GPAW 2022 – Are you celebrating Home Squeak Home?
This year’s focus of Guinea Pig Awareness Week (GPAW) is housing, as Environment is one of guinea pigs’ five welfare needs. ‘Home squeak Home’ throws a spotlight on all-things guinea pigs housing, providing lots of information on how to adapt guinea pigs’ their environment for all seasons.
Now in its second year, GPAW will take place from 26 – 30th September and is backed some of the UK’s largest animal welfare organisations and charities – and is led by Burgess Pet Care. This year’s campaign will feature an array of guinea pig welfare promoting initiatives including vet blogs and videos.
Charlotte Varley Communications Manager at Burgess pet Care said “We are delighted to see the return of GPAW for a second year, which recognises the importance of ensuring that we provide essential care and support the wellbeing of the nations guinea pigs.”
How to get involved in Guinea Pig Awareness Week
Whether you’re an of owner of guinea pigs, a veterinary practice, a retailer - or simply love guinea pigs, you can get involved. Guinea awareness week will take place online on the GPAW social channels:
Dr Suzanne Moyes MVB MRCVS, Veterinary Director at Burgess Pet Care said: -
“Like rabbits, guinea pigs are often considered to be easy animals to care for, when in fact they have very specific welfare needs. When it comes to guinea pigs’ housing requirements, they need sufficient space to exercise and sit up. Enrichment is really important and being a prey species, they need lots of little hiding places in their exercise area.
“It would be fantastic to see as many owners as possible getting involved in GPAW so that together we can improve the lives of these gorgeous pets,” Dr Moyes added.
Any owners who are interested in getting involved in this year’s campaign can sign up to receive notification of when the GPAW packs are available to download here.
What’s in the GPAW pack?
This year’s GPAW pack is jam-packed with piggie fun and information, including Perfect Piggies charts, colouring sheets, bunting, and useful guides to help you set up and get into good habits when it comes to looking after your guinea pigs and keeping them happy and healthy.
Why ‘Home Squeak Home’ is so important
Whether your guinea pigs live outdoors or indoors, it is essential they have enough space – think garden shed, rather than cramped hutch – a hutch is not enough – in housing that’s protected from the elements and is safe from predators or loud noises that could scare them, with a spacious, secure exercise area permanently attached to it.
Guinea pigs’ main housing should be draught-free, predator proof and as big as possible – an absolute minimum of 1.5 x 1m (length x width) as a minimum for a compatible pair or a trio. These dimensions include both a shelter and living area.
Woodgreen advises that the groups of four or more guinea pigs need a larger indoor set up or a converted shed or Wendy House. If a ramp connects the hutch to a run, check it is wide enough and not too steep or your piggies may be too scared to use it. Provide separate toilet and sleeping areas, with plenty of guinea pig bedding hay and paper-based, non-expanding litter.
- As social creatures, guinea pigs should always be kept in pairs or small groups.
- Their hutch should be permanently attached to a larger space within which they can exercise freely. This could be a safe guinea pig-proofed room indoors, or a large run outdoors.
- Your guinea pigs should also have full access to their exercise area at all times so they can run around as they would in the wild.
- Guinea pigs are prey animals so it is important that they feel safe. Your guinea pigs’ housing should have safe hiding places so that they can escape if they feel scared. Make sure you have a secure shelter with plenty of soft, safe bedding and dust-free hay.
- Your guinea pigs will also need access to an area where they can go to the toilet. This should be separate to the sleeping areas, and you can use newspaper, hay/straw and/or a paper based non-expanding litter.
- It’s important to provide enrichment toys for your guinea pigs. Tunnels, platforms, with plenty of places to hide. They love fleecy igloos!
- Your guinea pigs should have a constant fresh supply of good-quality feeding hay, such as Excel Feeding Hay with Hedgerow Herbs, placed in hay racks and areas that are separate to the bedding area. 85-90% of your guinea pigs’ diet should be hay. There should also be fresh, clean water constantly available.
LET’S GET SOCIAL Sign up to the Excel Squeak Squad – a safe Facebook community for guinea pig guardians that are looking for advice and friendly discussions from likeminded owners – and there are lots of cute guinea pig photos and videos too! Also join us on the GPAW Instagram
CARE MORE Find lots of useful advice on caring for your guinea pigs from Burgess, the pet experts.
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