Is Newspaper Safe For Guinea Pigs To Eat?

Guinea pigs photo
Photo by roxeteer

Guinea pigs have one habit that can annoy some people, and that is they will chew anything. This includes the area where they live, and if they are allowed to roam freely, furniture, wires, and anything else they can get their jaws around is fair game. Obviously chewing wires is not good for them, nor the electronic item that uses them, but this can easily be stopped by preventing access to wiring.

One thing that they can often get their teeth into easily though is newspaper. Printed paper is a very cheap way to use in guinea pig habitats. It can make cleaning out a cage easier, and it does a very good job of soaking up pee. The only problem with newspaper is that guinea pigs can get a taste for it.

So, is newspaper safe for guinea pigs to eat? Years ago, the answer to this question was no. This was because some of the chemicals used in the ink and paper where toxic. Even so, they would have done little harm to a guinea pig, as they only eat small quantities. I have yet to meet a guinea pig that eats a whole newspaper!

These days things have changed, the majority of newspaper is now made with non-toxic materials, so when eaten, they do not cause any harm. This means that you can use as much of it as is required for lining guinea pig homes with. If your guinea pig starts eating it, then it will only provide it with a supply of fiber, which is good for its digestive system. Some guinea pigs will just enjoy ripping the paper apart, and will then spit it out.

As newspaper is now 100% safe for guinea pigs to eat, it is no surprise that wood pulp has become an excellent bedding material. Wood pulp is the leftover from the newspaper industry. It is very absorbent, soft to lie on, and safe to eat. In the UK, wood pulp can be bought in large bags under the name of Megazorb. It is available in the US under different names.

A lot of people tend to use wood shavings for guinea pig bedding, but please read my article on this subject: Are Guinea Pig Wood Shavings Safe To Use As Bedding? Wood pulp costs about the same as wood shavings, and so it is best to use the former one.

Do Rabbits and Guinea Pigs Need A Run?

pet rabbit photo
Photo by www.metaphoricalplatypus.com

When humans sit around all day, they can put on weight, and over the long term, health can suffer. It is no different for animals. This is why it is essential to take dogs for a walk. Cats get plenty of exercise outdoors, and by running around the house. Hamsters, and other rodents often have wheels (NEVER use a wheel for rabbits and guinea pigs, they break legs).

Rabbits and guinea pigs also need plenty of exercise. If they are outdoors, then they should be given a run for them to play in. This should be big enough for them to run a reasonable distance. For home based rabbits and guinea pigs, these are usually kept in a cage. However, a C&C construction can give them plenty of room to play in. The tools for this can be purchased online in places like eBay.

These animals are fine for allowing free run off the living room. They at pee and poo on the carpet now and again, but this is more an accident than habit. Besides, as they are herbivores, what comes out the backend is safe.

The best way to allow free run for these pets in the home is to setup the main living area, and a smaller area on the other side of the room. After a few days, they will tend to just run from one to the other. This is great fun to watch. Block off escapes for the first month, and hide wires. Once they have learnt what is ‘home and safety’ to them, these can then be removed.

Always make sure the animals are locked up when leaving the house, do not let them run free with no one there.

What Is The Correct Metacam Dose For Guinea Pigs?

vet photo
Photo by mattymatt

Having kept guineas pigs for nearly twenty years, a common question that comes up on the internet is what is the correct Metacam dose for guinea pigs?

One problem with vets is that many are either dog/cat specialists, or work with mainly farm animals. There are not that many who specialize in guinea pig treatments. When a guinea pig is ill we want the best treatment for it. Sometimes they are in pain, and this is often treated with Metacam. This drug is fine to use on guinea pigs, and can be used for the long term without an issue.

The problem is that most vets side with caution, thinking that because of the size of the animal, it only requires a small dose. Metacam comes in two types, Metacam for Cats, and Metacam for Dogs. Most vets go with the former, and recommended 0.1mg a day.

What they do not take into account it the fast metabolism of guinea pigs. They tolerate Metacam for Dogs very well, and this is twice the strength of the car one.

Having had many dealing with Suzanna, at Birch Heath, Tarporley, an exotic pet specialist, and Simon Maddock, at the Cat and Rabbit Clinic in Northampton, it is perfectly safe to give an adult guinea pig of 1kg or more, 0.25mg-0.3mg of Metacam for Dogs twice a day.

However, this should only be given to animals who have chronic pain, such as long term dental issues, bladder/kidney issues, etc. For other problems with pain, then short term guinea pig doses should be 0.1-0.2mg twice a day. Start on the lower end, and see how the guinea pig settles down.