Looking to bring a new pet home? Guinea pigs are a great pick. These small, docile, and quiet creatures are perfect for your first pet. What’s nice is that they live long, making them much more attractive beyond their cuteness. And as icing on the top, they all have their individuality, no two guinea pigs look-alike, making them easy to tell apart from one another, but there are things to know about guinea pig and how to take care of a guinea pig before you buy your first one. Here are the tips and tricks to care for them.
How to Take Care of a Guinea Pig?
Guinea pigs are popular pets among families with small children. They are relatively low maintenance and do not require a lot of space, making them ideal for smaller homes or apartments. While they are not as high energy as some other pets, guinea pigs still need plenty of exercise and playtime to stay healthy and happy. Here’s the guinea pig care guide and read more on how to care for a guinea pig and follow these tips.
#1 You Will be Taking Care of Them a Lot
They are a long-term investment, and just because they are little doesn’t mean they will be easy to take care of. Sure, they are not expensive whether you adopt one or find one through rescue, it is within the scope of everyone, but there is no need to feel good about yourself in giving them a home if you don’t care for them. They will need constant attention from you; you will tend to their basic needs of guinea food, give them supplements to help them grow healthy down the line, provide fresh water at regular intervals, and, most importantly, have a vet close to you. This may not look expensive to you, but the keyword here is ‘effort’, effort from your end tending to their basic needs.
#2 They Like Big Houses
Not your house! By house we mean cage they will be spending most of their time. It is a house to them, they will be eating, sleeping, running and playing with each other in that cafe, so it’s nice to have a big guinea pig house. However, the size of it depends on how many you plan to adopt. The simple rule of thumb is the more, the bigger. But to give you an idea of how big it should be, Blue Cross recommends having a cage with dimensions 120x80x80. That is 120 cm in length, 80 cm in breadth, and 80 cm in height. Other than that C & C cages are the best for small pets. You can give your pets the maximum size possible, but those dimensions are the minimum requirement for a cage.
Humans and guinea pigs have quite a few similarities, one of which is that they, just like us, can’t produce their vitamin C. So it is absolutely necessary to provide Vitamin C for guinea pigs through supplements. There is nothing to be shameful or worrisome about giving them supplements. Integrating supplement drops and pellets into their everyday guinea pig nutrition is a good way around it. Of course, you can go the organic route and feed them trinkets of bananas, keyword here is trinkets because they don’t have bellies to digest all of it. But before anything else, do refer to your veterinarian regarding what guinea pigs can eat.
Guinea pigs are simple creatures with simple problems. Simple but constant. They are vulnerable to infestation. So keeping a constant check on their lodging is a matter of life and death. Give the best bedding for guinea pig cage, by cleaning their bed daily. And doing complete cleaning through every nick and hole a week is to be done. Guinea pigs don’t cause big troubles out of anywhere, but they do cause constant little ones if you can call regular cleaning trouble.
Just like every other animal, taking care of guinea pigs need their time to preserve the instinctual sanity that tells them they are still in a world with lush green rush and nature and that they didn’t end up in a future dystopia. Of course, we know nature isn’t all benevolent, and predators are out there. We have cities to protect us from them, and we must ensure their safety when we take them out.
#6 Grooming Variations
There is no general grooming for them, as different types of guinea pigs requires different grooming. You can say it is spoiling them to a larger extent. Every pet owner has the habit of grooming theirs, no wonder we won’t either. Grooming is also a way of showing affection to the piggies, there are many variations in guinea pigs grooming. You can show a pic of your small friend (or take them with you) to the pet shopkeeper, they will recommend the comb best suited for them. Just remember not to overdo grooming, or it will lead to hair loss, rashes and thereby allergy to guinea pigs.
Guinea pigs need plenty of exercise, so make sure their cage has plenty of room for them to run around. You can also add some toys or tunnels for them to play in. If you have more than one guinea pig, it is important that they get along well together. Otherwise, you may need to provide separate cages for each one.
#8 Location of the Cage
It would be easy if you could put your piggy’s cage anywhere. But the smaller the life form gets, the more care must be exercised. Here is a general idea of things you need to be wary of:
- Avoid extreme conditions like too hot or too cold; guinea pigs won’t be able to tolerate it.
- Avoid places with high fumes or smoke. It could suffocate them to death.
- Don’t place guinea pig cages under metal sheets or close to glass windows; sheets would have high temperatures under them, and the sunlight is generally avoided.
#9 Travel Tips
- They are remarkable travel companions, and there is no reason for you to leave them at home unless you have to. But because of their size and sensitivities, you should keep a few things in mind.
- Get your rodent a small carrier, best to avoid the ones made out of mesh, and make the rodent familiar with it by bringing it to their routine.
- When travelling by car, put the carrier in the footwell, this may sound weird, but it is the most stable place in the car.
- Don’t take your rodent on the trip if the temperature is too high or too low.
- Your guinea pig will feel anxious When the travel is by train or bus about the trip, your voice is a good reassurance to it.
- Few airlines provide the service to have guinea pigs travel in-cabin, it’s best to leave them to a friend.
- Unless you are moving and must go through an airplane, ensure the airline allows them in the cabin.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Guinea Pig
Owning a guinea pig can be a rewarding experience, but it’s important to do your research before and know how to take care of a guinea pig before making the commitment. Here are some things to about guinea pig before buying.
#1 Buy in Pair or More
Wherever you go up online, the point of not getting a guinea pig will almost always come, going on to say, ‘they are social animals like us. I am not rebuking that; it is true. It would be a good idea if you could afford more than two at once. Otherwise, the poor thing might die out of sheer loneliness.
Another thing to consider when getting them is in pairs, don’t adopt separately. Get them in pairs or more. They don’t get along with each other readily at a young age. Just like us, on top of being social animals, they prefer their peers.
#2 Other Pets are not a Good Idea
As the subheading might suggest, guinea pigs as pets are not good with other pets at home. It’s not because they are prey to all the big ones, but their size makes them natural prey to many. Though there is good news for cat lovers, they don’t tend to attack the little creature, let alone eat them, although a few might. Dogs, though, you can’t stop them, man’s best friend is not the ally of guinea pigs.
There will be times when you have to leave the town and cannot cater to them for some time. This is bad not for their hygiene but their emotional well-being. Being inside a cage for too long will do more harm than good, so it’s best to have a friend or family tend to them while you are gone.
Sometimes we like our pets, and they hate us, thus marking the beginning of the quest to gain their affection. It’s a different story altogether when we are allergic to pets. Allergies are always uncalled for, especially in front of the things you adore. Sadly, guinea pig allergy is a thing. The cause of allergies. You could be allergic to their hair and dander. Saliva and urine are the other suspects. And strangely enough, you could be allergic to things surrounding them; the wood shavings, hay, and such. So it is best to ensure that you or anyone from your family is allergic to guinea pigs or their stuff.
#5 The Veterinarian is a Necessity
A veterinarian for guinea pigs is necessary but it is bad news if your nearby vet does not treat the pets you own. So it is a high priority to consult your nearby pet vet on whether or not they treat them. This is of grave importance as they do not tend to have complex physiology that helps them fight diseases.
Frequently Asked Questions
Guinea pigs live long, around a period of four to eight years. A good time frame for anyone to grow and get attached to them.
Guinea pigs like company, they are very much social animals like us, and the sight of two guinea pigs is too adorable!
You will be spending a lot of time with them and their stools can take time to clean up, but rather than a reason to avoid them it’s a part of their irresistible charm.
These little guinea pigs good pets are soothing to heart and soul but they need special care and dedication, if perchance you don’t have time for them or don’t know how to take care of a guinea pig and want to adopt them, just don’t. You are asking for a tragedy in their loss, but if you are looking forward to giving your time and attention to something and playing parent, they are just what you need.