View Full Version : Hello, (another) newbie here!

12-29-10, 04:13 pm
Hello GPC forum!

As new cavy owners, we (my wife and I) happened to stumble upon this site/forum looking for some cavy care information online. I must say there is a lot of info on here. We have spent much of the last 2 weeks reading through posts.

It is a bit overwhelming to read that most of the info here is the complete opposite of what the pet shop and book we bought (prior to getting our 2 cavies) said.

A few examples: The pet shop insisted we buy a mineral/salt wheel, vitamin C drops for their water, Yogurt treats, etc.. And the book we have called "The Guinea Pig Handbook", by Sharon L. Vanderlip said our cage was big enough, said we should use distilled water with vitamin C drops and said that we should buy an exercise wheel.

Since finding this site, our 2 cavies (approximately 8 weeks old) now have a 2x4 C&C cage with fleece bedding and a second story 1x2 kitchen area with Aspen chips. They are eating fresh vegetables, not store bought treats. They get bottled drinking water, (not distilled) without the vitamin C drops. And we ditched the salt/mineral wheel. They actually seem much happier and are more active and its only been a few days since we have made all of these changes.

I don’t understand how a shop that supposedly specializes in selling pets and a book called The Guinea Pig Handbook can be so misinformed and irresponsibly distribute such incorrect and harmful information?

Wish we had found this site sooner!!!!

Thank you all

12-29-10, 04:20 pm
Hello, welcome to GPC! :)

12-29-10, 04:27 pm
Hello and welcome!

Crazy, isn't it? And scary, to think of the misinformation that is being perpetrated out there. As you will have noticed, most of the things the pet store told you your pigs needed were things they "conveniently" happen to sell. They wouldn't make a lot of money if they told you to adopt your pigs from a shelter, build your own cage and buy vegetables at the grocery store...

I'm really glad you found this site, and your pigs will be too! :-)

12-29-10, 04:28 pm
Oh, you don't know how happy I am to hear you found this site and switched from that pet store crap. You're another success story, in my eyes.

The reason pet stores don't care one bit about proper care is that it's a business, a corporation, an in-it-for-the-money situation. They don't care if what they tell you is safe or acceptable. They don't care if your guinea pig gets sick from the pure junk they sell or contracts a respiratory illness from living on unsafe cedar shavings or lives a horrible life in a litterbox of a cage.

Have you heard of Kleenmama's (http://www.kmshayloft.com) for hay and pellets? Their hays and pellets are of top-notch quality and favorites among many people here. If online isn't an option, Oxbow in pet supply stores or online at PetFoodDirect (http://www.petfooddirect.com) or Drs. Foster & Smith (http://www.drsfosterandsmith.com)is another option. You said you feed veggies, too. You've probably seen the veggie charts (http://www.guineapigcages.com/forum/diet-nutrition/22156-read-me-guinea-pig-nutrition-charts-poisonous-plants-list.html) and sample menus (http://www.guineapigcages.com/forum/diet-nutrition/24770-sample-veggie-menus.html), then. Have you checked out GuineaLynx (http://www.guinealynx.info)? It's a really great care and medical resource; you should bookmark it.

Now if you want to make your pigs REALLY happy, you should visit Jens Custom Crafts (http://www.jenscustomcrafts.com), the Cozy Cavy (http://www.cozycavy.com), and Windespirit (http://www.windespirit.com/) for beds, tunnels, and other fun and soft cage accessories. The way to a pig's heart is through its beds, so be sure to get a few if you can!

Good luck and welcome! We do expect pics, you know. ;)

12-29-10, 04:41 pm
Ditto, And welcome to GPC!

12-29-10, 05:29 pm
Welcome to the forum!! I glad you found this forum so soon. I didn't have a computer when I got my first two girls and didn't take very good care of them. I did buy hay for them and knew not to feed iceberg lettuce but that was about it.

When I found this site I was so happy to be able to take care of them right and make them a huge cage and two more girl friends.

12-29-10, 06:46 pm
Welcome .. have you verified that your guinea pigs are the same gender though? They are usually missexed (and sick).

12-29-10, 07:47 pm
Welcome! I'm really glad you found this site. It's a wealth of info and as you said already, your pigs seem happier in just a few days. There is a lot of info to process so if you have questions be sure to ask.

Although I do not approve of pet stores I have to at least (partially) defend the people who work there (it's the owners and chain store managers I really would like to slap around). Most of the employees are uneducated themselves. They are trained by someone who may or may not know better. An owner should know better but they are not the ones usually doing the training. It's some other slacky who doesn't have a clue and passes on bad info. They, like most people, think the pet store employees know what they are talking about so they pass it on thinking they are giving correct info. They are paid minimum wage most times and truthfully it's just a job to them. Pet stores, from info I've gathered, have a high turnover of personal so the bad info continues to get passed from one to the other.

As for the author of the book, I have 2 theories. Either it's an old book that keeps getting reprinted with outdated info OR the author actually thinks because this is the way it's always been done that it's the correct way. Let's face it. Someone who knew about pigs 20 years ago does not have correct info. If they had what they thought were healthy happy pigs then they may not bother to look things up and see that the "old standards" no longer apply.

12-29-10, 10:33 pm
Hello, and Welcome to GPC!

I'm fairly new around here myself and like you I went with all the bad info that the pet store, food manufactures websites, and Wikipedia told me. I have since dumped all the "junk" and purchased new and safe items, and built a C&C cage.
I find it sad that so many people, and pet store's think small animals like piggy's are a disposable pet. So they don't care if they give you the correct info or not. Each animal is a life given by God and if we take in that like then we are responsible to give it the best care possible.
I am so happy that just like me you found this site, and now you have happier, and healthier piggy's. Can't wait to see picture's of your piggy family. :)

12-30-10, 07:57 am
Thank you all for the warm welcome and for all the additional tips. I will be sure to check out all the links in the previous posts.

I believe the next item I may research is life expectancy. Since most of the care info out there is…. well…. lets just call it “old school”, I wonder if well cared for Cavy will greatly exceed the average life span (according to my book) of 5-6 years.

12-30-10, 08:06 am
There is a thread called something like "Documented Age" and it's all about life expectancy. Most people seem to be getting 5-6 years, but there is a spike in the graph of people getting 7-8 as well.

Edit: Ah here it is, it was on guinealynx. http://www.guinealynx.info/forums/viewtopic.php?t=55580

Domino & Bedhead
12-30-10, 08:27 am
I think we were all pretty naive at the beginning so it's great you found this forum. I have had pigs for over 5 years now and am still learning and my first little guy was literally a guinea pig, grin! I have two boars now that are separated by a grid and happy as can be but I am expanding the cage because I have learned it is just not big enough. So much to learn and pet stores are just plain stupid. I have been many times and somehow end up at the guinea pig cages and have complained and they have changed their ways a little. They definitely don't like hearing from people like us and the Corporate Office has a tendency to get on top of things so don't be afraid to call or send an email. I got results within two days and their pigs had unlimited amounts of hay which they didn't have before and somewhere to hide and to this day they still do so it helped. Good luck with your piggies..they will make you smile many many times.

12-30-10, 08:37 am
I haven't seen any horrible conditions for guinea pigs around here, but I did see some for mice. One pet store had little mice in this tiny aquarium that was maybe 12x12. Probably 50-100 mice in that little area! I took a picture even have to upload it sometime.

12-30-10, 09:13 am
I have had piggies since I was 16 and now feel like I was such a bad mama. I too did my research and THOUGHT I was doing the right thing for my piggies giving them romaine every few days and peppers the odd time and giving them carrots and apples EVERY day as well as oranges. Man did I feel like a bad mama when I foudn this site. i too have now ditched the litterbox have switched to fleece and my girls now have a 2x4 CC cage and they LOVE it!!! I have referred my friends brother who is getting his first guinea pig shortly, so that his little piggy gets the best care!!