Guinea pigs are lively, lovable rodents that are relatively easy to care for. The most common types of guinea pigs are the English or American shorthair, the Peruvian (long-haired), and the Abyssinian (swirled hair). The average weight of a guinea pig ranges from 500-900 grams. The average lifespan of a guinea pig is 5-7 years.
- The cage you choose should be roomy enough for your guinea pig to move around comfortably and still accommodate a hide box at least 1/ GP.
- At minimum, the cage should be 0.5m x 1 m x 0.25m high for one guinea pig.
- Guinea pigs do not tolerate heat well, so position the cage in an area that does not get too hot, especially in summer and spring. They cannot tolerate temperatures >29.0 oC for long.
- Outdoor enclosures should be predatory proof.
- Ensure that an adequate flooring material is provided to prevent pressure sores such as straw or shredded newspaper.
- Provide multiple water sources, at least two dripper bottles, incase one becomes blocked.
- Guinea pigs are social creatures, they should not be housed alone.
- All bedding should be completed changed frequently, and daily spot cleaning is recommended.
Guinea pigs are herbivorous with continuously growing teeth. It is very important that they are on a diet that promotes chewing to allow for suitable wear of their teeth to prevent future dental problems. Some recommendations for feeding include:
- Grass based hay or fresh grass should compose the majority of the diet (80%) – timothy hey, meadow hay or oaten hay (Avoid Lucienne or clover hay as they are too high in protein).
- The grass or hey can be supplemented with green leafy vegetables: kale, broccoli, asian greens, spinach, celery or endive are some examples.
- 1-2 Tsp of good quality pellets (no seeds or grains). Some examples include: Oxbow or Wombaroo pellets.
- Like humans, guinea pigs are unable to produce their own vitamin C they need to have it in their diet. This should be supplied in the green leafy vegetables
Handling, Play and Exercise:
- Take care when lifting a guinea pig off the ground, place your entire arm under the body to provide support.
- It is important to wash your hands before and after handling them to prevent the spread of disease.
- Exercise your guinea pig outside of its cage under supervision on a daily basis in a guinea-pig safe area or room
- Regular rotation of toys will keep your guinea pig entertained. Offer untreated paper towel rolls, paper bags, old socks filled with hay, balled up white paper with treats hidden inside, and chew treats such as pieces of untreated apple wood or willow bark.
- Large PVC piping can also be offered that allows the guinea pig to hide and play within.
Healthcare and Veterinary Attention:
- All new guinea pigs should be checked over by a veterinarian initially and then annually.
- At home always monitor closely your guinea pigs eating and toileting habits, body condition, coat eyes and feet.
If you notice any changes or anything unusual behaviourplease call us on 9652 1338 to book an appointment.