How To Care For Your Guinea Pig
Guinea pigs are ideal pets for first-time pet owners. While slightly skittish at first, they tame quickly and easily. They are sociable creatures that enjoy cuddles and interaction! Before you bring your adorable new furry friends home, you will want to ensure that you have everything ready for them to settle in comfortably.
First things first, because guinea pigs are very socialable creatues, you should always have at least two of the same sex. Here at Pets on Broadway, we require that guinea pigs are sold in pairs, unless a single guinea pig is in need of a new companion.
Here is a handy guide to help you prepare for your new guinea pig.
The Perfect Guinea Pig Home
Most importantly, you will need a guinea pig cage to get started. How big should my guinea pig's cage be? At least two square feet per guinea pig is a good start. For your guinea pig to remain active and healthy, they need space to run around. Bigger is better.
The enclosure should have a solid bottom (not wire) filled with appropriate bedding to a depth of one to two inches. Wood shavings (not cedar) or processed paper products are suitable bedding materials.
Place the cage in a draft-free area of your home. The guinea pig abode should be in a quiet, low-traffic area, away from larger pets.
Guinea Pig Checklist
To keep your guinea pig happy and healthy, here are a few items that they will need in their habitat:
- Cage or enclosure
- Food dish
- Water bowl or bottle
- A house or similar structure to hide in
- Toys to push around or climb over, and chew sticks or toys that are safe to nibble on. Shop our guinea pig enrichment toys here.
- Playyard or playpin
- Travel carrier
What do Guinea Pigs Eat?
Guinea pigs eat throughout the day. A healthy guinea pig diet should comprise 80% hay, 10% pellets, and 10% fresh food. Place a quantity of fresh hay (Timothy hay, oat hay, oat grass, orchard grass, or meadow grass) roughly double your guinea pig's size in their cage daily. Having a generous supply of hay will help maintain a healthy gut and prevent diarrhea, obesity, and dental issues such as teeth growing too long.
Fortified pellets are essential in providing a complete balance of vitamins and minerals for your guinea pig. Feed about one-quarter of a cup per guinea pig per day.
Guinea pigs cannot make or store their own vitamin C, so they need a source of fresh vitamin C in their daily diet. It is always a good idea to add an additional vitamin boost and other supplements to your guinea's diet.
Foods ideal for guinea pigs includes bell peppers (red, yellow, and green), carrots (roots and leaves), green beans, cucumbers, and leafy greens such as lettuce, kale, parsley, and cilantro. Spinach is safe for your guinea pig if given in moderation, as are cherry tomatoes. Twice a week, you can treat your guinea pig with fruit such as blueberries, seedless grapes, bananas, oranges, pears, and apples (without the pips).
Extra Tips When Caring for Your Guinea Pig
Your furry friend should get fresh food and water daily. Remove stale food before replacing it with the fresh offering. Remove soiled bedding every day and replace the bedding every week or two. You can clean the enclosure with a 1:1 mixture of water and distilled vinegar or pet-safe cleaning products.
Give your guinea pig supervised playtime outside of its cage every day. Enclose them in a room where they can run and play safely. Or restrict them in a wire guinea pig pen.
If you ever feel like your guinea pig is in need of veterinarian care, we highly recommend the amazing people over at Avian & Exotic Veterinary Care located in NE Portland or Scales & Tails Exotic Veterinarian Clinic located in SW Portland.
'Popcorning' and Other Guinea Pig Behavior
Learning about your guinea pig's behavioral signs is an essential part of being able to tell how content they are.
- As your guinea pig gets to know you, they might greet you with the typical 'wheek wheek wheek.'
- Social squeaks or purrs indicate good health and comfort.
- Popcorning (when guinea pigs jump and turn in the air) is a sign of playfulness.
- Teeth chattering and bottom wiggling with small tense steps are signs of aggression.
A male shows his fancy for a nearby female with gentle bottom waggling and soft purring.
Visit Pets on Broadway for Expert Advice on Guinea Pig Care
We here at Pets on Broadway pride ourselves on offering superb customer service and educating their clients on how to take excellent care of their pets. If you need advice on guinea pig products or have any questions about how to look after your new furry friend, don't hesitate to pop in and chat with us or simply give us a call and ask for our Animal Care Department.
Shop our guinea pig products here.
Curious to learn more about your guinea pig's health? Check out our various small animal blogs linked below: