Guinea Pig Awareness Week 2023 was bigger and better than ever!
Ever since guinea pigs first arrived in Europe – brought from South America by Spanish, Dutch and English traders in the 1500s – these chatty little animals have been hugely popular pets. However, despite more than 500 years of guinea pig love, there’s still lots to learn about caring for these gentle, inquisitive creatures. That’s where GPAW – Guinea Pig Awareness Week – comes in.
Now in its third year, GPAW – the UK’s largest campaign dedicated to improving guinea pig welfare – aims to educate guinea pig owners and enthusiasts about the essential 5 welfare needs – Diet, Behaviour, Companionship, Environment and Health. This annual campaign also provides engaging educational content for vets, retailers and rescue centres to help raise awareness about what these adorable small animals need to live their best guinea pig lives.
The theme for this year’s GPAW was Rescue & Rehome, highlighting the many guinea pigs (including Cheese and Pickle, Peanut, Boo and Tia and Mia) currently in rescue centres, waiting for happy new forever homes.
Dr Suzanne Moyes MVB, MRCVS, deputy managing director and in-house vet at Burgess Pet Care, says: “The aim of GPAW 2023 was to give current and future guinea pig lovers and owners across the country the knowledge needed to properly care for their pets. This year’s event covered understanding guinea pig behaviour, how to create an enriching environment, providing a suitable diet, guinea pig health and the importance of companionship. By working with our supporting charities, we also hope to get guinea pigs in need considered for adoption.”
Millions are getting the message!
And the great news is that this vital message is getting through. Thanks to informative posts, colourful infographics, real-life stories and a glorious array of guinea pig photos flooding the internet, total reach across all social media platforms surged to an incredible 12 million, with 1,929 mentions during GPAW week across all social media channels.
Vets also got on board, by publicising GPAW 2023 in their practices and sharing details on social media. The event even went international – with GPAW posts appearing in Spain, the Netherlands and as far afield as Australia.
Dr Moyes adds: “We’ve had some great feedback – the rescue theme was well received by vets and owners, and we tripled the number of GPAW packs downloaded compared with last year. People told us they enjoyed the rescue stories, real-life pictures and DIY enrichment ideas. It was also heartening to hear that both vets and owners agree that guinea pig welfare is improving in the UK.”
GPAW 2023 – FAST FACTS AND STATS
- 94% of vets and 97% of owners surveyed agreed that Guinea Pig Awareness Week campaigns have had a positive impact on the care of guinea pigs in the UK
- 91% of vets surveyed said they thought guinea pig welfare in the UK is improving
- 77% of owners surveyed visited the GPAW website
- 44% said they would make new items for their guinea pigs’ housing or upcycle household items
- 21% said they would make changes to their guinea pigs’ housing to adapt to the change in season
- 14% said they would adopt a guinea pig
Dr Moyes adds: “This year’s campaign has built on what’s been achieved over the past two years, but we’re already thinking ahead to GPAW 2024. We’d like to say a massive thank you to everyone who took part in GPAW 2023 and responded to our surveys – the feedback is providing us with lots of great ideas for next year’s event. Our mission to boost education and understanding to improve the lives of pet guinea pigs continues!”
Led by Burgess Pet Care, GPAW is endorsed by the British Veterinary Association (BVA) and British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA) and supported by, Woodgreen, Blue Cross, RSPCA and Raystede Centre for Animal Welfare.
Treat your gorgeous guinea pigs to our Indoor Guinea Pig bundle and enjoy 10% discount! This bundle combines six of our quality Burgess Excel products that are high in beneficial fibre and a great part of your small animals’ diet. The bundle includes the world’s first indoor guinea pig nuggets which are made with a calm formula, as well as Winter Berry Bakes which are packed with cranberry and apple for that perfect seasonal forage treat!
WHAT GUINEA PIGS WANT – CHECK OUT OUR TOP PIGGY ESSENTIALS!
- As social creatures, guinea pigs should always be kept in pairs or small groups.
- Guinea pigs’ main housings should be draught-free, predator proof and as big as possible – an absolute minimum of 1.5 x 1m (length x width) for a compatible pair or a trio. 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.
- Their hutch should be permanently attached to a larger spacewithin 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’s important that they feel safe. Your guinea pigs’ housing should have a selection of safe hiding places and tunnels so that they can escape if they feel scared. Make these hideaways extra cosy with lots of soft, safe bedding and dust-free hay.
- It’s important to provide enrichment toys for your guinea pigs. Tunnels, platforms, treat balls, hidey huts and hay hoppers will be much appreciated.
- As well as grass-based guinea pig nuggets, your guinea pigs should have a constant fresh supply of good-quality feeding hay, placed in hay racks and areas that are separate to the bedding area. Around 85-90% of your guinea pigs’ diet should be hay. There should also be fresh, clean water constantly available in a bottle with a solid sipper tube, attached to their accommodation.
CARE MORE Discover more about the needs of your guinea pig with our Guinea Pig Care Guides >>
Did you know that 92% of UK vets recommend our Burgess Excel small pets range?
Guinea pig nuggets should be high in beneficial fibre to support your guinea pigs’ digestive health, contain vitamin C and antioxidants to support their immune system, and be fortified with vitamins and minerals to support healthy eyes, skin and coat.
All our small pets nuggets, feeding hay and healthy treats for guinea pigs are made using only the finest quality ingredients. And, as well as a choice of yummy Nuggets with Mint or Blackcurrant & Oregano there’s also a variety specially for indoor guinea pigs.
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