to keep it clean and let it heal on its own unless he shows signs of an infection. So whee are keeping a careful eye on him. Mummy is giving him some special food called critical care and probiotic water just to keep him going in case he is struggling to eat or drink. After the way he attacked veggies this morning whee think he is ok but Mummy is just being careful. This morning whee got a pigture so whee could show you guys the damage and believe it or not this is actually a hell of a lot better than it was last night!
Please send healing wheeks too Basil and he requests from his sickbed that you buy lots of things at the auction as it is for such a good cause.
Have a mellow Monday
Well you would not believe what I have been through! There have been many accusations over the past couple of days over the cause of a ‘smell’ around the living room. Mummy pointed out that the smell appeared most often when I was out of the cage. To my outrage I was the subjected to a sniff test where all the hoomans stuck their hooters in my direction and sniffed loudly.
Buddy, of course found this hilarious but I was appalled. Such treatment did things to a little chaps ego. Mummy declared I would be having a B.A.T.H. I did not know what this was but now I do, I can assure you that these things must be avoided at all costs. Soaking me and covering me in some fancy stinky shampoo is really going to damage my reputation.
So what if I am fluffier, brighter, and whiter at the end of this? (below are my after bath pigtures, I look at bit stunned after meeting the hair drier for the first time – its a monster!)
How will I ever recover my dignity?!
Basil – The Bashful Piggy
Well here is the third installment of our Are Piggies The Right Pet For Me?
This one is more of a what to do in an emergency with a piggy and covers most of the basic health issues. Details for this were found on Guinea Lynx and in the book ‘Guinea Pig’ by Peter Gurney, published by Collins.
Us piggies don’t get sick often but when whee do it can be bad. This covers pretty much all of the common illnesses. This should not be used to diagnose a piggy, just as a basic guide. If your piggy is sick, you need to get them to a vet.
The purpose of this part is to see whether you could afford the care a piggy needs and come up with funds for vet treatment with little or no notice. Whee aren’t going to wait for pay day to get sick.
Nibbles, Nutty, Buddy & Basil
A-Z of Basic Medical Problems in Piggies and what to do
These are common around and under the jaw on piggies and are easy to treat as they are in the skin tissue. A vet will probably need to lance the abscess or perform minor surgery.
Abscesses in the jaw bone are very rare and far harder to treat.
Also known as not eating – this is extremely serious, as it means your piggies system will be shutting down, leading to serious complications. After as few as 16 hours of not eating, your piggies liver cells begin to break down and from then on, the piggy will only get worse. You need a vet urgently to determine the cause and treat it.
Signs and symptoms include a bunny hopping walk (though that can also signal a vitamin deficiency), swollen or painful joints, less movement than usual and the piggy generally seeming off colour. Ways to help can be a heatpad or water therapy (whee have tested both with Nibbles with some improvement) and a vet can provide anti-inflammatory medication to help with the pain and manage the condition. There is no cure, it is just part of a piggy getting older and some get it, some don’t.
If your piggies tummy looks swollen and distended you will need to get to a vet. Bloat is a build up of gas which is extremely painful and can be fatal in some cases. If when you tap lightly on tummy and it sounds hollow, then it is almost certainly bloat.
BLOW FLY STRIKE
This only happens late in Summer, usually to elderly or unwell piggies. It is caused by a fly laying eggs, usually in the anus of incontinent animals but can be in the skin. With twenty four hours the larvae will have hatched and be growing and multiplying at shocking rates. A vet trip is need immediately.
First signs are swelling and sometimes icky ulcers on the pads of the feet. In the earlier stages it can be very painful for piggies to walk but over time the adapt to it. Whee are going to keep saying this but you probably need a vet trip.
Heat exhaustion or heat stroke is common but completely preventable. Keeping guinea pigs shaded and hydrated in hot weather can protect your piggy. However if you piggy does get it symptoms include; the piggy being unable to stand and heavy and fast breathing. You should wrap the piggy in a towel which has been soaked in cold water, but only for a short time as you don’t want to take it to the other end of the scale and have it catch a chill. As soon as it begins to stir you should take it out and keep it cool. DO NOT REPEAT THIS PROCESS. Do not try to give the piggy water straight away. A piggy in this state will have difficulties swallowing and could end up with the water getting into it’s lungs. Wait until it is alert and recovering then carefully let it sip from it’s bottle or, if you know how to do so safely, syringe feed. During the next twenty four hours you need to get as much fluid into the piggy as you can. If in doubt or the piggy takes a turn for the worst get to your vets.
Heavy, laboured breathing and blue tinged lips are signs of a heart or circulatory problem. When Nugget suffered from at heart attack this was one of the first things Mummy noticed. A vet can give oxygen and check for fluid in the lungs using an x-ray but it is important to act fast.
Diarrhoea is especially serious if accompanied by the pig looking ill and sitting with its coat puffed up: get to a vet. If it is black, watery and smells yucky then it is probably an intestinal problem like a bacterial infection caused by eating off hay or vegetables. Diarrhoea can be caused by antibiotic (when it kills off intestinal bacteria). Many vets don’t seem to realise that piggies should have a pro-biotic supplement, just as a precautionary measure to prevent this.
Other forms of diarrhoea can be caused by too many fresh fruits or vegetables or a change in what pellet food they are being given. This is also serious, and needs treatment. Replacing fresh vegetables with lots of hay is best, if there is no improvement, the piggy will need a trip to the vet.
If your piggy is having difficulty walking or holding it’s head tilted on one side, see a vet immediately. This can be a sign of a bacterial infection of the inner ear. A vet will also check for parasites and other conditions. Treatment is needed for complete recovery. Bad infections can cause the ear drum to be destroyed, sometimes permanently, as happened with our little Bingo. Whee cannot emphasise quick treatment enough. If there is a discharge inside the ear then it is a very good idea to get a swab taken to work out what is the best anti-biotics to fight the infection.
These are quite common and are mainly caused by getting something in the eye or hay poke injuries. The first sign will usually be the eye running with the lid partially closed. If you know what you are doing then (You probably aren’t reading this!) you can flush it with a saline solution but otherwise a vet can do this and make sure everything is ok. If there is any sign of infection such as bulging eyes, redness or pain then clearly you need a vet.
Mite and fungal infections are extremely common. Symptoms include; dry, scaly skin, open sores, scratching, and pain when touched. Fungal most often appears on the face but can be on any part of the piggy. Sometime there will be a flaky or crusty edge to the ears, sometimes there will be nothing. Fungal spreads quickly and the infection ‘ringworm’ can be passed to hoomans and other animals. Usually anti-biotics and a topical cream, dip or shampoo will be prescribed by your piggies vet. Recovery is slow and it usually does get worse before it gets better. Piggies can have both fungal and parasitic infections at the same time.
Injuries are not common and can be frightening for you and the piggy. It is important to stay calm and assess the following. Is your piggy alert? Can it move around? If there is a cut, is it deep, possibly requiring stitches and antibiotics? Examine the lips and mouth to see if they are a healthy pink indicating good blood circulation or instead pale or bluish. If your guinea pig has been dropped, then a vet check is definitely needed.
Mite and fungal infections are extremely common. Symptoms include; dry, scaly skin, open sores, scratching, and pain when touched. If it is mange mites (a parasitic infection) it can even be fatal and usually requires two or more ivermectin treatments 10 days or so apart. Piggies can have both fungal and parasitic infections at the same time.
The signs of poisoning vary widely. If you think your piggy has been poisoned, contact your vet quickly.
Guinea pigs require vitamin C in their diets daily. As someone reminded us we have not yet mentioned this but it is soo important! They can develop scurvy if they don’t get enough of this necessary vitamin. Scurvy symptoms include; difficulty walking, diarrhoea, dehydration, weight loss, listlessness, discharge from eyes and/or nose. Because the diarrhoea can be life threatening and have other causes, never assume it can be cured by giving vitamin C. See a vet for a proper diagnosis and treatment.
UPPER RESPIRATORY INFECTIONS (URI)
Symptoms include; laboured breathing, crackling sound from the lungs, eyes that are almost sealed shut, discharge from the eyes and/or the nose, sneezing, coughing, and wheezing. A vet will prescribe antibiotics to treat this (guinea pigs do not get cold viruses). Untreated URIs are almost always fatal. Occasionally allergies can produce the same signs – but URIs are deadly and fast moving, so you must get your vet to rule out a URI before considering the possibility of an allergy.
URINARY TRACT INFECTION (UTI)
Symptoms such as blood in the pee, pained squeaking while peeing are all signs of this condition. A vet check is needed.
Vitamin or Mineral Deficiency
Some piggies with a vitamin C deficiency may hop rather than walk. A calcium deficiency can also affect the ability to move.
Well it is official. As whee struggle to type this on Mummy’s phone whee are wondering what whee did to offend the internet. How did whee get on it’s naughty list? (if Santa has one why can’t the internet?!) It must be pretty bad. Whee feel cut off and stranded on a little desert island in the middle of the blogosphere. With no news from the outside world.
If whee were on a desert island and allowed three things, at least one would be a working internet source! *sigh*
Anyway whee are going to ask you to do us a little favour to help us with our next post. Whee want to tell efurryone about guinea pigs and tell them if they are the right pets for them. What thing would you like to know about or what question can whee answer that you think will help people get to know guineas?
Thanks in advance and whee are so sad missing all your blogs so please tell us if you have any big news!
ps. Out of interest what three things would you have with you on a desert island?!
Do you look like this?
But want to look like this?
There are no fad diets, you just eat whatever you want! Here are my top two exercises!
Exercise 1 – The Lap-Snuggle-Stretch
This exercise is a favourite of pretty much efurryone one I have ever taught. The lap snuggle stretch is designed so that you simply reach out with your body and stretch and relax.
If you have no hooman around you can do the Sofa Stretch which can be done on any chair or even the floor (though that is a bit uncomfortable!) Just reach out with your front paws while pushing away with your back paws.
Exercise 2 – Paws Up & Eat
This is a very simple move designed to fit in at normal feeding time. You just need to stand before your food bowl with your paws a stomach width apart. Then place one paw on the edge of the food bowl and stretch forward to have a mouthful. Step down and chew mouthful.
Then repeat three times. As you improve you will be able to support your body enough to place both paws on the edge of the food bowl as Buddy demonstrated above.
If this seems like too much effort then you can tilt your head to the side of the bowl and eat noms between stretches, as demonstrated by Nutty on the right.
This is also great if you are hungry as it looks really pathetic and as though you are half starved, usually encouraging a hooman to fetch you something. (Works best if you have emptied the food bowl beforehand!)
Before long you will all be able to manage the Lotus Position just like I can!
So that is the Guru Nibbles Winter Warm-Up and Shape-Up exercise plan! If you would like to attempt any of these exercises get your hooman to take photographic evidence and either post it on your own blog or email it to me email@example.com
That is all for now young grass hopper!
That’s the question on efurryone’s lips right now as a situation which started off innocently has escalated into a WWIII (Woof War 3!) or possibly hostage situation!
It began with one blogger, Doggy, claiming that he deserved more than he had been offered in Paw Tokens being offered by Miss Mollie of Mollie’s Dog Treats. Mollie answered that the rules were clear and after a ruling by Judge Sammy and will the help of Misaki (The Lawyer) and the Lovely Lady Litchi a compromise was reached and a treaty signed.
But then in a shocking turn of events another situation took place. The Post Of Explaination And A New Treaty Proposal. Despite the best efforts of all involved, Doggy then announced war, where it is said snipers were involved!
Mollie asked to see Doggy and the request was granted and Mollie arrived safely for a dinner discussion. Was it romance or rioting in the air? Whee don’t know, but our reporters tried infiltrating the Castle through a system of sewage pipes to bring you the latest! Nofurry could say they aren’t dedicated! Below is a pigture released by Doggy to prove Mollie was safe and well.
However Mollie has not contacted her concerned fur-mily. Where is Mollie now? Doggy claims she has left the castle after their discussions in his usual dramatic way (This quote from Doggy was taken from Mollie’s blog):
This is unacceptable!!
Molliw [sic] left the castle after we reached an agreement. I do not know where she is, she said she was going back to her half burnt village. Somebody is trying to destroy my honor!
Be aware, dark day are coming, I will not hesitate to burn down villages, countries, continents, bringing Mollie back, now we are talking about my honor.
I suggest you look for refuge, this is war!!
So what is happening? Where is Mollie? And do you think our veggies will ever arrive with Mummy’s attention so caught up in this story?
Whee will update you as whee discover more!
Anyfurry with details on the whereabout of Mollie should comment here or email us firstname.lastname@example.org
Reported By – Nibbles, Nutty, Buddy & Basil
PS. Whee are considering calling the CIA to investigate (That is the Cavy Investigations Agency – A private investigations group with contacts and whiskers everywhere!)
Hello Handsome Boarpigs.
I have a problem and I hope you can help me out.
You see I am completely in love with a gorgeous agouti boarpig, but I am too scared to talk to him and tell him that I do. I have struggled with confidence talking to boarpigs all my life, although I am verreh chatteh to hoomans. It is mainly because of my size – my hoomans feed me way too much and when Poppy, my sister, leaves some of her food because she is full, I can’t help myself and eat her leftovers too. I am nothing but a ‘big fat chubba wubba’.[?]It makes me feel like if I try to tell the handsome boarpig about how I feel, he will just laugh at me and tell me I am too fat to be a bootiful ladypig.
Poppy, my sister, has a perfect mini-pig body and great confidence with
boarpigs and I am sosososo jealous of her. Please tell me how I can improve
my confidence so I can talk to the gorgeous boarpig.
As an agouti cutie myself I felt that I, Nutty Nutkin, should advise you. I know that love matters are usually more Buddy’s business but he is being a busy piggy. As I know whee have said before whee loves the bigger pigger. I personally prefer the larger ladypig. It proves they appreciate their noms!
Every well fed piggy knows a nice meal sits on your stomach. A little chub looks good on any piggy. There is no need to worry. A good and worthy boarpig will appreciate you for who you are.
To improve your confidence you should name five things that you love about yourself. Then maybe try talking to this boarpig you fancy. If you cannot speak to him face to face you could try sending a letter anonymously sharing your feelings. Then you could find out how he reacted. You could even enlist Poppy’s help with this.
Just remember; no body is perfect and Poppy probably has fears and insecurities as well.
If anyone else has advice for Clover please comment.