How To Take Care Of Your Guinea Pig – Beginners Guide
We may find guinea pigs cute and adorable, which is why it is mostly a standardized mindset to start and assess our pet skills with them.
Although, it is a common misconception, and we should always keep in mind that the little animals need more attention and care than we usually think.
They need proper food, shelter, and affection to survive. That is why before making a trip to your local animal shelter, read and consider the indicated key points to guarantee your pet's well-being!
Welcoming The Newest Member
Before getting all hyped up and getting a guinea pig as your companion, it is best to prepare your home for the new member of the family. So, all of the essential items and equipment should already be present within your premises.
You will also have to organize and arrange for the little rodent’s provisions and regular grooming to ensure that everything is set for their arrival and you are completely prepared to take them in.
To do this, here are the necessary points you have to consider before welcoming your new little friend:
The cuddly little animals need a home to stay in, and it depends on their designated location on what type it should be. It can be either a hutch for outdoors or a cage if you prefer to keep them indoors. In choosing the right one, it is crucial to consider that the open space is large enough for your furry one.
For hutches, the size should be at least four to five times the size as your guinea pig. The bigger the hutch, the better. You should also see to the fact that the roof is waterproof, to not let the water seep in because that will make for an unhygienic living space.
The ones that are made up of wood needs deep floor covering, for the walls and ground may soak up the urine, which can affect the sanitation of their home if not appropriately addressed.
Among cages, the most typical types are those with metal or plastic material. They are known to be simpler to clean than that of hutches, but the metal wiring can hurt your pet's feet. To avoid this, provide something like a floor covering or a mat to make them feel more comfortable.
To provide comfort for your little pet, you would need to apply a cozy and comfy surface on their premises which can also soak any urine or liquid, as they run around and play within their cages.
Avoid using sawdust, cedar wood and scented shavings for it can cause irritation that can lead to health problems. The most popular covering is wood shavings and is proven to be ideal for guinea pigs.
To store their food, you would need a bowl to prevent your adorable animal from playing with it. Ceramic bowls are preferable for it cannot be easily knocked over, unlike any other lightweight materials.
For arranging a constant supply of water for little pets in their little houses, it is best suited to choose the water bottle with ball bearings, for it is unlike this type to produce leaks. Also, it is best to provide two water bottles in case one of them leaks. In this way, your little pet can stay hydrated no matter the error and circumstance.
Take into consideration the act of insulating the water bottle to address your pet if they live outdoors. This can prevent their water supply from freezing, especially during the cold months. Also, never fill the water bottle up to its fullest, for it can split.
Grooming brushes and tools depend on the fur of your small friend. Specifically, if it is short haired, the grooming process can be conducted weekly, whereas, for long-haired or thick-furred, they would need daily grooming.
The grooming requires extra time when your pet begins to shed his coat, to lessen the hairball production. For their nails, a pet nail clipper suited for men is needed for occasional trimming.
To ensure a safe and comfortable journey at times wherein you want to take your fluffy pet outside, you will need a carrier or travel box to carry him. It is the most suitable process, and with this, always be assured that the size is appropriate.
They should be able to stand or turn around, but it cannot be too large because you don’t want to be tossed in all directions.
Food Comfort: What To Feed Your Guinea Pigs
Guinea pigs are known to have grazing abilities, which is why it is essential for them to have a supply of quality fresh hay with a little amount of Guinea Pig mix.
These little creatures cannot produce vitamin C for they lack the enzyme that is needed, which is why they need some fruits and vegetables that would give them this source. Some of these are broccoli, cabbage, kale, orange, and other leafy greens.
The hay, vegetables, and the guinea pig mix should be fed at all times and is essential to its diet. Never give them rabbit food, because the nutritional requirements are different.
Finally, make sure that your little pet has unlimited access to clean water that should be changed a few times every single day.
Health, Exercise & Entertainment
Your flurry creatures should have floor space for exercising and entertainment purposes. An open space for two should not be less than 60 cm wide and one meter long. They can also be free indoors and run till their heart's content as long as they are under supervision.
There should also not be any holes that they can use to escape or other animals can use it to harm or scare them.
If outside, an outdoor run can also be useful for their grazing tendencies. For games and activities, you can make them run through pipes and play with cardboard boxes. Hiding treats within their home can also make them active.
For health, grooming should be done as a routine. Also, never tempt your guinea pigs to breed, as there are abundant risk factors that you’ll have to be informed about. To know if your little furry pet is healthy and doing good, check if their eyes and fur look normal.
How to Clean your Guinea Pig’s Home
Ensuring a clean lifestyle is a necessity, and it helps for your guinea pig to have a well-organized cleanse that can contribute to their health needs.
Specifically, their cage needs to be in its optimum state and position to prevent any debris or dirt that may harm them. To show how it’s done, here are some good points:
1. Check For Any Spoiled Food Or Litter.
Clean out the cage by getting rid of soiled hay. It prevents any situation where your little pet gets sick after eating them. Make sure to replace it with fresh ones together with fresh food and water. Also check the corners of their cage, for they tend to litter there.
2. Wash Their Water Bottle Daily.
It is important to empty and replace the water a few times every day, to ensure its cleanliness over time. Failure to do so can cause digestion failures which we would not want for our little animals to experience.
3. Conduct A Deep-Cleaning Procedure To Their Homes Weekly.
To do this, you must first guide your pet out together with its accessories and left hay. Then, clean the sides and overall cage with a cloth that was submerged in diluted white vinegar.
Scrub the tray to get rid of any litter or urine. After doing so, rinse with water. Let it dry before guiding your pet back in, reapply the accessories, and supply new hay.
A Process Guide About How to Take Care of Your Guinea Pig
For first time owners, having a guinea pig can be a breeze if you know how to handle it. To have an idea regarding its proper needs, these are the things that you should take into consideration:
1. Location Of The Cage
Your little one should get used to humans familiarizing with them, which is why it is suitable to place their cage where most of the family members frequently stay.
The three most common spots are a bedroom, living room, and hallway. Also, never make the mistake of placing them in your garage, especially when you have your car around. This may harm your pets because there will be a lot of car fumes.
Furthermore, know that your pet is sensitive to temperature. Some veterinarians suggest their indoor placement, but some commented that it should be outside due to sunlight benefits.
Though the decision depends on your furry pet's preference, and to know this; it is much more suitable to ask a veterinarian or assess it.
2. Consider Getting Another One
Having more than one may seem like a lot of hassle, but they can keep each other company most of the time. This will positively affect their mood and they will stay vibrant and energetic.
Try to see if both are compatible. Otherwise, they may fight often. Also, having guinea pigs with a different gender is possible, though it is not preferable to encourage them to mate for it will create a lot of problems.
3. Connect With Your Pet
Give them some time every day to sit beside them and play. This helps them to familiarize with you through your smell and voice. When you think that they know you, stick your hand in their home. If they come near, you can pet them to your and their heart’s content.
4. Food Intake
It is essential to provide your little pet with ample amounts of water that is accessible at all times, for it is one of the critical elements in an animal’s diet.
Also, ensure that the food containers are washed before and after use with the water bottle requiring to be cleaned daily; to prevent the formation of fungi and algae. If the cage is exposed to the sun, consider applying an opaque cloth to the bottle to prevent the algae.
Since guinea pigs are grazing animals, the supply of fresh hay is a must, and also feed them vegetables for it makes up most the calcium, phosphorous, and vitamins that they need.
Pellets can also be eaten, but sparingly, and it should be specifically meant for them. Aside from this never feed your pet other foods, especially human junk foods and others, for it may bring harm to their health.
5. Provide Play Time Every Day
They need their floor time escapades in an open space to explore and run, but make sure that everything is harm-free. Make sure that the open space is big enough for playing and running around because exercise plays a crucial role in their sudden mood shift.
If you let them go outside, pay close attention to them. It is to prevent them from slipping through openings and save them from other potential predators such as foxes and hawks.
6. Avoid Rabbits
Even though both animals are adorable, it is best never to let your little bouncy pet to get near a bunny, for it can naturally carry bacteria that makes them ill. Also, rabbits are stronger than them which means that they can harm them physically.
7. Weigh Their Mass Weekly
It has to be ascertained that the guinea pig is healthy enough to get by, or you need to provide aid to their declining weight. An additional two ounces can be considered as usual, but more ounces indicate health or dental problems. To do this, a digital kitchen scale can be used.
Positive Vibes: Know If Your Guinea Pig Is Content
Whether or not your guinea pig is content can be determined by associating with it. Simply producing squeaks, and chortles that may seem to be an attempt for casual interaction can be enough to check if they are doing fine. Their reaction will say it all.
You can hear them wheeking when they are excited or express anticipation, especially when they see their food being brought up for them. Purring can also mean that they are relaxed and calm.
Another distinct movement when they are happy is the method of popcorning. It is seen when they repeatedly hop just like popcorn does when it pops. This implies that they are happy and is being playful.
For alarming situations, they may let out a high-pitched squeak when they are afraid or hurt. Hissing and teeth chattering is also not a good sign, for it exhibits agitation, upset, and angry.
Why Pick Guinea Pigs as pets?
Before getting your desired furball, you may often ask yourself “why guinea pigs?” “what is special about them?”. To help you with your decision, here are the reasons why they can be a member of your family and household:
They Are Unique In Their Flurry Way!
Every guinea pig is different. Some are shy and cute, while others are dominant. They do not act all the same, which is why before choosing the right one, interact with them and evaluate first to know if the prospect is ideal and meets your expectation.
Long Lives, More Fun Times
Some hamsters and rats can only live three years, while guinea pigs can last up to five to seven years or more. The longer lifespan means their presence in your life will be comparatively significant, which is ideal if you are looking for a longtime companion.
Perfect For All Ages
They are child-friendly, but you should take into consideration that it is not a toy. It is best to supervise them while taking care of the pet and make sure that they are well-fed and groomed properly. They are also not as fragile as rabbits.
Points To Remember
Your duty as an owner does not stop at simply adopting them and playing with them, for it is important to know how to properly take care of their little furry body as they run and keep you happy.
As you take care of them with love, they will return it by making you blissful with their adorable little existence. Their little movements are too cute to resist.
Do not forget to clean their homes properly and allot time for their daily escapades. Failure to do so under any circumstance may make them feel anxious or depressed.
Since you are now provided with the information to maintain and nurture them, get a trip to your local pet store and adopt a guinea pig now!