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View Full Version : Do my pigs need Salt Wheels or Mineral Licks?



Ly&Pigs
01-31-07, 03:54 pm
The answer to this question is absolutely NOT. Too much salt or minerals in a pigs diet only cause problems later on down the road. So if you've purchased a salt lick or mineral wheel the best thing you can do is throw them in the trash.

I also want to mention that piggies do not need pumice stones either.

PIGGIN AROUND
06-16-07, 07:19 am
It is ok to give them a salt wheel, they will only lick the amount of salt they need if ever. I give mine salt wheels and they only nibble on it and take what they need. There is no problem with this because they need salt in their every day diet. A salt wheel will not hurt, just like other food, the pig wont eat it if it dont need/want it.

Jennicat
06-16-07, 07:23 am
It is ok to give them a salt wheel, they will only lick the amount of salt they need if ever. I give mine salt wheels and they only nibble on it and take what they need. There is no problem with this because they need salt in their every day diet. A salt wheel will not hurt, just like other food, the pig wont eat it if it dont need/want it.

Guinea pigs can and do eat what they do not need or want. That's why they end up with problems like bladder stones, bloat, diarrhea, and bladder sludge. If you're feeding a good brand of pellet like Oxbow or Kleenmama's,there is plenty of salt in their pelleted foods to fulfill that nutritional requirement, they don't need a lot.

emithebug
06-16-07, 07:43 am
NO, they do NOT need mineral or salt wheels! You are increasing the likelihood of bladder or kidney stones by giving these to them.

Percy's Mom
06-16-07, 11:37 am
A salt wheel will not hurt, just like other food, the pig wont eat it if it dont need/want it.The basic problem with this statement is that a guinea pig ALWAYS wants food, and especially junk food that they really shouldn't have. The excess minerals in a salt/mineral wheel is just as bad for a cavy as excess salt is for a human, if not worse. If your pig licks and nibbles the wheel, it's because he likes the taste of the salt, NOT because he needs it.

daftscotslass
06-17-07, 01:41 am
Human beings want chocolate, sweet, salty and fatty junk foods - just because they want it doesn't mean it's good for them.

kathrynj
06-17-07, 05:09 am
There is a myth around also that cats will only eat as much as they need and no more. My fat cat who is finding it very hard to loose her excess weight, but for her health needs to, is testament to the fact that this is far from true.

Jenni_Feathers
06-17-07, 09:04 pm
NO NO NO NO NO they are not good 4 them

avcavies
07-10-07, 11:15 pm
What kind of animal uses them anyway?

Chomper_Slave
07-12-07, 06:38 pm
Horses. . . :p
Since you asked.

I was wondering though, are they okay for other small animals such as rats and rabbits, or would they cause the same problems? :confused:

Ly&Pigs
07-12-07, 06:54 pm
I don't believe they are good for rats and rabbits either. I certainly don't provide any to my rats.

Zenith Cherry
07-12-07, 07:58 pm
Wow, I didn't know salt blocks were bad at all. My pigs have on on every level, I'm going to take them down today. Thanks ^_^

CavyFanatic13
08-03-07, 07:33 pm
I didn't know they were bad either. I have a salt wheel and mineral lick. As soon as I read this, they both went in the trash. Thank you for the info.

melquida
08-22-07, 11:43 am
Thanks for the info I diodn't know this either i have just Adopted two female and this came with them I'm so glad I found this site

i-love-nev
08-26-07, 12:15 am
A salt wheel will not hurt, just like other food, the pig wont eat it if it dont need/want it.


Just like "Percy's Mom" said a guinea pig is ALWAYS wants food as they are constant foragers (Sorry I spelt that wrong but I tryed my best).


I know mine are :sarcastic I think i go through about the same as maybe 15-20 cups and about 10 cups of readigrass!:melodrama

KatieIsRadio
08-28-07, 03:45 pm
Thanks for posting this!

I'm learning so many things that are bad for my piggy that my friends, who used to have one, didn't know about.
:]
Muchas Gracias Chicas y Chicos!

Char-x
11-18-07, 02:49 pm
Thanks for posting this, my mum got them one as a treat and I thought it was a great idea, clearly not! Thankfully my young girls never touched it and my boar just licked it abit and never touched it again *phew*
There down now :)

Guinea_Piggin
11-19-07, 05:01 pm
Another "thank you" for this post. I had one for my AJ, but all he ever did was pee on it, maybe he knew better than I did. lol

My aunt, on the other hand, is one of the believers that "if the pet stores sell it, it must be good/okay for the animal(s). If it wasn't good for them, they wouldn't have it on their shelves." Argh!

gpigluver14
12-28-07, 10:10 pm
I received salt licks for Christmas for my piggy..... :sad: And something tells me the receipt for them wasn't saved. I don't want to just throw them out so I think I will leave them out for the deer. (I live near a lot of woods.) And deer like salt licks so it's a win-win situation. Yay!

Dega Lee
12-29-07, 08:14 pm
oh no! I'm glad I found this thread! I have one in my cage. I noticed earlier today that Dega had eaten a very tiny amount of it. I'm gonna have to take it out of her cage!! Thanks for this post and useful information!

ava&lilly
01-03-08, 07:07 pm
they could. Mine didnt like a saly lick so i threw it out

Ly&Pigs
01-03-08, 11:11 pm
they could. Mine didnt like a saly lick so i threw it outNo they don't need Salt wheels or Mineral licks. Commercial brands of pellets contain all the salt and minerals they will ever need. By giving them extra salt/mineral stuff, you can do more harm than good.

Cavy_Luvr
04-27-08, 05:30 pm
Actually, guinea pigs need minerals just like we do. If you put a salt lick in the cage, they'll use it when they need it. I bought a salt lick when I first got my piggies, and that one lasted a year, and I have three cavies! Try it, and if you think that it's not doing anything good, take it out. Or contact your vet for more info.

Ly&Pigs
04-27-08, 05:44 pm
Please stop giving bad advice cavy_luvr. Pigs get all the salt and minerals they need from pellets and from veggies/fruits. They absolutely do NOT need salt wheel or mineral licks.

Jennicat
04-27-08, 05:45 pm
Cavy_Luvr, your information is incorrect. The excess minerals in mineral wheels frequently contribute to forming bladder stones. And that is from my vet.

There's absolutely no need for mineral or salt wheels.

auburnmare5
04-27-08, 05:59 pm
I agree. I used to give salt licks but Coco never used them. They also smell bad after a bit. (Another reason not to use them) But, I agree, you should check your info for accuracy before you give it.

VoodooJoint
04-27-08, 07:19 pm
Here is a thread explaining why GPs don't need salt licks. There are several linked references on it along with veterinary proof. The links and references are about rabbits not needing salt/mineral licks but the information is equally valid for guinea pigs. http://www.guineapigcages.com/forum/diet-nutrition/21367-salt.html

PrayerWarrior
04-28-08, 09:40 pm
I've read the entire thread, and gotten it loud and clear that salt wheels and mineral wheels are NOT good. I had no intention of getting my piglets a mineral wheel, but I was going to get them a salt wheel, because I read that it helps keep their front teeth in check. If they don't get salt wheels, what helps their front teeth a good length?

Ly&Pigs
04-28-08, 09:49 pm
If they don't get salt wheels, what helps their front teeth a good length?Hay, hay and more hay. This is one of the reasons they need unlimited amounts of hay. The other reason is that it's high in fiber and good for digestion.

PrayerWarrior
04-28-08, 10:02 pm
Hay, hay and more hay. This is one of the reasons they need unlimited amounts of hay. The other reason is that it's high in fiber and good for digestion.

Yeah, I know all about how important hay is, although I thought that was good for grinding their molars. Do hard veggies help? Should I be worried about their front teeth?

VoodooJoint
04-28-08, 11:05 pm
Their front teeth get worn from rubbing against each other and do not need as much care and worry as the molars because they are more easily worn by the rubbing due to the fact that they are thinner.

If you are concerned you can provide wood blocks and safe branches (untreated apple and willow are good choices) for them to chew on. Many also chew on their hidey houses.

PrayerWarrior
04-28-08, 11:10 pm
Their front teeth get worn from rubbing against each other and do not need as much care and worry as the molars because they are more easily worn by the rubbing due to the fact that they are thinner.

If you are concerned you can provide wood blocks and safe branches (untreated apple and willow are good choices) for them to chew on. Many also chew on their hidey houses.

Wonderful. Thanks so much.

Jennicat
04-29-08, 04:46 am
Mine would never chew on any of those things, oddly enough. (Not that they aren't excellent suggestions). But they get tons of hay and have never had tooth problems (molar or incisor) to date.

ali's_pigs123
04-29-08, 02:46 pm
Give hay 24/7 to keep their teeth in good shape. But by no means does this mean you should not regularly check their teeth.

Leaflyn
05-04-08, 12:12 am
Yup, deer love salt licks.

rabbitsncavyluv
05-04-08, 01:25 am
Guinea pigs rarely develop problems with their front teeth alone; it's usually the molars that have issues. Feeding unlimited quality grass hay helps greatly.

gooberific
05-29-08, 10:33 am
Thanks for having all these stickies up. This answered my exact question. When I was younger, my pig had a salt lick. But I liked to lick it, too, so I was never really sure if she needed it (as *I* was always, and still am, yelled at for eating too much salt).

GuineaAddict
05-29-08, 11:12 am
I got one for my guinea pigs and they ended up just knocking it down and rolling it around in their poolol . So that's apparently how much they needed it.

Chin Lover
05-29-08, 12:54 pm
For salt licks and mineral wheels, I've read that they are used for horses and cows to prompt them to drink more water. Piggies drink enough water as is, and they don't need salt licks around to encourage them to drink more.

I have however, heard that if you have a piggy that doesn't drink water, giving the piggy a salt lick would help the situation. That's probably the only reason to get your piggy one, and even so, it shouldn't be in the cage for long.

Jennicat
05-29-08, 12:56 pm
If your piggie isn't drinking enough water, it's generally a sign of a health problem, and you shouldn't try to cover it up! Piggies can be rehydrated with Pedialyte (unflavored) or by feeding wettened veggies like lettuce, which are healthy and safe for them.

Ly&Pigs
05-29-08, 01:07 pm
I have however, heard that if you have a piggy that doesn't drink water, giving the piggy a salt lick would help the situation. That's probably the only reason to get your piggy one, and even so, it shouldn't be in the cage for long.You should never give a salt lick for any reason at all. If the pig isn't drinking much water from the water bottle it's either because they are getting enough water from the veggies or there may be a health issue.

Chin Lover
05-29-08, 01:18 pm
People will have differing opinions on this, just like on everything else. In the end you will have to do what you feel is right for your animals.

Like I said before, I agree that small herbivores don't need salt licks or mineral wheels, and using it on new piggies that don't drink water is the only semi-good reason I read from my research. :) I'm not here to argue, just passing on what I read.

AnimalHouse36
05-29-08, 01:22 pm
People will have differing opinions on this, just like on everything else.


But, sometimes there are facts to back up an opinion is this case there are many facts to back up that you shouldn't give them these. They are just a gimick(sp?) created by pet stores to get you to buy things.:important

Chin Lover
05-29-08, 03:01 pm
I've read the "facts" that have been posted on this forum, including the ones listed on the other thread. I agree that salt licks and mineral wheels are unnecessary in a small animal's diet, but it's the matter of my opinion, of the majority opinion.

I have yet to find concrete evidence to say that salt licks and mineral wheels are dangerous. I also didn't find any cases of deaths from salt licks and mineral wheels. I'm not saying that the risk isn't there, I'm just saying there isn't proof that it's there.

I quote from the other thread


I found nothing that says they are dangerous except in one of the pages listed above that made mention of salt poisoning, but I found may references that say they are not necessary and many that said you can use them but that a good diet makes them unneccesary.


I've even search a very knowledgeable chin site, in which people debated heavily (and heated topics can turn into arguments), and no one was able to prove that salt licks and mineral wheels are bad/dangerous for chins.

I am very much against salt licks and mineral wheels, and I would love to find "facts" out there that'll prove these items are harmful for small animals. And I've PMed some of the mods on this following forum to take the two items off the safe chinchilla chew list
Chinchilla Chew Toys - Chins & Quills (http://www.chins-n-quills.com/forums/showthread.php?t=123609)

I do need something solid and concrete that'll seal the debate for that to happen though. Do you guys know of any sources of research that has been done which proves these items are harmful and dangerous?

rabbitsncavyluv
05-29-08, 03:31 pm
They can overdose on salt and multivitamins, which harms their livers and kidneys. You can research the effects of overdosing on salt and vitamins/ minerals.

Chin Lover
05-29-08, 03:46 pm
Has there been reports on incidences where that has happened after given salt licks or mineral wheels?

Jennicat
05-30-08, 04:30 am
I would suspect not, since most of the guinea pig owners using salt licks and mineral wheels are the same people who have them on cedar, have them in tiny cages, and only expect them to live 2 years.

Again, WHY would you give a product which serves no purpose except to cover up a potentially deadly medical symptom?

lilcavy
06-18-08, 07:39 pm
no! your ginny pig does not NEED salt licks....ect. so don't worry the will be fine without them!

theresaj
07-19-08, 05:22 pm
Hmm glad I came upon this thread. I know not to give Frankie salt licks now.

BabySnow
10-27-08, 05:45 pm
WHY do salt licks cause kidney/bladder stones? All I hear is to throw the salt lick in the garbage, THROW IT OUT! but I'm presented with no proof. I don't trust people who give their advice in such an absolute and hostile way.

Why can't I provide my guinea pig with things it likes as a treat such as the occasional salt lick or yogurt drop?

And why are salt licks good for horses and bad for guinea pigs? I would appreciate, trust, and follow advice with more explanation.

theresaj
10-27-08, 05:52 pm
And why are salt licks good for horses and bad for guinea pigs? I would appreciate, trust, and follow advice with more explanation.

Different animals with different bodies. Certain minerals that the guinea pig gets too much of can cause the stones. Something like certain amount of calcium can cause bladder stones or gall stones in humans.

AnimalHouse36
10-27-08, 05:55 pm
WHY do salt licks cause kidney/bladder stones? All I hear is to throw the salt lick in the garbage, THROW IT OUT! but I'm presented with no proof. I don't trust people who give their advice in such an absolute and hostile way.

Why can't I provide my guinea pig with things it likes as a treat such as the occasional salt lick or yogurt drop?

And why are salt licks good for horses and bad for guinea pigs? I would appreciate, trust, and follow advice with more explanation.


Want proof? DO a search on the forum. I'm sure you'll find some proof that they cause damage.

Salt lick is unnessacary hazardess to their health and an all around waste of money.

GP's are STRICt herbavours (sp?). They are lactose (SP?) intolerant.

Guinea pigs and horses are two COMPLETLY different animals therefore they have different dietary needs.

Ly&Pigs
10-27-08, 06:29 pm
They do not need salt licks because there is salt in the pellets they eat. Too much salt can cause extreme thirst. Too much salt can increase blood pressure and cardiovascular problems and in some cases too much salt can lead to death.

Cavies are lactose intolerant meaning they cannot digest dairy products very well. Yogurt drops contain dairy products.

It's not salt licks that cause stones, it's mineral licks. The main mineral in mineral licks is calcium which in turn can and does cause sludge/stones.

BabySnow
10-27-08, 07:49 pm
Thank you very much for the friendly explanation Theresaj and Ly&Pigs!
Sorry I didn't know I could do a search AnimalHouse36. I did one and came up with more posts saying the reasons that Theresaj and Ly&pigs gave. So thanks!

It does list salt fairly early in the ingredient list for my pellets. I also checked the ingredients of my yogurt drops (Yogies) and it does list Cultured Skim Milk as an ingredient. I know at least for humans, cultured milk is tolerated by many lactose intolerant people. (The bacteria in cultured milk takes care of some of the lactose) However, lactose intolerant people are supposed to avoid whey, which the Yogies also have.

I sent an email to 8in1, the established company that makes Yogies and one of the makers of salt and mineral wheels. I'll let you know if they reply! It's certainly frustrating when a 100 year old company tells you things are essential for your guinea pig - Quote the Yogies container: "healthy yogurt-drop snack made with easy to digest yogurt" and then a forum of experienced (but relatively anonymous) owners tells you the trusted company is full of poo.

Deenanicole08
10-27-08, 08:18 pm
Yes, my pig used to love the orange flavored yogurt drops, and never got sick, and her poops were just fine, but I read they cant have them, so I stop that right away. But how come she liked them so much if they were so bad? I always wondered because I know a couple lactose intolerant people and they feel sick after eating something dairy.

But I too wanted to e-mail these companies and tell them to do their research, but I figured it would do absolutely nothing. I got my pig a large runing ball too, that she hated and wouldnt move in, but it could have killed her and I had no idea since they marketed them for guinea pigs.

Ly&Pigs
10-27-08, 08:22 pm
They like them because of all the junk and sugars in them. The same way that a toddler would like chocolate over broccoli. Just because it says it's for pigs doesn't mean it's healthy. Store treats are bad news because of all the processed junk in them and the added sugars.

8-in-1 makes some of the worst small animal treats out there. Treat sticks full of nuts and seeds, stuff with lots of added sugars and low quality ingredients. It's best to avoid ALL petstore treats and stick with fresh veggies with the occasional piece of fresh fruit.

VoodooJoint
10-27-08, 08:26 pm
Another issue with items like yogurt drops is the amount of sugar they contain. Too much sugar can cause diabetes in guinea pigs the same way it does in humans.

Think about the size of a yogurt drop in comparison to your GP's size. It's about the equivalent of you eating an entire cake by yourself.

Stick with occational, natural sweets like fruit. Your GPs will love them just as much, if not more, ad they get the benefit of the natural vitamins and enzymes.

ETA - Ly, get out of my head.

theresaj
10-27-08, 10:20 pm
I would like to respond more to BabySnow's post. Just things to think about.

Point #1: Well, your guinea pig may enjoy it, that doesn't make it something they need or good for them. Think of all the foods WE enjoy but are of no value otherwise and are just fat and calories, would you have your children live on McDonalds just because they enjoy it? A lot of those pet shop piggie treat things are like that. Think of all the junk cereals that are like fortified with essential vitamins blahblah. Well the cereal being full of sugar kind of undoes that. Like, cake, ice cream, doughnuts,and the like. Yes, we enjoy these but are they good for us? No way!

Point #2: As Ly mentioned Guinea Pigs are herbivores. Their bodies are not made to digest meat, grains, dairy, and the like. For them to be healthy you should only feed what their bodies were designed to digest.

Point #3: Horses and Guinea pigs are different in many ways, different in size, different anatomically and so on. I know many people say an animal is an animal is an animal but this just isn't the case. Just like no 2 of us are JUST a like. For example, one may have special diet needs because they are diabetic or so on, and another person may be normal. No 2 creatures are exactly alike.

Point #4: These things are a waste of your money that you work to get as well. And are mainly useless gimmicks for pet shops to just try to sell you extra stuff you don't really need.

rabbitsncavyluv
10-27-08, 11:46 pm
They aren't exactly going to print "Bad for your guinea pig" on the package.

BabySnow
10-28-08, 12:45 am
would you have your children live on McDonalds just because they enjoy it?
...
Their bodies are not made to digest meat, grains, dairy, and the like.
...
Horses and Guinea pigs are different in many ways


Well of course she is nowhere NEAR living off it. Sometimes I think of animals too much like friends and like to think they can afford an occaisional unhealthy treat like I can. But I will certainly stop giving her Yogies because of the dairy in them. I didn't know guinea pigs are lactose intolerant.
It would be like me trying to eat her hay every once and a while... that would be silly.

I know that horse comment made no sense. Imagine me looking sheepish here! My aunt has horses and Snowflake reminds me of them. Mainly because they both eat massive amounts of hay! Different hay, I know...




They aren't exactly going to print "Bad for your guinea pig" on the package.


I don't wish for them to tell the truth about their bad products, I just wish they'd make better products! A healthy treat like a fruit or veggie that didn't need to be refrigerated would be nice. But like I read in another post, that wouldn't be economical for many companies as animal food is sometimes just waste from other food manufacture.

Ly&Pigs
10-28-08, 12:05 pm
ETA - Ly, get out of my head.No, VJ. It's all snuggly warm in here and I'm cold. The weather has turned.

BabySnow, many horses and guinea pigs eat the same hay. If you go to a feedstore to buy hay by the bale, you want to look for horse quality hay. But that's where the dietary differences stop.

The majority of petstore treats out there are just junk with a pretty label on it.

Percy's Mom
10-28-08, 02:05 pm
It would be like me trying to eat her hay every once and a while... that would be silly.
It's not bad really. Quite an herbal taste and a very nice aroma. It's especially nice if you get really high quality hay.

I guess if Ly and VJ don't want people in their heads, I'll have to find another head to reside in. Daggum it!

dra&pigs
10-28-08, 04:16 pm
I like this "head" thing...entertaining. :) Anyway, salt licks are simply unnecessary. Just because I love ice cream doesn't mean its a necessary part of my diet. I can survive just fine (and a little more healthily....) without ice cream. Like salt licks, to much ice cream can create medical issues. Salt/mineral licks should not be used in any situation.

Sorry for the ice cream thing...I'm a little hungry right now.lol

BabySnow
10-28-08, 11:36 pm
Sorry for the ice cream thing...I'm a little hungry right now.

No you mustn't! It's simply unnecessary and bad for your health! :silly: ...Oh well, that smiley doesn't really match the teasing face I wanted.

That's great! The next time I visit my Aunt I'll go to the feed store with her and see what I can find.

Alright, I promise I won't make another pointless post here unless I get a reply about that email I sent.

VoodooJoint
10-29-08, 08:51 am
No, VJ. It's all snuggly warm in here and I'm cold. The weather has turned. Okay, as long as the echo doesn't bother you.


I guess if Ly and VJ don't want people in their heads, I'll have to find another head to reside in. Daggum it!You can stay PM. Just don't hide and lurk around all of those empty nooks in my head that Ly finds and jump out at me yelling "BOOGA, BOOGA!" as I rattle around in there too.

That totally freaks me out.

dra&pigs
10-29-08, 01:29 pm
VJ-That was hilarious. lol

auburnmare5
10-29-08, 06:04 pm
That was funny VJ! :)

Coffee
11-22-09, 05:57 pm
Im reading that the guinea pigs get enough salt from the pellets. I read oxbows ingredients and yes its in there. Kleenmamas however doesnt list salt?

Ly&Pigs
11-22-09, 06:29 pm
Im reading that the guinea pigs get enough salt from the pellets. I read oxbows ingredients and yes its in there. Kleenmamas however doesnt list salt?
That's because salt is not a necessary ingredient or something that pigs even need. KM's pellets are the best out there as she formulated them with good nutrition in mind.

BabySausage
01-11-10, 10:53 pm
Phew! I am glad you told us that! I hope that my friend will take hers down because I sent her the link to this page. I hope she can see it soon! Haha, her old one has a bunch of dents making a funny pattern; but now that I know they're bad for the piggers, I will be sure to tell her about them! I am going to recommend her this site, hopefully it'll help her out.

ChatterandRusty
07-31-10, 12:57 pm
Oh! Thank you very much! My friend bought some for her guinea pig and gave me one. I haven't put it in their cage yet, but I'm glad I haven't. Thank you for the info!

natashia
10-05-10, 04:08 pm
Thanks so much for posting this - The lady at my local petshop was adamant that I should get some (since I told her my guinea pig nibbler licks me when I hold him and she said its probably the salt) but I ignored her and now I'm really glad!

jan.neeth
11-02-10, 02:41 am
I'm glad I read this as well. I bought some without knowing. I still haven't place them in the cage so I'm just gonna be throwing them out.

D.Miller
01-01-11, 01:13 am
Just bought some......lol I guess I gotta throw it out....

faithandhope
01-31-11, 05:13 pm
Thank yo so much! I put mine in the trash (well technically I gave them to my horse, but they're gone either way.)