In pet shops we always find guinea pig accessories that are anything but species-appropriate and sometimes even very dangerous for the cute rodents. Articles that violate animal welfare, whether furniture or toys, can pose a serious health risk to guinea pigs.
It is best to use natural materials such as wood in the guinea pig enclosure – Shutterstock / PHOTO FUN
It is often quite inconspicuous things that, on closer inspection, turn out to be dangerous for guinea pigs. Therefore, it is not always easy to recognize which guinea pig accessories are unsuitable. Below is a selection.
The sleeping house is one of the most important pieces of furniture in the guinea pig cage. However, if this is made of plastic, it can be dangerous for the fur ball for several reasons. So you should keep in mind that guinea pigs are rodents and consequently chew around a lot. Chewing and swallowing plastic splinters can have negative health effects. Another risk factor is the heat in summer. Since there is little air circulation in houses made of plastic and the heat accumulates, it quickly becomes too warm inside. Moisture can also form and, as a result, mold can also form.
For similar reasons, plastic tubes are not recommended at all. The tubes or tubes are intended to simulate a “true to nature” living space – in addition to individual tubes, mazes or systems made of plastic tubes are also available on the market. In long tubes in particular, there is insufficient air circulation and there is a risk of heat stroke, especially in summer. In addition, they are difficult to clean, so that lung problems can occur due to the development of mold and bacteria. In addition, some of the pipes offered are simply too small, so that the animals can get stuck in them. Natural alternatives made from materials like bamboo, cork or clay are better choices.
No animal likes to walk over bars. The trade, however, always offers stairs, floors and bridges made of lattice. Fatal, as the guinea pigs can quickly slip off the smooth metal or get stuck between the bars. The consequences are bruises, broken bones and sprains. Shelves made of wood, plexiglass or cork are much better suited.
A running wheel as a guinea pig accessory is generally not a bad idea. However, you have to make sure that the running bike is animal-friendly. So many wheels are too small, which can quickly lead to serious back problems because the animal is bent when walking. The following rule of thumb applies: The radius of the running wheel corresponds to the length of the animal.
Another danger point with the impeller is the structure. Sprouts or holes are taboo, as the guinea pig’s paws can quickly get in the way. The running surface must therefore be continuously closed. In addition, it must not have any sharp edges and should be free of tripping hazards such as struts.
Running balls or running balls are bad habit and absolutely contrary to animal welfare. These are plastic balls that the guinea pigs are locked in and then use to roll around the house. The animals suffer from enormous stress inside and quickly panic because they cannot leave the sphere on their own. There is also a risk of crashing hard into furniture or walls. The rodents cannot see much through the balls, even though they are transparent. What looks like a happy run around is actually a bad trip for the guinea pigs.
Fragrance litter and cage deodorant
Bedding with fragrance additives and fragrances for the cage (cage deodorant) often smell pleasant for us humans, but are massively annoying for sea creatures. They cannot perceive their own scent marks as they are masked by the chemical scent and the airways are sometimes irritated by the scents. Animal-friendly guinea pig accessories and artificial scents don’t belong together.
“Look how cute the little ones are walking on a leash!” – unfortunately a brutal mistake. It may look cute when a guinea pig walks on a leash, but it is torture for the animals. Guinea pigs are prey animals and don’t like being restrained by a leash at all. They panic and can injure themselves by pulling on the leash.
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