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Guinea Pig Care – The Basics

Guinea pigs are quite popular choices for pocket pets here in Poway, and it isn’t hard to see why. These adorable little rodents make excellent pets. Amiable and curious, Guinea pigs are fairly easy to care for, provided they have a suitable habitat.

Here are some basics on these endearing little furballs:

Housing

Making sure your guinea pig has enough room is key to your little pet’s happiness. A cage of at least 7.5 square feet is recommended for one guinea pig, but larger is better. Ramps and platforms are great, but they shouldn’t be used to make up for a too-small cage. Like all pets, guinea pigs are prone to becoming bored, unhappy, and sick if their conditions are poor. These tiny furballs can live up to seven years, and that’s quite a bit of time to spend in a tiny apartment! As for bedding, stay away from cedar and pine shavings, as the chemicals used to treat them can be quite harsh on a little guy. Use paper-based shavings instead. You’ll also want to be careful about where you place the cage; it should not be too close to heat or draft sources. Guinea pigs like to watch and interact with their people, so a family room is an excellent location.

Diet

Hay, preferably Timothy hay or meadow grass, should make up a large portion of your furball’s diet. This hay should be supplemented with pellets. Guinea pigs do require some variety in their diet, so one serving of veggies a day, and a bit of fruit, is also recommended. They do love sugary fruits, such as bananas, but their little digestive systems aren’t made for high sugar intake, so don’t spoil your pet with sweets. Never feed your guinea pig chocolate, cookies, yogurt, or any other type of processed foods. Last but not least, make sure your Guinea pig gets fresh water every day.

Play

Guinea pigs love to play. These little ones are quite inquisitive and friendly, and need lot of stimulation, so you’ll want to take time to play with him daily. You can even train your little buddy to walk on a leash! Guinea pigs should also have plenty of toys in their cages. In addition to Guinea pig toys, you may be surprised to find your guinea enjoys simple things such as boxes, hay-stuffed socks, toilet paper rolls, and even rocks. Plastic cat toys, crumpled paper balls, and tunnels can also keep your Guinea pig happy. Avoid exercise balls, as they can cause injuries.

Please contact your Poway vet with any questions about caring for your Guinea pig.

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