Guinea Pig: Seizure and Tips for Purchase
Guinea pigs have excellent hearing, they recognize their owner and quickly establish a relationship with him. If their needs are taken into consideration, they prove to be cheerful housemates. Among each other, they are usually compatible, friction in the group is rare. One must not hold them alone under no circumstances, since they have a distinctive social-behavior. Guinea pigs are twilight-active, that is, they move especially in the morning and evening. All this sounds like guinea pigs are perfect pets for you? In the following sections you will find tips on what the lively rodents want and how you can fulfil them.
What is your responsibility?
Guinea pigs need a lot of care and attention. With the purchase you as the owner take responsibility for several years. Please be aware of this before buying. Guinea pigs live an average of six to eight years, in some cases even more than ten. Are you prepared to take care of them for such a long time? A guinea pig also makes financial demands. The running maintenance costs are comparatively low, but the initial equipment for a species-appropriate attitude is quite costly. And guinea pigs can also get sick. The expenditures for veterinary surgeon and medicines can add up fast, whereby that depends naturally on the kind of the illness. Also the factor money you should include thus into your considerations before the acquisition.
Guinea pigs dig and rave. The bedding flies through the apartment. Even with the most careful cleanliness a certain odour level develops. Do you get along well with it? Last but not least, guinea pigs are very curious and seek mental challenge. Can you keep the animals sufficiently busy and devote time to them?
Before the guinea pigs are accepted into the family circle, you must also clarify the following points: Is anyone in the household allergic to animal hair? Are there any other pets that are not compatible with the new pets? Who takes care of the animals in case of holiday or illness?
Setting Up The Guinea Pig Home
Did you know that guinea pigs originally came from South America? There the small rodents were domesticated as food animals thousands of years ago. They arrived in Europe with seafarers, which gave them their name and initiated their triumphal march as pets. Depending on breed and sex, the adult rodents have a body length of 25 to 35 centimeters and weigh 800 to 1400 grams. That's not much, but guinea pigs still need a lot of space because they want to run and jump. Accordingly, you need a large, varied and species-appropriately equipped cage, or better still: an enclosure.
The guinea pig home should have a minimum area of 0.5 square metres per animal accommodated, but should be at least 1.40 metres long. The cage should contain a wooden shelter for each animal with two sufficiently large exits, a ceramic water bowl that the animals cannot knock over, an outdoor drinker if necessary, and a hay rack. Fresh bedding in the cage is also important. Please make sure that no plastic material is accessible for the guinea pigs. As rodents they test everything for edibility and can seriously injure themselves when nibbling on plastic. Guinea pigs need at least four hours of supervised free running every day. In addition to the cage, you will also need a grating or a folding enclosure.
What Is There To Eat? Meal Plan For Guinea Pigs
The basic food consists of hay, which is important for digestion and must be available to the animals at all times. They also grind their constantly growing teeth while nibbling on the stalks. In addition there are grain mixtures which are specially adapted to their needs, as well as fresh fodder in the form of grass, herbs, dandelion and wild herbs. Leaves from apple, pear and hazelnut trees are also gratefully accepted. Please provide your guinea pigs with at least 10 percent of their body weight as fresh food, but get them used to it slowly, because in most pet shops they don't get anything fresh.
You Shouldn't Feed That To Your Guinea Pig.
Be careful what your guinea pig is not allowed to eat. So all stone fruits and exotic fruits are taboo. In general, only a little fruit should be fed as a treat. The less acid a fruit variety contains, the better, i.e. apples, strawberries and melons are okay in small quantities. Citrus fruits and kiwi, on the other hand, can cause severe skin irritation. In vegetables, legumes and onions, eggplants and cabbage are taboo. Carrots, celery and fennel, on the other hand, are suitable guinea pig foods. Be careful with all salads and leafy vegetables: due to the nitrate content, guinea pigs can only tolerate small quantities. Guinea pigs attach great importance to fresh food at any time of the day. It is best to plan four meals for the guinea pig. For breakfast you give him fresh hay, which is available all day, and distribute three more fresh feeds (grass, herbs, leaves) throughout the day.
How Much Work Do Guinea Pigs Do?
The most important thing is to clean out the urine every day. Once or twice a week there is a complete cleaning of the cage with a change of bedding and once a month a cleaning with hot water. Please do not use strong detergents. Guinea pigs who cannot wear their claws sufficiently occasionally need a manicure with special claw scissors, breeds with long fur sometimes need a new haircut. Especially for such actions or visits to the vet, where touching the animal is unavoidable, a good relationship of trust between man and animal is worth a lot. A calm, careful behaviour and "bribes" in the form of treats can work wonders here.
The Guinea Pigs Group
Guinea pigs live in nature in small groups of three to ten animals, which is the only way they feel comfortable. The individual keeping of guinea pigs is cruelty to animals, and also the keeping together with rabbits is anything but species-appropriate: The two animal species speak completely different languages. In order to do justice to the needs of the animals, hold therefore at least two, better several guinea pigs. Pay attention to the gender composition absolutely on that occasion: With a pure girl-gang or several females with a castrated buck bends forward to unwanted offspring. Many experienced guinea pig owners advise against a socialization of several bucks, since it often comes to precinct-fights here, even if the animals are castrated.
Does My Guinea Pig Want To Cuddle?
Contrary to popular belief, guinea pigs are not cuddly animals, even if they can become very tame by trusting their owner. The small rodents often fall victim to birds of prey or predators in nature. They are typical flight animals. It is therefore very stressful for guinea pigs to be picked up. They are only suitable to a very limited extent as pets for small children, who would like to have something to pet. Some guinea pigs like to be touched after some time, but this must happen voluntarily without taking the animal out of the enclosure.
Where Can I Get Guinea Pigs?
Guinea pigs are offered by pet shops and breeders. Also in animal shelters many of the small rodents wait for a loved one, who offers them a great new home.
Guinea pigs are sociable, diurnal animals. They can be kept in the apartment if their accommodation is spacious and they are allowed daily exercise. Pure free-range keeping is also possible and species-appropriate if the enclosure is large and adequately equipped. As sociable animals guinea pigs should be kept at least in pairs. Rabbits cannot replace a conspecific. Guinea pigs reach an age of six to eight years.
Guinea pigs are only conditionally suitable for children. Because differently than dog and cat they cannot defend themselves, if they are handled wrongly, but fall as defenceless booty animals into a kind of shock rigidity. Guinea pigs are not cuddly animals, but pure observation animals. Who accepts that, can have much joy at the animals.
Life expectancy approx
purchase price of at least two animals of 25 Euro each
enclosure, bowl, water bottle, cottage, toys, hay rack, bottle crate, additional outdoor enclosure (total 100 - 300 Euro)
fodder, hay, nails, straw, bedding, parasite treatment, claw cutting, checking teeth, replacement of accessories (total approx. 690 Euro)
veterinary visits in case of illness or injury, castration (20-200 Euro)