How To Take Care Of A Guinea Pig
Taking Care Of Your Guinea Pig
Guinea pigs make great family pets. They are extremely social creatures who enjoy spending time with their pet parents. Although at first shy, they bond with their owners and can become depressed if they don’t receive enough attention from you. Guinea pigs have a very gentle nature and rarely bite, which makes them wonderful for the family.
No two Guinea pigs are the same, just like people, Guineas’ have their own personalities. Some are rambunctious and like to play, while others are happy cuddling up to you. Since Guinea pigs are very social, you should really think about getting two pigs. However, be sure that the Guinea pigs are of the same sex, male and female pigs should never be housed together.
A Guinea pig’s life span is generally 5-7 years, but they can live up to ten years. They are pretty healthy animals, and as long as they are eating, drinking, and playing, there should be no problems. If you do notice anything unusual or notice them itching a lot, take them to a vet immediately. Once a pig does become ill they do not last too long, so quickness is the key here.
Ok, now that you have some background information on Guinea pigs let’s talk about their care.
Buying A Guinea Pig
I would recommend going to a pet store, such as Petsmart, or rescuing a pig from your local shelter. I wouldn’t buy one from a post you have seen on Craigslist or a newspaper ad because you can’t be sure that you are purchasing a healthy pig.
The first few weeks will be stressful for your new pig; they are often shy and scared until they get used to their new home. Allow them to have a few days alone in their cage before you attempt to handle or play with them.
Guinea Pig Essentials
The first thing you will need to buy is a home for your piggy. Buy the biggest cage that you can , many cages marketed for Guinea pigs are too small for them to run around and play in. You will need the normal items such as a water bottle, feeding bowl, and bedding for the cage. When picking out your pig’s food pellets make sure that they contain Vitamin C, this is something that your pig’s body cannot produce on his own. You will also need to purchase a bag of Timothy Hay; a pig needs a large amount of this hay daily to aid in their digestion.
Feeding Your Guinea Pig
Other than their pellets and Timothy hay, Guinea pigs love fresh fruits and vegetables. Veggies that your piggy will love include lettuce, carrots, spinach, parsley, peas, and cucumbers. Fruits that your pig will love and that are good for them include, apples, oranges, strawberries, pears, and bananas. Guinea pigs are strict vegetarians so never offer them meat. After four hours remove any uneaten fruits and vegetables from your pig’s cage or the food will become rotten. Other types of food can be harmful to your Guinea pig so please do not feed them foods that you are unsure about.
Make Your Guinea Pig Comfortable
A Guinea pig’s hearing is very sensitive so you do not want to place their cage next to your television or stereo. Guinea pigs can’t sweat so it’s important to make sure they don’t get too hot, make sure you don’t place your pig’s cage next to a heating vent or fireplace. On the other side of the coin, you don’t want your pig’s cage placed anywhere too cold; the ideal temperature for your pig is 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit. The best place to put a pig’s cage would be in the living room where you can keep an eye on them, and where they can see the family.
Be sure to clean out your Guinea pig’s cage at least once a week, and try spot cleaning every other day. This will keep your pig’s home clean and smelling fresh.
Pampering Your Pig
A Guinea pig needs his nails clipped every now and then. You can do this yourself at home, or you can take him to a groomer.
Buy a small soft brush and aim to brush your pig’s hair a few days a week to keep it clean and healthy.
Guinea pigs are very good about keeping themselves clean so you will never need to give them a bath, unless they get into something messy. I’d recommend bathing them in the sink; It’s much easier than the bathtub. You can use shampoo made for them or use baby shampoo, either one is fine. Use warm water, lather your pig up, and rinse. Be careful not to get water or shampoo into their ears or eyes. When the bath is over, dry your pig off with a towel as best as you can. You can also use a hair dryer on a very low setting to finish drying him/her off, just be sure not to burn your pig.
Guinea pigs need time to play outside of their cages, every day. As pet parents’ you will enjoy watching your little pigs run and jump around. Make sure you are letting your pig play in a safe area where they can’t chew on cords or wires. After play-time is finished, cuddle up with your pig and show them some love.
I have two male Guinea pigs, and I recommend these pets to anyone. They are the sweetest animals I have ever owned, and I enjoy the time I spend with them immensely.
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