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4:20 AM   April 20, 2014
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Guinea Pigs Unleashed

The trend toward out-of-the-cage environments for guinea pigs has grown rapidly, with the popularity of pet merchandising. Even these diminutive creatures now romp among playpens strewn with interactive, fun toys.

Choosing a product lineup for creating out-of-cage environments may take some experimentation. By listening to what customers want and re-marketing supplies for other pets, you can avoid having to stock a guinea pig accessories department with fresh merchandise.

Baby Gates and Playpens: Try marketing puppy playpens and baby gates for use with guinea pig consumers. They avoid the tedium of converting the entire house into a cavy-proof environment and allow for free roam of larger spaces in the home to exercise.

Hideouts: In a wide-open home setting, guinea pigs may feel vulnerable to predation. Without stocking a line of hides, you can test the market with play cubes designed for ferrets or even reptile hide boxes. Market a few to cavy customers and gage the level of customer satisfaction.

Tents and Tunnels: Guinea pigs love hiding in tents and traveling through tunnels. You may already have the perfect products for a cavy enthusiast – hiding themselves – among other merchandise. Tunnels designed for cats and ferrets make great substitutions for guinea pigs. Tents can be fashioned from nearly anything in your store, from dog bandanas to ferret hammocks. Try igniting a customer’s creativity by exploring the options.

Surfaces: Leaving no stone unturned, you can even merchandise garden products for use with guinea pig enclosures. A simple pad made of rough textured patio blocks creates a cool surface for lounging, while naturally wearing down sharp claws.

Chew Toys: Even bird-safe wood toys, featuring bamboo or mazanita wood, make the perfect stimulating additions to any cavy environment. Look to the unique chewing needs of hookbills and rabbits to offer more suggestions of appropriate products.

Just for Fun: Cat and dog toys also can be repurposed for guinea pigs. Try marketing stuffed animal chew toys for enrichment tools. Their soft fur helps reassure these small prey animals, creating a sense of security in large exercise areas. Cat toys with bells and bright colors also catch their attention and keep them occupied during out-of-cage adventures. <HOME>

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