Guinea pig care
I’ve recently bought 2 guinea pigs as pets, having own hamsters before having pet guinea pig, I find them easier to manage and tamer than the hamsters.
Small, easy to manage and inexpensive are just some of the adjectives that come up when you think of facts about guinea pigs as pets. And while these adjectives are mostly correct, it does not mean that guinea pigs don’t need any care at all.
Healthy bodies and happy lives are important to guinea pigs, and here’s how you can provide for that.
Your guinea pig can be a fun and enjoyable companion. But a proper guinea pig diet can be a critical step in ensuring your guinea pig well-being and good health.
How can you know if you are feeding it the right way?
By following a few simple guidelines and keeping some basic requirements in mind.
- 1 Guinea pig care
- 2 What do guinea pigs eat and best guinea pig foods?
- 3 Guinea pig breeds
- 4 How to take care of a guinea pig especially when sick or wounded
- 5 Guinea pig information
- 6 Guinea pig house
- 7 How long do guinea pigs live?
What do guinea pigs eat and best guinea pig foods?
1. Young or baby guinea pigs should be given as much hay as they can eat. They will need to be introduced to it but once they are most guinea pigs love it.
There are many different hay varieties on the market. Three varieties are timothy, alfalfa, and mixed grass. Making sure that it is for food and not bedding is important.
You want to make sure that there are no pesticides in the hay as they can make your guinea pig sick. Hay is high in fiber and will help keep your guinea pigs digestive system in good shape.
2. Pellets can be made from a variety of different ingredients. Again, a young pig can eat pellets made from alfalfa hay as this can provide extra calories. Whereas older pigs should eat pellets made from other base ingredients.
There are pellets that have vitamin C added to them. It is critical that guinea pigs get enough vitamin C to avoid developing scurvy. Pellets that have had it added to them may seem like an ideal solution but it can degrade over time and become less nutritious. You need to make sure that you use the pellets before the best before date.
3. Fresh foods can be the best guinea pig food to make sure that your they getting enough vitamins. You need to be careful of what vegetables you are feeding and in what quantities. If you do pick fruit that is high in sugar they may not want to eat anything else since they do have a bit of a sweet tooth.
Some vegetables can cause gas to build up in the digestive tract and this causes health problems.
Fresh food is also important. Guinea pigs do well on a variety of fresh vegetables but you need to make sure that you are not feeding too much fruit. Guinea pigs often have a sweet tooth and if they are allowed to eat fruit they will ignore other foods.
Some vegetables can have nutrients which are healthy in small doses. But can cause health problems if they are eaten in larger quantities.
Leafy vegetables such as beet greens, carrot tops, chard, kale, dandelion greens, endive, parsley, and watercress are good choices. But, it should be fed in moderation and introduced gradually.
Any vegetables which cause soft or wet stool should be removed from their diet.
The other guinea pig care and critical component to a good guinea pig diet are fresh water. This seems to be obvious but it is important to remember. Many people choose to put vitamin supplements in the drinking water but sometimes this will keep guinea pigs from drinking the water.
The container the water is kept in is also important. Many people choose a drip style hanging water bottle because this allows the guinea pig to drink freely. But keep any cage litter out of the water so that the water does not become soiled.
Caring for guinea pigs can be quite easy. They can live for years if you take care of them properly. A good guinea pig diet can be a critical step in ensuring the health and long life of your guinea pig.
Guinea pig breeds
If you want to keep guinea pigs as pets there are only two choices that you can make. Either you choose a long haired guinea pig or a short haired guinea pig (there is even hairless guinea pig).
These are the two groups of guinea pigs and their function for guinea pig shows is determine by the length of their hair or fur.
The harder to groom of the two is, of course, the long-haired guinea pig because their fur would need to have regular grooming and untangling. They are the best to keep as show animals though while the short haired guinea pig is the best to keep as a family pet.
Guinea pigs also come in different breeds and here are some of them.
Abyssinian guinea pig
If you want a show breed that is an old breed of guinea pigs then you can choose the Abyssinian guinea pig. Its fur has swirls that are called rosettes which can grow in different directions and makes it look pretty.
Compared to other breeds they are harder to groom. But are lovable animals that can live for up to 8 years if they are well taken care of.
American guinea pigs
American guinea pigs are what most people think of when they hear the word guinea pig. They are the best pet for children because they need little grooming for their short fur. They are not ideal for a show even though they have different colors.
The Peruvian guinea pig
The Peruvian guinea pig is the most sought after breed to make as show guinea pigs. The Peruvian guinea pig breed is an extreme long-haired breed.
Its hair can grow to an amazingly long length of a foot or more. The hair is smooth and straight and tends to part in the middle and hang naturally to either side of the pig. The long hair requires a lot of care; so many owners prefer to keep the coat trimmed to make this task easier.
They have long furs and some even have silky and glossy hair. When you look at their heads from above, you will notice that their hair appears like puddles that come right out of their heads. It will need a lot of time to groom their hair and so are not good to keep as pets.
Silkie guinea pig or Sheltie guinea pig
The Silkie guinea pig or Sheltie guinea pigs look like the Peruvian guinea pigs but have a different design on their fur. Like the Peruvian too, they have a satin counterpart with soft, silky, glossy hair. They are good only to keep as show animals and not as pets.
Teddy guinea pig
Looking exactly like a stuffed teddy bear, the Teddy guinea pig has a short, kinked and wiry textured hair. You can keep this breed as a pet.
White Crested guinea pig
Aptly named White Crested guinea pigs, have a white circular rosette at the top of their foreheads. And to be shown must only have this rosette although several have them in different colors.
Those are some of the different types of guinea pigs
How to take care of a guinea pig especially when sick or wounded
Guinea pig care means being a responsible owner. Not only should you provide for his material needs, but for his health and comfort too.
If you suspect your guinea pig is sick or wounded, please pay a visit to the Veterinarian near you. The sound advice you find here is not intended to supersede that of your Vet. But rather help you become more aware of your pet’s health.
Keeping your Guinea Pig healthy and happy starts with the right diet, plenty of exercise, a clean environment and lots of attention. These are the keys to success with Guinea Pigs and all pets.
Wouldn’t you agree?
Groom them often and keep their cages clean and sanitary.
Guinea Pigs (or Cavies as they are called) try to avoid getting wet (just like their feline friend’s cats). So unless your guinea pig has gotten involved in a dirty smelly mess, it’s better not to strain them with dipping them in water.
Keeping the living space clean and free of urine, waste, and uneaten food will prolong the life of your little fur ball and keep him/her strong and vibrant!
Guinea Pigs or (Cavies) are more susceptible to disease and injuries compared to other pets. One idea for this is the size of their homes, in comparison to say that of a cat or dog for example. To stay on top of your Guinea pigs health, you will need to examine him from day to day for signs of illness and wounds.
Sneezing and running nose
Allergies with the bedding material occasionally come about. Also, lengthy exposure to a new setting or contact with foreign objects or plants can generate allergies. Try Swapping the bedding material and stop from taking him to places you think may cause these symptoms. Constant discharge or chafing of the nose should be a sign to call the Vet.
This can be life-threatening. Any type of Heavy Respiration, wheezing or panting sounds could be a signal of a repertory disease. Call your vet ASAP. Delaying this engagement can be grave for your guinea pigs health.
Watery or cloudy eyes
Small particles like dust, dirt and pollen can affect the eyes adversely and cause tears to form. A liquid solution from your Vet or local pet store can be used safely to flush out the irritants. If trouble persists see your Veterinarian.
When a guinea pig is cut or bitten the fur near the injury will fall out. This is entirely natural. Extreme hair loss is much more severe. Parasites such as mites, ringworm and fleas may be to blame and should be treated by your vet right away.
Too many wet foods are the likely suspect. Curb the fruit and vegetable intake, and up the amount of hay, pellets with vitamin C, and dried foods. Lactobacillus acidophiles in capsule form purchased from your Vet or pet store can remedy the problem. Add the recommended dose to water or administer directly from dropper to your pet’s mouth.
Red pink or dark colored urine
Blood coming from the urinary tract is a grave condition. Consult your Vet immediately.
Scratching and itching
Examine your pet’s coat frequently. Pesky mites, lice, and other parasites can find their way onto your little fur ball and quickly cause irritation. These little vermin can be stooped dead in their tracks with specially treated shampoos and ointments available through your Vet or local pet store.
Going shopping for guinea pig supplies is a breeze because a pet shop will have almost everything that he requires, such as chew toys and his cage. Guinea pigs get sick too, so make sure you research on their common ailments and consult with a veterinarian regularly to make sure that he is in the pink of health. Daily workouts and healthy meals are a must as well.
Head tilting and seizures
Ear infections can cause your cavy to slant his head to one side and walk irregular. Mites, lice, and other parasites can cause some maladies that affect the nervous system. Tremors, head tilting, body curving, and stiffness can result.
Look up your veterinary immediately when you think your pet shows these signs. The most significant aspects of bringing up a healthy Guinea Pig and the key to sustaining the life of your little fur ball is by keeping his/her cage clean. Change the litter material regularly and sanitize the cage frequently.
Owning a guinea pig can be a fun adventure, but there are some basic health care issues that are important for you to be aware of. Educating yourself with the right information is beneficial to having a happy pet.
One common and important issue to be aware of is anal impaction. This problem does not affect female guinea pigs as often as it does the males, but be sure to know that it can happen. Knowing what it is and how to treat it is half of the battle.
Let’s start with what exactly impaction is. First, you must know some basic guinea pig facts. Guinea pigs are coprophagic animals, which means that they eat their poops. Not all their leavings, just the special ones that are semi-digested and full of nutrition. These are what is known as caecal feces.
Other animals also exhibit this behavior like rabbits and hamsters.
Guinea pigs, especially older male boars can develop weak anal muscles. They are then unable to release the special feces that can form a build-up of it inside of the perineal sac.
Your pet cannot then access the important supplement that it is and suffer from poor health because of having waste material inside of his body.
The solution to this problem is not a fun task to take care of. First, gather the supplies you will need which is a syringe and some mineral oil.
Firmly hold your guinea pig on his back and use the syringe full of oil to cover the affected area to help loosen the backed-up caecal feces. Then pull back the skin around the anus and gently squeeze the mass out. Keep going until you are sure that the problem is resolved.
If you are unsure about doing this it is best to take your pet to a veterinarian regularly to help clean your guinea pig properly.
Even though this usually isn’t a big problem until guinea pigs are older, it is good to start doing this procedure on a regular basis as soon as possible.
Guinea pig information
Guinea pigs are interesting and funny pets to keep. They need a little bit of extra care when compared to other caged pets but the rewards are worth it. Learning about them is the first step toward this goal so read as much as you can about them from credible sources
Guinea pigs need warmth and care, not only from their owners but from fellow guinea pigs as well. They are sociable by nature and live by the motto that ‘No guinea pig is an island’. The best thing you can do is to bring more than one of them home so that they will constantly keep each other company.
If you are thinking that getting more than one guinea pig defeats the entire purpose of getting an affordable house pet, think of what a waste of money it will be in the long run when your pig suffers a deep depression. Leading his health to deteriorate and even cause his death, because you were too cheap to get him a partner.
Besides, what’s another $20-$50 to ensure the long life and happiness of your little one?
Guinea pigs are mostly independent creatures, even from birth. They still need to be breastfed by their moms of course, but they can get up and move on their own in under a day. Imagine that? The day after they are born, you can even feed them normal food already.
You also don’t have to wait long before selling or giving the babies away. Within four weeks, they can be separated from their mothers already.
Guinea pig house
Never put your pig in an aquarium or a deep-walled box. The ammonia fumes produced by your pigs’ urine can cause respiratory problems for your pets if they are concentrated by the glass or other solid walls and not allowed to dissipate into the surrounding air.
Also, be sure to provide ample living space so that your pigs can live comfortably and enjoy the opportunity for enough exercise.
One of the first steps you should take is to make certain that your cavies will live in a house of the right size. For every single cavy, the cage or enclosure size should be at least 2 x 2 x 2. If you have 2 guineas, so, you have to double the size.
You should also make use of a cage that has a solid floor, or if the home of your cavies has a mesh or wire-floor, at least place a lining (I use old newspaper as flooring) on the floor so as not to hurt your guineas’ feet.
A responsible pet owner should also follow the cavies care advice of placing the cage in a spot far from direct sunlight, from drafts, and the like.
A good guinea pig care is also to provide some hay bales from your guineas as those creatures love snacking on hay and also ‘nest’ on them, too. Just ensure that you only use good quality hay to bring about happy guinea pigs.
You should be aware that guineas love hiding specifically for play purposes. It is best to construct some hiding places in their cage like some corners made from cardboard material, empty cans with smoothened edges, and so on.
You can also allow your cavies out of their enclosure occasionally so they can have exercise but as a responsible pet owner, see to it that they won’t be able to escape, get out of your house, or go to areas with holes or with sharp objects or edges that can hurt them.
Your cage should be filled with guinea pig bedding to absorb urine and keep your pigs clean and dry. Clay litter should never be used. Dust from this type of litter can also cause respiratory problems if inhaled by your pigs. Bedding produced from a recycled newspaper is an effective and healthy choice.
Fleece is becoming a popular alternative to bedding. Fleece does not absorb the urine, but allows the liquid to wick through – thereby keeping your cavies dry and happy. A layer of absorbent material should be placed under the fleece to contain the urine after it passes through the layer of fleece.
Like humans, guinea pigs lack a critical enzyme that allows its body to manufacture vitamin C. For this reason, it is critical that your cavy receives a vitamin C supplement every day.
If you want your guinea pig to like and trust you, you will need to treat it with respect. Never handle it roughly. When picking it up, always support your guinea pigs bottom from underneath.
Also, your cavies’ bones can be easily broken, so be careful not to squeeze your guinea pig too tightly nor drop it from excessive heights. The more you handle your guinea pig (providing you handle it gently), the more comfortable it will become with you.
The guinea pig is one of the most popular pets in North America for many reasons. It can be an affectionate and enjoyable little animal friend when treated with kindness and respect. And with appropriate parental guidance, its docile and friendly nature makes it an excellent pet for a young child
A huge cage is needed even if you think your pig is small. An even bigger cage is needed if you have more than one. Activity will be restricted in a small cage.
Get a cage with a rigid plastic bottom so that his feet won’t get stuck into little holes. Make sure the cage opening is big enough to accommodate the growing girth of your guinea pig, as a growing girth is inevitable because of his hog-like habits.
Important also is proper bedding. Highly recommended are wood shavings and Timothy hay. Regularity in serving his meals is important because guinea pigs find security in that.
How long do guinea pigs live?
Most people when beginning to do research on a specific pet that they wish to get begin by asking how long it is expected to live and this is no different with knowing the guinea pig life span.
In a typical situation, the guinea pigs life span expectancy can be expected to last about five years although many cavies have been recorded to live up to as old as seven!
The age of four for a guinea pig is also considered to be quite old and it isn’t unheard of for a guinea pig to only live four years so the typical expectation you should have for your guinea pig life span expectancy is generally four to seven years old.
Sometimes this is a huge downfall with potential owners because they want the pet to live much longer than a mere four years. Inquiring about how long do guinea pigs live is sometimes the biggest downfall for the guinea pig getting a new home because some parents and individual owners feel the potential sadness of losing a pet.
This is terribly unfortunate because the guinea pig is an excellent pet that not only requires but also loves human interaction. They are social creatures, have a gentle disposition and typically will crave affection from the owner.
The last issue to address when speaking of the guinea pigs life expectancy is that despite the fact that it may be short, these creatures make wonderful pets since they have a seriously low biting tendency which makes them a great and safe pet to have with children as well as the elderly.
You will not have any problems with your guinea pig if you keep these tips in mind. But that shouldn’t stop you from learning all you can to make sure that your pig is healthy and happy.
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