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Caring for Your Pet Guinea Pig

Cane Bay Summerville - Guinea PigGuinea pigs are small, lovable, gentle and playful pets. However, the tiny creatures can be a great deal of responsibility and require careful attention and care. If you have enough time to take care of these furry friends though, they’ll no doubt add joy and companionship to your life.

If you’re considering purchasing a guinea pig for either you or your child, consider some of these tips below about caring for your pet guinea pig.

Buy A Large Cage

Similar to hamsters, guinea pigs actually need large cages to live a healthy life. The Humane Society recommends purchasing a cage that is no smaller than 7.5 square feet, but they recommend an even larger cage, around 30” by 36”, if possible. This is because guinea pigs need exercise on a daily basis, and smaller cages restrict that possibility. A lack of exercise can lead to boredom, depression and other health conditions like heart disease and diabetes.

Don’t forget to clean the cage often, preferably once a week.

Bedding, Location and Temperature

Cedar and pine shavings should not be used as bedding for your new friend, as those materials contain chemicals that could be harmful for your pet. Rather, the Humane Society recommends using paper that is two to three inches deep.

Guinea pigs enjoy human interaction, so placing the cage in an area like the family room might not be a bad idea. However, the tiny creatures can also benefit from some calm and quiet, so finding a location that has a mixture of seclusion and activity throughout the day may be ideal.

You don’t want your guinea pig’s cage to be too hot or too cold, so avoid placing his home next to a heater, fireplace or a chilly, drafty window. Ideally, guinea pigs thrive in environments that are roughly 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the Humane Society.

Food And Water

Guinea pigs benefit from a variety of food in their diet. Predominantly, their main food source will be hay, but additives throughout the week like fruit and kale can be good supplements.

The Humane Society suggests incorporating roughly an 1/8 cup of commercial pellets into your pet’s diet daily. In addition, PetSmart recommends feeding fresh hay to your pet every day. Supplementing the hay with a salad mixture of kale, collard, greens, zucchini or shredded carrots every other day can also be beneficial. Try adding some raisins and alfalfa to your pet’s diet twice a week, and fruit, like papayas or bananas, once a week for variety. Keep in mind that fruit is high in sugar, so only a small slice of banana or a few blueberries will suffice as a serving.

Lastly, don’t forget to purchase a water bottle for your guinea pig’s cage. Your furry friend should be given fresh water daily, and the Humane Society recommends cleaning the water bottle once a week when you clean the cage.

They Like To Play

Don’t forget to have fun with your guinea pig and make lots of memories together. Fortunately, guinea pigs love to play and are very interactive with humans. One way to play with your pet is to buy a wire playpen to set up in a large area in your house, such as the family room, so your furry friend can run around and explore. For times that you’re away, adding toys within the cage is also an option. PetSmart even suggests purchasing a toy that can hide treats; this will keep him occupied and entertained for a while.

Veterinary Trips

Keep in mind that taking your guinea pig to the vet when you first get him for an initial check-up, and at least once a year after that, is recommended for optimal health.

We hope you learned a few quick tips about caring for your pet guinea pig. If you are deciding to purchase one, we wish you and your new companion all the best.

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