December 2011

Facts About Guinea Pigs

A good, healthy guinea pig should give you years of enjoyment

I always wanted a guinea pig when I was younger. They seemed much more cuddly than the mouse-like gerbils and hamsters that my brothers had. I never got one though. I’m not really sure why. I still look at them every time we’re at the pet store. Maybe one day I’ll come home with one. My cats and dog would love that, I’m sure.

There are three common types of guinea pigs: American, Abyssinian and Peruvian. The American guinea pig has short hair and a smooth coat. The Abyssinian guinea pig also has short hair, but the hair swirls in what is known as rosettes. The Peruvian guinea pig, or long-haired guinea pig, is my favorite. All three types come in a variety of colors and color combinations.

Adult guinea pigs are approximately 10 inches long and weigh 2 to 3 pounds. They have no visible tail. Guinea pigs generally live 5 to 7 years, so having a guinea pig, like any pet, is a commitment.

Do You Cook for Your Pet?

Admittedly, people do some crazy things for (or to) their pets, such as dressing them in a different designer outfit every day, making them wear ridiculous hairstyles, and even put makeup on them.  For the more pragmatic of us, those actions seem pretty far out there, but at their core, they are simply different ways of displaying the love people have for their pets.  Cooking, though much more reasonable to most people’s sensibilities, is another way of displaying love for a pet.

Consider an Insurance Plan for your Pet

The last time I took my cat to the vet it cost me nearly $300. I don’t even pay that for my children when they get sick. This caused me to look around at possible pet insurance plans. If you pet is has excellent health, you may not be interested in insurance. It is possible, however, that an emergency could arise that would put a dent in your wallet. For example, my daughter’s best friend’s cat got in a fight last week with another cat. His ear wouldn’t heal on its own, so they had to take him to the vet. The vet had to charge for cleaning the ear, stitching it up, medication, and a plastic cone for the cat‘s head. That was just the first visit. The cat has since been back twice for follow-up care. They had no pet insurance plan in place to help with the expenses.

Homemade Toys for Your Dog

Since I wrote a post on homemade toys for cats, I thought it only fair that dogs got the same treatment. I don’t currently own a dog, but my mother has three. I also grew up with dogs, so the subject is not foreign to me.

Dogs need to have toys, or they will resort to using your favorite pair of shoes. Fortunately, you don’t need to spend a fortune on toys that will only end up destroyed in a short period of time. You can save money and make your own.

Great Horse Gifts for the Holidays

My six-year-old takes horseback riding lessons throughout the year, and today we took her a few goodies for her stocking. There are plenty of things that horses and ponies love that you can give them for Christmas gifts, so that makes it easy—and many of these things are pretty inexpensive as well. Here are a few ideas if you’re searching for the perfect equine gift this holiday season.

Christmas Gifts for Pocket Pets

This year, my daughter is getting a pocket pet for Christmas—a new hamster. We already have the supplies purchased, and after she opens the present, we’ll take her to select her new friend the following week—giving her yet something else to look forward to.

But if you already have a pocket pet, you might want to think about getting him or her some holiday goodies this year. This is especially fun if you have a child who wants to make or buy something for his or her friend. But what do you get a hamster, rabbit, or other pocket pet?

Zebra Finches

Zebra finches are popular pet birds

I enjoy bird watching, but I’m not a person who generally wants a bird as a pet. We had parakeets, or at least my older brother did, when I was growing up. They are nasty, dirty creatures. So, getting a bird of my own was never one of my desires. Lately though, I’ve been heading toward the bird cages at the pet store every time we go; just like Whitley with the ferrets (see my previous post). I keep mooning over the zebra finches. Maybe it’s because they remind me of my mother, as my dad got her a couple of zebra finches when she was around the age I am now.

Homemade Toys for Your Cat

"The best part about making your own cat toys is that the whole family can get in on it."

When we first got our cat Anita, we purchased several different toys for her. She played with them occasionally, but not often enough to think that she really enjoyed the toys. Over the course of two months, I’d find small objects around the house. I finally realized that Anita was playing with things we already owned. That gave me the idea to create my own homemade toys for her.

My Dog Wants a Ferret

He is totally entranced with them

My dog loves ferrets. Every time we go to the pet store, my husband takes Whitley to the ferret cage and holds him up so he can watch the ferrets. He won’t bark or whine at them like he does the snakes, mice and other creatures. Whitley, that is; not my husband. I don’t blame him for barking at the snakes. Really. I’d bark too, if people wouldn’t think I was crazy.

Guinea Pig Playpens

My daughter bought two female guinea pigs a few months back with her own money. She named them Twix and Snicker doodles (can you tell she has a sweet tooth)? Twix is very outgoing and won’t squeal when you pick her up, but Snickerdoodles is a big scardy cat. I just love how each animal has its own personality.

Sulcata Tortoises

These exotic reptiles can live 75 years or more

What I know about turtles and tortoises you could put in a nut shell, or a turtle shell - a small turtle shell. My older brother had those little turtles that live in aquariums when I was about 3 or 4, so he had to be around 16 or 17, but that's really been my only experience with turtles. I know there are different species of turtles and tortoises. I've seen lots of turtles and tortoises. I know they get hit by cars a lot when trying to cross the road. But, that's about all I know about them. I am definitely not a turtle connoisseur. So, when I saw a local ad for Sulcata turtles, I was curious.

Is it Me, or are Pet Spiders Just Creepy?

"So tell me, spider lovers, what is it about having a pet spider that appeals to you?"

Wandering through the pet shop, I stumbled across the spider section the other day.  Color me creeped out!  While I can totally get the idea of snakes, rats, mice and other creepy critters, I just do not understand the appeal of a pet spider.  I mean, every time you handle one, you are playing with fire.  It’s not as if you can teach your mini-Fido to play nice.