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Guinea pig bedding: what kind should you choose?

When searching for guinea pig bedding, there are a bunch of things to consider. You want guinea pig bedding that is affordable, absorbent, light weight, readily available, easy to clean, and, most importantly, healthy for your guinea pigs. After the criteria of being healthy is met, there are a number of types of guinea pig bedding that you can choose from depending on what you want.

Here are some of the many options you have for guinea pig bedding.  which will not harm your guinea pig along with information that can help you make your decision.

Aspen Wood Shavings

  • Health information: Aspen shavings are safe for guinea pig as guinea pig bedding
  • Cost: $1.50/pound
  • Absorbency: Aspen shavings can absorb up to four times its own weight
  • Odor Control: Aspen shavings have great odor control
  • Weight: Aspen shavings are light weight
  • Availability: While it can be tough to find in large quantities, you can find aspen wood shavings at most local pet stores or order them online
  • Ease of cleaning: Fairly easy to clean out using a scoop to remove only the guinea pig bedding that’s been peed or pooped on. By only cleaning out the used bedding, it will last a lot longer
  • More information: There are a number of types of wood shavings that are not safe for guinea pigs and other small animals. However, because aspen doesn’t contain the toxic oils that other shavings like pine and cedar do, it is safe for guinea pigs. It also is 99.9% dust-free which means there’s no dust particles that can irritate the eyes and respiratory tract of guinea pigs

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CareFresh Pet Bedding

  • Health information: CareFresh is safe for guinea pigs
  • Cost: $0.50/pound
  • Absorbency: CareFresh is very absorbent
  • Odor Control: CareFresh has great odor control
  • Weight:  Carefresh is light weight
  • Availability: You can find CareFresh in most local pet stores, and you can order it online including on this website
  • Ease of cleaning: CareFresh is easy to clean by simply removing the used guinea pig bedding
  • More Information: This is one of the most popular types of pet beddings because it is safe, soft, and super absorbent. It is also dust-free and hypoallergenic, so it is safe for guinea pigs and other small animals. CareFresh guinea pig bedding is made from recycled paper, so you’re also helping the environment. Additionally, it comes in several varieties and even different colors depending on your preferences

Cell-Sorb Plus

  • Health information: Cell-Sorb Plus is safe for guinea pigs
  • Cost: $0.50/pound
  • Absorbency: Cell-Sorb Plus is highly absorbent, about four times as much as wood shavings
  • Odor Control: Cell-Sorb Plus is great at odor control
  • Weight: Cell-Sorb is heavier than other beddings
  • Availability: Cell-Sorb Plus can be found in most local pet stores and can be ordered online
  • Ease of cleaning: It is just as easy to clean out as other types of bedding when a scoop is used. Plus, because it is highly absorbent, it lasts longer than other beddings
  • More Information: This is one of the most absorbent beddings available, so if absorption properties are high on your priority list, you should try Cell-Sorb Plus. It is so absorbent that it will even dry out feces. It is this that also gives it its superb odor-controlling properties
Guinea pig dozing off on guinea pig bedding
Guinea pig dozing off on guinea pig bedding

Kiln-Dried Pine Shavings

  • Health information: Kiln-dried pine shavings are considered by most experts to be safe for guinea pigs
  • Cost: $0.60/pound
  • Absorbency: Pine shavings are moderately absorbent
  • Odor Control: Pine shavings are moderately good at odor control
  • Weight: Pine shavings are lightweight
  • Availability: They are readily available in large quantities in pet stores or online
  • Ease of cleaning: Cleaning pine shavings is similar to other wood shavings. Simply use a scoop to remove used guinea pig bedding. However, because pine shavings are not as absorbent as other beddings and do not control odor as well which means it has to be cleaned out significantly more often than other beddings
  • More Information: There is a lot of debate in the pet world about the safety of pine. Although kiln-dried pine is considered to be safe because they don’t have the toxic oils that are present in air-dried pine. However, there is still debate over kiln-dried pine because it is not dust-free. Dust is an irritant for both guinea pigs and humans that clean out the cages

Wood Pellets

  • Health information: 100% wood pellets that have not been treated with any type of accelerant are considered to be safe for guinea pigs
  • Cost: $0.15/pound
  • Absorbency: Wood pellets are moderately absorbent
  • Odor Control: Wood pellets are moderately effective for odor control
  • Weight: Wood pellets are very heavy
  • Availability: Wood pellets can usually be found in large quantities at most hardware stores
  • Ease of cleaning: Can be a lot messier than other types of bedding because it dissolves into sawdust when it gets wet, which settles to the bottom and makes for a difficult clean up. It does, however, last a bit longer than wood shavings or paper-based beddings
  • More Information: The most important thing to be sure of when choosing wood pellets is that they are 100% wood. These wood pellets are usually used in wood pellet stoves, so many of them have accelerants added to them to make them burn faster. Many guinea pig owners do not like the wood pellets because they dissolve into sawdust when wet. Although it typically settles on the bottom and is not a problem, some owners would argue that any sawdust is bad for guinea pigs. Another thing to note when considering wood pellets is that they are a hard and can be rough on sensitive guinea pig feet, so they should be mixed with aspen or CareFresh to avoid causing foot problems

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Carefresh Natural Premium Guinea Pig Bedding

  • Health information: Carefresh Natural Premium is safe as guinea pig bedding
  • Cost: $0.50/pound
  • Absorbency: It’s is a great absorber – it absorbs 3x it’s weight!
  • Odor Control: Carefresh Natural Premium is great for odor control
  • Weight: It is lightweight
  • Availability: You can find Carefresh Natural Premium in many local pet stores or you can order it online on this website
  • Ease of cleaning: It is as easy to clean as wood shaving and other paper-based guinea pig beddings
  • More Information: Carefresh Natural Premium is made of short-fiber pulp that can’t be turned into paper



The following products are dangerous for your guinea pig, so do not use them as guinea pig bedding. They are included on this list as a warning, and we have included information under each to explain the dangers. If you are currently using any of these guinea pig beddings, you should make a switch as soon as possible to any of the beddings listed above.

Cedar and Pine Shavings

  • Cedar is toxic to guinea pigs. A story from one guinea pig owner reported that her two healthy guinea pigs died within a week of switching to cedar shavings as guinea pig bedding. These shavings contain oils from the wood that are toxic to guinea pigs and should be avoided at all cost
  • Pine shavings are also toxic to guinea pigs because of the oils in them, and can do a lot of damage to delicate eyes and noses with the high amount of dust that is present with the bedding. They also do not absorb moisture very well which can easily lead to a strong build-up of ammonia in the cage

Corn Cob

  • There are a number of reasons that corn cob should not be used as bedding for guinea pigs. The biggest problems occur when the guinea pig eats some of the bedding and then drinks water. The corn cob pellets do not break down in the guinea pig’s digestive system. Instead, they swell up with water and cause intestinal blockages

Guinea pig bedding: other considerations

When choosing a bedding for your guinea pig, be sure to take everything into consideration when looking at a bedding so that you find something that works best for both you and your guinea pig. It’s also important to keep in mind that while some types of bedding may appear to be cheaper, the amount that has to be used is greater which means it actually ends up being more expensive. For example, the cheapest one per pound is wood pellets but because they are so dense, it takes nearly four times as many wood pellets to cover the bottom of a cage as Aspen or CareFresh.

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Guinea pig playpen: The Ware Pocket Pet Playpen

Ware Pocket Pet Playpen for guinea pigs

Did you know that, despite their size, “pocket pets” like the guinea pig need a lot of room to play?  It helps keep them active and it gives you a chance to have fun too.  Your guinea pig can easily disappear under a couch or into a closet with its door ajar as they can fit where many larger pets can’t get so you you need a solution to help keep your pocket pets from disappearing.  Here is where the Ware Guinea Pig Playpen comes in…

The Ware play pen is the perfect option for guinea pigs of all types and sizes.  It offers enough room for medium to large cavies to play while making it hard for smaller pocket pets to escape.  The pen has a hexagon shape and is made out of powder coded wire.

guinea pig food for three
Have some food in your guinea pig playpen for hungry piggies

Ware Guinea Pig Playpen quickly folds up

The guinea pig playpen even comes fully assembled so all you have to do is open it.  Your pet can be playing in a larger space in minutes instead of frustrating hours.   Once your pet is done you can quickly fold the playpen back up for better storage.  If your pets like to play with water, no need to worry, the playpen is rust-proof and welded together for extra durability.  This means that the Ware playpen is perfect for both indoor and outdoor use.

Connect Ware Guinea Pig Playpens to create extra room

Does your pocket pet need more room to run around?  What’s really cool is that you can buy multiple Ware Pocket Pet Playpens and connect them together in order to create lots of extra room for your cavy.  Your guinea pig will sure be happy as they get to move more than they do in their normal environment.  If that environment happens to be outside you can use the included stakes to give the playpen(s) extra stability while your pocket pets explore.

Having a guinea pig playpen like the Ware one is pretty important because it keeps your pet safe while providing them a place to be themselves, an active animal that needs its exertcise.

Your portable playpen also gives your cavy a chance to experience different environments.  Some pets are curious and as you move the playpen around they will learn about their new environments.  For those that aren’t as curious they will enjoy the different scenery from their normal habitat.

Add guinea pig toys to your Guinea Pig Playpen

Make more out of your guinea pig playpen by adding pet safe items into the environment of the pen.  Toys will allow your pets to experiment and have fun, yes animals can have fun too.  Provide them with treats in order to encourage them to play if you want.  You can also place animal safe foods around the pen to allow them to search for their own food just as if they were in the wild.

Also add a covered area or a hideaway in the space like a Kaytee guinea pig igloo. Guinea pigs love being outside but sometimes want to nap or just feel the safety of an enclosed space, especially if it’s full of tasty Timothy hay.

Jiggy in a guinea pig playpen courtesy of MegCred
Jiggy in a guinea pig playpen courtesy of MegCred

Check the spot where you decide to put your Ware Pocket Pet Playpens

If you are putting your pocket pets in this playpen outside you should also check the area first.  Uneven ground could lead the playpen to not sit completely flush with the ground, allowing your pet a method of escape.  You also want to make sure that you check the area and get rid of anything that could be harmful to your pocket pet such as a sharp rock.

Safety comes before all things, never leave your pocket pet in its guinea pig playpen without being there.  You should be supervising your guinea pig inside.  Pocket pets can be master escape artists and will find ways to get out of many different situations if you don’t keep a close eye on them.

Buy your little pocket pet something to entertain them – give them the gift of a new guinea pig playpen.  They will enjoy it and you’ll enjoy the time you get to spend interacting with your guinea pig and watching them exercising and exploring their new environments.

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Kaytee Timothy Hay for guinea pigs – a review

Timothy hay – it ain’t just for horses!

Contrary to popular belief, hay isn’t just for horses.  Your guinea pigs need more than just food pellets, they need something else to help them complete their diets just like humans need more than one source of food.  If all your guinea pig eats is pellets they may not be either to maintain proper digestion either.  Hay, like the Kaytee Timothy Hay, is also a very convenient option to add to your guinea pig cage.

Kaytee Timothy hay is essential to guinea pig health

Timothy hay is the key to a solid, good guinea pig diet. Timothy hay promotes dental health and proper digestion. A cavy’s teeth grows constantly throughout its life. To prevent your guinea pig’s teeth from growing too long and causing major health issues, the teeth need to be worn down. This is done by chewing. This is why your guinea pigs spend so much time nibbling and chewing on things. Hay is perfect for this because it is actually really rough, kind of like sandpaper (you can learn more about this at The Rabbit House blog)

The many flavors of Kaytee Timothy Hay

Kaytee Timothy Hay comes in a variety of options, most commonly the hay is found in a standard bagged package.  Other options include: tubes, cubes, and treats.

Kaytee Timothy offers a wide variety of hay products. Some of them include

  • the plain hay [product id=”771″]
  • a version that includes Marigold flowers
  • a fortified version
  • a version with apple sticks

If you’re confused about which one to order, start off with the plain hay. You can also order two versions to see which your guinea pigs like best.

Flavored hay that contains dried fruit sounds good to us and our cavies will love the taste! But the fruit that is added to the hay is dried and that means that it can contain a lot of sugar. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t buy flavored hay but it is best saved for times that your guinea pigs deserve a nice treat. These hays shouldn’t be fed more than twice a week and make sure not to feed too much.

There also is a ‘short-cut’ version of Kaytee Timothy Hay by Kaytee. These pieces range from around 4 – 6 inches in length. This short cut make it easier to handle the hay without spilling it all over the place. It is so much easier to get the timothy hay out of the bag without accidentally taking out half of  the bag.

guinea pigs eating hay
guinea pigs eating hay – Kaytee Timothy hay will keep your guinea pig healthy and happy

Kaytee Timothy Hay should be fresh

Hay is a packaged good that can expire so you should always make sure that the package that you are buying is fresh.  Fresh hay will have a nice, green color.  If hay is brown and/or dried out that you shouldn’t buy it either.  Without being fresh, hay runs the risk of being moldy and it for sure will lose its nutritional value.  Your guinea pigs are smart and if the hay isn’t fresh they probably won’t eat it.

Tips on how to feed fresh Kaytee Timothy Hay to your pet

While you can certainly can just add timothy hay to your cavy’s cage, why not make things more interesting for your pet and create a rewarding game? Put the timothy hay into a toilet paper roll or another object in the guinea pig cage that will require your cavy to dig it out. This is closer to how most guinea pigs would normally find their food in the wild.  It might sound strange but most pets will feel happier working for their food!

Kaytee Timothy Hay is rated very highly but some experts say that they would rate it higher if the company didn’t sell the riff-raff versions.

Some good things about the Kaytee Timothy Hay

  • All natural
  • High fiber
  • Essential to your guinea pig’s dental and digestive health
  • It’s chemical free
  • Made in the USA
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Guinea pig igloo: Review of the Kaytee Super Pet Guinea Pig Igloo

Guinea Pig Igloos will help your pet feel safe and secure

A safe and secure hideaway is one of the most important and basic needs of your guinea pig regardless of its guinea pig breed. Guinea pigs can be active both night and day, but for times when they become nervous and may be a little startled or scared, they need a safe hideout.  A Guinea Pig Igloo is the perfect hideout in their playpen that they can run into to feel safe.

The Guinea Pig Igloo like the one by Kaytee Super Pet is definitely one of the best options. It’s lightweight, convenient, and is available in many different sizes to fit your cavy. You can simply place your furry little friend inside the Guinea Pig Igloo and watch as she (or he) makes itself right at home. Guinea pigs love their Guinea pig Igloos so much so that they oftentimes move things inside. Sometimes they drag Timothy hay or their favorite guinea pig toy inside the igloo so they can munch or play while relaxing inside their hideout spot.

This hideaway is also great for sleeping in or sitting on top of as if they’re the king (or queen) of the jungle!

Guinea Pig Igloos will give your piggy some alone time

Guinea pigs are social creatures, but like people, sometimes they just want to be alone in their own room in their guinea pig cage. The Guinea Pig Igloo gives them this private space and, since it’s made of clear plastic, you can still see them and tell if they’re just hanging out and relaxing or maybe even have fallen asleep!

Some good things about the Guinea Pig Igloo

  • Easy to access your pet: In case you would like to get to your cavy, simply lift up the Guinea Pig Igloo and viola! Your pet will have their own little space in which to feel safe, yet it also offers you easy access to them.
  • Good space: Despite the fact that the entry to the Super Pet Igloo is small, the inside area is pretty huge for the animal.
  • Ventilation: It contains air holes in the roof to support air circulation. This means that your furry little creature gets adequate ventilation and doesn’t get too hot.
  • Long-lasting shelter: The Guinea Pig Igloo is durable and supports a good amount of use and misuse. Some pocket pets like to munch, so they’ll ruin it sooner or later, but the majority of them will take months, or even years, before you need to replace this hideaway.
  • Easy to Clean: Sometimes piggies can be a little messy and pee on their hideaways. Luckily the Guinea Pig Igloo is manufactured from easy-to-clean plastic. When it sets out to get messy, simply scrub it using hot water to restore it to good condition.

Some not-so-good things about the Guinea Pig Igloo

  • It’s lightweight: this is actually a good thing, but a few guinea pigs might take advantage of this hideaway’s low weight and decide it’s more fun to flip it over than to nap in it.  Some guinea pigs do this by ‘popcorning’ in it. This may be fun to watch!
Guinea pig igloo flipped over. As much fun as when it's not flipped over!
Guinea pig igloo flipped over. As much fun as when it’s not flipped over!

Where can I buy the Guinea Pig Igloo? How many should I get?

You can get this guinea pig cage accessory right here on Guinea Pig Heaven!

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If your animals get along well, you may find a way to manage with only one igloo that is big enough inside for both creatures. Otherwise, buy two of them in size ‘Medium’ when you have the space. This will help you avoid any conflicts if they end up arguing over who can be in there alone.

Keep in mind that, when you purchase a cage, make sure that you buy the biggest possible model. Or else, think about building your own cage to give your furry friends enough space to roam. Big cages also allow you to add two or more guinea pig igloos and other toys like the Edible Activity Log.

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Do you have a Guinea Pig Igloo?  How do your guinea pigs like it? Let us know!

photo credits: Joey Yee and Sarah Bell on Flickr

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Peruvian Guinea Pig Pictures and Information

The Peruvian guinea pig is a one-of-a-kind breed of cavy. It has long, flowing hair, which makes them popular with guinea pig fanciers that like to show their guinea pig in competitions. Whether or not you are interested in showing them, Peruvian guinea pigs make great pets so long as you can keep up on their grooming.

When it comes to personality, the Peruvian guinea pigs are curious, alert, and fun-loving like most guinea pigs.

History of the Peruvian guinea pig

The Peruvian cavy originated in Latin America and is one of the oldest guinea pig breeds. However, this cavy’s outward characteristics were developed by English and French guinea pig breeders.  A few of the features that distinguish the Peruvian guinea pig are the length and texture of its coat, the silkiness of their fur and their head. While the Peruvian guinea pig tends to be larger than the Abyssinian guinea pig or the English cavy, it’s head is proportionally not as large as it is with the other types of cavy.

The Peruvian guinea pig’s hair

Usually the deciding factor when deciding if you should get a Peruvian guinea pig as a pet is how much grooming you’ll have to do. Peruvian guinea pigs have much greater grooming requirements than the short-haired species. This can make it difficult for children to take care of this breed.

The top coat of the Peruvian guinea pig can reach up to two feet long while the under coat usually doesn’t reach more than seven inches. It naturally parts right down the spine in a straight line, and when it’s brushed and fanned out, it is difficult to tell the front end of the guinea pig from the back. If you are planning on showing your Peruvian guinea pig, they are required to have 2 rosettes on either side of their rump.

You can find Peruvian guinea pigs in a wide range of color and coat pattern varieties. They can be a single color which is known as “self,” two colors, or three colors. Tricolored Peruvian guinea pigs are usually the most preferred, but the other varieties are also beautiful.

The Peruvian guinea pig’s hair can tend to pick up bedding, dirt and other material. For this reason, make sure not to get bedding that can work itself into the hair and cause it to become tangled. When the Peruvian cavy’s hair reaches roughly eight inches, you can put it in “crimpers” (the kind that people use in their hair) or plait it to keep the Peruvian’s coat nice and neat.

Grooming needs aside, the Peruvian guinea pig makes a great pet for adults who have the time to devote to care and for those who are hoping to show their pet. Before getting a Peruvian guinea pig, it is important to understand the care that goes into keeping one as a pet, including housing, diet, exercise and socialization.

Peruvian guinea pig

Caring for your Peruvian guinea pig

  • Housing: Peruvian guinea pigs need plenty of space to run around in. The exact size of the cage will depend on the number of guinea pigs you are keeping in the same cage and their size. Also, the Peruvian should be kept out of damp environments since its coat is said to absorb more moisture than a short-hair guinea pig.
  • Diet: Peruvian guinea pigs are strict herbivores which means they should only eat plants. Pellet food is widely available, but is fattening in large quantities, so it should be limited to smaller feedings once or twice a day. They should be given hay freely to eat throughout the day, and their diet should also be supplemented with a variety of fresh greens, vegetables, and fruits. Always research guinea pig food before feeding your guinea pig anything to make sure that it is not harmful to them. Guinea pigs also need vitamin C in their diet because their body does not produce it on their own. You can feed them vitamin C supplements in a variety of ways such as drops or in their food.

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  • Exercise: They should get floor time where they are able to get out of their cage to run around and interact with their owners.
  • Social: Like all guinea pigs, Peruvian guinea pigs are highly social animals and should get plenty of social interactions. Many people solve this problem by providing their guinea pig with a cage mate. But if having two guinea pigs isn’t an option for you (and we hope it is), then be sure to give them time every day of social interaction with you so they will be happy.

Have you heard of the Peruvian Silkie (aka the ‘Angora’)?

The Peruvian Silkie is very similar to the the Peruvian guinea pig, except that it doesn’t have the mane of hair over its head that you find with the Peruvian cavy.  Their hair flows back over their head and tends to be even more soft and silky. This breed was called the ‘Angora’ until the 1930s.

Where can you get Peruvian guinea pigs?

If you want to bring a Peruvian guinea pig into your home, the best place to start looking is through a local guinea pig rescue or through a guinea pig breeding club.

Do you have a Peruvian guinea pig? Let us know in the Comments section below.

Also, visit our Guinea Pig Heaven Pinterest page

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6 guinea pig care tips for a safe winter

As winter marches on and temperatures nose-dive, you need to think about guinea pig care during these cold months.  Take extra steps to make sure that your beloved guinea pigs get through the winter safe and comfortable.  This is especially the case if you have a hairless guinea pigs!

Guinea pig care tip #1: Bring your outdoor guinea pigs inside

Care for your guinea pig by protecting them from extreme and fluctuating winter temperatures.  Bring any outdoor guinea pigs inside where they are safer from the cold. By bringing your guinea pigs inside, you’re also better able to keep an eye on how active they are, if they need more food or water and how their health is doing.

If for some reason you’re not able to welcome them into your home, make sure they are moved into an enclosed area such as a shed or porch. It should be a room that can have its temperature controlled either with a space heater or a built-in heater.  If your guinea pig is kept in a shed or porch, you should also consider adding extra installation over the hutch.  A sheet of reflector foil or even a heavy blanket are some good options. Make sure the hutch has good ventilation and that you are checking regularly to make sure they are fine and in good health.

Guinea pig care tip #2: Protect your guinea pig from winter drafts

Your guinea pig cage or habitat should be in an area of your home that is draft-free. We don’t like cold winter drafts and neither do guinea pigs!  Hairless guinea pigs, for example, should be kept in a non-drafty environment with the temperature kept between 68 ºF to 79 ºF.
guinea pig care

Guinea pig care tip #3: Give your guinea pigs extra bedding

Guinea pig care isn’t just about the shelter you give your guinea pig but also about how it’s insulated. Make sure your guinea pigs get extra bedding so they can create a warmer burrow if they’d like.  Recycled bedding like Carefresh Bedding is a good choice as its extra comfortable and absorbant.

Also add extra hay, which can also help your guinea pig retain its body heat. The extra hay is also a good source of food for them. Important since it takes a lot of energy to stay warm.
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Guinea pig care tip #4: Be wary of rodent poison or traps

When the temperature drops, you’re not the only one spending more time at home.  Mice and other rodents are also more likely to move indoors to seek shelter from the cold and find new sources of food.  And, they may pick your home as their new space!  You or your family may be tempted to get rid of the mice with either traps or rodent poison.  But, unfortunately, pets like guinea pigs sometimes end up eating the poison or getting caught in the traps.  For this reason, take extra precaution to not place any poisons or traps anywhere near your cavies.  Make sure to seal any holes in walls that might serve as passageways for mice.  And keep your home clean without food and crumbs lying around so not to attract any hungry mice.

Guinea pig care tip #5: Prevent joint pain in older guinea pigs

Do you have an older or elderly guinea pig?  Does your guinea pig have arthritis? If so, their joints may bother them a little more during the winter, just as they do among humans.

One way to make your guinea pig more comfortable is to give them a dietary supplement with glucosamine and chondroitin.  Glucosamine and chondroitin are natural substances that are part of normal cartilage in both guinea pigs and humans. As you know, cartilage acts as a cushion between the bones in a joint. Glucosamine and chondroitin are both safe and have few if any side effects.

Products like Oxbow Natural Science Joint Support Hay Tabs contain Glucosamine and chondroitin in a tasty tablet that is Timothy-hay based.  you might find that it puts some spring in your guinea pig’s step!
[product id=”1008″]

Guinea pig care tip #6: Keep your guinea pigs dry and warm after bath time

Guinea pigs are susceptible to colds – especially after a bath when they’re nice and wet.  So make sure to dry them well.  You can even use a hair dry on the warm setting to help dry them.  You can aim the warm air around them quickly so as not to disturb them too much.  Absolutely do not use the dryer on the hot setting!


Image credit: timoroustimbit
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Guinea pig teeth: a cavy owner’s guide

Guinea pig teeth: the front teeth

These four teeth at the front (two top, two bottom) are called the incisors. The teeth of a guinea pig are constantly growing. So your cavy needs to be able to chew almost constantly to keep their guinea pig teeth worn down or it won’t be able to eat properly. Feed them hay or anything chewy like an untreated apple branch or a thick stalk of celery. Often when the front teeth overgrow, it is because of a problem with the back teeth making it difficult or painful for them to chew at all, so make sure you have both sets checked if there are any problems.

Do guinea pigs bite - guinea pig teeth
Do guinea pigs bite – guinea pig teeth

Guinea pig teeth: the back teeth

Just like the front teeth, guinea pig teeth in the back are constantly growing. Therefore, it important that your cavy have access to hay all day, every day.  They constant chewing of the hay keeps their teeth worn down. Make sure to keep their guinea pig cage full of hay and safe toys for them on which to chew.

The two main types of guinea pig teeth problems: Overgrowth and Malocclusion

Dental problems are one of the most common disorders among guinea pigs. Among them is the dental overgrowth: when a cavy’s teeth grow to long beca to an ineffective or inadequate wear. Another problem that can happen with guinea pig teeth is malocclusion. This happens when your guinea pig’s teeth aren’t aligned properly, for example, if the top teeth are long and the bottom teeth are short.

How can I tell if my guinea pig has a dental problem?

One of the good things about getting your guinea pig from a breeder is that you can find out their parent’s health history. If they had dental problems, it is likely that their offspring also, since this is a disorder with a strong genetic component.

For early detection, you must remember to review your cavy’s teeth regularly. The incisors (the front guinea pig teeth) should never close completely on the lips. Back teeth in guinea pigs must always be short and smooth. It they are pointy, this is a first symptom of a bad wear.

In really advanced cases, the lower back teeth are bent inwards trapping the tongue, preventing swallowing. The upper back teeth, meanwhile, are bent outward, digging into the skin causing injury. This makes it impossible for a guinea pig to eat and drink, and death can happen within days of starvation or dehydration.

Without looking at the teeth, the first symptoms that indicate that there is a problem are:

  • weight loss (you can weigh your cavy daily to see if they are losing weight)
  • they stop eating hay and woody food
  • exagerrated chewing
  • drooling
  • a wet chin (due to drooling)
  • the front teeth are wearing out at an angle
  • they only chewing on one side as they eat

If their guinea pig teeth aren’t the right size, it will be too difficult to properly chew food. The first foods they will stop eating are those that are more work on your cavy’s teeth: timothy hay and other plants with hard stems. Sorry to say this but, if you don’t have your cavy treated, they will gradually stop eating all food and eventually die.

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My guinea pig has a dental problem – what can I do?

If there are symptoms that your cavy’s teeth are a problem, you will need to get him to a vet to have them checked out as soon as possible. You may need to feed your guinea pig with a syringe before and after treatment if necessary.

Unfortunately most of the dental problems have only surgical solution, filing or removal of parts involved. This is why it’s so important for guinea pig teeth to be checked regularly and to feed your cavy plenty of hay to keep their growing teeth from getting too long.

If the teeth of your guinea pig is too long because of a poor diet, the veterinarian may file their teeth to their normal size and changing the diet so that the problem does not happen again. They afflicted cavy will also get more hay to get them to chew and wear down their teeth.

In contrast, if the problem is caused by malocclusion, this may require repeated surgical treatment throughout the life of your guinea pig. If the malocclusion only affects one or a few teeth, these can be removed and the rest can be filed.

Can I prevent this from happening to my pet’s guinea pig teeth?

The best way to prevent them is to keep hay available 24 hours a day. Don’t offer them extra food. Force them to eat hay. You can also offer them thick stalk vegetables like celery or leeks and cut the vegetables as little as possible to force them to use more of their teeth.

However, if the problem is caused by malocclusion, this will only delay the onset of symptoms.

A guinea pig with dental problems requires special care and continuous supervision.


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Do Guinea Pigs Bite? 11 reasons your cavy may bite

One way that your cavy pet can communicate is through guinea pig sounds. Another way is physically, including through nipping and biting.  When this is done, it’s not usually done as an act of aggression. In fact, guinea pigs are very gentle creatures and it’s uncommon for guinea pigs to bite or nip. If they do, it’s because something is bothering them. Below are 11 reasons for why do guinea pigs bite.

What is the difference between a guinea pig bite and a nip?

  • Nips: A nip is sometimes done as a warning from your guinea pig. For example, if your cavy nips you to have you move out of her space or if it wants to go back to its guinea pig cage.  Nipping can be also be playful. Nips shouldn’t break your skin, hurt or draw blood.
  • Bites: Biting is beyond warning, it is meant to cause some damage. Bites can say that your guinea pig is uncomfortable or scared, but they have been reported to draw blood in rare cases.

The following is a list of situations that help explain why do guinea pigs bite. Avoiding or understanding the causes of these situations can reduce the chance of being bitten by your guinea pig.

 1. Why do guinea pigs bite sometimes? Mishandling

Guinea pigs may bite when being carried from place to place since too much movement makes them nervous. They also generally don’t like being passed from person to person too quickly.

When guinea pigs are being held, they need to be well-supported in order to feel safe and secure. If you are holding them in a way that their legs are hanging down or they are being jostled around, they may not feel safe and will bite to let you know that they are nervous or uncomfortable. This is another reason for why do guinea pigs bite.

  1. They sometimes bite because they’re young

Young guinea pigs under the age of 12 months are a little more likely to nip and bite. This is because they are learning behaviors including when and when not to bite. Just like little puppies and kittens, baby guinea pigs got a lot of energy and may offer a friendly nip or bite.

Teddy baby guinea pig pictures. Do Guinea Pigs Bite? Sometimes baby guinea pigs give love nips.
Teddy baby guinea pig pictures
  1. Or they have to pee

If you’ve got your guinea pig held in your hands and they have to go to the bathroom, many will fidget. Some will fidget and wriggle and then take a nip.  Some will just nip you gently.  If you don’t pay attention, the nips can get stronger and ultimately end up turning into a bit.  It’s nothing personal, it’s just them communicatin, “I really, really, REALLY have to go to the bathroom!”  They would rather not do it on you and like to do it in their cage.  So keep this in mind, especially if 15 minutes have passed since this is roughly how long they can wait before having to go the bathroom.

  1. Another reason why do guinea pigs bite: pain or sickness can be a reason they bite

Sometimes, guinea pigs are just not feeling well or may be in pain for some reason, and triggering that pain will cause them to bite to let you know that. If your guinea pig bites when you touch them in a certain area, try carefully checking that area for bruises, bites or scrapes they might have gotten from other guinea pigs that day.

They could also have a skin irritation or, if they’re older, arthritis. Sick piggies also just don’t like to be carried that much, they just want to rest and feel better.  Also, check your guinea pig’s teeth and make sure they are not uneven, there are no sores and that your cavy is not drooling. If so, it may be suffering from malocclusion.

If you suspect that your guinea pig is injured or sick, take them to their veterinarian as soon as possible.

  1. Do they have mites?

Mites are terrible and can cause lots of discomfort to your guinea pig.  Mites, specifically mange mites, can’t live on humans. They can feed off your guinea pig and case hair loss and scabs. So if your guinea pig does bite and seems agitated when you pick it up or touch it, check for mites. If you see mites and/or notice your cavy scratching a a lot, take it to the veterinarian.

  1. Maybe they don’t like what you’re doing. I’d bite you too if that were the case!

You know how some cats resist and scratch when it’s time for a bath? Sometimes bath time or nail clipping time becomes a big reason for why do guinea pigs bite.  Some guines pigs just don’t like it and may squeek during the process. If this is the case, you can wear soft leather gloves as you do need to trim their nails as it’s for their good.

  1. Fear can be why do guinea pig bite

In the wild, guinea pigs are prey animals. This means that they are nervous by nature and like to run and hide if they feel as though they are in danger. While they rarely are in danger in your home, they still have instincts that cause them to panic in certain situations. If you are holding or touching them when these instincts kick in, they might bite to try to escape.

Sometimes, guinea pigs may have been abused by someone in the past which causes them to have a fear reaction when being handled by certain people or by all people. This is especially true if you adopted your guinea pig from a rescue or shelter. If you don’t know your guinea pig’s history, be prepared to deal with some fears that may have been caused by other people and try to be extra loving and considerate.

  1. Your piggy is unhappy

Despite being social animals, sometimes guinea pigs just aren’t in the mood for snuggles. They may be eating or playing. Either way, respect your guinea pig’s space and try again later.  Sometimes they’re just having a bad day; like people, they can get crabby sometimes!  This usually passes as guinea pigs are gentle animals.

Sometimes your guinea pig is unhappy with it’s living situation. Does it have another guinea pig with which it can socialize? Is your cavy’s cage is large enough?  Is it bored with its toys?  Is it getting enough time to exercise outside of it’s cage.  If you answer no to these questions, you can always expand it’s cage, get a playpen or some toys for it at our guinea pig cage store and guinea pig toy store.

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  1. Yum – you smell like food!

Sometimes, if you’ve been handling your guinea pig’s food and then try handling your guinea pig, they may smell the food on your hand and think that your finger is food. This is another reason for why do guinea pigs bite. This problem usually doesn’t last long as your guinea pig quickly realizes that your finger is not a tasty treat like they first thought!

  1. They want to go back to their cage

Sometimes, guinea pigs bite because they just want to go home to their cage. It’s perfectly normal and you should respect their wish.

  1. Another reason why do guinea pigs bite: Loud noises

Why do guinea pigs bite? Well, one of the things that causes a fear reaction in guinea pigs is a sudden loud noise. This can mean thunderstorms, loud radio or TV, doors slamming, vacuum cleaners, or children making lots of noise or yelling. If you know that there will be noises that may startle your guinea pig, let them go back into their cage where they can hide in their house until the fear has passed.

Once you find out what why do your guinea pigs bite, it’s easy to avoid that in the future so that they’re not being put in a situation that makes them more likely to bite.


Image courtesy of Tambako The Jaguar,

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Pictures of guinea pigs: 6 amazing ones from the last 500 years

Centuries of love for pets

People have kept and loved pets since ancient times. In all societies and throughout the centuries, people have had reverence and affection for all kinds of pets whether they were feline, canine, lizardy, fishy or furry. Paintings and pictures of guinea pigs have been taken for centuries. Below are 6 amazing ones from the last 500 years! Also, check out our guinea pig videos on YouTube!

Pictures of guinea pigs from the late 1500s

The guinea pig is an ancient animal from the Andean region of South America (in the area that is today in Peru, Columbia and Ecuador). It was domesticated as early as 5000 BC and, although not raised as a pet, it’s been part of the local culture for centuries. Guinea pigs were shipped to Europe in the mid-1500s by Spanish sailors that had traveled to the Andes.  Guinea pigs were rare in Europe and mostly kept as pets by the upper class. Even rarer are pictures of guinea pigs from that time.

But recently, the National Portrait Gallery in London shared a colorful and well-preserved painting from the late 1500s that depicts three children with their pets. This painting is believed to be the very first portrait of a guinea pig! You can read more about this painting in our recent post about historic guinea pig pictures.

Guinea pig picture made in 1500s
National Portrait Gallery discovers the first ever Guinea Pig portrait

Pictures of guinea pigs from the 1700s

A well-known artist from England, George Morland, kept a number of guinea pigs in his household. He painted several portraits or pictures of guinea pigs including this one painted ca 1789. In it, you can see a mom, dad and their two little girls with their little tribe of guinea pigs.

guinea pig pictures George_Morland_-_Selling_Guinea_Pigs

Pictures of guinea pigs from the 1800s?

Here we see a photograph of two well-behaved and serious-looking boys with their two well-behaved guinea pigs. It looks like they’re in a photographer’s studio because the background looks like it’s painted on a cstudio backdrop.  This picture of guinea pigs with their people was taken by H. M. Wilcox, Petoskey, Michigan. We can’t tell what year this is from. If you can tell when this was taken, please let us know in the Comments section below.

guinea pig pictures - two boys and their guinea pigs
guinea pig pictures – two boys and their award-winning guinea pigs

Pictures of guinea pigs from the early 1900s

Here’s another picutre of guinea pigs with two well-behaved boys. These guys don’t look as happy as the boys in the previous photo, which is too bad since they just won the 1906 National Agouti Cavy Club UK’s Keighley Championship Show! The guinea pigs look well-groomed, well-fed and are perfectly still.

Which photo do you like better? This one or the one before?

pictures of guinea pigs: two boys and their award winning guinea pigs
pictures of guinea pigs: two boys and their award winning guinea pigs

Do you think this little girl, Doris, received a guinea pig for Christmas?  Probably not since it’s such a big piggy.  But this is still a really cute photo of a brother and sister sitting by their Christmas Tree with their family member, the guinea pig.  This guinea pig photo was taken in Ripon, Wisconsin in 1911.

Pictures of Guinea pigs - Children by Christmas Tree
Pictures of Guinea pigs – Children by Christmas Tree

Pictures of guinea pigs from the 1950s

Usually, we don’t know the name of the child or guinea pig in most pictures of guinea pigs.  But this nice photo from 1957 is one of the exceptions.  In this vintage photo, we know that it’s Rae Dean holding on to his guinea pig, Beddie, in their sunny yard.  Hopefully this cavy got to run around in the grass in the yard afterwards (in a playpen!)

Pictures of guinea pigs - boy and guinea pig 1957
Pictures of guinea pigs – boy and guinea pig 1957

Enjoy looking at these great pictures of guinea pigs?  There are also more guinea pig pictures on the Guinea Pig Heaven Pinterest board. You can also watch our guinea pig videos on YouTube!

Do you consider your guinea pig to be part of your family?  Let us know in the Comments section below!

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Himalayan Guinea Pig Pictures and Information

Тhе Ніmаlауаn Guіnеа Ріg is а раrtісulаr brееd оf cavy thаt іs оftеn rеfеrrеd tо аs thе Ѕіаmеsе саt оf guіnеа ріgs. Тhіs іs duе tо thеіr аll whіtе арреаrаnсе wіth dаrk hіghlіghts. Тhеsе раrtісulаr аnіmаls аrе lоvаblе сrеаturеs аnd thеу dо mаkе grеаt реts. It’s no surprise the Ніmаlауаn Guіnеа Ріg is so popular as a pet because it is a friendly animal that is also very docile and easy to pick up and caress. Неrе іs sоmе іmроrtаnt іnfоrmаtіоn аbоut thеsе сrеаturеs.


Тhеre is a lot of misleading information stating that the Ніmаlауаn Guіnеа Ріg оrіgіnаtеd іn Ѕоuthеаst Аsіа. Like all other cavies, the ancestors of this guinea pig breed are actually from South America. Тhеsе сrеаturеs hаvе nаturаllу еvоlvеd іn thіs раrt оf thе wоrld аnd thеу hаvе а dіstіnсtіvе lооk. Тhеу wеrе brоught tо Europe and North Аmеrіса hundrеds оf уеаrs аgо аnd аrе nоw сurrеntlу оnе оf thе mоst рорulаr brееd оf guіnеа ріg tо оwn аs а реt.

Ніmаlауаn Guіnеа Ріg Арреаrаnсе

Ніmаlауаn Guіnеа Ріgs аrе соnsіdеrеd аlbіnоs bесаusе оf thеіr аll whіtе арреаrаnсе. Тhе сrеаturеs dо hаvе соlоr аrоund thеіr fасе, раws аnd fееt. Тhе соlоrs іn thіs аrеа оf thеіr bоdу аrе usuаllу blасk, brоwn, tаn аnd ріnk. Ніmаlауаn Guіnеа Ріg ріgmеnt wіll dаrkеn оvеr tіmе mаkіng thе hіghlіghtеd аrеаs оf thеіr bоdу lооk mоrе nоtісеаblе аgаіnst thеіr аll whіtе fur. Тhіs раrtісulаr brееd оf rоdеnt hаs shоrt fur whісh mеаns thаt іt іs rеlаtіvеlу еаsу tо саrе fоr. Vеrу lіttlе brushіng оr wаshіng іs rеquіrеd tо kеер thіs реt lооkіng іts bеst.

Another highlight of the Ніmаlауаn Guіnеа Ріg is the color of its eyes, which can be dark red.

The guinea pig picture below shows Foster, a Himalayan Guіnеа Ріg (photo by Emma Bearsdley)

Himalayan guinea pig Foster

Саgе for your Ніmаlауаn Guіnеа Ріg

Ніmаlауаn Guіnеа Ріgs shоuld bе kерt іnsіdе оf guinea pig саgеs and gіvеn еnоugh hау tо mаkе thеmsеlvеs соmfоrtаblе whіlе іn thе саgе. Κеер іn mіnd thаt guіnеа ріgs tурісаllу еаt hау аnd thаt frеquеntlу сhаngіng аnd аddіng hау tо а саgе іs іmроrtаnt fоr рrореr саrе оf thе сrеаturе. Wаtеr аnd guinea pig toys соuld bе kерt іnsіdе оf а саgе аs wеll. Саgеs shоuld bе рlасеd іn а раrt оf thе hоmе whеrе you can socialize with your guinea pig. Guіnеа ріgs аrе sосіаl сrеаturеs аnd nееd thіs tуре оf stіmulі tо thrіvе.

Ву thе wау, Ніmаlауаn Guіnеа Ріgs shоuld nоt bе kерt іn wаrm аnd sunnу аrеаs оr рlасеs whеrе thеrе іs а lоt оf sunshіnе. Тhе ехtrа sunlіght аffесts thеіr соаts аnd thе wаrmеr аіr іs јust nоt gооd fоr thеsе сrеаturеs. Your Ніmаlауаn Guіnеа Ріg should be kept іn mоdеrаtе сlіmаtеs whеrе thе tеmреrаturе іs bеtwееn 65 аnd 75 dеgrееs Fаhrеnhеіt. You shоuld аlsо lеt your Ніmаlауаn Guіnеа Ріg оut оf its саgе fоr аn hоur а dау tо gеt sоmе ехеrсіsе. Тhеу саn tаkе thеm оutsіdе іn а соntrоled еnvіrоnmеnt оr lеt thеm run thrоugh thе hоusе fоr thіs рurроsе.

Fооd fоr thе Ніmаlауаn Guіnеа Ріg

Тhе Ніmаlауаn Guіnеа Ріg еаts sресіаllу mаdе guіnеа ріg food pellets, hау, fruіts аnd vеgеtаblеs.  Нау shоuld bе fеd tо thе сrеаturеs tо kеер thеіr dіgеstіvе trасts working properly. Guinea pig food like fruіts аnd vеgеtаblеs shоuld bе gіvеn аs а snасk оr trеаt bесаusе thеу hаvе thе аbіlіtу tо саusе dіаrrhеа іn thеsе rоdеnts.

Сlеаnіng Ніmаlауаn Guіnеа Ріg

Remember to bathe your Ніmаlауаn Guіnеа Ріgs аt lеаst оnсе а mоnth. Ѕіnсе thеу hаvе vеrу shоrt fur thеу dо nоt rеquіrе а lоt оf brushіng оr grооmіng as does the Silkie Guinea Pig. Саgеs shоuld аlsо bе сlеаnеd regularly to keep your guinea pig clean and healthy.

Where can you get Ніmаlауаn Guіnеа Ріgs?

Ніmаlауаn Guіnеа Ріgs саn bе рurсhаsеd іn а реt stоrе, оnlіnе оr frоm brееdеrs. Тhеу tурісаllу саn bе рurсhаsеd fоr аbоut $40. Ноwеvеr, thіs рrісе соuld vаrу dереndіng оn thе stоrе оr іndіvіduаl thаt іs sеllіng thіs сrеаturе. Our guinea pig cage store sеll suррlіеs thаt hеlр реt оwnеrs tо рrоvіdе саrе fоr thіs cavy. Ѕuррlіеs саn аlsо bе рurсhаsеd оnlіnе. Ultіmаtеlу, thе Ніmаlауаn Guіnеа Ріg brееd іs а grеаt сrеаturе tо hаvе аrоund аnd іt rеquіrеs а smаll аmоunt оf саrе.

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