A Guide to Guinea Pigs

Filed Under: Pocket Pets, General Care, Guinea Pigs

Guinea pigs are wonderful pets, gentle and loving. They easily become quite accustomed to human handling, and love to be petted and held regularly. Some guineas will make a rumbling, chirping sound while they’re being petted, similar to a cat's purr.

Handling a guinea as soon as he comes into your home is important. Hold him firmly but gently with both hands, one cupping his rear and the other flat against his chest. Or you can hold the guinea against your chest, letting his underside be supported by you. This is also an excellent way to bond with your guinea, and may elicit those famed chirps.

The guinea is a complete herbivore—-they require fresh fruits, vegetables, grasses and seeds daily, and should have constant access to their food. Provide them with plenty of fresh water in a bottle. Guineas cannot produce Vitamin C on their own, so they require a daily supplement. This is easily done by giving your guinea fresh, peeled citrus fruits in pieces. There are also powdered Vitamin C supplements that can be added to your guinea’s water, but be warned that some pigs may refuse the supplemented water.

Make sure the cage you select for your pig has either a completely solid bottom surface, such as wood or plastic, or is at least partly non-wire. This will keep your guinea’s feet in good condition. Clean your guinea’s living quarters at least once a week, and do daily checkups while you’re feeding him. Keep him out of extreme temperatures and humid conditions. Your guinea’s nails will need to be trimmed at regular intervals.

Regular checkups are a must for guineas, because they are not typically demonstrative about their health. A biweekly home weigh-in will make it easy to keep track of your guinea’s basic health status. Any changes in weight or appetite should elicit an immediate visit to the vet. Many veterinarians have extensive experience with guinea pigs. Check with your local vet to make sure.

Topics: adoption

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