7 Tips to Care for a Guinea Pig
26 December, 2012
If you want to buy a fun, small, indoor pet, you should consider a guinea pig. They are actually gregarious outgoing animals. Guinea Pigs are cute and won’t scratch up your couches or poop on your neighbor’s lawn! However, if you decide to purchase or even adopt a guinea pig, you will still need to take time to give him or her food, love and toys for your Guinea to thrive.
Below are seven tips on how to care for your Guinea pig:
1. Buy a cage at your local pet store
Most pet supply stores will have “starter cages” that will include the basic supplies that a Guinea pig needs. If you plan to have more than one Guinea pig, you should get a much larger cage. The cage should be at least four square feet and larger if there are two. Your Guinea pig’s cage should be in a room where there is a lot of family activity because they do not like to be isolated.
2. Cover the bottom and clean the cage daily
Cover the bottom of the cage with a generous layer of bedding. Hay or recycled shredded paper works well. Make sure the bottom of the cage is well covered as the wire cages can injure your Guinea pig’s feet. Change out the bedding and remove droppings every day to avoid diseases, mites and lice. Think of it as being similar to cleaning out a cat’s litter box.
Provide your Guinea pig with a diet rich in Vitamin C as they cannot make their own Vitamin C and are subject to a variety of diseases if they do not get enough. Feed your Guinea pig pellets, timothy hay, parsley, apples, citrus fruits, or even chewable Vitamin C tablets. Allow your Guinea to free feed on the pellets unless he becomes too chunky. Fill the water bottle and put it on the side of the cage.
4. Guinea pigs need love too
Hold your guinea pigs often. When holding them, scoop them up under their back legs and drawn them close to your chest quickly to help them feel secure. Try feeding special treats when you are holding them in order to get them to enjoy and look forward to this time with you. In addition to commercial treats, your Guineas will love fresh cucumber and apple peels. Your Guinea pig might like to have his of her fur brushed when you hold him. Just like cats, they love to be brushed.
Allow your guinea pigs to exercise every day. Set up an area where it is safe for them to run around. A small bathroom is ideal and let your Guinea get out and run some laps. You can even do this in a bedroom as long as you close the door.
Guinea pigs love empty toilet paper and paper towel rolls as their toys. They like to crawl through them and it is good for Guinea’s to munch on them to help file down their teeth. You can also place a ping pong ball in the cage so your Guinea pig has something to push around.
7. Annual Veterinarian visits
Take your guinea pigs to the veterinarian annually to have them checked out. Your vet might need to file down their teeth if needed. Your vet will also check your Guinea for any of the diseases common to guinea pigs such as scurvy, dental diseases, bowel problems, internal or external parasites, neck problems or a foot infection.
Guinea Pigs are great pets. But, don’t be fooled…they still need love, toys, food and housing. They are ideal starter pets for kids as they learn to care for animals.