Guinea Pig Awareness

Guinea pigs are a popular choice of pet for young teens or older children. They are a bit bigger than a hamster and require more responsibility. The temperament of a Guinea pig makes them ideal companions but they do require quite a bit of specific care!

 

How long do Guinea pigs live?

Generally live five to seven years

Do they bite?
They rarely bite but any animal with teeth can bite!

What size are they?
They are smaller than rabbits but bigger than hamsters

At what age should a child own a Guinea Pig?
They are great starter pets for older kids who have properly learned how to handle them

Facts about Guinea pigs
They are known to squeak as a display of delight when their favorite person enters the room
They love to hide when playing
They need a hiding place (such as a cave) for resting and sleeping
They have teeth that grow continuously
They are gentle members of the rodent family
They are neophobic
They are dependent on what is fed to them in the first several weeks of their lives
They are not pigs
They are not from New Guinea
They need plenty of handling

It is extremely important for your pet to get used to you and to being handled. You can begin to win them over by feeding them small treats while being held. When holding, have one hand support the bottom while the other one is covering the back.

Feeding

Feed your pet twice a day (morning and evening). Pellets will probably make up most of your guinea pig’s diet. A healthy diet would consist of pellets made from veggies, plants, and seeds. Fresh fruit and vegetables are great to give your pet daily, including peas, pears, carrots, cucumbers, and corn.

Care

In the initial few days of their life, feed them a wide variety of food, including vegetables, fruit (fresh), grass hay, and pellets. However, don’t overdo it on the pellets, as they need a balanced diet! Fresh water should be available at all times and changed regularly. Guinea pigs cannot produce Vitamin C so to help them get enough of this nutrient, give a quarter of an orange, or strawberries.
Have your guinea pig get regular check-ups at the vet. By doing this, you will have a better chance of catching any potential illness. Nails should be clipped regularly also and if you are not comfortable doing this, please book an appointment with a nurse or vet to do so.

Brush your guinea pig on a regular routine basis, and long-haired guinea pigs should be brushed DAILY.
Give a twig or small branch to gnaw on. If giving wood, make sure it hasn’t been chemically treated.

Health
Things to watch out for include: Diarrhea, coughing, sneezing, lethargy.

Exercise

Before letting your guinea pig roam inside a room, check the room thoroughly for any crevices or openings which may used for escape as you wouldn’t want him to get hurt or lost! Supervise them closely when they are on the roam because they like to chew and may try to chew on an electrical wire!

Housing

Have a roomy cage, with at least four square feet for each guinea pig. The cage must have a solid bottom (NOT WIRE) and do not use a glass aquarium (poor ventilation). Keep the cage away from extreme temperatures and keep it away from drafts. The preferred environment for guinea pigs is between 60 and 80 degrees F.
Have rocks or bricks for climbing and have cardboard tubes or plastic pipes for play toys. Do not use cedar or pine chips (dangerous to your pet because of the oils they have in them).

Bedding

Use hardwood or Aspen shavings, and grass hay to line the bottom of the cage and don’t forget that each day you must remove droppings, stale food, and soiled bedding. Make sure the interior is dry before putting in fresh bedding.
Once a week (at a minimum), clean the cage thoroughly. Use warm water when scrubbing the bottom.

 

This is the basic guide to owning a Guinea Pig! If you have any questions or concerns then please get in touch with us!

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