Guinea pigs are rewarding family pets and it’s simple to keep them happy and healthy. In this post, our head nurse lists the most important things to consider when caring for a new (or more established) guinea pig.
If you have any concerns, or just want to check your pet is thriving, book a check-up with us at Rockingham Road Veterinary Surgery.
Socialisation and enrichment
- Ideally, get two guinea pigs to avoid loneliness – and, if two is enough, make sure they’re neutered, both male or both female.
- Guinea pigs are social creatures, so place their cage in a busy part of your house, like a hallway or lounge.
- Handle them frequently, so they’re confident about human contact.
- Don’t worry about spending lots on entertainment – guinea pigs love homemade toys, especially tubes and cardboard boxes.
- Guinea pigs fare best indoors. Even fur doesn’t protect them from getting cold and wet outside.
- A big cage means happier pets, as they’ll have plenty of room to explore and exercise.
- Keep the cage clean, clearing up droppings every day.
- Bed the cage with plenty of dust-free hay made from Timothy grass.
- Guinea pigs need a special diet supplemented with vitamin C. Muesli-style food and rabbit food are not suitable. You can order your pet food from us to ensure your pet has the right diet.
- Supply fresh water every day, in a bottle feeder.
- In summer, it’s fine for your guinea pigs to eat lawn grass (not cuttings) but make sure it doesn’t contain harmful chemicals.
- Now and again, treat them to dandelion leaves and herbs.
Health and wellbeing
- Use small animal nail clippers to trim their claws.
- Keep an eye on your pet’s weight, teeth, behaviour and general condition. Record any changes.
- Contact us immediately if you notice a sustained loss of appetite, rapid weight loss, diarrhoea, runny eyes, saliva running from the mouth, dry or flaky skin, bald patches or breathing problems.
Our team in Rockingham Road is always happy to offer advice – and we can arrange a full check-up if you want to ensure your guinea pig is in top condition.