If you want to read an article clearing all the queries about Guinea Pigs then definitely this is the right article for you.
If you are looking to buy a new pet for your child then certainly Guinea Pigs are the one of the best options. Guinea pigs (or Cavies) are small species of Rodent family. Despite their name they are neither Guinea nor Pig.
They are about 20-25 cm in Length and Weighing between 700g and 1,200g. Their lifespan is average about 4-5 years but may live long as Eight years.
They are fascinating, intelligent and if handled correctly are quite friendly.
They are viewed as an easy pet for the children but they require special attention & care than the child’s favorite stuffed toy.
These are the things all you need to know about guinea pig.
1. Make A Cage
Like Rabbit & other small domesticated mammals they require an Environment & are Sociable. They will be slightly shy in starting but they will be quite friendly after few days. The cage should be at least 18 inches wide, 14 inches high and 25 inches deep. As they are active pets allow as much as possible space them to move and run.
- The cage must have the solid bottom (not a wired one) to make sure guinea pigs fragile feet’s are not hurt.
- A lid is must if the cage is below 14 inches height.
- In case of multilevel cage the fall should not be greater than 6 inches because this fall will hurt its legs & feet. Elderly pigs should be kept in Flat cages.
- Provide the bedding of at least 5 inches made up of paper or aspen and change it twice a week and more often if it is a humid area. Do not use any toxic material for bedding as guinea pigs graze everything they can find.
- Cedar bedding causes respiratory problem so it should be avoided.
2. Stuffs Needed:
- Bedding: Provide the bedding of at least 5 inches made up of paper or aspen and change it twice a week and more if it’s a humid area.
- Hay House: The 3/4 part of hay house should be always filled because they are grazing animals. It should be within easy reach & cleaned daily to ensure their good health.
- Hide House: This will allow them to play themselves & keep them interesting.
- Bottles: The water dispenser should be a water bottle with a little ball in spout. The water bottle should be elevated because pigs can poop or pee in the bottle or food dish.
- Chew Toys: Since the front teeth’s of guinea pig are always growing so there should be some chew toys to wear their teeth constantly.
3. Location for Cage:
- Temperature: The average temperature of the cage should be kept between 18-25 degree Celsius.
- Other animals: It should be ensured that guinea pig should be safe from the reach of dogs and cats.
- Garage & Kitchen: Make sure that cage is far away from garage and kitchen because the fumes coming out of vehicle and kitchen can injure or even kill the pig.
- Far from Danger: The cage should be kept away from electrical circuits, fire, toxic things etc.
- Impact: Prevent the trip, push and knock of the cage.
They require careful handling as they are easily stressed. To pick them up you should use both the hands. Slowly place one hand under it’s chest just behind the front legs and other hand under its hindquarters, grab it firm but not too tight and pick it up & place it near your chest or lap so that he feels safe.
Guinea pig tries to clean them up by using their teeth, tongue and back claws, but it is advised to clean them up regularly. Its nails and hair should be cut in regular interval. Water bottle and food dish should also be cleaned up daily to avoid buildup of food, bacteria and algae.
Selection of right food is must if you want your pet to stay healthy and active. These pets generally prefer hay which generally covers all the nutrients it needed.
Vitamin C: One of the most important facts should be kept in mind that these pets are not able to generate vitamin C of their own so their diet should consists of adequate amount of vitamin.
Babies & Moms: Alfalfa hay should be feed to babies 6 month old/ pregnant/nursing sows because it has lot of extra nutrients in it which generally elder do not require.
Hay: Orchard grass, timothy and bluegrass hay should be feed to pigs, which are older than 6 months. There should always be stock so that they can graze all the day. One thing should be kept in mind that pointed or sharp food should not be feed to them as it can be pierced into their eyes and feather.
Malocclusion: Malocclusion which is misalignment of teeth can occur due to lack of hay, it requires surgical treatment.
Leaf: About 20% of diet guinea pigs diet should consist of green leafy vegetables.
Veggies: Some veggies like corn, kale, row broccoli, carrots, celery, cucumber, tomatoes, pod-peas, cucumber should be given in small amounts to maintain their vitamin and other requirements.
Fruit: Some fruits like apple and strawberries can be given to pigs in small chunks. But it should be limited as some acid in the fruit can harm the digestive system of the pigs.
Other Foods: Do not feed your pig other food because organic grass, pallets, hay and fresh veggies are all the food that they needed. Food other than these can lead to serious problem.
6. Exercise & Socialize your pet:
Since Guinea pigs are social animal so they should be given floor time each day. In this way they can be exercised and their physique can be maintained.
- Care should be taken that the floor area should not be near to electrical circuits, fire or any other threats.
- Make sure to put some toys and tunnels in the playing area.
- Make a healthy relation with your pet. Try to analyze the sounds and the behavior of your pets.
- Complete Supervision is required if pet is outside the cage.
- Try to interact as much as possible times with your pet, in this way neither it will feel alone nor you. In this way your stress will also be relieved to some extent.
If you are looking for a small pet which you may give to your children then guinea pig will be your best choice. These are small pets which require utmost care & attention. As we have seen earlier a slight lack in care of them can lead to risk of their lives. If you find any unhealthy condition of them then you should immediately consult to a vet doctor. These are the animals which give you immense pleasure and satisfaction if maintained and taken with utmost care.
We are human beings thus we have the Social responsibility to take care of every species in earth & try our best to conserve the beauty of Earth.
Go Green & Love Everyone!