GUINEA PIGS

Guinea pigs might well be the gentlest of all pets. Happiest in small groups, these rodents are delicate but reasonably easy to care for.

Guinea pigs are rotund rodents from South America. They are affectionate and gentle, and well-suited for households with children.  However, as true herbivores that are very low on the food chain, they should be kept away from dogs, cats, ferrets, and rats.

Also, they cannot jump more than a couple inches into the air. Make sure they are not in danger of falling off the edges of tables, beds, stairways, or other hazards.

 

ESSENTIAL EQUIPMENT

Guinea pigs don’t need much equipment:

 

  • A cage or hutch;

  • Pet-carrier

  • Food and water dishes

  • Bedding

  • Nail trimmers and a brush

  • A safe piece of fruit wood to chew

  • A hidey hut to complete the picture.

 

EXERCISE

Guinea Pigs should not use exercise wheels. Ever. Exercise wheels result in damaged backs, injured feet, and generally unhealthy Guinea pigs.  Instead, provide a clear bit of floor for the Guinea pigs to just run around. You might even consider a play pen or an empty plastic wading pool.

 

FEEDING

Guinea Pigs are messy. Be prepared for them to foul their food and water dishes. A water bottle hung on the side of the enclosure is a good back-up for the water bowl.

Fresh grass hay must be available at all times, and good Guinea pig pellets ought to be the main part of your pet’s meals. . Fresh vegetables such as carrots, broccoli leaves, and radish greens will round out the diet. Vitamin C supplements are a wise precaution, because the vitamin C in the pellets loses its potency quickly. Simply sprinkle the powder over the veggies.

neither climb nor jump very high, and so their enclosures do not need to be covered. As long as the walls are at least 10″/25″ tall, the Guinea pig will not get out. To avoid injury to the delicate feet, the floor should be solid plastic. Most commercial cavy cages are much too small. The piggy needs enough room to run and dig in the bedding. 10″x20″/25cm x 50cm per cavy is really the bare minimum, in terms of floor space.

 

Environment:

Provide lots of bedding. The best and safest bedding is made of shredded paper. It will need to be changed every day, to maintain a healthy environment. Otherwise, the bedding will be soaked with urine and rotting vegetables. Do not use softwood shavings such as pine or cedar, because the oils from these woods are very unhealthy for your pet’s lungs.

A Guinea pig “hidey hut” is a nice addition to the enclosure, because it gives the piggy a place to hide when he feels nervous. He probably won’t spend much time in it.

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Barry

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