Small animals like guinea pigs need special care because they are more vulnerable than cats and dogs. They need clean, protected areas to live and exercise in. They need shelter from heat and cold. They need company.
Guinea pigs make wonderful companions for the whole family. They are intelligent, affectionate, playful and friendly. They can live 6 to 10 years if well looked after.
A single guinea pig is a lonely guinea pig. Always have two or more, as guinea pigs will pine and become depressed alone.
Desex your guinea pigs, or they will breed prolifically.
Give your guinea pigs:
- daily grass hay for healthy teeth and digestion
- fresh greens, vegies and fruits for Vitamin C
- clean water every day
- fresh grass
- secure housing to keep predators out
- indoor housing during cold weather; or insulated and covered hutches with lots of blankets inside
- cold packs and shade in hot weather to prevent heatstroke
Children caring for guinea pigs need adult supervision.
Keep a close watch on your guinea pigs. If their behaviour or habits change it may be due to ill health. Trim nails regularly, check their eyes daily (they are vulnerable to injury), and look for scaly skin or bald patches.
Guinea pigs can develop dental problems like overgrown or misaligned teeth. It’s important to catch these early. We recommend six-monthly dental checks with Dr. Boersma.
Call us straight away if your guinea pig is listless, hunched in a corner, not eating, or not pooping. If he is snotty or wheezy, he may need antibiotics urgently. Guinea pigs don’t show signs of being sick until they are sick enough to need urgent attention.
More about looking after guinea pigs: