No doubt Guinea pigs make for an ideal pet for children but it’s very important to realize that any pet, big or small, needs equal and proper attention and care. Apart from dogs and cats, many people do love petting guinea pigs because of their cuteness and size. Though they are small pets, they require plenty of space, time, effort, and human interaction. If you have planned to adopt a guinea pig then you must be taking care of various points in order to take proper care of them. Gift your guinea pig a good home with proper food, attention, living space, etc.
#1 Feed Them With The Best Diet
Guinea pigs are herbivores and eat only green grass or vegetables. They are known to have a deficiency of producing vitamin C, like humans, and so need an outside source to avoid developing a disease called scurvy. If you are petting a guinea pig you should feed them with fresh fruits and vegetables daily. You should feed your pig around ¼ to ½ packed cup of fresh foods daily.
- Dark leafy greens such as kale, collard greens, mustard greens, and dandelion greens are particularly good sources of vitamin C. You can also give sweet peppers, apples, pears, berries, broccoli, cucumbers, parsley, and basil.
- Require 30 to 50 mg of vitamin C daily from high-quality food, vitamin supplements, or fruits and vegetables high in vitamin C.
- Clean, fresh, filtered, chlorine-free water, change daily.
- Avoid sugar and high-fat food. Don’t give foods high in starch, like peas, beans, corn, nuts, cakes, cookies, cereal, grains, and bread.
- Don’t feed chocolate, caffeine, or alcohol as these can cause serious medical conditions.
#2 Housing and Bedding
Guinea pigs can be kept in cages made of wire, or stainless steel, which is durable plastic, or glass. Wood is not preferred to use because it is difficult to clean and easy for guinea pigs to chew on and destroy the enclosure made of it. Ventilation should be there in the enclosure to promote air movement. It has to be escape-proof without sharp edges else they will injure your guinea pig.
- You should allow at least 7.5 square feet of cage space as a minimum for one guinea pig, but for two, normally 8-10 square feet will be fine.
- A minimum 36″L x 30″W x 18″H escape-proof habitat with a solid surface area and plenty of room for exercise and play makes a good home for one guinea pig. It is best to provide the largest habitat possible.
- 1 to 2″ of bedding should be placed in the habitat, proper bedding includes high-quality paper bedding, crumbled paper bedding, or hardwood shavings.
- Guinea pigs should be raised and kept in same-sex pairs. Keep in mind that male and female piggies will mate.
- It is not recommended to use cedar shavings because they are associated with causing respiratory difficulty and liver disease in guinea pigs. Sawdust should also be avoided as it can cause an impaction in males.
Different types of small animals should not be housed together.
#3 Healthy Environment
It’s very important to keep and maintain a healthy environment for your guinea pigs.
- The environment in which you house your guinea pig should be away from noise, excitement, and stress.
- Direct sunlight, should be avoided as well as cold damp areas. Guinea pigs do best in dry, cool environments with adequate ventilation.
- The flooring in the enclosure can be wire or solid. Guinea pigs adapt well to average household temperatures, not to exceed 80°F; be cautious of extreme temperature changes. The habitat should never be in direct sunlight or in a drafty area.
#4 Handle Them with Care
Guinea pigs are fairly easy to handle. Placing a hand into the cage will often cause the guinea pig to approach. Guinea pigs rarely turn aggressive but as they are playful they may jump or try to run if they aren’t used to being handled.
- Two hands are always recommended when picking up and handling a guinea pig so that there is less risk of dropping them.
- Most small animals like rabbits don’t require much grooming but guinea pigs require special attention.
- Their front teeth continue to grow and if they grow too big, it becomes painful for them to eat.
- You should also keep a check on the length of their nails and take them to a vet occasionally to get their nails clipped.
- People who have a long-haired guinea pig must brush their coat at least once a day to avoid ticks and lice.
#5 They Love To Socialize
Guinea pigs make many different sounds like squealing, rattling, soft whistles, chirps, etc. They like to be around humans so instead of abandoning them in some other room, keep their cage where people usually move about.
- You just have to pay attention to their movements to understand what they want just like babies.
- Make them feel a part of the family. Try talking to them as guinea pigs love to socialize with people.
# Adopt Two or More Guinea Pigs
Guinea pigs need company because they are herd animals. Spend some time with your guinea pig pet every day. Keeping a sociable animal alone can lead it to become depressed.
- Don’t make your guinea pig feel lonely.
- Try to make sure they are siblings, otherwise, they will probably fight.
- You can also put together two females, two neutered males, or two males who have never been separated.