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HollyLeaf
12-24-15, 10:24 pm
Hello everyone! It's so great to be apart of the cavy community!
I joined so I could learn more about guinea pigs and be the best piggy parent I can be. So, while I'm writing this thread, I'd like to ask a few questions and hopefully find some answers..
I have two piggies, Charlotte and Pansy. I did buy them from Petsmart a few weeks ago, before I realized I could adopt elsewhere.. But they are beautiful and so much fun and I love them anyway. My concern today is with little Pansy.. I noticed a few days ago that there was a hint of pink in her urine. After researching, I realized I was giving too much high calcium veggies, like collards and red peppers every day.. So I stopped giving those every day, as well as going out and buying a much wider range of veggies. I made a menu with varying veggies for every day, and it have since not seen any pink in her urine. But I've also noticed her sneezing a lot more. They both sneeze a bit, and I think it's my bedding ( I use pets pick natural kiln dried pine, which despite what the bag says is not completely dust free...). I had half a bag left over from when I had hamsters, and it wanted to use it up, but I planned to buy a big bag of aspen to use next time. Unfortunately my walmart does not carry the large bag of aspen, only the little tiny bag, and the large bags are twice as expensive everywhere else. I can't find the large bag of that brand online either. But I needed bedding right away since I just finished my C&C cage and I ran short with the old bag. So I had the buy the large bag of the pine again. I still plan to keep looking for aspen in bulk, but the pine has to do for now. But I worry for the pigs' health. I'm still familiarizing myself with their personalities and quirks, so I don't know if it's normal or not but Pansy seems to sleep a lot during the day. She still zooms around her cage and plays with Charlotte but it seems every time I walk into my room or wake up in the morning she's napping in the corner. She's also skinnier then her sister, but she's been that way since I got her. She's actually much skinnier compared to Charlotte, but then again char is a bit of a chunk haha. Anyway she eats normal and drinks normal and still seems to have energy. But I worry about her sneezing and sleeping so much. They're both so young yet, I find it hard to believe they could sleep for long. But hey, I'm no expert, yet. I just wonder if the bedding dust is irritating them. They seem to like it otherwise.

I plan on taking them to the vet as soon as possible after Christmas for a check up, and to rule out a URI, which is what I'm worried about. But any tips or advice would be greatly appreciated. Also, please don't recommend fleece to me. I've already looked it up, and weighed the pros and cons, and I have to say I don't care to go that direction. I've always used bedding for my critters, I don't intend to stop now. Not to mention the deal I made with my parents says I cannot allow the cage to smell at all, and from what I've read fleece tends to be stinky. I don't mind spending the money on bedding, I've been doing it for a while already. But any other advice would be great!

One more thing, thoughts on forti-diet or Kaytee Timothy hay? That's what my walmart sells and I work there so it's easier than buying the extremely expensive stuff at petsmart. Same thing with that brand pellets?

Thanks! Nice to meet everyone!
Merry Christmas!

peachyteen
12-25-15, 03:42 am
You could try switching to paper bedding, I feel like it has less dust than shavings.
Also, Kaytee hay is okay if it's green, but I recommend oxbow or kms. For pellets, don't use kaytee, it's really not good for your pig. Oxbow is the best in store brand, but if you have the money and ability to order online, get KMS. We ordered a 10lb bag of kms, we've gone through about half in 2 months w/ 2 bigs, just so you can get an idea of how long it would last.

bpatters
12-25-15, 07:54 am
Kaytee stuff is pretty much crap -- KMS or Oxbow are much better choices, and much healthier for your pigs. But buying hay in small packages in the store will cost you three times as much as buying in larger quantities online. It's also drier and dustier.

The absolute best bedding for odor control is wood pellets, either that made as stove fuel or horse bedding. You just have to make sure it doesn't have a strong pine odor. You can go months without replacing pellets, and they're very cheap.

I find that it's easier to put a layer of thin fleece over the pellets (they're the absorbent layer), simply because it makes it easier to lift the fleece out and shake the hay and poop off of it. But it's not totally necessary. If you choose not to use it, you might want to put some small fleece pads or soft hideys in for them to sleep on.

HollyLeaf
12-25-15, 07:17 pm
Thanks for the tips so far, guys! I'll definitely look into those ideas.

unfortunately right now I have no idea when I will get in to see my vet. She usually has a week long waiting list from what I hear, and I can't call till tomorrow. Pansy seems to be acting normal other than all the sleeping, she eats normal and drinks. But I can't help but worry. I've read how most pigs from pet stores already come sick with something, but petsmart has usually always been good to me, I would never go to petco or some other crap little pet store. But who knows.. I just know all my hamsters have come healthy from there, and lived long lives. I'm also worried about the cost to get both checked up at the vet and if either or both have URIs.. Money's a tad tight right now with Christmas just getting out of the way and my bills. Our vet is very cheap usually but takes great care of our animals, but I've never taken guinea pigs there. I wonder if I call and ask they could give me an estimate?

HollyLeaf
12-25-15, 07:20 pm
The absolute best bedding for odor control is wood pellets, either that made as stove fuel or horse bedding. You just have to make sure it doesn't have a strong pine odor. You can go months without replacing pellets, and they're very cheap.

I find that it's easier to put a layer of thin fleece over the pellets (they're the absorbent layer), simply because it makes it easier to lift the fleece out and shake the hay and poop off of it. But it's not totally necessary. If you choose not to use it, you might want to put some small fleece pads or soft hideys in for them to sleep on.

And as for those pellets, where do you buy them, and what brand is the best? I've never heard of that idea before, and it sounds appealing. Much less dusty I assume.

bpatters
12-25-15, 08:28 pm
You should be able to find stove pellets where you are. Be sure they don't have an accelerant added, and that they don't have a strong pine odor. Places like Lowes and Home Depot usually sell them. They're a seasonal item, and once winter is over, you can't get them again until the weather turns cold in the fall. So if you like them, stock up.

If there are horses in your area, you may be able to buy horse stall bedding. Same thing applies about the pine odor, but you don't have to worry about accelerants with them. I use a brand called TerrAmigo, and I buy them at a local feed store. You'll have to google them in your area to find them. They're usually produced and sold regionally because of the weight involved in shipping.

HollyLeaf
12-25-15, 09:52 pm
You should be able to find stove pellets where you are. Be sure they don't have an accelerant added, and that they don't have a strong pine odor. Places like Lowes and Home Depot usually sell them. They're a seasonal item, and once winter is over, you can't get them again until the weather turns cold in the fall. So if you like them, stock up.

If there are horses in your area, you may be able to buy horse stall bedding. Same thing applies about the pine odor, but you don't have to worry about accelerants with them. I use a brand called TerrAmigo, and I buy them at a local feed store. You'll have to google them in your area to find them. They're usually produced and sold regionally because of the weight involved in shipping.

Awesome, thanks, I'll have to look into those.

On another note, is there anything you might be able to tell me about my pig's odd behavior? I mean, I don't know if it's odd, maybe she's just a sleeper, but I'm worried regardless. I've now deeply researched everything about URIs and I've also looked into allergies. The only symptoms I really see is the sneezing now and again and the sleepiness. She's flopped in the corner right now by the hayrack as I type this, and sometimes she even closes her eyes, which I know is rare for them to do. Oh, but now she's up and eating pellets. Anyway, she seems much more lethargic than her sister, who's always running and eating it seems, with short catnaps here and there. Pansy is up and running like a spaz at times too, then she seems to eat for a bit then take another nap. Is this normal? I've read in multiple different places different things about this, some places say they are active in the morning and evening, others say lots of sleep is not normal at all. She also seems to shed a lot more than Charlotte? And a bit smaller and skinnier than her sister.

Ill take them to the vet ASAP for a checkup regardless, but a little peace of mind would be nice right now, heh.

peachyteen
12-25-15, 10:14 pm
Our girls tend to nap after eating, and they do close their eyes when they sleep when they feel safe/comfortable. Same goes with "flopping over". Peanut usually sleeps on one hip and her head normal (usually, occasionally she'll lay with her head to the side).
Also, guinea pigs come in all sizes. Peanut is almost 2lbs and Olive is a bit under 1.5lbs, and they're only a month or so apart.

bpatters
12-25-15, 10:16 pm
It's not rare for them to close their eyes at all. Pigs in a new place, and especially young pigs, will often sleep with their eyes open, but older, settled pigs usually close them.

They are crepuscular animals, which means they're more active at dawn and dusk. But I think that really applies more to their wild ancestors. Our pigs live in warm houses, and get used to our routines. Mine have always eaten/napped/eaten/napped/etc, and have had plenty of naps during the day.

Some pigs can just be lazier than others. I had two sows who were litter mates. One of them was definitely more active than the other -- ran more zoomies, moved around the cage more during the day. So the lack of activity isn't necessarily worrisome. It could be a problem, and I'd probably want an x-ray to see if there's any enlargement of the heart that might be causing it. But it might also be nothing.

HollyLeaf
12-26-15, 08:50 am
Thanks so much for the help guys! I feel a lot better about the whole situation. I think maybe I was just overreacting, as any new pig mom would I guess. They were both zooming around the cage this morning and Pansy seems to be very happy at the moment. I called the vet, but I guess they're closed until Monday. Pooh. Hopefully soon I can get them in for a checkup. :)

HollyLeaf
01-01-16, 01:10 pm
I just realized I haven't posted any pictures of my girls yet so here are a few. Charlotte is the brown and white one and pansy is the brindle.
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HollyLeaf
01-04-16, 04:04 pm
I'm just going to bump this by saying I got my piggies into the vet this morning for their first wellness exam and despite all my paranoia and worries my vet says they're perfectly healthy! She was very knowledgable and handled them very well, I didn't ask but I'm going to guess she has pigs or has had them at some point. She asked me lots of questions about how I'm taking care of them, what kinds of foods, toys, etc, and she was very pleased with all my answers. All the things I was worrying about are apparently normal and illness is nonexistent, which is a very good thing considering they did come from a pet store. She said they didn't even seem stressed at all about being away from home which is great, and how their personalities really shine through. She gave me lots of extra tips on keeping them happy and healthy, and we even discussed bringing them outside in the summer time and what kinds of things to be aware of. Anyway both my pigs are very happy and healthy and I only paid a whopping $10 for the both of them to have their check up!

My vet was great, very thorough, and the prices were fantastic! We always love seeing her, we've been bringing our dogs and cat there for the last 5 years or so, and she's always been so great, and the prices very reasonable. If there's anyone in the twin cities metro/central MN area looking for a good, reasonably priced vet for their pigs or other animals, I Highly recommend Dr. Sarah Sneller in Annandale. :)

PiggyGrandma15
01-04-16, 05:15 pm
Oh that is great to hear!

Side note, I'm insanely jealous of that nonexistent vet fee!

HollyLeaf
01-04-16, 05:42 pm
Oh that is great to hear!

Side note, I'm insanely jealous of that nonexistent vet fee!

I could hardly believe that was what they charged me! I expected at least 20$, and especially since i looked around on this forum and many other people were saying how a good price was around $30 per pig, and thats if youre lucky. Im incredibly happy with my vet.

SillyMolly
01-06-16, 09:31 am
Hi, I'm from MN too! I live in Willmar, but I'm originally from Waconia. I got an coronet guinea pig from the St.Cloud Petsmart, I named her Molly, and I love her so much! I got her June 29th,2015 with my staff from the group home I live in. All my staff have been very supportive of Molly and I, and I feel so thankful. Your Guineas are adorable and I can tell you care about them very much. I'm new to this site, but I stumbled across it a few times as I looked up facts and recommendations before I went and brought her. I'm excited to start using this site more regularly.

HollyLeaf
01-06-16, 01:59 pm
Hi, I'm from MN too! I live in Willmar, but I'm originally from Waconia. I got an coronet guinea pig from the St.Cloud Petsmart, I named her Molly, and I love her so much! I got her June 29th,2015 with my staff from the group home I live in. All my staff have been very supportive of Molly and I, and I feel so thankful. Your Guineas are adorable and I can tell you care about them very much. I'm new to this site, but I stumbled across it a few times as I looked up facts and recommendations before I went and brought her. I'm excited to start using this site more regularly.

Welcome! Braving the bitter mn cold too, huh?
Ive been using this site for just about every question i have, its really great and the users are so knowledgable! Ive learned a ton in just the few weeks ive been here.
You say you picked your guinea up at a petsmart also? If i were you id take her in for a vet check, just to make sure shes illness-free. I discovered after i got my pigs that typically pet store pigs have illnesses. I was lucky, my pigs are super healthy. But next time ill definitely be adopting. Im more educated on that subject now, haha.

Also, id highly recommend you get her a friend. My mom surprising me the next day with Charlotte really did a great thing for Pansy. She was immediately a happier pig. Its better for your pigs overall health to have at least 2.

SillyMolly
01-06-16, 03:44 pm
Yeah, I had her checked out three days after I got her and she's perfectly healthy except the pet store didn't provide chew toys, so she had to have her teeth trimmed. I also did some research on guinea pigs a couple weeks before I got her. Molly has two friends at the house, my room mate Lola also got a guinea pig when she came with me to Petsmart to get her, and she got her second Guinea Pig when I was getting help with my depression. Their names are Ana and Oreo, they all play together during the day in the big Piggy Pen we brought. They are all happy together for now but Lola will be moving out in March so that's when I have to buy a second friend for Molly.

Thanks for the advice, I feel really welcomed here :) I going to buy from a breeder next time, but I love my Molly no matter where she came from!

HollyLeaf
01-06-16, 04:00 pm
Im with you there. I love my girls to death even though they came from the store.

bpatters
01-06-16, 04:02 pm
Guinea pigs do NOT need chew toys to keep their teeth trimmed. It's the grinding action of the molars when they're chewing hay that keeps the front teeth at the right length. You'll need to provide her with unlimited good quality long-strand grass hay (timothy, blue, orchard, meadow, brome). If you want to buy toys, that's fine, but they're absolutely not necessary.

SillyMolly
01-06-16, 05:14 pm
Im with you there. I love my girls to death even though they came from the store.

That's wonderful, I'm glad :)

SillyMolly
01-06-16, 05:18 pm
Oh okay, I sorry for the mistake. Molly eats hay but it doesn't help with her teeth so much, so I sometimes have to bring her in to have her teeth tirm. I hate bringing her in though since it scares her so much.

peachyteen
01-06-16, 05:33 pm
Oh okay, I sorry for the mistake. Molly eats hay but it doesn't help with her teeth so much, so I sometimes have to bring her in to have her teeth tirm. I hate bringing her in though since it scares her so much.
it's not that it doesn't help with her teeth, because it does. but some pigs teeth grow faster than they can grind down eating hay.

bpatters
01-06-16, 05:49 pm
some pigs teeth grow faster than they can grind down eating hay.

If that's true, I've never heard it in all my years on guinea pig forums.

If a pig is eating enough hay, and doesn't have jaw problems of some sort (elongated roots, abscess, wonky back teeth, etc.), the chewing motion will keep the front teeth ground down. But if you feed a pig enough veggies so that it doesn't eat enough hay (or just doesn't eat it for some other reason), then the front teeth may need to be trimmed. But that's an unusual circumstance, and certainly not normal.

SillyAna
01-06-16, 06:30 pm
Hi, I am Lola SillyMolly's roommate. I just came home from work and she told me about this group. I have been reading you guys comments. I have been very happy since got my first guinea pig Ana. I got her on June 15, 2015. The vet said that she was around 6-11 months. I named her Ana May Lillian. I did not give her a last name at first because I don;t have a real family that I actually felt loved by. But when i tarted to date my boyfriend now fiancee had basically been calling her his daughter so we call her Ana May Lillian Cuevas. I was going to move out in march so I want get Ana a friend and on October 23, 2015 she was only 15 days old then. She is in her teenage years right now and thinks she is boss. I had to switch her into a different cage until she is a little older and does not bother Ana so much. Her whole name at first was just Oreo. My fiancee said that she looked like an Oreo Cookie. So that is why her name is Oreo. SillyMolly kept calling her Cookie so her full given name is Oreo Cookie Cuevas. She is a doll and at first I didn't think that she was going to like me. She kepted squeeking for my staff so I though that she didn't like me. But my staff told me if I pay more attention to when I pick her up she would prrr very loudly and be happy. I did notice that and then I really did realize that she loved me like she was saying "You are my mommy and no one else. You could never be replaced." Ana was my first guinea pig and I love her dearly and I have also come to love Oreo as well. I am also from Willmar, MN. I am working at a thrift store called goodwill. I buy my supplies and share my veggies with SillyMolly to give to her guinea pig Molly as she does the same to me for my two.

SillyMolly
01-06-16, 06:42 pm
Molly does have a problem with her teeth, and she doesn't seem to like to eat hay very much. She's starting to eat it more, to my relief, but we still struggle with the teeth issue. Thanks for all the facts, I finding myself learning more and more as a Guinea Pig Mom. All I want is Molly to have a happy, healthy, and loving life so I appreciate all the comments I get that teaches me a little more about Molly (Molly is thankful for it too) :)

SillyAna
01-06-16, 06:54 pm
Molly is a very great guinea pig in my opinion and you are a great mother SillyMolly. You have done a lot of things to try to help her. Hopefully she'll eat more and more hay now that I have given her a hay bag. Does she eat her hay out of it more and more now? Maybe if she keeps eatting the hay she will have less and less problems with her teeth.

SillyMolly
01-06-16, 06:57 pm
She's starting to eat a little more of it, she just seems to prefer fresh lettuce. She's getting better little by little, but she still has problems with her teeth

SillyAna
01-06-16, 07:01 pm
That is good maybe she'll get better and better each day. Hopefully her teeth will also get better. She is still yet young as is ana. Also maybe try the hay they have at blue bird pet shop that BS mentioned about that she told themthat we need better hay here in willmar.

SillyAna
01-06-16, 07:02 pm
It is soft hay like the kind that i had from the petsmart when I got Ana

bpatters
01-06-16, 07:58 pm
Cut back on the lettuce -- hay is way more important. It should be 85% of a pig's diet, 10-12% veggies, and the rest pellets.

HollyLeaf
01-07-16, 07:48 am
SillyMolly, maybe you could try a different kind of hay? She might take to a different brand more.

blessedmom
01-07-16, 08:33 am
Hi, I am Lola SillyMolly's roommate. I just came home from work and she told me about this group. I have been reading you guys comments. I have been very happy since got my first guinea pig Ana. I got her on June 15, 2015. The vet said that she was around 6-11 months. I named her Ana May Lillian. I did not give her a last name at first because I don;t have a real family that I actually felt loved by. But when i tarted to date my boyfriend now fiancee had basically been calling her his daughter so we call her Ana May Lillian Cuevas. I was going to move out in march so I want get Ana a friend and on October 23, 2015 she was only 15 days old then. She is in her teenage years right now and thinks she is boss. I had to switch her into a different cage until she is a little older and does not bother Ana so much. Her whole name at first was just Oreo. My fiancee said that she looked like an Oreo Cookie. So that is why her name is Oreo. SillyMolly kept calling her Cookie so her full given name is Oreo Cookie Cuevas. She is a doll and at first I didn't think that she was going to like me. She kepted squeeking for my staff so I though that she didn't like me. But my staff told me if I pay more attention to when I pick her up she would prrr very loudly and be happy. I did notice that and then I really did realize that she loved me like she was saying "You are my mommy and no one else. You could never be replaced." Ana was my first guinea pig and I love her dearly and I have also come to love Oreo as well. I am also from Willmar, MN. I am working at a thrift store called goodwill. I buy my supplies and share my veggies with SillyMolly to give to her guinea pig Molly as she does the same to me for my two.

I noticed you said you had to put Oreo in a different cage until she's older. Read some forum posts on here about that (I've learned so much from browsing the posts here!) because I learned with my piggies separating them was a bad idea. Mine are boys though, but that usually means they bicker even worse during puberty especially. The picking on each other is necessary and won't stop unless you let them work it out. It's totally normal. I was almost in tears several times as my boys seemed to hate each other for a while. I was about to separate them when I started reading about it and learned not to do so unless they were actually drawing blood. After a few days, it got better and then sometimes would get bad again but after a couple of months they were so close! They just had to determine who was gonna be the Alpha.

SillyMolly
01-07-16, 10:37 am
HollyLeaf I tried Oxbow Hay, but she wouldn't eat that at all, and I also tried the hay from Walmart (I think it's called KAYTEE) she seems to prefer the Walmart brand more. Are there any type you would recommend?

SquigglyPigs
01-07-16, 10:52 am
:O I come from Willmar too! I grew up there and then moved during high school. Crazy to find someone from that little town on this forum!
Back on topic...my pigs' favorite hay is from kmshayloft.com . I buy the bluegrass hay for them because it helps a bit with my allergies.

blessedmom
01-07-16, 12:25 pm
I order my hay from SmallPetSelect.com. It's much better quality than in store and less expensive. They usually have discount codes so be sure to google "small pet select discount code" before ordering! I got the cutest free GPig ring and a bumper sticker with one order!

urofan
01-07-16, 01:02 pm
Welcome to the Guinea Pig Cages Forum.

HollyLeaf
01-07-16, 02:35 pm
HollyLeaf I tried Oxbow Hay, but she wouldn't eat that at all, and I also tried the hay from Walmart (I think it's called KAYTEE) she seems to prefer the Walmart brand more. Are there any type you would recommend?

I started out on a small bag of oxbow then when that suddenly ran out one morning i was going to check my local farm store, marties its called, but they were closed for the holidays. :( so i had to grab a bag of forti diet kaytee hay from walmart. Its not the greatest, but my pigs sure seem to like it. And as soon as i run out of that im going to try marties again and hopefully they will have some good quality locally grown timothy. :)
But i havent tried enough hays to really recommend one. Oxbow is good and ive heard good things about kms and small pet select

SillyMolly
01-07-16, 04:16 pm
HollyLeaf I think I will try finding local hay also. My dad would know where to find some since at home he has a flock of sheep and a Llama that he feeds hay (he lives in New Germany, MN), maybe they have some farm store in Willmar I could find some.

HollyLeaf
01-07-16, 05:13 pm
Im sure you will find one. We are lucky to live in the midwest where its easy to get things like hay. :)