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How To Take Care Of A Guinea Pig

Updated on February 11, 2013
Guinea Pig
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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    • LisaMarie724 profile image

      Lisa Stover 5 years ago from Pittsburgh PA

      Your welcome, they are the best pets. I couldn't get enough of mine, I miss them so much. In the future I will be getting more.

    • iguidenetwork profile image

      iguidenetwork 5 years ago from Austin, TX

      I had a couple of guinea pigs once, and they were just sitting at a corner of the sofa, just quiet, and not very sociable, I guess they were just mild-mannered creatures and great to be with. Together they bred very fast. I had to keep one of their offspring, and I gave away the others to neighbors and sold a few of them to those who are interested.

      We fed them pellets, fruits and vegetables. I didn't think chocolate was a good food for them, and we would always replace their water from their bottle. We loved our pigs.

      I miss having a guinea pig... thanks for posting.

    • LisaMarie724 profile image

      Lisa Stover 5 years ago from Pittsburgh PA

      Your welcome, I just love them too. I recently had to give mine to a friend. With a new baby I just couldn't let them run around and give them they attention they deserve. I miss them so much.

    • LauraD093 profile image

      Laura Tykarski 5 years ago from Pittsburgh PA

      I had one as a child named Blackie-loved that G.Pig. I overfed him at first and the small aquarium I had him in cracked when he stood once to receive one of multiple treats I would give me. My mother found out and was appalled so off to the pet store we went for a larger home and a book on proper care. I would love to get another one but with two Jack Russell Terriers in residence I can't. (they aren't good with small pets or cats sigh...) This brought back some great memories thanks.

    • LisaMarie724 profile image

      Lisa Stover 5 years ago from Pittsburgh PA

      Congrats to you! Over time you will love them more and more, and want more and more lol. Enjoy your new piggy.

    • profile image

      Bbbbbbbb 5 years ago

      I just got one and I am in LOVE

    • LisaMarie724 profile image

      Lisa Stover 5 years ago from Pittsburgh PA

      I hope you do Kassidy, you will fall in love!

    • profile image

      kassidy 5 years ago

      I thank they are cute. I might get one.

    • profile image

      morgan 5 years ago

      love geaniea pigs

    • LisaMarie724 profile image

      Lisa Stover 5 years ago from Pittsburgh PA

      Thanks alocsin :) They are cleaner than dogs and cats too I feel. I am def. in love with my Guinea pigs, they are so cute :)

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 5 years ago from Orange County, CA

      I think these animals are cute and require much less fuss than a cat or dog. Voting this Up and Interesting.

    • LisaMarie724 profile image

      Lisa Stover 5 years ago from Pittsburgh PA

      Thanks Sherry, hope this article can help you out.

    • profile image

      Sherry 5 years ago

      Very informative. It was well written.