Sunday, July 25, 2010

How to be pig crazy

Raising a guinea pig requires basic knowledge of the animal's characteristics and weaknesses

It is a common phenomenon that many guinea pig lovers who want to keep a pure breed of the lovely rodent end up keeping a fake one. This mistake keeps occurring as long as guinea pig devotees have no basic knowledge of this tiny pet.

Since thorough information about this species is rare in Thailand, many inexperienced keepers easily fall prey to fraudulent sellers who present the impure strain widely known as noo kwan, a kind of rodent that has many whorls of hair along its body. But with information about the breed, buyers can easily differentiate between the pure and impure breeds.

"There are some selfish breeders who breed guinea pigs with a kind of noo tapao. This practice makes the real breed become rarer and its price soars immensely. If the mixed breeding scheme continues, it is possible that the pure breed will eventually become extinct," said guinea pig connoisseur Sujintron Petheium.

Ms Sujintron said the best age for getting a guinea pig is one month because its outward appearance and structure start to be clearly defined. And when it is about three months old, it can be easily identified.

"Noo tapao has a pointed face with straight ears. It has short hair and whorls of hair along its long body while a guinea pig has a round face with drooping ears and its body is rather rotund," she explained.

Buying a guinea pig when it is still tender is also beneficial since the younger it is, the tamer it is.

"Any problems concerning a guinea pig can be prevented in advance if keepers study and search for information exhaustively before making up their minds to adopt one. It's a long-term commitment so any keepers should be well prepared," she warned.

"By nature, a guinea pig is somewhat fretful. It needs extra care and attention from its caretaker all the time. It is very sensitive to all kinds of noises and when it hears a loud sound, it will cry. But when we pick it up, it will stop. So a guinea pig is the kind of pet that is suitable only for those who enjoy taking care of animals," she said.

Ms Sujintron says it is not advisable to keep a guinea pig on grass because parasites and mites on the ground can make the animal fall ill easily. But if owners insist on keeping it on grass, it is strongly recommended to deworm the animal every three months. But guinea pigs kept in a cage can be dewormed every five months.

"The cage should be placed in a ventilated area. To keep the cage clean and the animal healthy, place a litter tray under the cage and clean it every two days. If not, ammonia from urine can evaporate above the tray and the animal can easily catch a cold by smelling it," she explained.

Though small, a guinea pig enjoys playing with toys, too. Its favourites include any toy with a squeaky sound. Some even enjoy playing with dolls.

A guinea pig's diet varies. It includes grass, dry commercial food available in any pet shop, fruit and vegetables that must be cleaned thoroughly by soaking in water mixed with permanganate potassium for at least half an hour. "Dry food can be put in a bowl and left in the cage all the time. Grass can be given to the animal three times a day. Fruit and vegetables can be fed between the main meals," she said.

In addition to major nutrients, a guinea pig also needs vitamin C, which helps prevent hair loss and colds. Vitamin C can be given to the animal two times a day, in the morning and evening.

During the dry season, it is advisable to bathe the animal at least once a week. Owners should also comb its hair every day to remove dead hair and prevent a matted coat. Grooming and cutting the hair should be done before bathing time.

"Warm water is preferable. Use soap specially produced for the guinea pig. While bathing it, place its neck on the edge of the bowl. Clean its hair two or three times to make sure soap is removed from its coat. Then dry its hair immediately to prevent pneumonia. But during the winter, bathe it every two weeks," she suggested.

Ms Sujintron said pneumonia is a very common disease among guinea pig since by nature it likes playing in water a lot. And when it gets wet, it can develop pneumonia right away.

"We need to provide extra care for the animal during the hot season because a guinea pig likes cold weather. A glazed tile can be placed on the cage floor so the animal can seek coolness from it. A bottle with ice inside can also emit coolness, but it must be wrapped with cloth. An electric fan is also helpful," she suggested.

Ms Sujintron said guinea pig owners can examine the animal's health by themselves every week to look for abnormalities. It should be weighed at least three times a week. If it loses weight, pet owners have to take it to a vet because most sick guinea pigs will lose weight. Sudden weigh loss can lead to shock and death.

Its oral health is also important. Normally, lower teeth are longer than upper teeth and whenever the animal can't munch its teeth, it suggests that it might be suffering from a tooth problem. Take it to a vet to have its teeth trimmed.

After checking the teeth, check the gums to see if they are clear or have any mould. When the animal has an oral problem, it can't eat and will lose weight.

Then move to the next step of an optical check-up. Any sick guinea pig will have too much eye discharge, with tears running down all the time. It might start getting a cold. Take it to a vet immediately.

Too much earwax with pus also suggests that the animal is sick. And don't forget to check its skin whether it has any scrape or fungus.

"These are easy check-ups that all keepers can do by themselves every week," she said. n

by :
by :

Thursday, November 15, 2007

How to SEX Guinea Pigs


Females (sows) : The sows usually have a smooth swelling over their genital area. Sometimes, it can be bumpy looking, making you think it might be a male! If you gently part the genital opening, on a sow, a "Y" shaped opening should appear.

Males (boars) : Press gently just above the genital area. If it's a male, you should be able to make the penis slowly extrude. Don't be fooled by appearances. Sometimes, it doesn't look like there is a penis there at all! Especially in heavy, older males, the penis can be "tucked away" in folds of skin, looking entirely like a female! You should TRY to get the penis to ease out.

HOT TIP ! If it is a male, you can usually feel the inner part of the shaft (which is under the skin) in the same area--just above the genitals -- by very gently pressing and rubbing your finger over that area. You will feel a "ridge" just above the penis.

Also, if there is a pucker or protrusion of skin at the top of the genital area, then that is a good indication that there is a penis tucked away underneath. But, be sure to get it to extrude to confirm it.

Young males have a donut shape around their rectum where their testicles are.

Picture By :
Article By :

What foods shouldn't I feed?


Foods to avoid include cereals, grains, nuts, seeds, corn, peas, beans, breads, biscuits, sweets, sugar, breakfast cereals, chocolate.

Don't feed your cavy on rabbit or rodent pellets.

If your rabbit is not fed on an adequate diet, signs of Vitamin C deficiency will occur about two weeks after the deficiency starts. The guinea pig will be lethargic and weak. It will eat less and lose weight and may have enlarged limb joints. It develops a rough hair coat, diarrhoea and produces a discharge from its eye and nose. Death usually occurs in about three to four weeks.

Picture By :
Article By :

What should you feed your guinea pig?


Like rabbits, Guinea Pigs are herbivores and require a high fibre diet. They should have grass or grass hay (e.g. meadow, timothy, oaten, pasture, paddock or ryegrass hays) available at all times. Lucerne or clover hay should not be offered as they are too high in calcium and protein.

Hay also encourages chewing for long periods of time and helps to keep their teeth in good condition, which grow continuously throughout the guinea pig's life. The hay is best provided to them, if possible, in a hayrack attached to their cage wall.
Fresh leafy green vegetables and herbs should also be offered. Vegetables include broccoli, cabbage, celery, endive, beet/carrot tops, brussel sprouts, spinach leaves, bok choy & other Asian greens, dark-leafed lettuce varieties. Herbs include parsley, coriander, mint, dill, basil, dandelion etc. Offer a variety of 2 or 3 different greens each day and remember to make any changes to the diet slowly to avoid gastric upset.

Guinea Pigs also require a dietary source of Vitamin C, otherwise they will suffer from 'scurvy'. This is usually supplied by the fresh greens but small amounts of vitamin C-rich fruit can also be offered e.g. citrus, kiwi fruit, strawberries.

High quality guinea pig pellets (min 16% fibre) can be offered but only in small amounts as a treat. Many commercial pellets are too high in fats and carbohydrates, and low in fibre, and should not be fed ad lib or as the sole diet. Vitamin C content also declines once the bag is opened.

Pregnant cavies have a higher requirement for Vit C and oral supplementation may be required - contact your vet for advice.

Picture By :
Article By :



Many novice owners of guinea pigs are very nervous of bathing their animals because they have been fearful of the effects this may have on the nervous system!. The myth that these animals cannot stand any kind of stress is totally erroneous. They're animals, for goodness sake and their behaviour usually make a damn sight more sense than that of our own species.

Guinea pigs react with such vigour and speed when they feel at all threatened, for the simple reason that this is their only form of defence from what could be predatory attack. They are not built to fight off such attacks so nature has given them a very good nervous system which enables them to get the hell out of it as fast as they can. She also equipped them with a good sound system to warn others in the pack of impending attack and hopefully frighten off those doing the attacking.
What I am trying to say is that much of the nervous behaviour is more sound and fury than the sound of an imminent cardiac attack!.

Like small boys, some guinea pigs object to the very idea of water and soapy suds upon them and let their feeling known to owners as soon as they are put in the sink and the water begins to flow about them. Beware of those that try to commit suicide by leaping out as soon as they are put in, for they can be pretty nifty!. If you are not nimble of eye, hand and body, it would be better if these types were bathed in a bath. It maybe more uncomfortable for you on your knees but it is far safer for them!.

It is a good idea to bath your guinea pigs at least once every three months in an anti parasitic shampoo. The one I use is Prioderm which is used upon children who get hair lice. I leave it on for about ten minutes than rinse off.

If your animals live indoors it is sufficient just to give a vigorous drying by towel and them put them back into their quarters. With animals that live outdoors it it is vital that they are thoroughly dry before they are put outside again. Even shampooing in a good human medicated scalp cleansing shampoo such as Alphosyl, though not having anti parasitic chemicals in it, can still have anti parasitic effects. A clean skin and coat is not at all as appetising to the kind of parasites that guinea pig flesh is heir to as a dirty one.

Though the veterinary profession insists human hair shampoo is dangerous for animals, it is not, and certainly none that are recommended in this book. It is also, incidentally, a lot cheaper than any you will buy from a veterinary surgery. Remember that most of it has already been tested animal guinea pigs anyway!.

Picture By :
Article By :

guinea pigs information


Guinea pigs are also called cavies. Guinea Pigs are rodents belonging to the family Caviidae and the genus Cavia. Guinea pigs are classified in order Rodentia, although there is a minority belief in the scientific community that evidence from mitochondrial DNA indicates that the Hystricognathi may belong to a different evolutionary offshoot, and therefore a different order. Guinea Pigs are not pigs nor do they come from Guinea. Although there are from 6 to 9 different species, the one most familiar to people is C. porcellus, the common guinea pig.

Picture By :
Article By :



Guinea Pigs should be handled with care. They have delicate bones and if dropped would cause them an injury. However Guinea Pigs are not like smaller animals such as Hamsters because they are much bigger you can hold them with confidence. I feel Guinea Pig's shouldn't be handled by small children. However if the adult holds the Guinea Pig then guides the child's hand to stroke him gently the Piggy shouldn't come to any harm.

You should handle all of your Guinea Pigs as often as possible to build up a bond between you. I handle each Piggy at least once a day. Kornage and Nutmeg love being stroked. Millie, although it would look like she doesn't like it by her shaking of her head and the fact she bites, I like to believe this is all fake and really she does like it. She seems to forget she's being handled after a while and settles down.
As a rule Guinea Pigs do not bite. I just seem to have the nawtiest of all Guinea Pigs and when I say she bites, its more of a nibble than sinking her teeth in.

If you do own a Guinea Pig that shows this kind of behaviour my suggestion to you is to persist but at the same time try to respect that this Guinea Pig just doesn't like being handled. Millie is very timid, I have owned her for 6 months now and over the time her trust in me has grown.

When I am placing my Guinea Pig's back in their cage I find Millie Moozer She tends to try and leap out of my hand. I have found the best way around this is to hold her in my hands so she is facing my stomach, so she goes in backwards. This way she can not see where she is going and doesn't try to leap. We had a nasty experience like this one day when she leapt from about 2ft high and landed on her face. She hurt her face that time but still attempts to leap. The other two are much more calmer about it unless of course they are excited.
I have noticed when handling my Guinea Pigs they become fidgety. This can be after 5 min's or an hour. They start off licking me. Other times they lick me and settle down. However when they lick me and start to fidget and wont rest I put them back in to the cage and 9/10 they have a pee. So I use this as an early warning sign. On occasions when I have had all 3 on me and one does this and I haven't got up fast enough they have then peed on me. As a rule if I keep to this I do not get peed on. Guinea Pigs seem to have some hygiene awareness.

You may notice your Guinea Pig likes to hide inside his house. In the wild they can live in a maze of tunnels and travel from one place to another underground. When you cuddle your Guinea Pig you may find he will like to climb inside your top or dressing gown. You will notice they just hide their face. His theory is if he can't see you then you can't see him. Shh don't tell him that his huge bum is sticking out and the cute squeaking noise he makes when cuddled will give him away! When I have owned new piggie's I have used a lightweight cotton cover to offer them to hide under when being cuddled. You may notice they like to sit on your shoulder and hide in your hair? This is for the same reason as mentioned.

Picture By :
Article By :