Guinea Pigs

(Brownie and Noodles 2017)

OUR GUINEA PIGS

We’ve had pet Guinea Pigs for just over two years. We currently have five, four girls and one boy. They prefer to live with others and so as part of their well-being it’s important to buddy them up when one  passes.

This year two of our little Piggies have passed, within three months of each other.  This left Brownie living on her own for a couple of months as female Guinea Pigs haven’t been available in any of the local pet stores. The owner of a store in Ilfracombe took our details and  got back to us as soon as she had a girl available.  It was good to move forward with a new Piggie, but brought back memories of Charlie and Oreo, who were such a joy to look after. They were both the instigators of calling out for food. Charlie was by far the loudest, calling out as soon as any drawer was opened! I would often say ‘Who wants Cumbers!?’ (I made up this word as part of my daughter’s and mine imaginary world of our pets- which is probably a post in itself) Charlie would always be the first to call out.  It was pretty quiet with both Charlie and Oreo gone. I will never complain (and don’t think I ever did) about the noise the group of them make when they want their treats.  Our new little Piggie, Kuma Bear has taken over from Charlie and Oreo with calling out for food.  I think maybe she makes more noise than Charlie and Oreo together, but that may just be because I was getting used to quiet piggies. Click on the video below to see our Guinea Pigs being given their vegetables. This is very special as we captured the first time Kuma has taken food from anyone’s hand!

PIGGIES PASSING

It never matters who the pet is, no matter what their size. They are all loved equally and all missed equally. They are each a member of our family.

Both our piggies were young. Charlie was just eighteen months. He hadn’t been right for a few months. He didn’t each much grass when he was in the garden. During the hot weather this year he declined quickly. When he stopped moving around the cage my son took him to the vets. My daughter went with him. I was expecting them to return with antibiotics and for Charlie to recover. Instead I had a phone call from the vet whilst Charlie was in her clinic. She said there was nothing she could do for him. I had to decide whether to have him put down then and there or to wait. This information threw me completely. I asked for Charlie to come home so we could say goodbye.  She gave him some pain medicine and water to re-hydrate him.

We all had lots of cuddles during the time he came home, we were all so sad. It’s a hard decision to make to have a pet put down. You know you’ve done the right thing when they return at peace. It’s good to see the illness removed.

With Oreo we didn’t get to say a goodbye before she passed. She passed away the day before we came home from Butlins.  She has a special place in my heart. We adopted her and Brownie from Pets At Home. They were between twelve and sixteen weeks old when we adopted them. Oreo was very skittish and did not like being picked up at all. Slowly she became used to us and over time she became the loudest girl who would shout out for the treats for them all.  It was difficult and stressful saying goodbye to her. The building work was still being done. The builders were in the house when we returned from holiday.  There wasn’t the space or time to grieve. We popped home, had a cuddle with her, then buried her before returning to the temporary accommodation.

NUTRITION

As with any species of animal, including humans, diet is important. This is more important with small animals, just like small children and the elderly, they are more vulnerable to illness.

Any change of diet needs to be implemented gradually to avoid upsetting their stomachs. There are many foods which Guinea Pigs are NOT allowed (see separate post).

Today Chris bought some nuggets as we were almost out. Pets At Home have stopped selling their usual nuggets and moved over to a slightly different recipe. My daughter was far from happy when she found out.  She researches very carefully and knows that food can’t be swapped straight away. So this means we have NO CHOICE but to do something which may affect the health of our Guinea Pigs.

Because we were concerned about changing their diet suddenly we looked into Guinea Pig nugget ingredients. I was shocked when we discovered that ingredients guinea pigs aren’t allowed are actually in the nuggets they eat!? Why do manufacturers do that? So please check out ingredients before you buy them.

 

 

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