So you’ve decided to splurge and get a bundle of joy? Welcome to the club! You will have a lot of fun with your pet guinea pig, but you may be wondering where you should begin? Well, this is a good place to start, this article will tell you about the things you need to care for your guinea pig and how to care for your guinea pig.
Guinea pigs need a large area to live in and an exercise area. You need to consider whether your guinea pig is going to live indoors or outdoors; if kept outdoors, you will need to ensure that your guinea pig’s home is weatherproof. Your pet will need to be brought indoors during the winter months to keep warm and avoid getting the chills.
Piggies should not be kept in cages with wire bottoms because they can get their tiny feet stuck between the wires or terrariums due to their large gaps. Your piggy’s cage should be well – ventilated, placed in a quiet place due to their sensitive hearing, secure, drought-free, away from radiators and other pets (if kept indoors) and in a well-lit place.
Some owners choose to make their own ‘C&C’ cages, whilst others choose to purchase one. This stands for ‘Cubes and Coroplast’ and can be made with wire fences and corrugated plastic. You should consider the fact that guinea pigs are social animals and are more content when they live with another guinea pig. If you plan to get two guinea pigs, you must have a large enough cage and a way to separate them in case they do not get along straight away.
Your guinea pig will need a place to snuggle up and feel comfortable; you will need to invest in good quality bedding to create the most comfortable home for your small pet. Some wooden bedding, like cedar bedding and some pine bedding, can be dangerous for your pet and cause respiratory problems; I recommend using a fleece type bedding; however, there are some guinea pig – safe loose bedding if you prefer. The bedding will keep your small pet warm and comfortable and make what may look like a boring cage into an exciting home.
Once you get a guinea pig, be aware that you are also welcoming a bucket ton of hay into your home too. Hay is the main component of a guinea pig’s diet, so you must always have some to hand. Younger and pregnant guinea pigs can eat Alfalfa hay. Hay is important to your guinea pig’s welfare as it helps to wear down their teeth and maintains a healthy digestive system for your pet.
You may consider purchasing a hay dispenser/feeder or you can put it in tissue roll, which will give your piggy something to play with afterwards.
Diet and Vitamin C
Aside from timothy hay, your small pet will need some nutritious guinea pig friendly pellets and a small amount of fresh vegetables. Some stores sell these pellets with a lot of extra ingredients; the truth is that your guinea pig just needs plain pellets and plain hay. Think of those added extras as the guinea pig equivalent to our huge, fat-filled junk food; your guinea pig may like them, but they are quite unhealthy.
When it comes to the vegetables and food that your guinea pig can eat, we recommend cabbage, melons, broccoli, spinach, carrots, bananas and apples. You should not feed your guinea pig potatoes, lettuce, avocado, mushrooms and a few more select food items. As always, I recommend that you do your research thoroughly to avoid any future problems.
Guinea Pigs are one of the few small pets who do not produce their own vitamin C, this means that a supplementary source must be provided to keep your piggy happy and healthy. Vitamin C breaks down in sunlight very quickly; this means that any vitamin supplement added to your pet’s water or food may not last very long. You should try to get a supplement that tastes nice to encourage your piggy to take it all in, think back to the days of your childhood when your parents would force you to have the disgusting, foot-tasting medicine and then sympathize for your little pet. You will never truly know whether your guinea pig has met the Vitamin C daily requirements, but with a good supplement, you can ensure that your pet has some every day.
Guinea pigs are animals of prey; due to their natural shyness, they need a space where they can run away from the loud and terrifying dishwasher or hide away from everyone when they have used up all of ‘interacting with others’ energy. They need a place to call their own. You must ensure that you have enough hiding spaces for the number of guinea pigs you have in each cage. Generally, there should be a hiding place for each guinea pig + 1 to make sure everyone has been accounted for and can play hide and seek whenever they want.
Chew toys are a fun method of wearing down your pet’s teeth. Guinea pigs’ teeth are ‘open-rooted’; this means that they do not stop growing. To avoid your guinea pig having teeth the same size as a mammoth, you should stock up on those handy wooden toys. These are great because they provide stimulation for your pet and give them something to do as well as assisting in wearing down their teeth and keeping them away from the vet’s office.
You will need to consider the different accessories that your guinea pig will need. For example, your guinea pig eats lots and lots of fibre which has to go somewhere; this is why I recommend purchasing a small dustpan and brush to clear up the tiny messes left around your pet’s cage. These sets can usually be left outside the cage to make the daily cage clear up much easier and more efficient.
Your guinea pig’s nails will grow and grow; to avoid them being the equivalent of Rapunzel’s hair, you should get a pair of rodent/small pet sized nail scissors. It’s important to cut your piggy’s nails to avoid him catching it on something or getting hurt; however, you should be careful when trimming his nails to avoid injury.
A good water bottle is necessary for your guinea pig in order for him to remain healthy. You should pick a water bottle that is essentially ‘chew-proof’ to stop your guinea pig chewing it as a late-night snack and also ‘drip-proof’ to prevent water wastage. Good-quality water bottles tend to have a ball bearing vacuum to reduce dripping and increase durability, which is an added bonus. If you choose to go with a plastic water bottle, ensure that it is FDA-Free to keep your pet healthy. You will also need a food bowl for your pet piggy; I recommend getting one that is weighted to stop your guinea pig knocking it over straight away and creating a giant mess.
To conclude, guinea pigs make fantastic pets. By this point; your enthusiasm levels should be sky-high and you should now know all about the things you need to care for your guinea pig. At Small Pets Guru, we are committed to the welfare of our small pets and by sharing this article on the things you need to care for your guinea pig and how to care for your guinea pig, we hope that your guinea pig will live a long and healthy life.