Choosing guinea pigs as pets

Take me home!
Take me home!

Guinea pigs make great pets

Some people prefer small animals as pets where the responsibility is a little more relax. Having a pet can help a person relax quite a bit. There is a soothing feel to watching them play. Unlike having a dog where you need to walk them, you don't need to walk these piggies, but you can. Guinea pigs require a bit of attention, it's better to have them in pairs so they can have company. These critters are quite delicate as they are quick to be spooked if surprised, they'll freeze in place.

Most guinea pigs are quite friendly, occasionally they will nibble and bite. This is normal as they are nervous when it's the first time being handled. Handling a guinea pig correctly is very important as they are quite fragile. Lift them by scooping them up with one hand under their stomach and another on their butt for support. Holding them close to your body gives them some form of safety and they will usually stop squirming. Keep in mind, they are pets with less responsibilities and not one with no responsibilities.

As far as food is concern for guinea pigs, they need to have a good source of vitamin C in their diet. Their system is similar to ours, we cannot produce vitamin C on our own. By supplying a cup of fruits or vegetables daily will ensure they have the proper nutrients needed. Fruits like tomatoes, grapes, or watermelons have seeds that should be removed to prevent choking, though this seldom happens. A normal diet of quality pellets, hay, and water is sufficient enough to keep them healthy, but others may disagree. Being a new guinea pig owner you may want to research their diet and make notes.

There are few points that you may want to consider before getting a guinea pig

  • They require a fairly large cage. They like to play and popcorn around and a small cage will limit them to what they can do. Store bought cages are usually smaller and might not be able to accommodate guinea pigs as they grow, if they are not full size already. Ideal cages might need to be self build and there are plenty of resources for that.
  • They have an average life span between 5 to 7 years, but some will live longer. Once they become part of the family, it will be hard to let them go.
  • They can be very playful and sometimes at the wrong hours, during the night time they become very lively and loud. They have a loud chirping like sound and can get a bit annoying.
  • They will be quick to recognize a feeding routine or a sound for feeding such as voice commands or bells. If the sound is reproduced with no treats, they will continue to come to you until they are fed or until they realize otherwise, which can take quite some time.
  • Frequent cleaning to prevent any bacteria from their litter and maybe spoiled food which is rare, but it happens. Cleaning a self-build cage is quite easy. The corrugated plastic lined as a tray build for their bedding is easy to clean and work with.

Things to look for in a healthy guinea pig

How to choose a guinea pig? There is really no one way to choosing a piggie except letting your heart do the choosing. Of course you would want to choose one that is healthy, otherwise it will cause a lot of problems in maintaining your new pet. There is already enough work to do with a new pet, having one that is ill will only make things twice as hard. Make sure that the guinea pig is playful and cheerful before taking him or her home.

  • Guinea pigs should not be skittish when you handle them, normally they will quickly become calm in your arms.
  • Check for redness around the body to make sure there are no parasites or other illness. Look for discharges mainly around the ear, nose, eyes, and rear. This is usually due to an infection.
  • Make sure they are active and playful.
  • The fur is full, thick, and shiny.

Where to look first?

Guinea pigs make great pets and wonderful for stress relief. Rescue them from shelters if you are looking for one. Not all breeders are the same, I have come across breeders who treasure them and there are those who are just in it for the profit. Any help these little critters can get would be great and they will surely return your love for them. Have fun and good luck with your new pet!

© 2013 Dave Rogers

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