Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Gorgeous Guineas Haul and Product Review

Gorgeous Guineas Haul

I've been merrily buying store brand guinea pig shampoos for as long as I've had piggies, but I've never been that happy with the results, and as we have taken on more rescue piggies with more skin issues I've begun hankering after the range made in the UK by Gorgeous Guineas. I first saw the products in a room tour video by  Laura at Piggiepigpigs and went over to the Gorgeous Guineas webshop, carefully reading all the product descriptions and making a mental shopping list.

My final 'push' to actually purchase came last month when I signed up to become a Guinea Pig Secret Santa via their Facebook page (I'll post more on this after Christmas ;) ), where you fill a parcel with essentials and treats for guinea pig/s at the rescue you've been paired with. It's an adorable concept!

Here's what I bought and my reasons:

Gorgeous Guineas haul list

The ordering process was simple on the website, payment went through without a hitch and the padded envelope full of products arrived in perfect condition within a couple of days. At the wheekend (see what I did there?) my first victims were lined up to be pampered at the spa of Pumpkin Becki.

Using the Gorgeous Guineas products

Molly - Rex coated - Aloe Melt

The first job with Molly was to prepare the Aloe Melt. You place the bottle in a cup of hot (not boiling) water and allow the coconut oil base to gently melt. I had to refill the hot water about three times, and hold the bottle down before it finally became liquid enough to apply.

Warm Gorgeous Guineas Aloe Melt hot water
Warm the Gorgeous Guineas Aloe Melt in hot water

Molly is a big girl. not fat though, she just has extra saddlebags (shown in blue below) from where she was used for breeding by Pets at Home's supplier. They've been checked over by a vet and are not anything to worry about.
Gorgeous Guineas Molly Rex coated ex breeding sow
You can clearly see Molly's saddlebags where she was used for breeding
The instructions say to use 5ml per piggie, or 10ml for a particularly large one. Molly definitely needed 10ml, not just because of her size, but also because her dry coat drank up the melt gratefully.

Apply Gorgeous Guineas Aloe Melt over Guinea Pig
Apply the Gorgeous Guineas Aloe Melt all over the guinea pig, including the ears

The melt is worked into the coat from the top of the head, down the nose, inside and outside the ears, along the back and sides. Then under the tummy and over the legs.

Apply Gorgeous Guineas Aloe Melt over Guinea Pig
Gorgeous Guineas Aloe Melt - Don't leave out the tummy!

Then you leave the piggie for 20 minutes to allow the melt to work its magic. I put her into the floor-time pen with lots of snuggly places to hide in.

Gorgeous Guineas Molly after Aloe Melt application
Molly after the application of Gorgeous Guineas Aloe Melt. You can see her coat isn't so dry, and it certainly felt softer.

Emmeline and Lice and Easy

This was only Emmeline's 2nd bath ever, and she wasn't besotted by the idea at all.

We have a deep butlers sink in the kitchen, which I filled with approx 4cm of warm clean water. I put Emmeline straight in and began scooping water over her body, avoiding her head. Unimpressed she tried to jump out, so I supported her on my hand and arm to help make her feel a bit more secure. Then I put her on a dry towel beside the sink, squeezed a 10p sized blob of Gorgeous Guineas Lice and Easy into the palm of my hand, spread it between both hands and applied it to her back, legs, tummy and dewlap (under he chin). then I damped down her white blaze on her face with one finger and rubbed a little lather onto it, being careful not to allow it anywhere near her eyes.

I carefully rinsed her off and reapplied the shampoo. While working it in well, I could see bits of dead skin and a few lice gathering in the foam. It was working! She was wrapped in a towel with the shampoo still on, for 5 minutes as per the instructions, then rinsed thoroughly. MrPB then towel dried her while I shampoo'd Molly.

Poor Molly didn't appreciate the bathing process much either, but lots of dead skin and grease lifted out of her coat.

Rinsing off Gorgeous Guineas Lice Easy Shampoo
Look at Molly's face!

She was much happier once she'd been rinsed and given a huge Romaine lettuce leaf as a treat :)

Romaine lettuce made Molly feel better
Molly loves Romaine Lettuce

Little did she know the process would be repeated the following weekend!

Friday, 9 December 2016

What is the best pet for children?

Nothing! Full Stop! End Of!

(World's shortest blog post ever!!)

But seriously, you should never bring an animal into your life with the intention of it being solely your child's pet. If you are the adult of the household, then just like everything else in your life, the buck stops with you, the animal's welfare is your responsibility and yours alone.

"That's a bit harsh" I hear you say, but I'm afraid it's true. We all know the scenario where little Johnny begs for a puppy, promising faithfully to take it for walks, feed it, train it etc etc. Then after a few weeks or months, the shine has worn  off, it's raining outside, Johnny's friends want him to go and play at their house and any number of other 'valid' reasons why you end up looking after puppy instead of Johnny.
Now, let's ask the question in a slightly different way...

What makes a good family pet?

Ah, now we're on to something!

I'm a huge advocate for family pets, they bring immense joy, encourage socialisation, interaction and so many other benefits. They also teach us important life lessons about dependency, responsibility and death, see this recent post for more on this topic.

To my mind a good family pet is something that everyone in the family is confident to be with and handle, something you can afford to keep and look after, and something that you can give as much space and time to as possible. Whether you ultimately choose a dog, cat, pony, budgie or lizard will utterly depend on your circumstances.

Pets are not status symbols

In this world of breeding the biggest/smallest/cutest/fluffiest/most ferocious, think long and hard about why you want to bring a pet into your life. Don't believe the hype - a Micro Pig grows!! (and smells!!!), it needs to be able to use instinctual behaviours to be mentally happy and that basically means rooting things up with its nose. Persian cats have terrible breathing problems due to the highly inbred snub-nose characteristics. A tiny dog shouldn't live in a handbag. It needs to use its muscles, its nose, it needs to understand its place in the family pack or it will be anxious, snappy and uncontrollable.

Animals and birds are animals and birds, and we must dignify that, and help them to understand their natural instincts and place in life. Anything else is cruel, physically and mentally, and that is why so many 'problem' animals end up in rescues, or dumped at the side of the road every year! And don't get me started on Craigslist, Freecycle and Facebook etc, where people list animals like secondhand dvds!

This brings me on to the main point of this post...

Pets DO NOT make good presents!

I've seen some really disturbing adverts this Christmas, from big American pet shop chains, claiming that Guinea Pigs make great Christmas presents because they are low maintenance, have minimal space requirements, with prices "from as little as..."


This sends out such a dreadful message!

I have a vivid image of huge pet breeding 'farms' churning out baby guinea pigs, rabbits, hamsters, rats, gerbils, degus etc in their thousands, ready for the Christmas rush. Unsold ones being shunted into the 'reduced' (Adoption) section to make way for new batches of cuter, younger, more appealing babies. Ones that are bought, being sent to their new homes with undersized cages, improper care advice, sub-quality feed. And before Boxing Day arrives, the new pet has been sidelined for the latest computer game or must-have gadget, starved of attention and eventually looking for a new home.

Remember the adverts on TV proclaiming that 'A dog is for life, not just for Christmas'? Well that message applies to all pets, and apart from everything, Christmas is a terrible time to introduce any new pet into your life, they need routine, quiet, calm, time to get used to their new surroundings. Christmas is not that time! It's all wrapping paper, kids high on sugar, guests, strange food, noise, drama, or large chunks of time left totally on their own while you go off out.

Please don't even consider bringing a new pet into your life at Christmas.


If you're a fan of social media, you've probably seen this hashtag before. It's a really important little message.

If you adopt or rescue a pet, you're giving it a second chance at a happy fulfilled life. You are helping to prevent over-breeding by pet 'farms', and you are supporting a charity or rescue that can then help another animal in need. It's a win/win/win situation.

Don't think that these animals are only going to live for a short time, so there's no point. Here are the pets I've adopted over time, all living full and happy lives with us...

#AdoptDontShop Minky Russian Dwarf Hamster
Minky the Russian Dwarf Hamster, put into the Adoption section because she had been in the pet shop too long.
Lived with us for 21 months until she was nearly 2 years old.

#AdoptDontShop Pudding Guinea Pig
Pudding the Guinea Pig, given up by her owner because she was aggressive with her cage mate.
Lived with us, in a cage of her own near other piggies for 3 years, she was approximately 5.

#AdoptDontShop Sophie Syrian Hamster
Sophie the Syrian Hamster, put into Adoption section because she had a scratch on her nose that needed monitoring, and was considered too old to go back into the 'new' pet section.

#AdoptDontShop Molly ex breeding Guinea Pig Pets at Home breeding farm
Molly the ex-breeding Guinea Pig sow from Pets at Home's breeding farm. We don't know how old she was when she was deemed to old to breed from. She's been with us for one year and one month.

Emmeline Guinea Pig adopted after her mother died
Emmeline was left on her own after her mother died. she's just over 2 years old

#AdoptDontShop Molly Emmeline guinea pigs bonded for life
Emmeline and Molly have bonded for life

Doesn't this photo just sum it all up :)

So, to sum up:

  • #AdoptDontShop
  • Pet's are not good Christmas presents
  • Pets are not a child's responsibility