Guinea Pigs As Pets – What You Should Know About Them

After months of insistent begging, you finally decided to relent and get your child a pet. Why not try a guinea pig? Guinea pigs span the gap between an easy to care for goldfish with a fleeting lifespan and a labor intensive dog with a long lifespan.

Guinea pigs typically live five to seven years, though some may live as long as nine years. While they enjoy floor time with their owners, they will spend most of their life in their cage. So while the cage requires weekly cleaning, there is no need for daily walks with empty plastic bag in hand. After a few months of acclimatization, guinea pigs typically enjoy cuddling with their owners and some are known to sit on their owner’s lap and purr contentedly for hours. Just remember that each guinea pig is different; some would rather scamper around on the floor and never adjust to long lap periods.

Guinea pigs are originally herd animals and therefore very social. If you are able to accommodate them, guinea pigs are happiest in groups of two or three. Generally it is best to get a group of females, though an entirely male group is alright as long as they are from the same litter. Just have an extra cage at hand in case they don’t get along. Also, remember to check and double check the sex of your guinea pigs before housing them together. Females become sexually mature after just four weeks.

Daily care of feeding of guinea pigs is not very arduous. They require a medium to large-sized cage with a solid bottom. Tub cages, which are solid on the bottom and have wired sides and a top, are the best. The cage should be filled with corn pellets, dried grass hay or hardwood shavings. Be careful, because wood shavings from treated wood can be harmful to your guinea pig. The cages should be cleaned about once a week and the bedding should be changed at that time.

Some people have found success training their guinea pigs to use a litter box, but it takes a lot of patience! Depending on the length of your guinea pig’s hair, cage cleaning time should also be bath time. The three most common breeds are Smooth-Coated, with a very short coat, Abyssinian, with a slightly longer coat full of curls and cowlicks, and Peruvian, with hair so long is flows to the ground. Peruvian guinea pigs should be brushed daily and washed and trimmed at least once a week to keep their hair free of droppings and bedding.

The diet of a guinea pig should consist mainly of commercially manufactured guinea pig pellets. These help them to meet their daily nutritional needs, as guinea pigs are not able to manufacture vitamin C on their own. Their diet should be supplemented with fresh fruit or vegetables, especially those high in vitamin C, such as kale, carrots, grapes, corn and peas. A small handful per guinea pig is more than enough. Guinea pigs also enjoy fresh grasses and some can munch contentedly in the backyard for as long as you’ll let them! Feeding time is in the morning and again at night. After your pet guinea pig [] gets to know his feeding schedule your arrival will more than likely be greeted with excited squeals.

All in all, a guinea pig makes a great pet for a family with limited space or time, but unlimited love.