Keeping your guinea pig and rabbit healthy
Although traditionally considered outdoor pets, rabbits and guinea pigs will often be happier and healthier kept as indoor pets with supervised outdoor access. Rabbits and guinea pigs prefer a large area to roam, places to hide and protection from the weather. Rabbits will also use a litter tray and should be provided with safe litter, such as recycled paper pellets. Rabbits and guinea pigs are herbivores and require a high fibre diet to remain healthy. Their intestinal tract is designed to digest low calorie, high fibre grasses and feeding energy rich foods often leads to serious problems, including diarrhoea and gut stasis. The teeth of rabbits and guinea pigs are constantly growing and they require abrasive food to keep them in normal alignment and prevent dental abnormalities. Guinea pigs cannot make their own Vitamin C and will develop signs of scurvy if they are not provided with a diet that includes enough Vitamin C. Vegetables with a high vitamin C content include parsley, spinach and capsicum. A formulated tablet for guinea pigs is also available and should be provided if they are growing, pregnant or unwell. Female rabbits and guinea pigs should be speyed when they are young. Desexing of female rabbits prevents cancer of the uterus and reduces the risk of mammary tumours. Female guinea pigs very commonly develop cystic ovaries and uterine tumours that can be prevented with desexing. Castration in male rabbits and guinea pigs eliminates the risk of testicular tumours. There are no vaccines currently available for guinea pigs. Rabbits require vaccination against Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease Virus, a fatal infection that has no cure. Young rabbits need to be immunised at 4, 8 and 12 weeks of age.
Housing and Feeding Your Guinea Pig
Dr. Kenneth Welle, an exotic pet veterinarian at the University of Illinois Veterinary Teaching Hospital in Urbana, has advice on housing and feeding your guinea pig. A guinea pig cage should have a solid floor covered in bedding rather than a wire-bottom cage, which can cause problems if the guinea pig catches its toes on the wire. If you use a cage with a wire floor, be sure to provide another surface where the guinea pig can relieve its feet. “Good bedding for guinea pigs will be absorbent, soft, and non-aromatic,” says Dr. Welle. Cleanliness is very important for good guinea pig health. Legume hays may be appropriate for growing guinea pigs or pregnant ones, but not for adult guinea pigs. Dr. Welle recommended limiting pellets by weight: 1 tablespoon pellets per pound of guinea pig. Young, growing guinea pigs can have unlimited access to pelleted guinea pig food. Dr. Welle says that salt licks are not necessary for guinea pigs unless they are somehow eating mineral-deficient hay. If you do want to get your guinea pig a salt lick, the colored salt-and-mineral ones are better than the plain white ones, which have no added minerals. Salt licks can also help with getting your guinea pig to drink more water, if that is a concern. Guinea pig digestive systems are designed for grass diets, which are high in fiber and low in carbohydrates. If your guinea pig has been on such a diet, switch to a plain pellet and hay diet gradually. So what can you give your guinea pig for a treat? Think dark, leafy green vegetables, such as collard greens, parsley, and dandelion. For a happy and healthy guinea pig, follow these tips and consult your own veterinarian with further questions.
Guinea Pig health Care Guide for Beginners
Guinea Pigs are cute, cuddly, and a carefree lot of furry rodents. A Guinea Pig is often touted as a child’s very first pet and humble encounter with domestic animals. Guinea pig care entails a long term association of up to five years or more on part of the human parent. Did you know that keeping one guinea pig instead of a pair is considered an unlawful offense in some countries? These furry critters are inherently herd animals and live in the natural world in groups of five or more of their kind. Always make sure you pair up the tiny female pet with another female or neutered male. A guinea pig house/cage needs to be at least 7.5square feet to 10.5 square feet. The tiny pet requires a good lot of space to reside in therefore a cage with specifications larger than usual with a flat solid base can be brought in. The owner can also set up a barricaded play area infused with tunnels and appropriate toys that will help in the much needed daily exercise for the pet. Make sure to spend time with your pet each day, cuddle & pat it gently & as frequently as you can, and without fail find time daily to chat and play with it. If your guinea pig is chewing up its cage’s bars then it is most likely stressed / frightened. Guinea pig food must include vegetables rich in vitamin C, although citrus fruits should be avoided. Carrots, cucumber, broccoli, celery, apple chunks, strawberries are healthy food choices for the pet. One full bowl of a healthy mix of vegetables must be split into a couple of small meals to be offered to the pet each day. Alfalfa hay best suited to guinea pigs upto six months of age. Timothy hay is a good choice once the pet crosses six months of age.