Guinea Pig Diet
Grass hay provides the fiber guinea pigs need for digestion and helps grind their constantly growing teeth. A diet containing a large amount of calcium can cause stones to form in a guinea pig. To reduce the likelihood of a stone forming, guinea pigs should be provided with unlimited mixed grass or timothy hay. Alfalfa hay may be provided in addition to mixed grass to pregnant or nursing guinea pigs, who need the extra calcium for the development of their pups, or to guinea pigs younger than 6 months, who need the extra calcium for development. Check with your exotic vet if you have a pregnant, nursing, or very young guinea pig on proper nutrition. Please make sure that you don’t have allergies that would interfere with providing grass hay and/or keeping the guinea pig before adopting. Guinea pigs should be given a pellet based food – about 1/8 cup per guinea pig per day (for pregnant, nursing, or guinea pigs 6 months or less, pellets should be available at all times even if this means feeding more than 1/8 cup per day). Guinea pigs 6 months or less need the extra calcium for development; guinea pigs over 6 months don’t. Guinea pigs unfortunately do not make their own vitamin C and rely on getting it from their diet. The pellets, vegetables, and fruits guinea pigs consume contain vitamin C. It is a good idea to provide guinea pigs with supplemental vitamin C, especially older guinea pigs who often don’t absorb nutrients as well and sick guinea pigs who need the vitamin C for recovery. They need to go right in the mouth so you need a cooperative guinea pig. The sweetener covers up the bitter taste of vitamin C. Without it, you likely wouldn’t get your guinea pigs to take liquid C. Administration of liquid C gets your guinea pigs used to taking liquids by oral syringe, which makes future administration of medicines easier.
Care of Guinea Pigs Introduction Guinea pig is the common name for a cavy. The guinea pig neither comes from Guinea, nor is it a pig. Guinea pigs make good pets for a variety of reasons. If you are planning to buy two or more guinea pigs so that they might keep each other company, remember that two adult males will not tolerate each other’s company and housing them together can lead to fighting, resource hoarding and eventually death for the submissive, weaker guinea pig. Remember, guinea pigs are quite precocious and can start breeding as young as 4-6 weeks of age unless you want lots of guinea pigs, it is best to get either the male or female or both guinea pigs neutered if you are housing a male and a female together. Bedding in guinea pig cages serves three purposes: it is the litter box, it serves as a substrate in which the guinea pig may nest and burrow, and it provides a soft surface on which to walk. Guinea pig pellets are also an important part of your guinea pig’s diet. Supplementing your guinea pig’s diet with fresh vegetables and fruits will help prevent boredom, as well as make sure that your guinea pig ‘s diet is optimum. Respiratory infections can quickly lead to pneumonia in a guinea pig and guinea pigs with these signs should be seen by a veterinarian. Never house Guinea pigs and rabbits in the same hutch, and limit dog/guinea pig interactions. Reproduction Most people who buy guinea pigs for pets aren’t buying them to breed guinea pigs unfortunately, sometimes the pet stores unknowingly sell pregnant females. Any person considering a guinea pig as a pet should spend some time around guinea pigs before adopting them.
How To Care for Guinea Pigs
You know what often happens next: The guinea pig is brought to your shelter, in need of special attention because his owners failed to give him proper care. Like rabbits, ferrets, and other small domesticated mammals, guinea pigs require an environment and treatment distinct from dogs and cats. Ideally, guinea pigs should be kept with other small mammals in a room away from cats and dogs. If your shelter lacks a separate space, you can house guinea pigs in the cat room, but set up your caging so they do not have to face cats. Even though their stay with you will be temporary, guinea pigs housed in larger cages are more likely to be active, and thus more likely to attract prospective adopters. Use plenty of lining materialshredded ink-free paper or commercial nesting materials available at pet-supply stores, for examplebecause guinea pigs will use the material as both bedding and bathroom. Guinea pigs are easily stressed, so they require careful handling. Guinea pigs try their best to keep clean, fastidiously grooming themselves with their front teeth, tongue, and back claws. Because their cage lining doubles as bedding and toilet, guinea pigs require daily housekeeping assistance. Guinea pigs are happiest when with other guinea pigs, so many pet care books urge owners to keep two or more together. Don’t cage multiple guinea pigs together at your facility until you’ve resolved issues such as disease transmission and compatibility and verified that the pigs are the same sex. One final note about placing guinea pigs: Many parents select a guinea pig as a first pet for their child, believing a small pet needs only a small amount of care.