How To Care For Guinea Pigs?

What should I do with my guinea pigs?

Guinea pigs (also known as cavies) are rodent species native to South America's Andes. They are socially curious creatures who make excellent pets. Although they are usually seen as easy first pets for children, they take a great deal of attention, care, and time, as well as a well-researched approach to their care.

The information provided here is simply a high-level summary. It does not cover every element of guinea pig care, so we strongly suggest you seek further knowledge to maintain the health and well-being of the animals in your care.


Guinea pigs are very social animals that thrive when housed with other guinea pigs. If possible, have your guinea pigs desexed, but if not, retain just females or only males to avoid undesired breeding. Please read on for more information about guinea pig companionship requirements.


Guinea pigs are herbivores by nature, spending their time foraging and grazing in small herds. Because their teeth are constantly growing, kids require plenty of roughage to encourage chewing, which wears down their teeth and helps avoid significant dental problems.

To be happy and healthy, your guinea pig needs lots of the following basic components in their diet:

  • Maintain a continual supply of grass and/or grass hay (such as Timothy, Oaten, Barley, or grassy hay) for your guinea pigs. This should be dry, sweet-smelling, and free of mold, mildew, and fungus. Lucerne (alfalfa) and Clover hay should not be offered to Guinea pigs since they are heavy in protein and calcium. Giving your guinea pig the opportunity to graze on grass is also beneficial to their health. If they do not have access to locations where they can graze securely (for example, free-ranging in a secure enclosure), feeding cut grass is an option (though they should not be fed lawn trimmings, as these can cause gastric issues).
  • More information can be found in this article. Lucerne (alfalfa), like hay, should not be fed fresh, while clover should be avoided if possible and not given in huge numbers.
  • Fresh herbs and leafy green vegetables. Broccoli, cabbage, dark-leafed lettuce types, and parsley are other examples.
  • A dietary supply of Vitamin C since guinea pigs, like humans, cannot produce Vitamin C from other food items. This is normally provided by fresh leafy green vegetables, but it is safer to supplement with small amounts of Vitamin C-rich foods like citrus or kiwi fruit.
  • In small amounts, high-quality commercial 'Guinea Pig pellets (minimum 16% fiber content) may be fed, but they should not be the primary source of nutrition.
  • Always have access to clean, fresh water.
  • It's also vital to know what not to give a guinea pig, as there are many products that appear innocent but can cause serious health problems.


Guinea pigs should have the largest feasible enclosure, ideally with plenty of lined, covered room and lush grass hay for cushioning. Sawdust and wood shavings can irritate the lungs and should be avoided. Keep the hutch clean and dispose of any waste on a regular basis.

Wellbeing Grooming

Daily grooming is necessary for long-haired guinea pigs to keep their coat in good shape, and it is also beneficial for short-haired guinea pigs. Brush the coat gently in the same direction as the hair develops, removing dead hairs, tangles, and pieces of twigs, dry leaves, or burrs. Take advantage of grooming time to examine your guinea pigs' health and ensure they are clear of external parasites.

Fleas and mites, for example, induce itching and skin irritation. Check the length of your guinea pigs' toenails as well (ask your veterinarian to educate you on how to tell whether the nails need to be clipped). If the toenails are too long, have them clipped by a veterinarian or someone who is familiar with clipping guinea pig toenails (you can also ask your veterinarian to educate you on how to clip the nails safely).


Daily handling and grooming are essential for growing friendly and social guinea pigs and strengthening your guinea pigs confidence.

To make guinea pigs feel more at ease, handle them when they are young. Handle them with caution, security, and gentleness. Allow guinea pigs to retreat and hide if they so desire. Never remove them from a hiding location and force interaction or handling with them; they need to feel safe and secure in their hiding areas.

Enrichment and exercise

Guinea pigs require physical activity, mental stimulation, environmental enrichment (such as toys and tunnels), and the ability to display typical behaviors. Guinea pigs must be able to express regular behaviors such as social interaction with other guinea pigs, walking, running, tunneling, exploring, playing, stretching horizontally, withdrawing to a shelter and hiding, foraging, chewing, gnawing, and jumping.

Medical care

Guinea pigs can procreate as early as 4-8 weeks of age. To avoid undesired litters of guinea pigs, they must be desexed before they can breed, at roughly 3-4 months of age. Male and female guinea pigs should not be housed together before 3 weeks of age (males must be removed and weaned from their moms at 3 weeks of age). Desexing your guinea pigs will prevent not only undesired litter but also some health issues. Desexing, for example, will prevent ovarian cysts in females and can prevent or minimize the development of a condition known as 'boar butt' in guys (this is where the muscles surrounding their bottom expand).

This can result in fecal waste accumulating in their rectum, causing discomfort and health concerns).

Guinea pigs that are ill or injured must be treated by a veterinarian to alleviate any discomfort or distress. Guinea pigs are excellent at concealing illness and agony. Learn about your guinea pigs' behavior; odd behavior may indicate that anything is amiss. If your guinea pig is acting strangely, please call your veterinarian right once.

Guinea pigs should also receive regular veterinary check-ups to detect problems like overgrown teeth or parasites before they become serious health issues for your guinea pigs.

Making preparations in advance

It is critical to plan ahead of time to ensure your guinea pigs' safety in the event of an emergency or disaster, such as assembling an animal specific evacuation kit (e.g. travel cage, at least 2 weeks supply of feed and fresh water, bedding, and any animal specific medication that your animal requires). You should also consider what arrangements can be made to ensure the well-being of your guinea pigs if you are unable to care for them for any reason.

Legal responsibilities

People who own or are in charge of an animal have legal obligations that are in place to preserve the welfare of the animal.

There are no national laws governing animal welfare; nonetheless, all states and territories control animal welfare within their borders. This article contains information on the legislation in each state and territory.

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