Choosing a Guinea Pig as a Pet
Guinea pigs are fantastic little critters to have as pets. These intelligent little rodents are not only easy keepers, they are entertaining and fun to watch. However, choosing a guinea pig can be a bit challenging as each breed has very different personalities, grooming requirements, and feeding requirements. Before you run out to pick one up as a pet, make sure you understand their individual needs and what you’ll need before committing to any adorable guinea pig.
To begin with, you should consider adopting a guinea pig rather than purchasing one from a store. Most shelters have many of these little guys up for adoption. If you’re looking to adopt for a child, this is even more important as you will have the added advantage of teaching your son or daughter about the importance of saving a life. Humane education is an area where most children are seriously lacking, so it’s really up to the parent to teach their children about the responsibilities of pets and how to care for them.
Guinea pigs will require routine maintenance, which means cleaning their cages out at least once a day and grooming them regularly. How frequently they will need to be groomed depends largely on the length of their fur. Be sure you read the profiles of each type of guinea pig, which we have listed in our guinea pig section.
[heading style=”modern-1-light” color=”#339933″ style_color=”#06192e” align=”left”]Feeding Your Guinea Pig[/heading]
You will need to make sure your guinea pig have a supply of fresh hay every day. Generally, they do quite well on Timothy hay or an orchard (mixed) grass.
You’ll need to give your guinea pig ¼ cup per day of pellets. There are many different brands, but we like the Cavy Blend from Oxford.
Guinea pigs eat a varied diet of vegetables, “guinea pig pellets” and fruits. Of course, each species has different requirements and so you should know what type of guinea pig you’re adopting and how much they should eat each day. Generally, guinea pigs need three servings of vegetables a day (at least one should be a leafy green vegetable like lettuce). They love variety, so be sure you switch things up to make sure they receive the proper vitamins and minerals needed.
Fruit should only be served once or twice a week. Be sure you don’t give your guinea pig too much! They have a sweet tooth and will eat until they are sick. The guideline is 1-2 tablespoons of fruit per two lbs of body weight.[heading style=”modern-1-light” color=”#339933″ style_color=”#06192e” align=”left”]Housing Your Guinea Pigs[/heading]
Guinea pigs require a fairly large cage that allows them plenty of room to move around. This will need to be spot-cleaned daily and deep cleaned at least once a week.
Guinea pigs live an average of 5-7 years. This is a much longer longer than many other small pets such as hamsters, gerbils, mice, or rats (all of which live only a few years). Remember that caring for any pet is a commitment, so be sure you’re prepared to commit.
Guinea pigs are social animals, so it’s best to consider adopting them two at a time. They are intelligent and require a lot of interaction, which can be difficult even if you’re committed to spending a lot of time with them.
These are intelligent, social critters that can make a great addition to your family. Just prepare to do your homework and understand your pet’s requirements before committing to their care.
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