Guinea Pig Care; An Overview
When you first bring your guinea pig home, it can be a bit overwhelming. There are so many things to consider, such as their needs and the frequency at which you should care for them.
It is important to remember that all animals have different needs, and no two guinea pigs are exactly the same. However, there are many general principles of guinea pig care that apply to all types of pet cavy.
Whether you have just acquired your first pet or have had experience with other types of rodents before, this guide will prepare you for taking care of your new friend!
Know the basics of guinea pig care
Cleaning – This is the most important part of guinea pig care. Make sure to clean your pet’s cage out every week. Use a small hand vacuum to suck out any loose hay and debris. Be sure to clean out the water bottle and feed bowl as well.
Feeding – Guinea pigs are herbivores and will eat mainly hay and pellets. These are best given in a hay rack to avoid wastage. Fresh water should always be available, but avoid water bottles with a ceramic ball in the spout as these can easily chip and become dangerous.
Housing – Primarily, guinea pigs need a place to sleep and feel safe. That is why many cages come with a wooden house where your guinea pig can go when it wants to feel safe.
Exercise – These are indoor pets, but they do require daily exercise. Make sure you have plenty of room in the cage for them to climb around and move freely.
What do guinea pigs eat?
Guinea pigs are herbivores, which means that they only eat plants and vegetables. Most pet guinea pigs are fed a blend of pellets and hay. You can feed your new friend hay, as it is good for them and provides them with fiber.
Guinea pigs need to eat hay for a number of reasons. Firstly, it is a great source of fiber. This is what helps them grind down their teeth, which grow constantly. Secondly, it is a good source of nutrients and minerals.
Housing and environment
Temperature: The temperature in the cage should be between 77 and 80°F (25 to 27°C). If your house is very warm, you can keep the cage in a cooler area like a garage or basement. If it is cold, you can put the cage in a warm room near the heater.
Humidity: The humidity should be between 30 and 50%. You can measure the humidity by placing a Hygrometer inside the cage. If the humidity is too high, you can place a small bowl of sand, salt, or baking soda inside the cage. This will absorb extra moisture. Alternatively, you can leave the cage door open when the weather is dry.
Space: Whatever type of cage you choose, it should have at least 2 square feet of space for 1 guinea pig. If you have 2 or more guinea pigs, you will need 4 square feet per cage.
Grooming and hygiene
Guinea pigs have hairy bodies, so they do not need to be bathed. Their teeth, however, do need to be brushed regularly. This can be done with a finger toothbrush, or you can use a child’s toothbrush and just wipe the teeth with water. You can also clip your pet’s claws with clippers designed for animals. They should be clipped every 4 to 6 weeks.
General tips for keeping your pet happy and healthy
Provide a proper diet: Guinea pigs need a balanced diet that has all the nutrients they need to stay healthy. Avoid giving them lettuce or fruit, as they do not contain any nutrients, and they are not good for their teeth.
Give them enough space: Guinea pigs are social animals, but they can live happily alone. They need, however, about 2 square feet of space per cage.
Keep their environment clean: You need to give them fresh water every day, and their cage should be cleaned at least once a week.
Always have a vet’s number on hand: It is very important to have a vet’s number on hand in case of an emergency or if you notice that your pet is acting strangely. You should also visit your vet at least once a year for a checkup.
Taking care of your guinea pig is a big responsibility, but it is also a rewarding experience. These social and friendly animals make great pets for both children and adults. The most important thing is to understand their needs and provide the best possible environment. Once you do that, your new friend will be happy and healthy!