There are many different types of guinea pig, with American, Abyssinian, and Peruvian breeds being the most common mostly because they’re quite easy to take care of and don’t pick when it comes to food.
With that being said, the below information will tell you how to set up for your guinea pig before you turn your home into a happy and healthy guinea pig roof.
How to set up for your guinea pig
Since guinea pigs are highly socialized animals, it’s best to have more than one guinea pig as your pets. This would certainly boost their social interaction, making your pets happier.
However, it’s not recommended to having too many guinea pigs in a single cage as they might fight each other. Not to mention that some can even be bullied by others.
You can keep a pair of guinea pigs with the same sex, or opposite gender in one enclosure, make sure they’re having the same sex or have been neutered.
Cage and living environment
Guinea pigs are curious creatures. They can be small, but they always wonder about the surrounding.
Don’t enclose them all day. Give them one or two hours playing outside to satisfy their needs.
Prepare a nice habitat
However, a hutch is still required to keep your pets under control and to protect them from larger predators like your dogs or cats.
Also, the cage should be spacious enough for a couple of guinea pigs to dwell freely. It should be at least two feet wide and three feet long.
But don’t worry yet, you can always build a coop on your own using accessible materials. Besides, you can make use of your old aquarium and turn it into a solid cage as ones for the hamsters.
Nonetheless, make sure the cage is weather-proof as guinea pigs can be quite sensitive when it comes to extreme conditions.
Moreover, your coop should equip separate sleeping areas as your guinea pigs need places where they can retreat and have peace. Avoid situations with direct sunlight, so your pets aren’t disturbed.
Wood shavings are also good alternatives, just make sure you avoid cedar wood since it has been proven to be toxic.
For the substrate, it’s best to use cat litters or children playing sands since they’re safe and effective in gathering drippings and urines.
Food and water
Being complete herbivores, guinea pigs require a fresh diet with an abundance of fruits and vegetables. That keeps their digestive system working.
You can also give your pet some quality, bagged, non-dusty hay as a constant supplement.
Pelleted food is also recommended as they consist of all the essential nutrients.
Letting your guinea pigs chew solid foods encourages their constantly-growing teeth to wear down.
Moreover, make sure you give your pet’s foods with lots of vitamin C since their body cannot produce this substance.
As your guinea pigs demand constant access to clean and fresh water, you need to replace their water bowl daily to avoid contamination.
Common health problems
Although guinea pigs are said to be robust against illness, they’re still subject to a few issues.
Many of these can avoid with proper care and suitable living condition.
For example, most respiratory infections are caused by using the wrong bedding materials, such as cedar wood. Other digestive-related diseases like diarrhea and scurvy involve an unhealthy diet.
However, if you see your pets having unusual symptoms that you’re not familiar with, it’s best to take them to a vet for professional consultants.
In additions, you also need to trim their hair once in a while to keep it under control.
Excessive hair can be quite uncomfortable for your pet, similar to having your nails untrimmed for a while. Moreover, long and dirty hairs can become an ideal habitat for fleas to spawn in.
You can trim your guinea nails by following this guide.
The vets recommend neutering your male guinea pigs. This can prevent health issues and increase the total lifespan of the animal.
Exercise and entertainment
As we’ve stated above, guinea pigs love gazing outside and running around. Make sure you give your pet enough playing time during the day.
Frequent running sessions would be the best exercise to maintain their health. Gazing under the sun would also help to eliminate fleas that are hiding under the coat.
If you don’t have time to go outside, allow your guinea pigs to run indoors with close supervision.
Just ensure all doors and windows are closed so your pet can’t escape.
Caring tips for your guinea pig
How to pick up your guinea pig
To increase the bond between you and your pets, it’s good to give your guinea pig some cuddles once in a while.
However, many don’t know how to accurately pick up their guinea pig, thus making them feel uncomfortable during the process.
With that being said, here is the guide of how to pick up your guinea pig:
Embrace from underneath. Don’t grab by the neck or the back because you can scare your pet away.
Carefully slide your palm below the buttock and use the other hand to lift their tiny feet.
Make sure you have your palm support all four legs so your mouse would feel safe. Slowly pick him up and start petting with your other hand.
Hold your little pig close to your body to make it feel more secure. This will also give you more handle of the situation.
For the one that hasn’t developed a trust in you, coax him to a small box and pick him up.
Give your pet a sense of what’s going on at a frequency until your guinea pig agrees to let him approach him anytime.
Moreover, if your hands are too small to support all legs, you can use both sides.
Don’t apply the force on pregnant pigs because it may harm the babies inside.
How to clean your guinea pig
Like any other domestic animals, your guinea pig needs frequent baths unless you want the stink to invade your room.
If you’re in need of a simple bathing guide, we are here to help.
You’ll first need:
- A small plastic tub or any sink in your house
- Mild shampoo for pet
- Clean towels
- Your everyday hair dryer
- An animal comb
Here is the process:
Layer the sink or plastic tub with a sheet to prevent slipping. This gives a secure feeling for the mouse.
Start filling the sink with lukewarm water until it reaches 2-3 inches. Gently place your guinea pig inside while remaining his calmness.
If your pet shows signs of discomfort, you can tickle him and praise him with a soft voice to acknowledge everything is fine.
Sometimes, the water temperature can be the reason makes him cry.
Use your finger to wet his fur. Make sure you avoid the eyes, ears, and nose. Keep doing this until your guinea pig is entirely soaked.
Don’t wholly submerge him because this is frightening.
Apply a certain amount of shampoo on your guinea pig depending on his size. Tenderly rub around his body thoroughly while spreading the shampoo.
Make sure you pay attention to the butt section as it could be quite dirty. But don’t rub too hard because the vulnerable area can get scratched.
Once you’re done, rinse the guinea pig with warm water to get rid of the soap.
Use clean towels to dry your guinea pig, do it with gentle rubbing movements. Don’t squeeze your pet even just a little bit.
You can use the hair dryer to dry your pet thoroughly. Combine it with the animal comb to make sure the hairs don’t become messy.
Remember to set the lowest speed while holding the machine in the distance. If the noise irritates your pig, move it away.
How to clean your guinea pig cage
Naturally, after an extended period, the rodent enclosure will eventually become dirty and stink.
This is how you clean it:
Remove your rats out and place them all inside a cardboard box.
Give them a layer of bedding as well as some food, water, and toys. Your pets might have to stay inside the box for a while until their cage is dried.
Dismantle the cage and throw away all the dirty old bedding and substrates. You should use a tightly sealed plastic bag to avoid the awful smell from affecting the room.
Use a clean towel to dry the cage or place it outside for air-drying. Direct sunlight certainly helps sterilize and get rid of the stubborn odor.
Once everything is dried, it’s time to reassemble you’re the enclosure.
Replace it with a new layer of substrate and bedding.
Place your guinea pigs back to their cage by putting the cardboard box inside and slowly coaxing them out. Give them time to get used to their newly refreshed environment.
How to tell if your guinea pig is healthy and happy?
All owners want to know if their guinea pigs are enjoying their life. However, it might be difficult for beginners to notice these positive signs.
Here are a few signals saying your guinea pig is having a good time with you:
It’s the most straightforward and most noticeable sign indicating that your guinea pig is healthy and happy. Guinea pigs love running around with their mates, especially when they see changes inside their cage.
Sketching and yawning after waking up
Scared and unsecured guinea pigs never run around immediately right after waking up. Only them trying to look for a way to escape.
But relaxed and happy guinea pigs, on the other hand, take time to sketch and even yawn before getting up because they have no concern about the surrounding.
Jumping with all four feet in the air
This is also known as “popcorning” and is considered a positive sign showing that your pet is happy and cheerful.
Moreover, having one guinea pig doing this also encourages others to follow.
One thing to keep in mind is that younger guinea pigs are usually more into “popcorning” than the older ones. But it doesn’t mean the elderly are any less happy.
Making gentle sounds
If you see your guinea pigs making soft and soothing sounds to each other, it’s probably them communicating with each other.
It’s a good sign showing that your pets have a harmony habitat to tolerate.
However, you need to distinguish this from the high-pitch squeaking sounds that they often made when they get nervous or terrified.
Greeting when you show up
If your guinea pigs approach and ask for a pick up when you show up at their coop, then congratulations.
They’ve considered you as their family member and are pleased with your presence. Make sure you give them lots of affection and care in return.
The end words
Having a guinea pig or a pack of them will alter your home to be more of a lively place. Tickling your pets before leaving to will make your day.
Therefore, don’t put any sorrow up on the mice. Instead, provide them with all they need and more of your heart. In return, you will have all the fun in the world is trusted. And that is a priceless reward.
Peruvian Guinea Pig is also best to adopt as pets, look at them once.
Thanks for reading and hope we have helped you with everything you need for your guinea pig. Have fun and look forward to our next post about this adorable species.