Ah, guinea pigs. The squeaking, fluffy additions that many of us have welcomed into our homes over the years. Perhaps you’re thinking about adding one to the family? Here’s everything you need to know about owning a guinea pig.
Creating their home
You can keep your guinea pig inside or outside, depending on your climate. Be sure that it’s large enough for them to move around and has a separate sleeping area that’s shut off from the cage. You also need to make sure that your guinea pig has access to a clean water bottle, something to chew on, and some tunnels and shelter to play and hide away.
Caring for their cage
Dust-free shavings, soft straw, and hay are great options for bedding. It’s important to clean your guinea pig’s cage out at least once a week by removing your pet and their toys, disposing of all their old bedding, and using a guinea pig-safe disinfectant. Replace all the bedding and clean any toys before putting everything back and returning your guinea pig to their home.
Feeding your guinea pig
Your new pet is a grazing animal, and guinea pig pellets and hay are great places to start. Guinea pigs can also have a selection of fresh food, including broccoli, apples, carrots, and kale. However, you should avoid feeding your pet avocado, tomato leaves, potato, and lettuce.
Adding a friend
Guinea pigs love to live in herds and often benefit from living with others. Be sure to make sure that your cage is large enough for both of them. It’s also usually best to make sure they are both male or female, so you don’t have any unexpected additions. You can also try to find a guinea pig with a matching personality to avoid any fighting.
Handling your guinea pig
It may take a few days for your guinea pig to settle into their new home. As soon as they are settled and recognize you and your smell, you should be ready to handle your pet. Try to pick them up when they are still. Gently slide one hand under your pet’s belly while using the other to support their legs before pulling them close to your chest.
Giving them exercise
Guinea pigs love to explore and stretch their legs. This is even more important if your pet is kept in a small area. You can do this by creating an indoor or outdoor pen for your guinea pig to explore. Just make sure you keep watch over them while they are out of their cage. You can also add a large exercise wheel into your guinea pig’s cage, so they have something to do while they are shut away.
There are so many reasons that guinea pigs make great additions to the family. They are great pets and are often full of character. Learning everything you need to know about owning a guinea pig should hopefully mean that your new addition fits in with ease and stays fighting fit and healthy.