Guinea pig care
Looking for a pet that’s gentle and loveable but doesn’t require the run of the house? Then you may want to consider a guinea pig. Guinea pigs are one of several small, domesticated mammal species commonly known as “Pocket pets.” While we’re not sure how they got their name, guinea pigs have been bred for more than 400 years. With good care, guinea pigs live up to 12 years, with about six or eight years being the average. Before welcoming Piggy into your home, it’s a good idea to read up on guinea pigs and their care. Your new guinea pig should be at least six weeks old before bringing him home. There are even hairless guinea pigs! If you choose a long-haired guinea pig, be prepared to help him groom himself by combing him once every two or three weeks. Guinea pigs rarely bite or scratch, but they can be messy-scattering food, water and bedding all over their cages. Guinea pigs are social animals and can live with others of their kind in the same cage, but be sure that enough space is provided for each animal. If you notice any signs of aggressiveness between guinea pigs living in the same cage, separate them at once. If the barbering becomes stressful or harmful to one or more of the guinea pigs you should provide them each with their own home. The lower three inches of the walls should be solid-this prevents bedding and food from being scattered outside, yet still allows the guinea pig to see what’s happening around him. No more than 10 percent of your guinea pig’s diet should be made up of foods other than the pellets. To keep your guinea pig as healthy as can be, take time every day to examine him for lumps, cuts, fleas, ticks or lice. When handling your guinea pig, be sure to pick him up carefully to avoid injury or discomfort.
Where Can I Buy a Healthy Guinea Pig?
When choosing a guinea pig, looking at a few simple things can help ensure that your new pet is a healthy one. Here’s How:Look at the overall body condition – a guinea pig should be neither fat nor skinny, with no swellings or lumps and bumps. Guinea pigs should be bright and curious in attitude and never lethargic. The guinea pig’s coat should be well groomed, with no bare patches. Avoid guinea pigs with bald patches or red patches of skin. Check the fur around the eyes and nose for signs of wetness, staining, or crusts. Observe the guinea pig’s breathing, which should be quiet and not labored, with no wheezing, clicking, or gurgling noises. Guinea pigs kept under good conditions will be less stressed and have less exposure to disease. Observe how the guinea pig reacts to people – many might be skittish at first but ideally, try to pick a guinea pig that is relatively calm about being approached and okay with being handled. Always make sure the guinea pig is active and alert, though – a lethargic guinea pig may seem really agreeable just due to the lethargy! Tips:Try to find out the age of your guinea pig, and adopt one that is as young as possible. If any of the guinea pigs in the same cage seem ill, resist the temptation to adopt from there. Familiarize yourself with the differences between males and females, and if the source doesn’t separate them or seems unsure about the gender of the guinea pigs, move on. It is best to avoid the possibility of surprise litters, especially in very young guinea pigs. Try a shelter first – there are many guinea pigs who need a second chance at a forever home. If you go to a store, make sure you can handle the guinea pig before you buy, to do a quick health check and assess its temperament.
Caring for Your Pet Guinea Pig Caging and Bedding Guinea pig cages should have a flat bottom to prevent foot injuries and should be large enough for the guinea pig to run around in any direction. About 10% of your guinea pig’s diet should consist of leafy greens. Guinea pigs, like humans, cannot synthesize their own Vitamin C and must get it from their diet. If your guinea pig is overweight, your veterinarian may recommend discontinuing pellets altogether. Many guinea pigs enjoy grass huts and tunnels available in pet stores and on the internet. Veterinary Care Young guinea pigs should have yearly veterinary exams to evaluate their overall health and well-being. Older guinea pigs or those with known health problems may need to be seen more frequently. Dystocia is very common in guinea pigs, so we don’t recommend that inexperienced owners breed their guinea pigs. Your veterinarian should always evaluate your guinea pig’s dental health at your visit. Guinea pigs can carry ringworm, which is contagious to people, so have your guinea pig evaluated by a veterinarian if you notice areas of hair loss. Guinea pigs are very good at hiding signs of illness until they are very sick, so please contact your veterinarian right away if you have any indication that your guinea pig may be sick. Guinea Pig Diet Guinea pigs are herbivores, meaning they eat only plant material. Guinea pigs require a dietary source of vitamin C to avoid serious health problems. Our recommendations for a balanced guinea pig diet are: 80% hay: A variety of grass hays should be offered to your guinea pig and hay should always be available. Alfalfa hay contains too much calcium and protein for an adult animal and should only be fed to young guinea pigs (..