How to care for a guinea pig?


What are the care of guinea pigs? If you are thinking of having a guinea pig as a pet, you are probably wondering what it needs. You're lucky! Wakyma is here to help you, in addition, Caring for one of these little rodents is easier than you think.

Having a guinea pig is an excellent decision! They are affectionate, tender, warm animals ... and very funny! It will give you lots of special moments. We tell you what he needs from you in return.

Cu> (Photo via: cobayasyaloloco)

The guinea pig is a rodent that, in its wild state, lives in colonies, is what is called a gregarious animal: this means that is sociable and needs the company of others To live happily Therefore, if you are thinking of having guinea pigs, we recommend that it be more than one, two is fine, better if they are two females: you will prevent them from mating and also the typical territorial fights between males.

If you can't or don't want to have more than one, nothing happens either. But make sure you give him the company, games and love you need. If not, you will end up sad and feeling very alone.

Guinea pig feeding

We always say it: the basis of health is in food. Therefore, to know well the care of guinea pigs, let's talk about their diet.

Guinea pigs they are 100% herbivorous animals, that is, they only eat vegetables. The perfect diet of a domestic guinea pig consists of a Hay base, which provides fiber, and varied fruits and vegetables, which complete your needs by providing vitamins and minerals.

Vitamin C is essential for the proper development of guinea pigs, so it is appropriate to choose the fruits and vegetables that have more contribution of this vitamin: Kiwis, strawberries, citrus, raw red pepper, spinach, cabbage, tomatoes, celery, zucchini, banana, peach ... The best thing is that you observe which ones you like the most and adapt.

Another option, instead of giving hay and completing it with fruits and vegetables, is to give it I think already prepared for guinea pigs. This already contains all the vitamin C they need and does not need to be supplemented. Though you can also give vegetables as a reward from time to time!

The guinea pig space: how to prepare the cage

Guinea pigs are tiny animals, but this does not mean they do not need ample space (in proportion to their size, of course). The important thing is that they have enough space to move freely and play without being overwhelmed. Usually a cage of Measures 60 x 3 x 40 cm is enough. Also, of course, it depends on whether you are going to have a single guinea pig or several.

Cage comfort is another fundamental aspect of guinea pig care. Keep in mind that that's where they will spend most of their time, it's their "room."

What is necessary to put in your cage? On the one hand, of course, you should have your bowls with food and water. And on the other, the sleeping area, a small house. As a floor, Cover the entire bottom with wood shavings.

Guinea pigs are very sensitive to cold, so the cage must be inside the house. Ideally, a place with a temperature between 18 and 24 degrees, away from currents and where the sun does not shine directly.

Change your drinking water every day and clean the cage once a week. It is recommended that a deep cleaning and disinfection of the cage be done once a month approximately.

Cu> (Photo via: todosobrelascobayas)

The health of guinea pigs, as long as their food and environment are taken care of, is usually very good. Yes that suits pay attention to parasites, since they are prone to infections.

Among the care of guinea pigs regarding their health, the need for exercise If you don't do it regularly, you run a high risk of being overweight. The best is put a series of routes that you can do in your cage. On the other hand, it is convenient to remove it from the cage at least once a day and let it run and play at home, but always under surveillance.

It is also necessary occasionally bathe the guinea pig and brush your hair often to eliminate dead hairs and tangles. If they don't have proper hygiene, they can smell a little.

How can I know if my guinea pig is sick?

Most likely, if you follow our advice on guinea pig care, your little girl will stay healthy, but she may become sick. How to know if your guinea pig is wrong? Usually when they are sick they usually go to a corner shelter and are sad and dull. If this happens, do not hesitate to go to a veterinarian, much better if you are a specialist in these types of animals. And if your pet has a wound, whenever it is mild you can heal it with betadine. If it is serious, it will also be necessary to go to a clinic.

One of the most common problems affecting guinea pigs is the stress, especially when new arrives at home. To make the adaptation period as bearable as possible, tand we recommend that you look for a quiet environment and avoid situations that promote stress. Also, remember to always have it well fed.

General care of the guinea pig

One of your main objectives when you acquire a guinea pig will be that it is customary for you and that you can take it without it altering or wanting to leave. Guinea pigs are scary animals by nature, and if you don't get enough confidence between you and her, whenever you want to catch her she will try to run away or hide in her booth. You can earn your trust by offering a treat from time to time. When you see that the guinea pig is calm by your side, you can take it carefully, always one at a time, placing one hand on the bottom and the other on its back. Keep in mind that the guinea pig is a fragile animal that could be damaged if you apply too much pressure or if, when scared, it makes violent movements and gets stuck somewhere or falls.

An important part of caring for a guinea pig is to give it enough space daily so you can exercise. Guinea pigs will enjoy exploring and running through a sufficiently large and enclosed area or in a small room. This daily activity is necessary for the guinea pig to stay healthy and fit. Whenever you have your guinea pig outside the space enabled as housing, you should carefully check the room and remove any danger that may be within your reach. A guinea pig can easily find a lot of dangers in any house, the most common are:

  • Guinea pigs are rodents and as such they love to bite things. Make sure all electrical cables and plugs are out of reach. If your guinea pig decides to gnaw a plugged cable it may end up electrocuted.
  • Pick up any object that could poison your guinea pig by biting or sucking it. Among the most dangerous products are insecticides, rodenticides and / or cleaning products.
  • Some common plants such as aloe vera, azalea or geraniums among others are appetizing snacks for a guinea pig but lethal for its metabolism. Make sure that the plants you have at home are not dangerous for her. At the end of this article you can find the list of common dangerous plants for guinea pigs.
  • You should always walk with four eyes to avoid stepping on your guinea pig carelessly.

Toilets of a guinea pig

Most guinea pigs require little care in their grooming, but it is important that you do not neglect those few requirements. The guinea pigs are not able to expel the hairs that can swallow, for that reason, it is advisable to eliminate the hairs that are released from the skin of your guinea pig when you detect them by caressing it. You can brush your guinea pig with a soft bristle or baby brush periodically. In long-haired breeds, such as the Peruvian guinea pig, you should brush your guinea pig more often and eliminate tangles that may form.

Guinea pigs are clean animals that consciously care about their own personal hygiene. In general, it is not advisable to bathe a guinea pig with water periodically, however, your guinea pig may get stained on occasion and you should wash it. If you find yourself in need of bathing your guinea pig you should follow these steps:

  • Fill a shallow bowl with warm water. The ideal temperature will be a warm temperature that is comfortable for your hand.
  • Carefully soak your guinea pig in that water.
  • Gently rub your guinea pig with a gentle pet shampoo taking care of sensitive areas such as eyes. You can ask your veterinarian about soaps suitable for your guinea pig.
  • Rinse with plenty of warm water.
  • Dry your guinea pig with a warm towel and keep it there until your skin has completely dried. That way you will prevent chills.

When they are in their wild habitat, the guinea pigs wear their nails naturally when digging and walking on the ground, however, in our home they do not have that need to dig therefore, the nails can grow too much and even bend and cause malformations and pains in the animal. You should cut your guinea pig's nails approximately once a month using nail scissors for small pets that you will find in your pet shop. Try not to cut too much, as small veins pass through the top of the nails. If you cut too much, you will see that the nail begins to bleed, do not worry, although it is very scandalous it is not dangerous. Cure with a little hydrogen peroxide and cover with a rag until the bleeding stops. If you see that your guinea pig becomes very nervous when cutting her nails, you can choose to give her some food to distract her while you use the nail clipper.

The guinea pigs need a minimum of one square meter of surface in their cages for a copy, obviously, if you have more than one guinea pig you will need more space for them, otherwise their territorial instincts could be stoked. Guinea pigs are very sociable animals that will feel happier if they live alongside other guinea pigs. The soil of their habitat must be solid, since cages with bars at the bottom can damage their legs or make them too uncomfortable for them.

If you want, instead of a cage of bars, you can choose to create the habitat yourself using hardwood to make a drawer wide enough for the number of guinea pigs you have. It has the disadvantage that it is more complicated to move than a cage, but your guinea pig will be happier to be able to give it the size you want. Even if you have enough skill, you can make an original and personalized habitat that integrates with the decoration of your home.

When the guinea pigs are scared or want to rest, they will look for a place to take refuge, for that reason you must place a closed place in their habitat so that they can use it at home. In your pet store you can find plastic tubes, wooden boxes and special woven hay houses for pets, but if you want, you can create a shelter for them using a cardboard box with a hole that will serve as an entrance. But you know that guinea pigs are rodents, and as such, they will enjoy biting the cardboard, so you may need to replace it regularly.

You will need to cover the floor of your guinea pig's habitat with some soft material, for example, you can use cloth or paper strips, but it should be easy to clean or disposable since it must be changed at least once a week. Avoid using wood chips, especially cedar, as they contain phenols that can be harmful to the health of your guinea pig. To maintain proper hygiene for your guinea pig, you must remove the excrement, urine and leftover food from the cage every day and perform a complete cleaning of its habitat once a week removing dirty clothes and scrubbing the floor with warm water and a neutral soap that you will clarify perfectly. Let dry well before putting on new bedding.

Guinea pigs are very sensitive to temperatures that are too cold or hot. Make sure that your guinea pig's habitat maintains a temperate temperature throughout the year, in general, a temperature in which you are comfortable will be a suitable temperature for your guinea pig. If in winter the weather is too cold, you should cover its habitat with a blanket to retain heat.

What else does my guinea pig need?

As we have said before, guinea pigs are rodents who enjoy biting whatever is within their reach. Roer is a natural part of your guinea pig's behavior and you won't be able to prevent it from doing so, in fact, you need to do it to keep your teeth healthy and sharp. Although you will not be able to avoid this process, you can redirect it so that it does not spoil your most precious furniture when you are free at home.

Placing untreated wooden blocks or pieces of thick cardboard in their habitat will keep guinea pigs active and fun. Balls and willow wood rings most guinea pigs love and you can buy them at your pet store or online. You can also use rolls of paper or toilet paper napkins and other chewable cardboard materials that can be thrown in the trash once they have served their purpose. Avoid objects with sharp edges, with pieces that can be detached or soft rubber that guinea pigs can peel and swallow.

Guinea pig feed

Feeding your guinea pig is one of the points where you should pay more attention when caring for a guinea pig. It is important that your diet is balanced and especially adapted for these rodents if you want them to grow healthy and strong. The diet of the guinea pig is very similar to the diet of other rodents such as rabbit and has to be formed by:

  • 70% Hay and herbs.
  • 25% Vegetables
  • 5% or less of feed.

The feed for guinea pigs that you can find in stores is usually too rich in fats and it is not recommended that it forms the food base of your guinea pig, although animal food vendors will ensure that it is the best you can give your animal If you want me to grow healthy. In addition to these basic proportions, you should know that guinea pigs need Vitamin C, however, they do not synthesize it naturally, so you should provide vegetables rich in Vitamin C on a regular basis. The fruit is good for your guinea pig, but being a food with high sugar content you should use it only as a reward or treat sporadically, but never as a basis for their diet.

Make sure your guinea pigs always have free and unlimited access to a hay and water tank. With the hay we will cover the fiber needs that the animal requires to digest the rest of the food without difficulty. Hay, in addition, is a low-calorie food that will prevent our pet from being over fed. The guinea pigs need to eat something every 4 hours approximately, therefore, with free access to the hay we will be able to meet that demand for food without harming their health. It is important to differentiate hay from alfalfa, since, while the hay is good for the health of your guinea pig, alfalfa is a food that is too rich in calcium, protein and calories and should only be given to growing or pregnant guinea pigs.

As vegetables, you can choose to offer some pepper (which contains vitamin C) along with a mixture of green leafy vegetables such as lettuce, escarole, canons, kale, arugula or dandelion. Keep in mind that it is as bad to have a deficit of these vegetables as an excess of them. Finally, you can offer from time to time some carrot or fruit, but, being foods rich in sugars, you should not abuse them and provide them only as a prize sporadically.

Water must be changed daily and your guinea pig must have access to water demand at room temperature. You can use a bottle with guinea pig dispenser and avoid containers that can tip over or get in and get wet, as well as dirtying the water.

What foods should I avoid?

If you want to take care of your guinea pig conveniently, there are some foods that you should avoid since, by having such a sensitive digestive system, they could hinder your digestion or even damage your metabolism.

The foods you should avoid are:

  • Iceberg lettuce
  • Tomatoes
  • Cabbage or cabbage
  • Corn
  • Beans
  • Green peas
  • Potato
  • Beet
  • Onion
  • Rhubarb
  • Bamboo
  • Seeds and grains

Of course, sweet foods for humans such as chocolate or caramel are totally prohibited and, in general, most foods for human consumption are not suitable for the metabolism of your guinea pig. If you are not sure about a certain food, ask your veterinarian before offering it to your guinea pig.

List of toxic plants for guinea pigs

In the following list you can find common plants recognized as toxic to guinea pig:

  • Holly
  • Joy
  • aloe vera
  • Amaranth
  • Amaryllis
  • Anthurium
  • Bird from paradise
  • Azalea
  • Begonia
  • Boxwood
  • Bulbs
  • Cactus
  • Creek
  • Calendula
  • Cheflera
  • Cyclamen
  • Carnation
  • Chrysanthemum
  • Croton
  • Dieffenbachia
  • Diphenbachia
  • Dracaena
  • Esparreguera
  • Ficus
  • Ficus
  • Philodendron
  • Geranium
  • Gladiolus
  • Fern
  • Ivy
  • Hyacinth
  • Lily
  • Lobelia
  • Daisy flower
  • Mistletoe
  • Daffodil
  • Orchid
  • Poinsettia
  • Potos
  • Primula
  • Redwood
  • Sage
  • Vinca
  • Violet

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It is likely that, after adopting this rodent, you want to know everything about guinea pigs, right? Now that you know a little about what a pet guinea pig is like, you should know what you need to be happy. We will start with the cage, a very important factor when trying to offer the best care of the guinea pig:

The guinea pig cage

What does a guinea pig need in terms of space? According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, guinea pigs must have adequate space, according to the number of inhabitants, we are talking about a cage of minimum 120 x 60 x 45 cm by individual If we have several guinea pigs, the space must be greater. Within the cage itself the guinea pig must have a sleeping shed, wood shavings (as a floor), a food bowl and a drinking fountain or water dispenser.

It is important that we place the cage in a place where the temperature ranges between 18 ° C and 24 ° C and that we preferably always have the cage inside, since the guinea pigs are extremely cold sensitive.

Water should be renewed every day and it is recommended that the cage is cleaned once a week and disinfect completely once a month. We must also ensure that your environment is clean, avoid extreme temperatures as well as drafts or direct sunlight. Discover in ExpertAnimal how to prepare the cage of a guinea pig step by step.

Care of a guinea pig

It is important that from time to time, and especially if it is very dirty, wash your guinea pig with warm water and specific soap for guinea pigs. Dry it with a towel, never with the hair dryer, and make sure that during the bath the atmosphere is mild and that it ends up completely dry.

In addition, in the short hair guinea pig and in the long hair guinea pig it will be important to follow a brushing routine with the help of a soft and small brush, thus eliminating dead hair and offering an extra shine. In the case of guinea pig without hair We must be much more careful. We will ensure an ambient temperature between 20 ºC and 22 ºC and, when cleaning it, we will choose to pass a wet cloth, to avoid overcooling.

In the gestation stage we must offer certain care to pregnant guinea pigs. In addition to increasing the consumption of water and food it will also be essential to modify your environment and follow certain precautions As for health, it refers to avoid causing damage to unborn children.

To finish, we want to point out guinea pig you need work out Often to avoid the problems that result as obesity, for this, you can provide a series of routes for which you can exercise. If this is not possible, you can leave it loose at home or in the garden as long as it is under supervision. We will offer you as much as possible toys and activities varied that encourage the stimulation of your body and mind.

What do guinea pigs eat?

Another very important aspect of guinea pig care is food, which should be based on the consumption of certain foods. The guinea pig is a 100% herbivorous rodent So the feeding of the guinea pig must be based on fruits and vegetables. It is very important to provide fodder in the form of hay, always in unlimited quantities, since this will guarantee an adequate supply of fiber, very important in this animal.

With fruits and vegetables it will be necessary to always choose those more rich invitamin C since this nutrient is essential for guinea pig (you can only get it through food). If we choose to feed it with guinea pig feed, it already contains the recommended vitamin C intake.

For proper feeding of the guinea pig do not forget follow these tips:

  • You should always have fresh, clean water.
  • You should always have fresh and unlimited hay.
  • We will control feed rations or pellets, to prevent obesity.
  • We will provide daily varied vegetables and fruit.

What vegetables and fruits can guinea pigs eat?

When containing a high amount of sugar, the fruit should be considered a prize or a timely ration. Thus, we will bet on vegetables. We can offer you salad preparations, a varied serving of vegetables. If you want to know more, do not hesitate to visit our post of vegetables and fruits recommended for guinea pigs.

We recommend you try different foods and investigate which ones you like the most. Dandelion, canons, escarole, arugula or peppers usually please them, but we can surprise ourselves with other vegetables.

Guinea pig diseases

To end the care of the guinea pig we must talk about the more than common diseases that affect the species. We should know that the health status of a guinea pig will depend directly on the care offered, preventive medicine and the speed with which we act when it comes to detecting and treating any disease that may develop. Ideally, go to veterinarian every 6 or 12 months to do a routine follow-up.

Symptoms of a sick guinea pig

How to know if a guinea pig is sick? We should know that guinea pigs do not show signs of pain or weakness, therefore, if you suspect that something is wrong, you should visit a veterinarian. The first thing we could observe is that the guinea pig is hidden in a corner, apathetic and sad.

Some of the symptoms of a sick guinea pig are:

  • Skin wounds
  • Leg injuries
  • Diarrhea
  • Excessive scratching
  • Presence of parasites
  • Loss of hair
  • Overweight
  • He doesn't eat, he doesn't drink.

In this situation you must explore your guinea pig calmly and manipulate it to see if it hurts any specific area of ​​the body. Although we talk about docile animals they stress easily and scream in a strident way.

Food is another important factor to consider. A guinea pig that has stopped eating for 12 hours has a poor prognosis, but those who have spent more than 24 hours without eating are in critical condition.

If you want to read more articles similar to Guinea pig care, we recommend that you enter our Basic Care section.