Caring of Pet - Guinea pig

 
Guinea pigs are small, sociable, ‘chatty’ rodents. There are different breeds and varieties of guinea pigs, with a wide variety of colour and coat lengths.

Guinea pigs are traditionally thought of as good first pets for children, but it should always be an adult that takes responsibility to ensure they are properly handled and cared for.

Typically guinea pigs live for 5-6 years, but some may live longer.

You should consider keeping a same sex pair of guinea pig so they have company. A pair of females is a good choice; a pair of males may be fine but may fight.

While usually quiet they can call out quite loudly, and can be active both day and night. They may be nervous at first but rarely bite and generally become very tame with frequent handling.
  • By taking proper care they can become good family pets.
      Housing:
    • Guinea pigs are hasty little creatures and they require a spacious house for them to run and explore. The enclosure that you provide your cavies will be their home for the rest of their lives and will be the place for every activity they do.
    • You should allow 7.5 square feet of cage space for one guinea pig and10.5 for two. Remember the bigger the space; the better it is for them.
    • Guinea pigs prefer houses with large floor space to give them room to move around and exercise. High vertical spaces are not necessary since most guinea pigs do not climb out from their houses.
    • Guinea pigs are best suited indoors and keeping them inside is also a way of taming and training them to become familiar with its owners and their family. Once inside, avoid placing the house in places hit by direct sunlight.
    • Provide enough bedding to keep your guinea pigs warm. Bedding should be safe for your guinea pigs to eat, e.g. dust-free hay. Cedar and pine shavings should not be used as these can make your guinea pigs ill.
    • Remove soiled bedding, droppings and stale food from the cage daily. Clean the cage completely once a week by replacing dirty bedding and scrubbing the bottom of the cage with warm water. Be sure everything’s dry before adding fresh bedding.
    • For a food bowl, a heavy ceramic bowl is a good choice. Keep in mind that guinea pigs tend to drink a lot. To keep a good supply of clean water, use a water bottle with a steel spout and ball, rather than a water bowl.
  • Exercise and playtime:
    • Provide daily exercise to promote good health and good behavior.
    • You can set up a wire playpen in a safe area of your home (away from outlets and electrical cords) to give your Guinea Pig more exercise and stimulation.
    • Never leave your pet unsupervised outside of the cage.
    • Toys should be added for interest. Paper bags make good toys/hides, and crumpled paper, cardboard boxes, balls, wood blocks, hard plastic cat and rabbit toys, fleece tunnels, and hanging bird toys might also interest your guinea pigs. Just make sure there are no small parts that might come off or get chewed off and swallowed.
    • A nest box or hiding place is a necessity - an overturned plastic tub or pail is fine. Large diameter PVC pipes (with thick walls) make good tunnels and hides too.
    • Wheels and exercise balls are not recommended; many experts believe that guinea pig bodies are not designed for this kind of exercise and the risk of injury is too great.
  • Diet:
    • As a responsible guinea pig owner, you should only give them the appropriate food they can eat.
    • We want our pet guinea pigs to be as healthy as possible and the food they eat can become a very big factor.
    • Guinea pigs are grazing animals so they need something to graze on or their digestive tracts can shut down.
      • Here are some food lists you can give your guinea pig:
      • 1. Hay
        • Hay is a good source of fibre and it naturally helps the digestion of your pet cavy better. An adequate amount of hay is also needed because it can help your pet cavies to avoid urinary tract infections.
        • The alfalfa hay is best for younger and pregnant cavies because it is rich in calcium.
        • The timothy hay should be given to the older guinea pigs.
      • 2. Vegetables
        • Make sure the guinea pigs get fresh vegetables daily. Green leafy vegetables should make up about 20% of your guinea pigs' diet.
        • Guinea Pig servings should include plenty of vegetables high in vitamin C as guinea pigs are unable to produce their own vit. C.
        • Veggies you can give them are carrots, clover, spinach, tomatoes, lettuce, dandelion greens and many more.
        • Vegetables should be avoided include any vegetable in the cabbage family, iceberg lettuce, rocket salads, red leaves, broccoli, cauliflower, beet greens, potatoes, and radishes.
        • Each guinea pig will require about one serving of one cup per day. Dividing the veggie meal into two servings is a good idea since guinea pigs are grazing animals that prefer to eat throughout the day instead of one big meal.
      • 3. Pellets
        • There are pellets for guinea pigs that are being sold in the market. These pellets are rich in Vitamin C.
        • Alfalfa pellets are good for younger guinea pigs and timothy pellets are good for older one.
      • 4. Clean Water
        • Fresh, clean water should be available at all times. Use an inverted bottle with a drinking tube, and change the water daily.
  • Grooming:
    • Regular grooming is important for all animals, as it helps them feel good.
    • You, as a pet owner, acquire the responsibility of keeping your pet in good shape and healthy state.
  • Brushing:
    • Guinea pigs are very conscientious about grooming themselves, but brushing them on a regular basis will help keep their coat clean and remove any loose hairs.
    • Short-haired guinea pigs should be brushed at least once a week.
    • Long-haired guinea pigs should be brushed daily in order to prevent tangles and knots from forming.
  • Nail Trimming:
    • Guinea pigs require regular nail trimming.
    • It is a once a month job for all cavy owners
    • Never cut into the “quick” of the nails. If ever you happen to cut into it, you can use syptic powder or cornstarch to stop the bleeding.
    • If you are unsure about clipping the nails then it is a good idea to go to a veterinarian to have them clipped for the first time - the vet can clip them for you and show you what to do in person.
  • Bathing:
    • Wash your guinea pig once or twice a month.
    • Do not wash any more frequently than this as it can make guinea pigs fur greasy which isn't good for their sensitive skin
  • Veterinary and General Care:
    • Take your guinea pigs for a routine health check at your vets at least once each year.
    • If you think one of your guinea pigs is sick, don’t delay—seek medical attention immediately.
    • Always be on the lookout for even the slightest change as guinea pigs are extremely good at hiding any illness.
    • Common signs that something isn’t right include over-grooming, altered feeding or toileting habits, sneezing, coughing, diarrhea and lethargy.
    • Guinea pigs are also susceptible to external parasites such as mites and lice. If you think your pet is infested, head to the vet for treatment.
    • Make sure all guinea pigs are treated at the same time as some illnesses will spread from one guinea pig to its cage mates.
    • Your Guinea Pig’s teeth never stop growing so providing store-bought chew toys can help your Guinea Pig keep his teeth at a comfortable length.
    • Weigh your guinea pig weekly to ensure they are not losing weight, a common symptom of illness or dental problems.
  • Relationship and bond:
    • Guinea pigs make wonderful companions. These docile members of the rodent family rarely bite and are known for squeaking with delight when their favorite humans enter the room.
    • Be a responsible guinea pig owner and you will surely have a healthy, happy and enthusiastic fluffy companion.
    • Interact and bond with your guinea pig several times daily.
    • They are inherently social species and live in herds/groups in the wild. Frequent handling each day is essential to your guinea pig's happiness.
    • Talk to your guinea pig, cuddle it, carry it, and pet it as often as you can and set aside plenty of time to play with your guinea pig.
    • In some countries, it is illegal to buy single guinea pigs---rather, you have to buy them in pairs. Guinea pigs do very well having the companionship of another guinea pig.
    • Guinea pigs can express depression-like symptoms (loss of appetite, inactivity, etc.) if they aren't bonded with---thus, loneliness.
    • Certainly the more time you spend with them the better they feel, and the more enjoyable pet they become for you.