Providing our pets with the best care possible is the goal of every guinea pig owners. Some surprising things can help our pets live a better life.
There is lots of miscommunication in the small animal community that confuses owners and is potentially harmful to guinea pigs.
We have researched out some of the best tips for helping our guinea pigs live a happy, healthy life. These tips will help make yours, and your pets live much better.
Below we have 21 tips sure to help make owning your guinea pig even easier. With the proper amount of care, your guinea pig can live a long life with little to no health complications.
Care Tip 1: Temperature Control
Guinea Pigs come from a warmer environment in South America and aren’t naturally exposed to extreme colds. Because of this, guinea pigs can easily fall into hypothermia.
It’s recommended to keep your guinea pigs cage temperature above 65 degrees Fahrenheit at all times. You can even use reptile heating lamps to help control cage temperatures.
Likewise, guinea pigs can overheat quickly. Never let cage temperatures exceed 75 degrees Fahrenheit to avoid heat stroke.
Care Tip 2: Guinea Pigs Need Hay
No matter what brand of food you are feeding your pet, they should have a side of hay. Guinea pigs need timothy hay to help with digestion and keep their diet in balance.
Cages should be equipped with a hay bin or bowl where your guinea can have 24/7 access to hay. A guinea pig can’t overeat on hay, making it safe to keep available at all times.
Without hay, your guinea pig can run into many digestive issues throughout their lives. Hay also helps to wear down guinea pigs teeth keeping their dental health in check.
Care Tip 3: You Can Bathe A Guinea Pig
To many people’s surprise, you can actually bathe your guinea pig. There is a lot of precautions you need to take when washing your pet, however.
Guinea Pigs will require a safe shampoo that can be purchased in most standard pet shops. The water for the bath will also need to be lukewarm to avoid freezing your pet.
Never put your guinea pig in deep waters as many of them aren’t great swimmers. A sink or shallow bowl of water is the perfect choice for bathing a guinea pig in.
Care Tip 4: Stay Away From Junk Food
Many Guinea Pig foods out there are loaded with treats or the guinea pig form of junk food. These foods usually have colorful treats mixed with the hay pellets.
To avoid getting your guinea pig a treat filled food pick an all pellet brand that uses hay as the main ingredient. The foods may be more expensive but can help you avoid vet bills.
Remember that a guinea pig should only have one to two treats a day. Excessive treats can lead to weight gain.
Care Tip 5: Guinea Pigs Love Leafy Greens
You will need to add in fresh vegetables to your guinea pigs diet every day. Each guinea pig will need a cup of veggies to meet their dietary needs.
Make sure to buy organic vegetables that haven’t been treated with pesticides. You also need to wash off vegetables thoroughly before offering them to your pet.
Leafy greens like kale are some of the best picks for your guinea pig. Avoid feeding them starchy vegetables like potatoes that can upset their stomachs.
Care Tip 6: Keep Your Guinea Pig Hydrated
Hydration is another important part of your Guinea Pigs diet. Make sure to refill your water bottle at least once a week to keep from having stagnant water.
Many guinea pigs actually find it easier to use a water bowl for drinking from. Water bowls can be cleaned easier and will require you to feel them with fresh water more regularly.
Most guinea pigs drink 100ML of water per day. This can be expedited in hot weather when your guinea pig is trying to keep cool.
Care Tip 7: Better In Pairs
Unlike many of the rodents out their guinea pigs aren’t solitary pets. Guinea pigs are highly social animals that can grow bored or even become depressed when lonely.
You should consider adopting a second guinea pig to keep your pet company. Two guinea pigs will be able to keep each other engaged and provide support.
This is especially important if you work long hours where your guinea pig has no interaction.
Care Tip 8: Double Guinea Pigs, Double Accessories
Just because Guinea Pigs get along well with others doesn’t mean they always want to share. In fact, it can cause aggression if there aren’t enough supplies to go around.
Make sure to have two of everything in your cage especially water and food bowls. If you have hideaways at least make sure they are big enough to accommodate two pets comfortably.
You will also want to double the size of your current cage. Everyone needs a little bit of space, and guinea pigs are no different.
Care Tip 9: Dental Care
Rodents like guinea pigs have teeth that grow all throughout their lives. Because of this, guinea pigs can become susceptible to many dental problems in their lives.
To keep your pet’s teeth healthy, you will need to provide constant toys for them to chew on. These can include pumice or wooden blocks.
Make sure all chewing toys are pet safe and replace them monthly to keep bacteria growth down. For multiple Guinea Pigs provide a chew toy each.
Care Tip 10: Don’t Mix Rodents
There are tons of videos online showing how friendly a guinea pig is with other types of rodents. These videos are often miss leading and done in neutral territory.
Many times animals can become aggressive towards each other. Different rodent breeds should never be left unsupervised or share the same habitat.
Even the most docile of creatures like Chinchillas have a natural instinct to protect what is there’s. Guinea pigs are not good fighters and will end up injured when put with other rodents.
Care Tip 11: Bedding Is Important
Every owner knows that you need to put bedding in your guinea pigs cage. Bedding helps reduce odor and absorbs urine to keep your cage dry.
Some bedding type isn’t healthy for guinea pigs. Wood-based shaving like cedar and pine are dusty and can harm your guinea pigs respiratory tract.
It’s recommended that guinea pig owners use fleece, paper, or hemp bedding. These bedding types are mostly dust free and won’t harm the health of your pet in the long run.
Care Tip 12: Avoid Wire Floor Cages
Cages that have wires floors can be a danger to your guinea pigs feet. Wire cages are painful for rodents tiny feet and can lead to infections.
Bumble feet is a common health issue associated with wire flooring. This infection happens when the pad of the guinea pigs feet cracks and gets infected.
Wire floors can have bacteria colonies hanging around just waiting to live in your pet’s body.
Care Tip 13: Play Time
Guinea pigs are social animals that want to spend time with you. You will need to set aside daily interaction periods for your pet to keep them engaged.
You will also need longer play periods outside of the cage set up once a week. Leaving the cage can encourage guinea pigs to get extra exercise.
You can use accessories like playpens to contain your guinea pig in a safe area. This makes playtime easier, and you can even set up obstacles to give your pet more exercise.
Care Tip 14: Grooming Needs
Your guinea pig will do an excellent job of keeping itself clean, but they will still need some help from time to time. This is especially true if your guinea pig has a long coat.
You will need to brush your guinea pigs coat out several times a month. This helps get out trapped debris and cut down on painful matting of the fur.
You will also want to trim your guinea pigs toenails. Cutting toenails keep them from becoming painful when grown out to far.
Care Tip 15: Guinea Pigs Don’t Do Parties
Like other rodents, a guinea pig relies on their ears to listen for predators. Because of this, a guinea pig can hear sounds from across your home.
Guinea pigs do best when placed in a room without loud noises. If you put your guinea pig in the living room with constant sounds going on, they may be skittish.
Likewise, loud music is a guinea pigs worst nightmares. Loud noises can damage a guinea pigs eardrums, leading them to lose their ability to hear.
Care Tip 16: Male Guinea Pigs Can Be Tough
Male guinea pigs come with there own unique set of challenges for pet owners. For starters, a sexually mature guinea pig can be more territorial towards cage mates.
Male guinea pigs are also prone to spraying to mark whats there’s. This can cause a lot of odor in the cage and be undesirable to many owners.
They also have a scent sack that must be cleaned to avoid health issues. You can choose to neuter a guinea pig to lessen these problems.
Care Tip 17: Provide Room For Burrowing
Burrowing is an important natural behavior present in rodents. Guinea pigs are no exception and seek out places to dig out small hideaways.
Be sure to pick bedding that supports this behavior. You can pile up extra bedding in one corner of your guinea pigs cage to give them a place to practice burrowing naturally.
For owners with tanks, you can feel your cage up with extra bedding to allow your guinea pig to create his own tunnel system.
Care Tip 18: Guinea Pigs Can Learn
Your guinea pig is able to learn things like their names. They can also learn to do simple tricks and even run small obstacle courses built just for them.
Training a guinea pig is simple; all you need is to be repetitive and use treats. You can even train your guinea pig to come when you call during feeding time.
By teaching your guinea pig to come to their names, you can help make a better social connection between you.
Care Tip 19: Look For Health Issues
You should check on your pet every single day to make sure they aren’t experiencing any health issues. This can help resolve problems before they become serious.
Always check to make sure your guinea pig is eating and drinking the proper amount each day. You should also watch to see if your guinea pig becomes less active.
If you notice signs of a lethargic pet or strange odors it may be time for a checkup. Guinea pigs can be afflicted by conditions like UTI’s and small bacterial infections.
Care Tip 20: Avoid Small Cages
Many pet stores will sell small cages that are enticing to your wallet. These cages can’t provide a proper quality of life for a guinea pig and can lead to stress.
Make sure that the minimum cage size for your guinea pig is 30×36 inches in size. If you have two guinea pigs, you will need to double this size.
The cage for a guinea pig should be long to allow room for exercise. Guinea pigs are not climbing rodents and shouldn’t have a tall cage.
Care Tip 21: Guinea Pigs Can Live Up To 8 Years
A properly cared for guinea pig can live for up to 8 years easily. This is an achievable goal as long as you continuously provide them with their basic needs.
By feeding your pet a balanced diet and watching for health issues, you can keep them living longer. Proper exercise also helps to keep their body in good health.
To increase the nutrients, your guinea pig is taking in buy supplement blocks. This chews provide extra nutrients to your pet.
Are guinea pigs hard to take care of? Guinea pigs aren’t the hardest animals to look after. They need fresh water and food daily, spot cleaning every couple of days and deep clean once a week. You also need to make sure they are getting enough exercise and bonding time.
Can guinea pigs live on their own? If you’re keeping a guinea pig on their own you need to make sure to supply them with more company than you would with two. It isn’t ideal to keep a guinea pig on their own as they can develop abnormal behavior.
Do guinea pigs get lonely? Guinea pigs do get lonely, especially if you don’t keep them in pairs.