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Getting Started With Guinea Pigs or Rabbits

New Pet Bundle

Getting Started with Guinea Pigs or Rabbits – A short, helpful guide to make sure you have everything you need for their new home.
Before you buy or adopt a new Guinea Pig or Rabbit, you need to have their home ready for their arrival. You need a House – one level or more – see my post on Housing for Small Animals for suggestions of good home bases.

You also need their bed to be made using sawdust, hay and possibly straw depending on the weather. For more information see my post on Bedding for Small Animals.

In addition, you need food bowls, water bottles and a hay distributor.  Fill the bowl with some muesli or pellets and you might also want to get them some treats as a little welcome such as an alfalfa ring or willow sticks – see my posts on Food for Small Animals and Play Time for Small Animals for more ideas.

Good luck! I hope you enjoy looking after some of the world’s cutest animals.

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Guinea Pig Diet Food

For Rabbit and Guinea Pig Diet Food, I have offered a few selections below.

Guinea Pigs can be rather picky when it comes to their food, leaving yellow bits one week and green bits the next, and it can be worrying whether or not they are getting all the nutrients in their diet.

Supreme Science make a range of guinea pig, rabbit, and other small animal pet foods, to suit all their dietary needs.

Supreme Science Selective is a pellet based food that stops them leaving certain colours out of their diet and my pets prefer it to Pets At Home pellets. This particular make:

is high is fibre to help promote healthy teeth and tummies and has added vitamin C to help keep your guinea pigs in the very best of health. Selective also contains linseed, a particularly good source of omega 3, which helps to regulate coat shine, thickness and colour intensity, as well as supporting a healthy skin.”

 

Supreme Science Recovery is sachets of food mix and a syringe for ill or recuperating animals. This, I would assume, is cheaper than going to the vets and getting one sachet of food plus a syringe each time a pet is ill – handy to have in for Pet First Aid.

 

They also make food for different ages, such as Supreme Science Selective Mature 4+ Years Rabbit Food.

Have a look at their other stuff here

 

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Dogs On A Diet

Chappie Diet Dog Food

For Dogs on a Diet their meal times can become boring and tasteless but with a choice of Chappie available it doesn’t have to be that bad.

It’s hard to find diet food for your pets in the supermarket and when you do, it can be expensive. Chappie is a dog food for all occasions, from dieting to stomach upsets. They do wet and dry options, as well as foods for different ages. Amazon describes it as:

“Healthy Skin & Coat CHAPPIE contains essential fatty acids, such as Omega 3 & 6, known to help support skin & coat health Vitality CHAPPIE contains everything your dog needs to keep him full of vitality Healthy Digestion CHAPPIE contains chicken which is gentle on your dog’s sensitive stomach, whilst natural fibres actively contribute to healthy intestinal function Healthy Bones CHAPPIE contains calcium and phosphorus to help support healthy bones CHAPPIE Complete Wet Dog Food is a 100% complete and balanced dog food developed with vets. As well as containing no artificial colours, flavours, added sugar, eggs, dairy, red meat or soya, CHAPPIE contains all of the essential nutrients that your dog requires to keep him in top condition every single day”

 

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Puppies

Puppy Training Pads

We had 9 puppies in our Utility Room and the mess was phenomenal!!

But these Puppy Training Pads were fantastic. They are super absorbent, odour catching and non-rip. Puppy Training Pads are a great way to help your puppy learn where to go the bathroom. You get through an awful lot so if you can buy in bulk that will help.

Having 9 puppies in one place can be daunting in terms of safety for them. Unfortunately, whatever room they are in it will get chewed! There’s not a lot out there that you can buy to protect your wires or the edges of your cupboards or your carpets, but the one thing you can buy is a Safety Gate. These Safety Gates are super. They are made of metal and coated in plastic so not only can the puppies not chew through them, there is no chance of them hurting themselves. Safety Gates fit snugly into your door frame without the need for any tools – a simple twist and click. If your puppy is particularly adventurous and tries to climb up them, they will inevitably slide down so there is no fear of them escaping – meaning you can go and have that well deserved cup of tea and 5 minutes break!!!

 

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Housing for Small Animals

When choosing Housing for Small Animals you must take into account that you give them enough space (minimum of 5 feet wide) but also where you have space for them – whether it be inside or outside.

Fit for Rabbits and Guinea Pigs, my Guinea Pigs live in one of these fabulous 3 Tier Indoor Hutches which doesn’t intrude on space, yet gives your pets enough room to run around so I’m not worried that they’re losing out on exercise if I’m out of the house all day. The ladders are sturdy, it just takes your pets some time to get used them. We added felt in-between the steps for that extra grip (and later on had to put their tunnels on the ladders as two of them still wouldn’t go up them). A Single Tier Indoor Hutch is equally as good, you just have to make sure it is long enough (5ft preferably) and let your pets out into extra space as often as possible.

Housing for Small Animals

Outdoor Hutches come in a variety of shapes and sizes. If you don’t have a large area for your pets to run around in, a double or triple tiered hutch is ideal as they have more space. If you do have a large garden, you can buy Extensions and add them to your already owned single or double tiered hutch, allowing your pets the space to explore but the safety of an enclosure.

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Food for Small Animals

There is a large variety of choice when it comes to Food for Small Animals. To get you started, you can never go wrong with a bag of Wagg. But once you’re settled in, have a look around at the different options.

We give Rabbits and Guinea Pigs the same food – a kind of Muesli – and normally some of it gets left behind (the yellow bits one week, the brown bits the next) the only way to know that their getting all the right nutrients is to give them Pellets but mine just don’t like them. They have, however, taken to this Allen & Page Mix which they absolutely love.

As an extra treat, you can give them Yogurt Drops. Our Guinea Pigs have never really been a fan but our Hamsters have. Don’t give them too many of these however as they do contain a small amount of sugar.

In addition, you can buy all sorts of Rosewood Bars such as Sunflower and Chamomile, Cornflower and Daisy, and the Vegetable Bar. These are always a hit with our guys whereas the sweeter Strawberry or Honey Bars are definitely more of a miss. One week they’ll wolf them down, the next week they will have no interest at all.

 

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Bedding for Small Animals

Bedding for Small Animals

Bedding for Small Animals can be confusing – sawdust, straw, hay, shavings, newspaper – what is right and what is wrong? There isn’t really a right or wrong answer, as long as they have enough hay to eat and the base of their bed is a material that will soak up toilet mess you should be OK. One of my Pigs eats anything – including Bin Bags and Newspapers – so choose what you are comfortable using. Hopefully there are a few useful suggestions below.

Guinea Pigs and Rabbits need the same bedding – Sawdust or Wood Shavings and Hay. We line the bottom of each cage with newspapers to soak up extra waste, and then cover the newspapers in a thick blanket of sawdust or shavings. We use Clear Label Shavings because it can get quite expensive and 20kg for around £18.00 isn’t bad at all. It lasts about 3 weeks but depends on how big your hutch is and how much you use each time.

In terms of hay we use Fleet Farm Hay which is around £17.00 for 20kg – again an excellent price. We find this lasts us approximately  6 weeks, and that’s a combination of covering the bottom of their hutches, and the bottom of their indoor run, and using it as food in their hay feeders.

Straw can be used but only as extra warm bedding during colder months. They won’t eat this and it doesn’t soak up very well.

You can also use shredded paper but this will need changing even more frequently than sawdust as it stays wet. Try to use paper that doesn’t have ink on it too if possible.

Bedding for Small Animals such as Hamsters can be sawdust, shredded paper or cotton wool. They won’t really eat it but will use it for nests and warmth.

 

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Play Time for Small Animals

Play Time for Small Animals

When it comes to Play Time for Small Animals, there is so much choice available for them these days. See my quick round up below of ideas to get you started.

This Indoor/Outdoor 8 Panel Playpen  is suitable for Guinea Pigs, Rabbits and Puppies. You can put them in any shape you like – We have 2 so we join them together outside and they have tons of space to play in. Each panel is connected with a peg making it much easier to assemble than previous panels we’ve had with a hook and hoop connecting system which is so fiddly. They come with a cover which is blocked out on one half for shade but does add that extra protection from prey.

Once in the run, our Guinea Pigs like to play and their favourite toy at the minute is this Activity Tunnel .

Activity TunnelAll the Guinea Pigs we’ve ever had have enjoyed this toy. They can run through it, under it, over it, hide in it, sleep in it, and chew it!! The latest ones we own have Velcro around each hole meaning you can attach multiple tunnels together. Activity Tunnels are made of polyester for easy cleaning but I have yet to work out how to clean them other than using a Power Hose.

Small animals love to explore and chew and there is so much you can buy for them. Hits for us are: Alfalfa Ring which lasts no more than 5 minutes, this Snap N Share BarWillow Chew Sticks, and this Hay Covered Tunnel. Misses for us are: Willow Treat Basket where they don’t eat the corn and barely chew the bowl, anything like this Corn, and this Gnaw Stone which they have never touched.

Small Furries Accessories           Play Time for Small Animals       Small Animal Chew Sticks

 

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