It’s GPAW the third!
Gorgeous guinea pigs are taking their place in the spotlight for this year’s Guinea Pig Awareness Week...
Calling all guinea pig fans! If you love guinea pigs, it’s time to get involved in the most important week of the year for these super small furries – Guinea Pig Awareness Week (or GPAW for short).
What is GPAW?
Now in its third year, GPAW 2023 will take place from 25-29 September. Led by Burgess Pet Care and backed by some of the UK’s largest animal welfare organisations and charities, GPAW recognises the importance of ensuring that we provide essential care and support the wellbeing of the nation’s guinea pigs. In fact, GPAW is the UK’s largest campaign dedicated to improving guinea pig welfare!
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, this year’s event is also supported by Guinea Pig Magazine and Haypigs.
What is this year’s theme?
As well as sharing essential information on guinea pig care by outlining the 5 Welfare needs – Diet, Behaviour, Companionship, Environment and Health – the theme for 2023 is ‘Rescue & Rehome’, highlighting the many guinea pigs currently in rescue centres, waiting for happy new forever homes.
The theme follows data showing a surge in guinea pigs being abandoned after the pandemic, which has continued during the cost-of-living crisis. The RSPCA has reported that it had already received 235 guinea pigs by mid-August this year, compared to 253 guinea pigs taken during the whole of 2022.
Dr Suzanne Moyes MVB, MRCVS, deputy managing director and in-house vet at Burgess Pet Care, says: “We are so thrilled that GPAW is returning for a third year. The more we can all help owners understand and learn about guinea pigs, the happier and healthier the nation’s guinea pigs will be!”
How do I get involved?
There are all sorts of ways!
- Visit the GPAW website, and sign up for your FREE downloadable GPAW pack filled with loads of guinea pig fun and information, including a How to Get Involved guide, posters, printable bunting, colouring-in sheets and details of the Perfect Piggies Programme.
- Also join our Excel guinea pigs Berry and Bramble over on the GPAW Facebook page and GPAW Instagram @GuineaPigAwarenessWeek and discover top tips, fascinating facts and, of course, see lots of super cute piggy photos! Also keep a look out for some cool competitions.
WHAT GUINEA PIGS WANT – CHECK OUT OUR TOP 5 PIGGY ESSENTIALS
- As social creatures, guinea pigs should always be kept in pairs or small groups.
- 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) 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 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’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. Or why not treat them to their very own Snuggle Bundle?
- As well as grass-based guinea pig nuggets, 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. 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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