ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Guinea Pigs 101

Updated on October 22, 2012

So, you're thinking about adding a guinea pig to your family. Or maybe you've brought one home and are having the common anxieties of a new owner. Either way, you're on the hunt for credible information about how to care for them. And you're having a hard time sorting out the reputable sites from the hobbyists.

We're a guinea pig rescue that has taken in more than 950 guinea pigs in 8 years. We have pet guinea pigs of our own. We know guinea pigs. We know all the myths about guinea pigs -- and why they're just that...myths. We've nursed guinea pigs through allergies and cancer and everything in between -- and have seen and treated health conditions that most guinea pig owners will never see. We hang out in the leading online guinea pig communities with other rescuers, caregivers, veterinarians, and vet technicians. We also "speak guinea pig"...with 700 guinea pigs coming through your doors, you're bound to become fluent!

We've done the footwork, creating a list of the essential resources that can help make you a well-informed owner. And the "Stuff You Need" sections can help you pull together your regular shopping list of needed supplies for your guinea pigs.

The Adoption Option - Give A Lovable Critter A Second Chance At A Happy Home

Most people don't realize just how many guinea pigs there are out there who need to find homes. If you know where to look, you're almost guaranteed to find the age and breed you want through the "adoption option."

Please make adoption your first choice when you're looking to add guinea pigs to your home.

Guinea Pig Myths That Unnecessarily Impede Adoptions - Myths & Misconceptions We Wish Would Go Away

There's a lot of myths and misconceptions floating around about guinea pigs, in pet stores, on hobbyist Web sites or blogs launched by people who recently acquired their first pair of pigs, on user-contributed content sites like Helium and eHow, in question-and-answer forums like Yahoo! Answers, and even in books on guinea pig care!

Unfortunately, some of these myths have prevented guinea pigs from getting adopted to good homes and ruins matches that might otherwise have been successful. And it infuriates rescues.

Below are the myths that really need to die.

Essential Web Links For Guinea Pig Owners

While there's a lot of sites that we visit regularly, these links are essential resources for new or prospective guinea pig owners.

Do They Come With An Instruction Manual? - The Penultimate Primer On Piggies

No...actually, they don't come with a manual. But if ever there was a guide that came close to the task, it would be this one. This is the book that we at the rescue wish we could buy in bulk so that we could send a free copy home with every new adopter.

Proper Care of Guinea Pigs (Proper Care Of...Series)
Proper Care of Guinea Pigs (Proper Care Of...Series)
Peter Gurney is one of the world's best-known experts -- if not THE expert -- on all things guinea pig. His book should be in every home where there are guinea pigs. Human slave to a sizable colony of guinea pigs, he offers unique insights into guinea pig behavior and tips for guinea pig care that are not found in the many formulaic care guides on the market.

Critter Comforts: A Shopping List - Essential Items For A Good Guinea Pig Habitat

When you bring your new guinea pig(s) home -- or before you do -- these are the must-have items that you need to build a suitable habitat.

There's lots of options to choose from in every categories. If you want to make fast work of your shopping list, see our "Best of the Best" list below.

  • The cage. A single guinea pig needs a cage that provides at least 7.5 square feet of living space. A pair of guinea pigs needs at least 10.5 square feet. The cage must have a solid (not wire) bottom, and be constructed to allow ventilation from all sides. Aquariums and large plastic storage bins are not acceptable habitats. The best cages are C&C cages.
  • Bedding. Should be absorbent and good at helping to control odors. Wood pulp products, recycled paper bedding, and pine are all suitable. Never, ever use cedar bedding.
  • A shelter house. Guinea pigs need a shelter in their cage to accommodate their instincts to tunnel and hide. You can find grass huts, wooden lodges, plastic igloos, and plastic "waffle" houses. Plastic is easy to clean with hot water. Grass and wooden houses accommodate gnawing. Check out How To Spoil Your Guinea Pig for some options.
  • A water bottle. For one guinea pig, have at least an 8-oz. bottle; for two guinea pigs, have at least a 16-oz. bottle.
  • A food dish. Choose from plastic and ceramic dishes that sit on the bedding and bin feeders that hang from the side of the cage. Wide-bottomed, shallow, ceramic or plastic dishes provide easy access to the food, are difficult to tip over, and are easy to wash and dry.
  • A hay rack or basket. You want to keep hay off the bedding so that it doesn't get soiled. You can find racks, baskets, and balls. We avoid the hay racks with short spindles for holding salt licks -- when guinea pigs get to running in their cage, there's a good chance they could bump into these spindles and hurt themselves.

Finding The Right Vet - Specialty Is Everything When It Comes To Exotic Animals

Do your guinea pigs have a vet? One who understands them, their unique needs, and their delicate physiologies?

When you're caring for guinea pigs (or other exotics like rabbits, ferrets, chinchillas, birds, and so forth), you need a vet who specializes in exotics. Vets who only treat cats and dogs are among the first to agree with this assertion.

Take time to find a specialty vet BEFORE you're in a health crisis with your guinea pigs. Guinea pigs benefit from routine physical exams where a vet can check weight, teeth, heart rate, and so forth -- so these exams can be an excellent, low-stress way to find a vet and establish a relationship with him/her. Owners benefit from these exams because it gives them a baseline for things like weight, which will be useful to have in the event that their guinea pig does become ill.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)