Blog Archives

Can You Put a Price On a Life?

Normally whee would write the blog post but today Mummy wants to talk to you. Take it away hooman!

A story hit the press over here in the UK a few days ago which has caused mixed reactions. From disbelief, to some enthusiastic cheering.

Where would you stand? Is it worth £300 to save a goldfish’s life? (That’s $456.69 for our oversea friends!)

Vet Faye Bethell operating on a devoted pet owner's constipated goldfish. The three inch fish made a full recovery after the 50-minute, £300 operation

Vet Faye Bethell operating on a devoted pet owner’s constipated goldfish. The three inch fish made a full recovery after the 50-minute, £300 operation Photo: SWNS

People are struggling to understand how anyone could become that attached to an animal.

I may not understand the relationship he shares with his goldfish, but I absolutely applaud and defend his right save it. Not much is known about this man but whatever his reasons he chose to protect the life of his little finned friend.

I have been criticised by someone for the amount I’ve spent on Noah after his teeth incident. I’m not going to go in specifics but it wasn’t even close to £300. However, even if it had cost that, I would have paid it.

When you take on a pet you are making a promise; to always protect and care for them.

I have a “piggy bank” (pun intended!) of money to spend for vet trips and a plan in place should I not be able to afford something. I think this is something all pet owners should have.

Do you have a “piggybank”? What are your thoughts on this news story?

Have a great day efurryone!

The Hooman

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Fundraising Animal Auction for Lovely Leo . . . The Mollie Miracle

There is something special which whee are reminded of in times of need. This blogosphere is a family. A family who pull together and create miracles when one of them is in need.

There is a kitty in need right now. If you aren’t familiar with Leo’s story – just visit our previous post where whee mention him or Savannah’s blog and take a look to see how much her foster bro-fur is going through. Leo is a very sick cat and Savannah’s pawrents are footing most of the vet bills while the cat charity he is from is trying to raise funds.

However a furry kind furry is creating one of the aforementioned miracles in doing a big Auction and Raffle thingy to raise money. To see the posts about how you can help see Mollie’s blog here and how to buy raffle tickets here. As this is quite a lot for one person to handle Misaki is also helping out and you can donate and buy raffle tickets there too.

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Untitled-12If you can donate something or buy a ticket then please hop over there. All donations need to be told to Mollie or Misaki by Friday 17th. The Auction with take place on Monday 20th and raffle winners will be announced on Wednesday 22nd.

So please, if you can, help do! There is no better cause than family.

Nibbles, Nutty, Buddy & Basil

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ps. Whee dedicate this song to Savvy, Leo and their pawrents . . .

A Furfriend In Need

Whee don’t often (see, ever!) ask for favours involving money but whee would very much appreciate if you could visit this page on the blog of our furfriend Savannah, on Savannah Paw Tracks. Her pawrents are foster caring for a cat charity and they have taken on the care of a very unwell kitty called Leo. Leo needs a lots of vet treatment which of course costs money. On the linked page you can see how to help and donate. They would so appreciate it. However much you can give will help.

It’s times like this whee remember how truly fortunate whee are and it also reminds Mummy to add to what she has nicknamed the ‘CC’ fund. (Cavy Curing Fund)

Illness, disease and accidents can strike at any time and all pet owners should have insurance or some money set aside to cover this. Too many times you read of very sick animals being given to shelters because the owner couldn’t not afford, or did not seek veterinary care quickly enough.

Now in comparison to most other pets whee are relatively cheap to treat when ill but if it is something serious (and with us it really is all-or-nothing!) then investigations to find the best course of action can be expensive. Just because whee are small and sometimes cruelly thought of as easily replaceable does not mean we are not entitled to care when sick. People are far to quick to give up. One vet trip, oh I’ll try some antibiotics . . . end of course and nothing has changed and they don’t go back. Why? What makes us less worthy?

This is a rant whee often have. If your animal is sick you get treatment whether they are horse or stick insect. Otherwise it is cruelty and illegal.

Right we went off on a tangent there but it really bugs us. Anywho, please visit Savvy’s blog and help her pawrents help her foster brother.

Also please give us your views on setting money aside and lack of love for small furries when sick.

Nibbles, Nutty, Buddy & Basil

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ps. Buddy has been up to mischief today which whee will tell you all about tomorrow!

Buddy Breaks It Down!

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Buddy cosies down to report the news!

Ok so whee have had countless requests for updates on what has happened while whee have not been posting. So I, Buddy T Pig, have decided to break it down.

Nibbles:

Our grumpy older piggy of the family has been absolutely fine. His new habit of tearing up the bedding and flicking poops out of the cage is driving Mummy nuts!

Nutty:

Talking of ‘nuts’. Well as you know Nutty was unwell with a URI (upper respiratory infection) which was very serious and nearly killed him. He made a good recovery, and despite now eating for England, he has stayed slender. Mummy is a little concerned that he is not himself today so she book a vet trip for him tomorrow which no doubt whee will all be hearing about later!

Me – Buddy

I am doing fabulously as usual. I have had a little arguement with Basil a few days ago which resulted in a little cut on my nose but whee are friends again now.

Basil

My troublemaking little cagemate has been doing a lot of ‘diggy-pig’ burrowing through the hay which resulted in a nasty hay poke injury where Mummy had to flush out the whole eye. Urgh.

As for Mummy and the little hoomans there care of us has been satisfactory so there is very little to report.

Anyway, never a dull moment!

Buddy
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Are Piggies The Right Pet For Me? Part 3 – Emergency and Illness

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

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A-Z of Basic Medical Problems in Piggies and what to do

ABSCESSES

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.

ANOREXIA

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.

ARTHRITIS

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.

BLOAT

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.

BUMBLEFOOT

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

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.

HEART PROBLEMS

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

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.

EAR INFECTION

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.

EYE INJURIES

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.

FUNGAL INFECTIONS

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

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.

MITES

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.

POISONING

The signs of poisoning vary widely. If you think your piggy has been poisoned, contact your vet quickly.

SCURVY

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.

Are Piggies The Right Pet For Me? Part 2 – Handling and Health

Well, after our previous post you probably know if piggies are something you have the time, money and energy to take on. So now you are choosing your piggy, one of the best parts of getting a new pet.

Where to get piggies from?

Rescue. Rescue. Rescue. Whee cannot say it enough. You would be surprised by the number of cavies in need out there. If you choose to go to a breeder or pet shop then you run significant risk of come home with a sick or pregnant piggy. However if in your part of the world that is the only option available to you (whee know not all countries have rescues as over run as whee do in England) then whee strongly suggest you carefully examine the piggies before purchase using our basic health check guide and get them vet checked as soon as possible after getting them. Some diseases like the fungal, Ringworm, can be passed to hoomans and other animals from piggies and a pretty common from pet shop piggies.

How to handle a guinea pig

Whee piggies are fragile animals with delicate bones. Sometimes whee get excitable or frightened suddenly and have a tendency to jump (especially when you are returning us to our hutches or cage). Learning how to carry and handle us is a bit of trial and error but very important as falls and jumps can result in broken bones, injury, and sometimes death.

This is how our Mummy picks us up. First she corners us, (or if it is Nutty or Nibbles – both of whom love coming out – just reaches into us). Then she wraps one hand round our chest, just under our front paws. Then she uses her other hand to support our back feet and bottoms to make us feel secure and safe. It is nearly impossible for a piggy to jump in this position, even with nervous piggies, so it is then safe to lift us out and bring us to your chest. Mummy finds that whee like our paws on her shoulder or to hide under her chin but all piggies are different and you soon learn which way whee like to be carried.

A very important thing to add here would be that children should not be allowed to lift and carry piggies. All it takes is the child to tighten it’s hold, loose it’s grip or for the piggy to become startled and your piggy could end up hurt. Mummy is in the process of teaching the little hoomans how to lift us safely, but only with them sitting on the floor next to us and lifting us onto their laps. Never carrying us. She says it is not worth the risk.

As for putting us back in our hutches or cage, one thing Mummy does with Nibbles who has a tendency to leap from her hands is to have him face her and put him in bum first so he doesn’t get excitable and hurt himself in his haste.

Normal or not? A guide to basic health checking your piggy.

Serious signs of illness you should know are:

  • Refusal to eat or drink
  • Laboured breathing
  • Wheezing
  • Crusty eyes
  • Sneezing
  • Rough or puffed up coat
  • Dull and/or receding eyes
  • Lethargy, hunched posture
  • Diarrhoea
  • Blood in urine
  • Limping
  • Hair loss, excessive scratching
  • Loss of balance

If your piggy shows any of the above you need to seek immediate veterinary help. The best guide to emergencies has to be this page  on guinea lynx. It covers just about everything.

As for basic health check, this should be done daily and honestly Mummy says it becomes almost like instinct after a while and she now does it automatically. Like the song ‘head, shoulders, knees and toes’ you need to work through looking at each part of the body.

Nose – Should be clean. Snotty noses and frequent sneezing can be a sign of a bacterial infection. Any discharge, blood, or crust is not normal and should be investigated by a vet.

Eyes – Should be bright and symmetrical. Occasionally you will see a milky white fluid forming in the eyes but this is normal. Whee call it piggy shampoo and whee magically produce it, then wipe it over our furs to keep them looking good. Whee should not have crusty eyes. If whee do then whee may have a bacterial infection. Our eyes should not be bulging either. If our eyes bulge it may mean whee have an infection or injury to them or even something wrong with our teeth. On the opposite side of the scale whee should not have sunken eyes. If whee do then whee may be suffering from dehydration, sometimes caused by heatstroke which is common in piggies. An obvious thing you shouldn’t want to see is cloudy eyes. If they look cloudy then you need vet treatment promptly to prevent blindness or eye loss. There should not be grease or damp on the fur around the eye, this could be a sign of a number of things like problems with tear ducts or infection.

Ears – Should be clean. They should not look dirty or inflamed inside or out. A crust on the edge of the ear could mean a parasitic, fungal or bacterial infection. The ear should not look dry or be flaky. Some signs of an infection in the ear would be a head tilt, discharge or waxy build up inside the ear, heat from the ear, or pain when you touch the ear.

Tootsies – Our adorable little feet should have a clean, soft pad. Nails should be a safe length. Any scabs, crusts, or swelling of the foot is not normal. A common issue is bumble foot which can cause sores and be painful for the piggies to walk on. Long nails will also affect how a piggy walk so trim them, or get a vet to trim them, regularly.

Furs and Skin condition – Fur should be healthy looking glossy and should only shed a little. Skin should be clean with no sores or flakiness. Lumps, scabs, dandruff, excess shedding or hair loss all mean something is not right. It is important to get any of those things checked out. Most often in is those pesky parasites like mites are but that doesn’t stop it from being painful. Treatment is easy, so it is best to get to the vets.

Poop – One of those things that fascinate little hoomans! Our check when they clean us out that all of ours are a sort of jelly bean shape and medium to dark brown. Some of our poops whee recycle by eating again to get the nutrition our bodies may have missed the first time! Gross, according to Mummy. Cool, according to the little hoomans. Poops should not be clumped together. If they are and the piggy is male then this may indicate impaction. This is very uncomfortable for a piggy so unless you have experience, get the piggy to a vet to be sorted out. Smaller poops and/or teardrop shaped poops may mean that whee are dehydrated and/or eating less food. Diarrhoea with runny of very soft poops can be life threatening. If the poops are just soft, temporarily withholding vegetables may help. Mummy usually does this for three days. Sometimes it overloads the systems when you get a piggy and they are introduced to lots of fresh fruit and veg all at once to be sure to only give them a small amount at first.

If you notice different poops in the cage then you may need to separate the piggies into boxes to work out which is suffering. This is also good to check urine, see below.

Pee – Urine should be clear to cloudy in colour. Blood or anything else is not and should be checked out. Incontinence is also not normal. Your guinea pig should be relatively dry. If its fur is constantly wet and/or there is an smell, then get your piggy checked out for a urinary tract infection or other problem.

Weight – Weight loss is an early sign of many illnesses. To make sure your piggy maintains a good weight it is recommended that you do a wheekly weigh in. Whee enjoy ours as it is often accompanied by parsley!

Drinking – How much water a piggy drinks varies from pig to pig but some factors can change the amount they consume; temperature, taste of water, activity, and preference. A guinea pig provided with rinsed and still wet fruit or vegetables might appear to drink very little during the day. If in doubt, gets vets number out.

Movement -Piggies should move normally around and not waddle, or have feet stick out. Their paws should touch the floor fully and not put more weight on the back or front of them. They should not hop with their hind legs as this can be a sign of pain, or arthritis in older piggies. Piggies do ‘popcorn’ which essentially means bouncing in the air and twitching parts of their body in a way which shocks hoomans who have never seen it before. Popcorning is normal and usally done when a piggy is happy or excited!

Behaviour – Changes in behaviour should be red flags. If whee are not eating favourite foods or is hiding our pigloos all day when whee normal dash around, tells you something is wrong. Whee depend on you to know when are ill. Whee cannot phone for help or say it out loud so you must take us to the vets if something is not right.

That’s all for now but whee will cover more in our next post. There is a surprising amount to say!

Nibbles, Nutty, Buddy & Basil

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Are Piggies The Best Pet For You? Part 1 – For Me, Or Not For Me. That is the question!

So whee had a good look at the questions people were interested in and added a few of our own. This is our guide to are piggies the right pets for you.

A Hoomans Guide to Guinea Pigs

How long do guinea pigs live for?

Piggies live for between 4 – 8 years though most commonly 6 or 7. They are not a small commitment to be taken on lightly. As with all animals they can have health issues when they get older. You need to think about whether or not you can afford that.

My piggy looks fat, how much does the average guinea pig weigh?

An Adult Male Guinea Pig will weigh between 900g – 1200g (Yes, Nutty, suck that gut in porky!)

An Adult Female Guinea Pig will weigh between 700g – 900g (Though whee see many larger ladies and prefer them that way!)

It really does vary though from pig to pig. Some larger boned piggies can get away with a little extra on the hips where as other cannot. Speaking from experience, our Mummy says piggies should be sort of a rectangular shape (or even a little like a teardrop) from above. As long as their stomachs don’t drag along the ground and it doesn’t affect the movement there usually isn’t a problem. However if you are concerned you can speak to your vet about diet.

What should my piggy eat, how much should I give and what should I avoid?

80% of a guinea pigs diet is hay so make sure you give them lots! (Whee get the most delicious timothy hay and soft hay from the Dust Free Hay Company) This cannot be emphasised enough. Far too many guinea pigs suffer from dental issues simply because they don’t get the hay they need to wear their teeth down. Before getting piggies you should track down a good supplier, preferably with dust extracted hay. Not only is this better for us piggies and our sensitive respiratory systems but also for you. It is not nice inhaling hay dust. Trust me! Whee piggies get through a lot so it is cheaper to buy it is bulk if you can store it.

A Guinea Pig needs good quality food pellets, fresh veggies and fresh water. Regarding what food they can eat and how much, rather than list it all here whee are going to share a link to a fab little page on The Guinea Pig Forum where they cover everything.

Obviously you need to think about how much this all costs and if you can afford it. Mummy thinks she spends roughly fifteen pounds a wheek on veggies for us four but bulk buying or getting multi-packs can really help.

How much space do piggies need and what bedding is best?

Guinea Pigs should be housed in a shop bought cage that is a minimum of 120cm to meet RSPCA guidelines (Many of the big chain pet shops sell cages that are far too small so that when your piggies outgrow the cage they can make more money from you by selling another) or a C&C grid cage which can be as big as you want. (C&C cages are beyond Mummy’s knowledge of DIY but there is a gallery of homemade cages here that you can look at.)

If your piggies will be outdoor piggies then you need to invest in a large, secure, weather-proof hutch. Mummy would recommend getting a cover for overnights and if you have particularly cold weather bringing them inside until it improves. But not taking them in and out and in and out because sharp changes of temperature (eg. Freezing out door into lovely central heated house) can be dangerous for piggies who struggle to regulate their body temperature. Our vet says piggies are quite similar to hoomans, so if it is too cold for you then it’s not nice for us either.

This brings us neatly onto beddings. There are lots of different choices for beddings to put your piggies on. Currently whee are bedded on newspaper and hay but whee have tried dust extracted woodshavings, paper pulp bedding, care fresh, megazorb and shredded paper. Mummy is going to investigate some of the beddings in the next couple of wheeks to pick the best for us. Some piggies are bedded on fleece which does sound cozy but Mummy thinks it is a little unnatural. Hay does seem to be the favourite as whee love playing ‘diggy pig’ through it and making little nests. However it is all down to personal preference and what works for you.

Do guinea pigs use litter trays?

Ummm. In short no. There are rumours that some people have managed to train piggies to use them but no evidence of this. Some piggies are tidier than others and you usually find they will poop in certain corners anyway. You can try putting a tray there but it is highly unlikely to work. Whee piggies live by the motto; If you gotta go then you gotta go. Wherever, whenever.

How often do piggies need cleaning out?

It does really depend on the bedding used. On hay Mummy spot check our cage daily and tidies our poop corners then cleans us every three days. When on woodshavings whee were cleaned out every other day. It does become obvious when whee need cleaning as, particularly us boars, can be a little stinky!

What about floor time and exercise, even in winter?

Another thing you need to invest in is an outdoor run for the garden, as big as you can. If you don’t have a garden then don’t panic, you can get an indoor run or piggy proof a room or area indoors like Mummy does with us in Winter. With our indoor run whee go in the hallway. This is because there are very few hazards there. No wires whee can chew, or things whee can break. Also because it is laminate flooring it is easy to clean afterwards. Our only real issue is the radiator pipes. For some reason Mummy won’t let us near them, something about not wanting us to burn. So she has cut cardboard toilet roll tubes in half an blue tacks them to the wall round the pipes to stop us from getting at them.

Another consideration is knowing when it is too cold to put piggies outdoors. Mummy wouldn’t dream of putting us out if it is so cold that she couldn’t bear to sit out with us. That is how she judges it but this is all down to common sense.

How many should I get and should I get boys or girls?

Well if you are happy with what you have read so far then whee are going to tell you the next very important rule with piggies; A Guinea Pig should never be kept alone. Imagine being shut up somewhere with people who, although very nice and caring towards you, don’t squeak a word of your language. It becomes a very lonely existence and they are not there all the time anyway.

With boys you should not try to get more than a pair to live together. Ever heard the phrase two is company, three is a crowd? Whee boars practically invented it. Very rarely a trio will work and even experts can struggle with this.

Sows however can live happily in large herds. You can add a neutered male to live with a little harem of females but not more than one as they will battle for dominance, sometimes to the death.

However, again similarly to hoomans, whee all have different pigsonalities and sometimes just don’t get on with one another.

If you have a lone boar there is a wonderful thing called ‘Boar Dating’ which reputable rescues can do to carefully introduce lone boars and create happy pairs. A lone sow could also find a friend this way of be paired with a neutered husboar and become a happy little wifepig!

As for battle of the sexes. Mummy prefers us boys because it limits how many of us she can have, with only space enough for two cages. But whee boys can get smelly and a little known fact is that whee actually need our manly parts checked regularly and sometimes whee get bits of hay and bedding caught there, which though undignified, does need removing gently with a damp cotton bud. Females can also be very temperamental, with unbelievable mood swings. Mummy was surprised looking after a friends piggies by how stroppy they could be. Again this is just personal preferences.

Are guinea pigs high or low maintenance?

Actually pretty high. Whee need regular attention and basic daily health checks (which whee will actually do a special post on) Whee are masters are hiding injuries and illness so if whee are off colour then a vet trip is almost certainly in order as it means it is so bad whee cannot hide it. Whee can be demanding and when our confidence grows and whee have settled in you will find that you can no longer open the fridge, or rustle a carrier bag or chop fruit or veggies without loud squeaking interruption!

Now that is quite a lot to digest for now but whee will cover in the following posts:

Basic everyday checks and how to keep your piggies healthy (How to pick a healthy piggy  and how to make sure your piggies are getting along – bonding)
Common illness, things to look for and what you can do
How to handle guinea pigs. Squeaks, sounds and what they all mean.
Which breeds are best – grooming etc.

If there is anything else you want to know just ask in the comments or email us roominyourheartcampaign@yahoo.co.uk

Please let us know what you think so far.

Nibbles, Nutty, Buddy & Basil
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Who Knews And Some News!

First things first, who correctly guessed what I was staring at in the pigture below? Well only two furfriends guessed right because you all seem to think my mind is permanantly on my stomach! A wonderful winner whiffle goes to Dakota and to Dianda  who knew I was staring at another piggy, Buddy!

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Now onto Nibbles’ News. Thank you for your kind words, I am ok. Unfortunately, Saturday, Mummy took me to the vets because my claws needed clipping and she was a bit worried about the way I was walking. Apparently I was hopping a little like a bunny rabbit!

Well the vet was surprisingly nice! He actually talked to me. When he felt my legs I jumped and winced and he knew exactly what was wrong.  I have the early stages of piggy arthritis. It’s not as bad as it sounds. Just a part of piggy old age.

Mummy launched into action and began questioning the vet. They had a long discussion about what was best. As I’m not really suffering they didn’t feel that I need medication just yet but I most likely will in the future, they even discussed doing a trial of some anti-inflammatories for a wheek to see if my bunny hop walk lessened.

When whee got home Mummy dashed to her forum friends to ask questions and searched the computermabob for more information. Well there really isn’t much out there regarding this. Mummy was surprised. Maybe I can become a helpful resource to other piggy parents? The best Mummy found was on Peter Gurney’s website – he is a piggy guru – on his page about old age! He has a suggestion of some hooman tablets which you can give to piggies called Potters Tabritis (see here –http://wheek.it/62cuc) Other suggestions range from accupuncture to water therapy, neither of which Mummy is to sure about until she has looked into it a bit more.

Mummy’s forum friends say not to let me get too cold so Mummy rushed out today and bought me a gift. It is called a snuggle safe heat pad and Mummy and me think it is great! All you do is put it in the microwave and then you have ten hours of warm snuggliness!

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Mummy heated it . . . .

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And tucked it in my bed where I loved it!

On my blanket covered heat pad!

On my blanket covered heat pad!

This is a bit of a learning curve from all of us. This does of course explain some of my more recent grumpiness so in a way it is a good thing I went to the vet, and I didn’t think I would be saying that!

Hope you are all having a good day and I can warmly (please forgive the pun, I couldn’t help myself!) recommend these snugglesafe heat pads for all animals as a great Winter warmer. They are pet safe and the perfect temperature. I just want to know why Mummy didn’t get one like this before!

Hope you have had an awesome day and are as excited about Pigmass as whee are! Whee put our decorations up today so whee will share those tomorrow.

Nibbles

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PS. Massive thank you cuddles to Miss Mollie and Alfie and their hooman for making this wonderful Pigmass pigture of us! Santa’s sleigh will never be late with us on the case!

Unbelievable . . .

I had been warned of things I might face in my new home. I had been warned of strange smells, and people. I had been warned of new cage layouts and veggies.

But then Mummy changed the rules and went “off road”, so to speak. She loaded me in my carrier, against my very vocal protests and took me to the ‘car’. I hated it. The loud rumbling, bouncy machine that took me away from my Buddy.

I hunched in the dark corner, feeling confused. Did they not like me? Was I being sent away?

The whee arrived . . . somewhere and sat quietly for a time. Sunlight flooded in as, finally, my carrier was opened. A lady dressed in blue scooped me out. She had a funny necklace round her throat. Mummy tells me not to munch on her jewellery but I could not resist this piece. “Leave my stethoscope alone!” the woman scolded gently. She cuddled me for a moment, lulling me into a false sense of security. Then, without warning, the torture began.

Flipping me around she looked at my bottom with interest. “Definitely a boy.” she laughed cheerily.

I chattered my teeth and gave an outraged squeak of reply. I could have told them that. After what felt like hours of being poked and prodded Mummy put me back in the carrier and brought me home. I asked her how she could do that to me. She replied some rubish about getting me registered with the vet and checked up. I grumbled to Buddy who told me about the other horrors a V.E.T can inflict upon us.

Tell me its not true. Any vet horror stories?!

Basil
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I Smile Because I Have No Idea What’s Going On!

Today I wasn’t feeling too great. Mummy says I may need to meet my good friend the vet again! But it didn’t really bother me. Being ill that is. I just popcorned around cheerily.

Then there was a huge flash of light and the little hoomans screamed. The scream went very deep and rumbled for ages. It also seemed to be coming fron outside.

I tell you; my little hooman has a future as a ventrilloquist! Anyway, I squeaked at Buddy that they had switched the light on and off for some reason. He said they were hoomans and whee shouldn”t try to understand their strange ways.

Mummy came on her knees by the cage. “Shush shush babies don’t be scared.” she cooed. I smiled up at her, “Lady, I have no idea what you are on about.” I drawled copying the voice of one of the hoomans from the dramas she likes to watch. She fussed me more. For some reason she was surprised when I went to get a drink, and was unconcerned that someone was playing with the lights and rumbling louder than me and Buddy manage. I don’t really know why it came as a shock or why they shut the blinds after awhile. I was upset that it was raining and I couldn’t play on the grass and eat the fabulous green spaghetti too but they seemed to be over reacting.

I’ll never understand hoomans. Anyway just a reminder that tomorrow is your last day to enter our OlymPIGS Sporty Pet photo competition. Check back the past two posts to see how to enter if you missed it.

Bingo
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