5 Things You Didn’t Know About Your Guinea Pig

Guinea Pig SmileWhether you’re already a Guinea pig’s parent or thinking of becoming one, caring for your new pet is an important task. Here are some fast facts and care tips you might not know about your four legged family member:

1. Why your pet is called a pig is a mystery

We do know that some of the noises your Guinea pig makes sound like a pig, in fact, they’ll often squeak with delight when their favorite person enters the room. These little ones also love to eat, and are shaped somewhat like a pig with their big heads (in relation to the rest of their bodies) and their small tails.

2. Guinea pigs are social animals
Your little one’s home should be near household activities so your cavy can watch what’s going on and be a part of your daily life. Guinea pigs love to live with a small group of friends. We recommend that you house you Guinea pigs in pairs so they don’t become depressed. Housing males and females together, however, is NOT recommended because these small pets multiply quickly.

3. Guinea pigs are vegans
Guinea pigs eat only fruit and veggies. No meat or dairy for this small pet. They love eating hay, carrot tops, and broccoli, but you have to be careful as some types of produce are toxic to guinea pigs. Stay away from the beetroot, rhubarb leaves, and potato and its peelings, all of which could make your piggy sick. Instead, leafy greens (like romaine lettuce, spinach, kale, parsley) and pretty much all types of fruit should make up your cavy’s diet.

4. Guinea pigs love to hide
Guinea Pigs are playful pets and one of the games they enjoy most is hiding. Be sure to give your little one plenty of places to hide in. Empty paper towel rolls, cardboard boxes, plastic pipes and plastic flowerpots make great hideouts for your small pet (and your cavy will also use them as caves when its time for sleeping and resting).

5. Guinea pigs are very sensitive to temperature changes
Your cavy can easily become overheated or chilly if the temperature isn’t just right. 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal but a good rule of thumb is that if you’re comfortable, your Guinea pig will be, also.

Taking your small pet somewhere? Experts recommend covering your pet carrier with a warm blanket to keep your little one comfortable if you need go outside in the cold, and pre-cooling the car before going on a trip when the weather gets hot.

Learn more about Guinea pigs and how to keep yours happy and healthy >>
Have a question about your pet Guinea pig? Just ask!

10 Tips for a Happy, Healthy Small Pet

Healthy and Happy Small Pet TipsIt is important to provide proper care for your small animals. Once you bring home that cute little fur-baby, he or she becomes a part of the family. Here are some tips for keeping your small pet happy and healthy:

  1. Always provide fresh water

Fresh water should always be readily available for your small pet. If using a water bottle, it is important to check it every day to make sure there is plenty available at all times and change the water at least once per week. If using an open dish, check your pet’s water supply throughout the day. Refill your pet’s water dish with fresh, clean water daily.

  1. Provide a healthy, balanced diet

Small pets should be fed a well-balanced diet that consists of high-quality pellets, veggies, fruits, and timothy hay (for some pets). The proportions of each depend on the type of pet you have. Learn more about the type of diet your small pet requires.

  1. Pick the right habitat

All small pet habitats should be large enough to allow them to move around freely. Your pet needs enough space to be able to eat, sleep, and play in his or her habitat. Make sure the habitat for your pet is secure so that your pet cannot chew or climb out. It is also important for the habitat to be well ventilated and located in a room with a comfortable temperature, out of direct sunlight.

  1. Replace bedding frequently

Many small animals love to burrow, dig, and tunnel in bedding. Cover the cage floor with sludge-free paper bedding, pine, or aspen shavings. Since the purpose of bedding is to absorb moisture and odor, it is important to replace it frequently. Replace bedding at least once a week to ensure the healthiest environment for your rabbit, guinea pig, hamster, mouse, rat, gerbil, ferret, or other small pet. If housing multiple pets in one habitat, more frequent changing may be required.

  1. Clean the habitat

Replacing bedding is not enough to keep your pet’s habitat clean. Before adding the fresh bedding, wash the cage with clean water and a gentle all-purpose cleaner. Mild soap can be used as an alternative to a cleaner. Allow the habitat to dry before adding fresh bedding. And don’t forget to check any enrichment devices you’ve added, such as tunnels, hidey holes and exercise wheels to ensure they remain clean too.

  1. Provide chew toys

Many small animals are rodents and most have teeth that grow continuously. In order to prevent teeth from becoming overgrown, make sure to provide plenty of chew toys for your pet to gnaw on. Treat sticks, safe wood chews and gnaw bones such as those offered at your favorite pet store are a good option.

  1. Hay is essential for some animals

Hay is only necessary for small pets that require high-fiber diets. These include guinea pigs, chinchillas, and rabbits. Timothy hay, orchard hay, or oat grass should make up 75% of the diet for these animals. Without hay, these animals’ intestines cannot function properly. Timothy hay can also be given to hamsters, gerbils, mice, and rats.

  1. Exercise

Just like humans, small pets need exercise in order to stay healthy. Larger small pets, like rabbits, guinea pigs, and ferrets, should be let out of their cage every day for exercise and socialization. Hamsters, mice, rats, chinchillas, and gerbils love to run on exercise wheels in their cage. Always remember to supervise your pet when they are let out of their habitat.

  1. Not all pets welcome friends

It is important to know that you should never house two different types of small pets together. Some types of small pets are very social and can live in groups, while others are better off alone. Guinea pigs, ferrets, and rabbits can be housed in pairs if they are raised together or are introduced correctly. If you house a male and female together, make sure to spay or neuter before introducing.

  1. Handling your pet

It is important for your pet to become accustomed to you and being handled. When you first adopt your pet, give him or her some time to get acclimated to their new home before handling them. Be sure to learn how to pick up and handle your pet the proper way before doing so for the first time.

Learn more about small pet care »

What’s In A Name

Pet owners put a lot of trust in the manufacturers of the pet products they buy. To us, this trust is a constant reminder of just how important a role our products play in their lives.

So, who exactly, is American Wood Fibers and why do so many pet owners trust AWF for their small pets’ bedding?

American Wood Fibers was founded by Frank Faehner almost 50 years ago and has grown to be the nation’s largest producer of wood shavings and wood flour. Today, there are ten American Wood Fibers plants and distribution centers across the country, with locations near the majority of the major timber processors, coast-to-coast. Our facilities process more than one billion pounds of fiber per year. Yet, despite the size of our organization, AWF’s focus remains on family; both our customers and our own.

American Wood Fibers embodies a culture of courtesy and respect, and a commitment to customer service. We are also proud of our commitment to the environment; both our environment and your small pet’s environment. Throughout our manufacturing process, we put a tremendous amount of effort into producing our products safely, sustainably and consistently. AWF pet bedding products are all-natural, dioxin-free, and produced with your small pet’s health, safety, and comfort in mind. We focus on total waste utilization, utilize recyclable materials for our packaging, and always strive to develop environmentally-friendly products.

Our family of small animal bedding brands include Premier Pet™ and Pets Pick™. We also work with a large group of well-known private label partners. In addition to the AWF small pet bedding division, the company offers large animal (horse) bedding, industrial wood flour, and premium wood pellet fuel products.

AWF will continue to develop new and improved offerings so that we always present the highest quality line of products, and pet owners have choices in bedding that are good for their pets, good for their home environment, and good for the planet.