Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Guinea Pig Group Of Singapore: All About Guinea Pigs Including Top Five Tips!

Guinea Pig Group Of Singapore: All About Guinea Pigs Including Top Five Tips!

Groups on social media platforms for animals have existed for many reasons, be it just sharing the love for a particular type of Pet(s), or for serious matters on Pet rehoming and adoption. And sometimes even helping to look for a lost Pet. We may be aware of the various support/social groups for Dogs, Cats, and even Rabbits, but what about smaller Pets— such as the Guinea Pig?
 Guinea Pigs Information
 If you are an owner or new owner to Guinea Pigs, you might be interested to know that a helpful group exists! We speak to administrators of local Guinea Pig group POGS, a long-standing group that has most definitely grown in numbers throughout the year. Find out how a group as such could benefit you, and for all you know, your experience or knowledge could jolly well benefit someone else too!

Proud Owners Of Guinea Pigs Singapore

One might not think that small animals require as much attention or care as a Dog or Cat, but they couldn’t be more wrong— they need equal amounts of love, dedication, care and regular attention. And that’s exactly why groups as such have formed. As firm believers of the useful information shared via experienced owner of respective Pets, getting to know a group as such is always a pleasure.

How Did The Group Come About?

POGS was founded by Wendy Lee as early as 2011. As the group continued to grow, the management team has since expanded to include 4 other admins. The team works closely to monitor the group’s online activities on Facebook, as well as events.
Guinea Pig gathering
POGS was founded as a social group on Facebook. During that time, there was a lack of information about proper care for Guinea Pigs locally. The website and the Facebook group page maintained by POGS is an avenue for the owners in Singapore to learn more about Guinea Pigs’ care and behaviour. It also serves to create more awareness about this wonderful Pet which can be tiny— yet big in terms of personality. 

Our first gathering was during a public event Pets & Friends @ Serangoon CC which was organized by the People’s Association.

How POGS Helps Guinea Pig Owners In Singapore

For new members— POGS is, first and foremost, a support group which unites all the Cavy owners in Singapore, allowing them to share happy stories about their Guinea Pigs as well as provide support during the tougher times of illness and death. It is also a place where they can get more information on how to care for their Guinea Pigs (i.e. Diet, Medical care etc.), as well as meet other Guinea Pig owners across the island!

On Adoption— POGS provides the platform for members to post details and pictures of Guinea Pigs which they need to put up for adoption. We also provide guidelines and advice to help the members screen their potential adopters carefully.
Guinea Pigs in Singapore

 As members in POGS have all benefitted from the platform, POGS hopes the group will remain a vibrant and friendly forum for owners to share, learn, and support for many years to come.
POGS currently has close to 2300 members. The total number of Guinea Pigs collectively has become almost impossible for the admins to keep track of— as owners may have multiple Cavies. Some rarer breeds such as Himalayan, or Skinny Pig can be seen amongst the group. However, POGS does not place much emphasis regarding the breed of the Guinea Pigs in their group, as they believe all breeds deserve the same amount of love and care.

What POGS Does Not Encourage

POGS does not encourage impulse buying of Guinea Pigs at pet shops as that usually leads to abandoned guinea pigs when the owners are not mentally prepared to care for them. We also do not encourage owners to place guinea pigs of different genders together (unless they have been neutered or spayed), this prevents pregnancies which can be stressful and potentially fatal for the mother guinea pig.

Top FIVE Tips For A New Guinea Pig Owner

We asked POGS for five tips they’d absolutely share with a new Guinea Pig owner in Singapore:

1. Guinea pigs are social animals. It is recommended to get at least 2 guinea pigs, so they will not get lonely. Human companionship cannot compare to the companionship a fellow guinea pig can offer.

2. Guinea pigs are prey animals, so it is their instinct to run away when someone tries to touch or handle them. New owners need to be patient, and should let the guinea pigs take their time to adapt to a new environment.

3. They hide their illnesses well, so owners need to be vigilant in monitoring their daily habits and behaviour. A slight change in appetite or behaviour usually indicates that they might be unwell. By the time they exhibit obvious symptoms of illness, it is usually too late.

4. It is important to bring guinea pigs to a cavy savvy vet. Most vets are more experienced with cats and dogs. A vet who is not familiar with guinea pigs may do more harm than good. Vet bills can also be very expensive, if there is a serious or chronic medical condition. Therefore, potential owners should consider carefully before deciding to get guinea pigs.

5. Pet shop staff do not always give the best or correct advice. Most staff are untrained in small animal care, and may recommend unsuitable products or food. There are several instances where guinea pigs are sexed wrongly by the pet shops, resulting in unplanned pregnancies. Store bought cages are usually way too small for guinea pigs. Owners should consider making DIY cages such as C&C enclosures. It is very important for new owners to do their research on proper care, and be willing to take advice from experienced owners, instead of solely relying on pet shop staff.

Example Of A Gathering By POGS

Gatherings are hosted with the hopes of providing guinea pig owners a face-to-face opportunity to discuss the care and welfare of their Cavies. Through mingling, experienced owners often share their experiences with the new owners. Gatherings benefit both owners and Pets, as these are not only great chances to make new friends with fellow Cavy owners, but also where Guinea Pigs enjoy interacting with each other due to their social nature.
Guinea Pigs behaviour

We organized 2 sessions of gatherings this Christmas, due to overwhelming response from our members. 25 pax turned up for the 1st session, while 27 pax turned up for the 2nd session. Each registered member is allowed to bring a maximum of 2 Guinea Pigs.

Guinea pigs were separated into 2 groups according to gender. They get to play, mingle, and eat with each other, while the owners sit around them to watch and monitor them. Refreshments were provided by The Tea Party Café. We also had a fun-quiz game, as well as a lucky draw, with attractive prizes. Gatherings are usually held at pet-friendly cafes. We have held it at Dog Dog Café previously, and currently at The Tea Party Café. The café will be closed to the public during the times of the gathering.

Safety Measures

We remind owners to make sure that their Guinea Pigs are in good health, so as not to spread illnesses to the others during the event. Admins will also monitor the guinea pigs, along with respective owners, to break up any potential fights which may occur among the guinea pigs. Fly swatters are provided, as a safe means to block and break up fights, without the owners getting accidentally bitten.

Most members also own other small animals such as Rabbits and Hamsters. There are also owners whom own Cats and Dogs, but they are advised not to let the different species mingle at home without supervision, to prevent fights which can be fatal to the Guinea Pigs.

How Does One Become An Eligible Member Of POGS?

They can submit their request to join POGS on Facebook.
As it is a closed group, potential members will gain entry upon the admin team’s approval.

To attend a gathering— Members who are interested to attend the gathering have to fill in an official registration form by POGS, which will be released one month prior to the actual event. It is on a first-come-first-serve basis. Eligible members will then be informed to submit payment for the event. Registration will be confirmed only upon receipt of payment.

Editor's Note

The above article was contributed and presented to ThePetsDialogue by the admins of Proud Owners of Guinea Pigs Singapore (POGS), introductions and editing by our team at ThePetsDialogue. No information has been altered to deter any concept originally presented to the team.

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