Monthly Archives

January 2022

Are Guinea Pigs Good Pets?

By Uncategorized No Comments

In a word… YES!!! Guinea pigs can be great pets, especially for kids. This article will explore why you might want to consider a guinea pig, and how to properly care for them.



Guinea pigs are social and very well mannered. Their inquisitive nature makes them friendly, and their beautiful coats make them cute and cuddly. Even hairless guinea pigs are cute (they look like tiny pigs).

Just like pigs on a farm, females are called “sows” and males are called “boars”. For the most part guinea pigs are quiet, but they do chirp and purr. Insiders tip; when a guinea pig purrs, it usually means they’re hungry.



As with all pets, nutrition is extremely important. Guinea Pigs actually eat a lot throughout the day, much of it being Timothy Hay. Hay helps to keep their teeth ground down, otherwise their molars can become overgrown. It’s also important for your guinea pig to get plenty of Vitamin C each day. This can come from fresh vegetables in their daily diet, or from a vitamin C tablet. Keep in mind, while vegetables are great for your guinea pig, iceberg and other similar lettuces aren’t recommended because of their high-water content which can cause diarrhoea.

Speaking of water, most guinea pigs prefer drinking out of a bottle. There are some out there though, that will only drink from a bowl. If you find this is the case with your new pet, choose a heavy bowl that isn’t easily knocked over. It should also be big enough to ensure she never runs out.



For the most part, guinea pigs groom themselves. They will need your help, however, keeping their nails trimmed. If left on their own a guinea pigs nails can grow incredibly long, eventually curling around themselves. Just like dogs and cats, their nails should be trimmed monthly, and you want to be sure to avoid the quick. This is the blood vessel in the nail, which can be very painful if snipped.

If you’re not sure how to trim your guinea pig’s nails, your vet or veterinary technician can help you find the spot safely, and demonstrate how to best hold your new pet while trimming.



While friendly, guinea pigs can also be a little skittish. After some quality time with their new owners, however, they become their happy playful selves. Since they’re social creatures, they will enjoy playing with you and they should be played with at least once a day.

To help your new pet get used to being held, pick her up gently by placing a hand under their chest and your other hand under their bottom. Hold her closely to your chest, while still cupping her safely. This will prevent her from jumping.

A long and wide cage is best for your guinea pig, they need plenty of floor space. The cage doesn’t need to be too tall, since they’re not big jumpers, but it should be at least 10 inches high to prevent her from escaping.

The best bedding options for your guinea pig are shredded paper, pellets, or certain wood shavings (avoid using cedar or pine shavings, their aromatic oils can lead to skin or respiratory problems).



No, regular check-ups aren’t necessary, however, there are times that you may want to bring your guinea pig in to be looked at. One of the best ways to spot that your pet isn’t well, is a reduction in appetite. Guinea pigs have a unique digestive system that makes them eat all the time. If they suddenly stop eating, it’s usually a medical emergency.

Guinea pigs can also develop many of the same issues that cats and dogs do. You may notice blood in the urine or a runny nose. These are other signs that your guinea pig isn’t well.

Fortunately keeping your new pet healthy and happy is easy. Their cage should be cleaned out (at least) every other day. A continuous supply of fresh food and water is also essential.

Why Your Weight Loss Resolution Could be Dangerous for Your Pet

By Uncategorized No Comments

Most people will benefit when they reduce their sugar intake, but their pets sometimes pay the price. With more and more households cutting sugar out, there are more people using sugar substitutes such as xylitol.


Many sugar substitutes are dangerous for cats and dogs. Xylitol is one of the most dangerous for pets, because it’s very common. It’s a low-calorie substitute with a low glycaemic index. Xylitol is also preferred by people because it comes from nature including corn, mushrooms, lettuce, berries, plums, oats and other plants. You’ll find xylitol in everything from gum, to candy, to peanut butter, even toothpaste.

Toxicology experts at have confirmed; an increase in xylitol poisonings does correspond with the rise in xylitol products in our homes. Phone calls concerning xylitol poisonings increased 105% between 2015 and 2020.  In fact, xylitol poisonings are now the second most popular reason the Poison Helpline gets calls, with chocolate overdoses remaining their biggest concern.

Another source of the problem is rooted in the legalization of marijuana. While the number of poisonings increased over 100% in five years, the largest spike was from 2018 to 2019, when xylitol poisonings increased 47.2%. Experts believe that correlates with the sudden demand in THC infused edibles. Many edibles, be it brownies or candies contain xylitol. If it’s a chocolate edible with xylitol and THC, that’s a triple threat.


Both dogs and cats can get very sick, even die. Dogs, however, are affected the worst. At best your dog will experience a drop in blood sugar, but for many dogs that quick drop leads to unconsciousness and seizures. In high doses it will take just a few hours for liver failure to begin.


As far as sugar substitutes go, xylitol is one of the healthier options for humans. Since it occurs in many natural food sources, it’s not harmful to us. There are even some benefits; research is showing xylitol leads to better dental health, has antioxidant properties, and can prevent ear infections.


Most pet owners know that candies aren’t safe for their fur kids and keep them out of reach. However, one of the biggest sources of xylitol that dogs can consume is peanut butter. Many brands of peanut butter, especially diet varieties are sweetened with xylitol. If you share peanut butter with your pup, be sure to check the ingredients.

Some pets, dogs in particular, really enjoy chewing gum… we’ve heard many stories about pets finding their way into their owner’s purse or pocket, because they were lured by the smell of the gum. Like candy, gum can contain xylitol, regardless though, it should be kept away from your pets. It becomes a choking hazard when they’re chewing the gum and the wrapper at the same time.

If you suspect your pet may have ingested a poisonous substance or food, please call the ASPCA Poison Control Centre in Canada at 1-888-426-4435.