Guinea pigs, or cavies, are calm and passive mammals that make adorable and energetic pocket pets. They enjoy a lifespan of about five to seven years and can weigh up to 2.5 pounds. The three common types of guinea pigs include the Smooth-Coated, the Abyssinian and the Peruvian. Their most notable differences are their hair types and length.
Guinea pigs will rarely bite and make great pets for children old enough to handle new responsibilities. Whether you’re thinking of gifting one for your child or plan to adopt one for yourself, they are great pets that need just a little bit of care and a lot of love. Read on to learn some essential facts about guinea pig care.
At Valley Animal Hospital, we see pocket pets of all varieties. Bring your guinea pig in for a routine healthcare checkup today!
Like most pocket pets, guinea pigs are herd animals and much happier with company around. If you’re considering adopting one, it’s best to bring home two or more at a young age. Opt for guinea pigs of the same sex as they do breed rapidly and frequently.
Taming guinea pigs requires time and patience. To get your guinea pig used to your presence, begin by feeding it small treats in the cage. When it’s comfortable enough, you can pick it up gently as it begins to recognize your touch. Also, comb her hair for regular grooming.
After a while, you’ll notice it making vocalizations that they are so famous for. They whistle, grunt and squeak depending on their mood and level of excitement.
Keep them indoors in a large cage – no less than four feet per guinea pig – with plenty of toys for entertainment. They have delicate feet, so you’ll need a cage lined with a solid ground, like grassy hay and newspaper, or a layer of woodchips.
Their cage should be cleaned twice a week to remove waste and soiled toys or furniture. For a sleeping cave, you can provide a hiding area or tunnel-like toy so they can rest and sleep comfortably.
Guinea pig pellets are an essential part of your pet’s diet. They’ll consume roughly 1/8 of a cup daily, so make sure to invest in a high-quality pellet with plenty of fiber. Your guinea pigs will need constant access to grass hay and fresh water, too.
Fresh veggies and fruits like green leafy vegetables, green peppers, peas, apples, blueberries, oranges and grapes are necessary for their diet and make great treats. These fruits and veggies can provide your pet with vitamin C, an essential nutrient that they cannot create naturally. Supplements in foods are also available.