It’s Adopt a Guinea Pig Month! We’re certainly excited if you’ve decided to take home one of these adorable little guys. We just want to make sure you’re ready before you do.
So here are just a few things that you should know before you bring one home with you.
1. With the proper care, guinea pigs can live up to 7 years. Make sure you’re ready for the commitment.
2. If a child is the intended pet owner make sure that there is an adult around to guide him or her.
3. These sweet creatures need ample cage space. The bigger the cage, the better. At a minimum, the cage should be 24 square inches with four to six inches of depth. Avoid wire mesh floors, which are dangerous for guinea pigs. Instead, choose a cage made out of solid materials.
4. Feeling safe and secure is important for guinea pigs, so make sure you include a nesting box inside of the cage. This is a place where the guinea pig will curl up and go to sleep. Use Care Fresh or Aspen bedding to keep the guinea pig comfortable and warm. Avoid cedar bedding, which can damage the guinea pig’s liver, skin, respiratory system, and kidneys.
5. Make sure you’re buying food pellets that have been created especially for guinea pigs. Do not feed them any other food, because they have different and particular dietary needs. Always make sure the guinea pig has access to clean, dry hay. Timothy’s hay is the best choice.
6. Use a water bottle instead of a water bowl. Water that is placed in a bowl can become contaminated, and that contamination is dangerous to your pet’s health.
7. Guinea pigs thrive in a clean environment. Keep their cages clean, change their water daily, and clean any dish used for food or water.
8. Guinea pigs are gentle, fragile creatures. They need a lot of affection and love, they are very sensitive, and you must always be gentle when you handle them. There’s a right way and a wrong way to pick up a guinea pig: use two hands. Place one hand over the abdomen and chest area. Place the other hand under the guinea pig’s hindquarters.
Be especially careful when allowing children to handle guinea pigs. Many guinea pigs die because they are accidentally crushed or dropped. They don’t like noise, so make sure things are as quiet and peaceful as possible.
9. You’ll need an experienced vet, one who works with small animals. Illness can progress faster in small animals. Common guinea pig health problems include dental problems, scurvy, obesity, heat stroke, lice, mites, and respiratory problems.
Does this sound like a pet you can happily handle? If so, bring home a new guinea pig today, knowing that your pretty new pet will continue to have peeps whenever you have to go on vacation.