Are you planning to adopt a guinea pig but don’t know where to start? Worry not as there are many ways to help you be a good parent to these adorable fluffy balls of fur. But you’ll have to know first what makes them happy and healthy. As cute as they may seem, taking care of guinea pigs could be challenging, especially if you have little knowledge about them.
As a guinea pig owner, you’ll have to consider their nutrition, welfare, and happiness. You can browse through reliable online sources or seek professional help from animal care services to ensure your pet’s health and happiness.
Reading this article may also help enrich your knowledge about this matter.
Must-Know Facts About Guinea Pigs
Many people like to adopt guinea pigs for numerous reasons. Aside from being extremely cute and cuddly, these fluffy animals are also easy to maintain. One only has to be prepared to have pets.
Whether you’re a first-time owner of guinea pigs or an expert, you’d effectively get through this challenging role by reading some facts about them listed below.
- Guinea pigs came from a particular species of rodents widely known as Cavia porcellus. These fluffy fur animals have robust bodies with short limbs, short ears, large eyes, and heads.
- Guinea pigs are tailless animals and could grow up to be about three pounds and have a rectangular body shape. Like humans, they’re active during the day and sleep at night.
- In terms of behavior and personality, cavies are socially active creatures and are known for being herd animals. They easily get attached to human owners and may require constant interaction with them and other animals to keep them healthy and fit.
- Guinea pigs specifically thrive on having a companion, so you might consider adopting an additional cavy.
- In spite of many similarities, guinea pigs have different breeds with distinct characteristics, including American, Peruvian, and Abyssinian.
- As guinea pigs are considered herbivores, they mainly eat hay, fruit, vegetables, and supplements like pellets.
Guinea Pigs’ Behavior
Like any other pet animal, guinea pigs have their quirks and personalities that make them unique. For instance, these cute furry animals tend to be highly energetic, chatty, and curious about their surroundings.
To help you more, listed below are some essential things you need to know about guinea pigs’ behavior and personality.
- One of the most common behaviors of guinea pigs is creating a joyful sound that’s considerably similar to a boat’s engine. Your cavy may create this sound when feeling contented, curious, or exploring outdoors.
- Guinea pigs tend to purr when being petted, a sign that they like it.
- Like other pets, guinea pigs may also react to frightening things by releasing a scream.
- When in distress or pain, your cavy might squeal to attract attention.
- Guinea pigs often rumblestrut to intimidate rivals or attract potential mates.
- Guinea pigs may skip, leap, and shake their bodies when happy or contented.
Upon adopting one, a guinea pig would need constant affection, a well-rounded diet, and a warm, cozy place to maintain health in good condition. Not just that, but it’ll also require entertainment like giving it toys and talking to it to bolster physical and mental health.
To better help you care for your cavy, listed below are some simple yet efficient ways you’ll need to learn.
- Choose A Quiet Place
One of the essential aspects you need to consider is shelter. In spite of being highly energetic and curious, these little creatures would need a quiet, cozy environment. Hence, it’s best to select a nice, quiet area before setting up their cage. It’d help ensure that your pet wouldn’t get bombarded by noise and other external distractions that’d affect their mental state.
When choosing a place, you might want to consider some vital aspects, including the following:
– the safety of the area from potential harm
– free from chemicals, humidity, and rain
– adequate temperature
– sufficient lighting
- Create A Cozy Cage
After choosing a place, the next thing you need to prioritize is the cage. Unlike other rodents, guinea pigs require spacious enclosures. Ideally, the cell would have a minimum area of 7.5 sq. feet for a single cavy or a minimum 10.5 sq. feet for a couple of them.
As guinea pigs often require a companion, you might want to consider the latter size for the cage. You’ll have to ensure the design allows enough space for them to roam around and play. It would also help to consider their comfort when making the cage.
- Keep The Cage Clean
After setting up the cage, you might think it’s the end of your job as a new guinea pig owner. But that’s just the start of it. You’ll have to ensure its cleanliness to keep your cavy healthy.
Typically, a standard cage gets dirty within an hour, with debris, pellets, hay, and poop crowding the space. So, you’ll have to clean it once a day to maintain cleanliness. A fleece liner could help ease up your cleaning, aside from being a cheaper alternative.
Using a fleece liner, you can quickly sweep up pellets and poop. Plus, it absorbs urine, which makes cleaning up more straightforward.
- Mind Their Nutrition
When taking care of guinea pigs, you’ll need to consider their cage and nutritional intake. Your cavy’s nutrition and eating patterns are crucial in promoting their health, so it’s essential to factor in these aspects.
Like other types of pets, guinea pigs require a healthy and well-rounded diet to keep them healthy. By keeping these piggies healthy, you’d also make them happy. You’ll have to choose food that’s good for their digestive tracts as they have sensitive ones. If you’re wondering if can guinea pigs eat cilantro and other fruit and veggies, of course, they could.
Some of the best food for guinea pigs may include pears, oranges, watermelon, grapes, bananas, cranberries, strawberries, and blueberries. You can also add veggies to their diet, including bell peppers, carrots, cucumber, corn kernels, broccoli flowers, kale, and parsley. Lastly, you’ll have to provide clean water and Timothy hay to your cavy.
- Provide Proper Stimulation
As mentioned earlier, guinea pigs are friendly creatures that thrive on interaction and stimulation to achieve a longer lifespan. These fluffy animals also tend to get bored quickly, especially when in their cage.
Hence, you can consider incorporating simple activities in your cavy’s daily routine to keep it fit. You can have personalized tubes, balls, and tunnels in the cage. These tunnels would also make excellent places for guinea pigs to hide and sleep. Or you can set up simple obstacle courses in their cell to challenge their mental and physical capabilities.
- Give Attention
Your guinea pig might require constant attention and affection to stay happy as it’s highly sociable. It’s not enough to only provide food and shelter for your cavy. Instead, it’ll need human affection from time to time, be it stroking or petting. You can consider allotting some of your free time to bond with them.
It’d also help to prepare simple activities and games to play with your furry pet to keep it preoccupied. For instance, instead of directly giving food, you could hide the nibbles in certain spots in the cage for it to find and enjoy.
Checking your cavy’s condition habitually could also help you ensure it’s healthy and disease-free.
- Take It Outdoors
Your guinea pig would also need time to explore the outdoors and interact with other animals. Hence, it’d help to take them out whenever the weather permits and when you have extra time. As guinea pigs love outdoor spaces, it’d make them happy to explore their surroundings.
- Set Regular Checkups
Without proper care and attention, your piggies might contract diseases that’d affect their well-being. Hence, taking them for regular checkups could help you monitor your cavy’s health.
In some cases, cavies could experience depression and agitation when in distress or under constant abuse. This can happen when their enclosures are too small or when there are sudden changes in temperature. Or they might exhibit strange behaviors like excessive drinking or making too much noise, indicating a health condition or that something is hurting them. Therefore, it’d help to take your pet to a veterinarian to get it checked.
If you’ve noticed certain red flags in your pet’s behavior, a visit to the veterinarian could help. For instance, if your guinea pig stops grooming or begins to hurt itself, get it some medical attention.
Guinea pigs are unique pets that require special care and attention. If you’re thinking of adopting one but don’t know what to do, you can consider seeking help from reliable service providers or hiring animal care services. You can also consider some of the earlier tips to keep your cavy happy and healthy.
You can efficiently monitor your cavy’s condition and ensure that it’s healthy by following some of the tips listed above. Of course, you want your guinea pig to have a long, happy life.