Read About Guinea Pig Care

Guinea pigs are rodents related to chinchillas and guinea pig care is somewhat similar to a chinchilla. Guinea pigs have docile temperaments, can be very vocal and are relatively clean animals. Guinea pigs are also called cavies. Handling a young guinea pig will accustom them to people and is an essential part of guinea pig care. The proper way to pick up a guinea pig is with both hands under the entire animal. Many will squeal a little when picked up. Guinea pigs are social animals and actually require attention and interaction from owners to be content. Guinea pigs can live up to 6 years. Guinea pigs come in a variety of colors and hair length.

A guinea pig enclosure should be escape proof and allow for easy cleaning. It is recommended for proper guinea pig careImage that the enclosures be at least 100 square inches for each adult. Enclosures should have solid floors, free from drafts but well ventilated (not an aquarium) and well lighted. Shredded paper, wood shavings (non-cedar or scented), and processed corn cob are preferred bedding materials and at least 2 inches deep in the enclosure. Clean the cage regularly - every day remove any old bedding, soiled paper lining the floor, droppings and stale food. Scrub the bottom of the cage with hot, soapy water once a week. Enclosures need to be kept in a draft free area that will not get too hot. Guinea pigs can die from heat stroke if temperatures climb over 70 degrees F and the air is humid.

Exercise is an important part of guinea pig care. Guinea pigs are generally active at dawn and dusk, but will adjust to the owner’s schedule. Toys include a covered exercise wheel, blocks of untreated wood, PVC tubes, and paper rolls. Shoe boxes and clay flower pots make great houses for guinea pigs. If possible, guinea pigs should be allowed sometime out of their enclosures in supervised play in a guinea pig proofed room.

Good-quality food and fresh, clean water must be readily available at all times. Water should be offered in sipper bottles and food dishes should be deep and heavy to prevent tipping. Commercially available guinea pig food will provide the needed nutrition including vitamin C and folic acid, to keep your guinea pig healthy. Image Since vitamin C degrades from the food overtime, discuss with your veterinarian about supplementing additional vitamin C in the diet. Small amounts of fresh vegetables (especially kale and cabbage) and fruits can be offered as well as timothy hay.

When purchasing a guinea pig, be sure it appears healthy - eyes should be bright and clean; nose, eyes, ears, and rear end to be sure it is free from any discharges; and the guinea pig should be alert, active, and plump. Though they do not need vaccinations, a thorough examine can check for common guinea pig ailments as well as allowing the nails and possibly teeth to be trimmed. Short haired guinea pigs will do well to be brushed weekly and long haired guinea pigs should be brushed daily to help prevent matting of the fur. Guinea pig care requires relatively low maintenance.