Guinea Pigs make great pets as they are extremely sociable animals. They come in all sorts of colours and types and can be housed together in same-sex couples or groups to discourage aggressive behaviour and fighting.
Guinea Pigs should ideally be kept in purpose built wire or plastic cages. Alternatively, a traditional rabbit hutch, provided it is spacious, secure and airy, is also suitable. Ideally the cage or hutch should be positioned in a location which has access to natural light and is sheltered from drafts and wind.
If the housing is outdoor, it needs to be secure to protect your guinea pig from potential attackers such as cats and foxes and also to prevent your pet from escaping.
To prevent damage to your guinea pigs toes and feet, a solid floor is preferable to one made of wire mesh. Wood shavings make suitable bedding material.
Your guinea pig should also have access to an outdoor run daily which will give them an opportunity to exercise and have access to fresh grass. The outdoor run should be mobile so that continued grazing on fresh grass remains available.
Guinea Pigs require grass or hay and fresh, leafy green vegetables should also be provided daily in order to give them a balanced diet
Shop-bought ‘complete’ food packets should also be given but this should only make up a small percentage of your guinea pig’s overall diet. Foods which are high in sugar including fruits are best avoided.
Clean, fresh water should be constantly available to your guinea pig and a vitamin C supplement is needed for Guinea Pigs as they cannot generate their own. Fresh green vegetables or 1/4 Vitamin C tablet dissolved in their water daily is enough to meet their requirements.
As mentioned above, Guinea Pigs are unable to produce their own Vitamin C and so it needs to be provided to them as part of their diet or else they will become deficient. Feeding fresh leafy green vegetables and small amounts of Vitamin C rich food such as kiwi fruit will address this issue.
Guinea Pigs that are fed an unsuitable diet, such as too much pellet food, are prone to developing dental problems or dental disease. In the wild environment, their teeth are worn down naturally through grazing on highly fibrous material which counteracts the fact that Guinea Pigs’ teeth continually grow.
So it is important that your Guinea Pig is permitted to graze daily on either grass or hay to prevent dental problems becoming an issue – and this type of fibrous food should make up the majority of your guinea pig’s diet.
Guinea Pigs are also vulnerable to internal and external parasites such as worms and mites. Please contact Moycullen Vet Clinic regarding ‘spot-on’ treatments which are available for both prevention and treatment of these infestations.
Should you require any further information on looking after pet guinea pigs, please contact any of our team at Moycullen Vet Clinic and we will be happy to provide you with advice.