This comprehensive care guide will show you how to look after a Guinea Pig in 3 easy steps
How long will my Guinea Pig live? They can live 5-8 years
How big will it grow? 500-800g
What size of enclosure is recommended for my Guinea Pig? A hutch of at least 3ft in length
What does a Guinea Pig eat? Pellets, hay, fruit and vegetables
Guinea Pig Housing
While guinea pigs aren’t exactly active little creatures, they still need to be provided with a decent sized hutch where they can stretch out lazily for a snooze and have enough space for an igloo or two to hide in.
Your hutch can be indoor or outdoor, made of wood, metal or plastic, and should be at least 3 feet long for two or three piglets, and longer for more. Straw is the best bedding for wire-based hutches and wood shavings are good if the hutch has a solid base. The hutch needs to be sturdy in order to protect your guinea pig from dogs, cats and other potential predators. The more you handle your guinea pigs, the quicker they settle and the friendlier they become.
Guinea Pig Care
Your hutch should be cleaned out at least once a week, and more frequently if several guinea pigs are housed together. Remove all bedding, clean with hutch cleaner, scrub igloos and then replace with fresh bedding.
There are many ways you can enrich your guinea pigs life, most in the form of food or toys. Guinea pigs will love wooden toys, small cat balls with bells inside that they can throw around, timothy hay woven toys and treat sticks. You can also buy specially designed harnesses for guinea pigs to allow them the freedom to roam outside their hutch without the fear of losing them.
If you decide to bath your pigs, be sure to bathe them in a shampoo specially formulated for guinea pigs or small animals. Ears should be checked regularly and cleaned with a wet washer as necessary. Nails should be trimmed when needed, being sure not to cut the quick.
All breeds of guinea pig can be given a weekly brush if desired but long coated breeds need more regular attention to prevent knots and matting. While guinea pigs don’t require any vaccinations, they do need to be wormed every three months with a small animal wormer which can be added to their water. Parasites such as lice, mites and fleas are easily treated with a small animals parasite sprays.
Guinea Pig Feeding
As guinea pigs are grazing animals, they should always have access to a bowl of specially formulated pellets. This should be offered in a ceramic bowl so it is not easy to tip over.
Guinea pigs also need a handful of Western Timothy Hay and plenty of fruit and vegetables each day. Guinea pigs do not make or store their own Vitamin C so it is essential that it be given daily in the form of fruit and vegetables, as well as the constant access to a mineral stone.
Do not feed iceberg lettuce, celery stalks, rhubarb, potato, tomato leaves, avocado, or onions to your guinea pigs. They will happily eat carrot, apple (no seeds), orange, spinach, broccoli and corn but only need small amounts – too much fruit and vegetables can cause diarrhoea.
Throw away any uneaten food daily and never feed any spoiled or rotten food. Wood chews need to be provided as guinea pig teeth never stop growing and chewing on wood keeps their teeth trimmed and healthy. As guinea pigs need an element of salt in their diet, it is important to provide them with a salt lick stone. Fresh, clean water should be available at all times and is best offered in a water bottle as it is easy to refill and much more hygienic as your pigs can’t dirty it.
Guinea Pigs are extremely susceptible to heat stress. It is important to ensure that their hutch is not in direct sunlight and frozen water bottles should be provided in summer to allow your bunny to cool off. On days above 30°C it is a good idea to bring your guinea pigs inside to escape the heat.
We have created a Shopping list to show what you need to look after a Guinea Pig:
- Igloo hide
- Bedding substrate
- Hutch cleaner
- Worming syrup
- Lice & mite spray
- Nail scissors
- Oxbow pellets
- Western Timothy hay
- Food bowl
- Water bottle
- Wood chew
- Salt lick mineral stone
Common health issues in Guinea Pigs
Scurvy: A vitamin C deficiency that can interfere with the bodies ability to make collagen. This can lead to issues with blood clotting, skin and joints.
Mites: With an increase in stress or decrease in immunity, guinea pigs can experience a mite infestation, which can lead to excessive itching and irritation.
Is your Guinea Pig showing any of the signs of disease or illness? If yes, please contact your vet.
- Loss of appetite
- Hair loss
- Out of character behavior
At Kellyville Pets, we encourage responsible pet ownership.
CARE GUIDE © Copyright 2016 Kellyville Pets - All information found in this care guide is based upon our own experience. The information provided is not the only information available. In any medical situations, you should always consult your vet, including questions regarding your pet's diet.