Guinea pigs are also known as “cavies.” They are social animals with compact and rounded body shapes, short legs, and no tail with an average life span of 4-8 years.
They are popular pets known for their cuddliness and cunning nature. Their responsiveness to feeding, style of communication, and handling makes them a perfect fit for domestic purposes. They keep to a daytime schedule, and they rarely bite even when stressed. It is necessary to provide an adequate diet, rich in vitamin C and roughages and as well as large cages for adequate exercise and feeding space.
Although, they are commonly not a natural first pet for children or someone with a busy schedule since it requires plenty of attention, maintenance, time, and a well-researching approach to their care. Therefore, learning how to care for a guinea pig is essential before making the leap and bringing them home.
Guinea Pig Care for Beginners
They are no specific pattern to care for guinea pigs because every guinea pig reacts differently to their environment. However, you must take into consideration the basic needs and care required for the wellbeing of your guinea pigs.
Guinea pigs are herbivores, and they have special diets which must be rich in vitamin C and roughages for maintaining a healthy gut and intestinal contraction. Grasses hays are considered to be a perfect meal for guinea pigs because they are naturally abrasive, which makes it the ideal material for him to chew and chomp its rare teeth. Since guinea pigs continuously experience growth in their teeth throughout their life, so constant grassing and chewing grass hays helps keep the teeth shorts.
Grasses also provide numerous nutrients which contain indigestible fiber that helps to keep the intestinal tract operating at a normal level and digestible fiber, which is used up by the cecum to produce amino acid and vitamin B. Any good hay can be given to guinea pigs, but it is necessary to consider when and how it is fed. Unlimited Timothy hey is recommended for guinea pigs but for young guinea pigs under the age of 4 months, pregnant and lactating mothers, should be fed with Alfafa hay and the mixture of timothy and Alfafa hay should be given to the cavies.
Just like humans, Guinea pigs are incapable of producing their own vitamin C. Therefore, to avoid diseases like scurvy, they need to get the supplement from fresh fruits and vegetables daily. It is necessary you follow the manufacturers manual and expiring date provided in their feed as nutrients can disappear over time.
Green leafs such as dandelion greens, collard greens, kale, mustard greens are a good source of vitamin C. Vitamin C supplement can also be added to their drinking water but shouldn’t be considered harmful as excess vitamins can be passed out from their urine.
Guinea pigs should also be given guinea pellets in limited quantities as pellets help them gain excess weight, necessary consideration in their weight gain should be taken when feeding guinea pets with such. On average, an adult guinea pig should not eat more than ¼ cup of pellets a day, with unlimited grass hay and a small quantity of fresh foods.
Guinea Pig Housing
Guinea pigs can be housed in an enclosed cage made of wires, durable plastics, glass or stainless steel. It is necessary you provide proper ventilation by opening one or two sides of the cage. Also, avoid using materials like wood to make cages as it can be easily eaten up.
The best guinea pig cage doesn’t have to be expensive, but lots of specification needs to be considered while building a coop for your guinea pig. Guinea pigs should be provided with adequate room space of at least 7.5 square per feet for one adult guinea pig to roam and separate spaces for nest and feeding. This, in turn, also helps to prevent the likelihood of developing heart diseases and diabetes.
The floor in the enclosure should be either wired or solid, but they both offer their advantages and disadvantages. While the wired floor is easier to clean and maintain but often causes injuries to their feet and hocks as a result of broken legs when the guinea pig falls in the wire mesh and panics to escape, but the solid floor is more challenging to maintain but safer for your pets.
They are various types of bedding available today, but it is necessary you choose the best bedding for your guinea pigs for their comfort and general well-being. Bedding for guinea pigs are available in various types, but the qualities and materials make it better suited for growing your guinea pigs.
Bedding must be clean, free, no-toxic, absorbant, and dust-free. Shaded paper, fleece, wood shavings, commercial pellets, processed ground corn are best suited for your guinea pig, but if you are keeping a guinea pig for the first time, it is advisable to try out different types of bedding to determine which one makes the guinea pig more comfortable. Avoid using beddings with an unpleasant smell and those that are non-absorbent such as cedar and straw as they might cause discomfort, irritations, and diseases to your pet.
The environment which you house your guinea pet should be clean, free from noise, and should be located away from heat sources such as direct sunlight, fireplace, wood stoves and heat vents. Guinea pigs do best in dry, serene environments with adequate ventilation. Dampy cages promote mold growth in their hay and bedding and can make guinea pigs more prone to ailment.
Guinea pigs are social animals and can be mixed, including males with females, and they will live happily together.
The guinea pigs are usually gentle and social rodents that serve as a companion animal and experimental model in North America and Europe. They are highly selective in their meals during their early stage, and they can refuse to eat when their meal type is changed or not suitable. For so, the reason they are fed with chews and vegetables which adds necessary nutrient for their growth. They do not respond well to environmental change, and they might try to bite or freeze when they perceive danger.