The stout, easy-to-pet funny rodents are becoming more and more popular day by day. Yes, I’m talking about the little furry creatures called Guinea Pigs or, to some people, Cavies. They are affectionate and children-friendly animals that hardly require significant caring.
However, you can’t just ignore the fact that your furry little pets need a lot of care. It’s essential for you to know the methods of maintaining their health and comfort.
This guinea pig care guide focuses on how to take care of guinea pig for beginners. Our experts have also emphasized on various methods of taking care of baby guinea pigs.
So, let’s get to know them in details.
Also Read: Rabbit Care
How You’ll Set Up?
Choose the proper shelter: If you’ve adopted a baby guinea pig, don’t forget that it’ll grow up soon to get quite bigger. There are many types of cages in the stores these days, but most of them aren’t quite large enough to harbor your pet. To avoid future hassles, you must look for one that has an area of a minimum of 7.5 sq. ft.
This might seem a bit larger for younger cavies, but it is the proper size for accommodating adults. If you’re planning on getting two, go for a cage with an area of minimum 10.5 sq. ft. (Special note: Never go for a male and a female, or you’ll surely get too many of them real soon. Guinea pigs get ready to mate as fast as they’re a month’s old.)
Put a tray for cages with a wired bottom: Your pet gets really uncomfortable when the cage you put it in has a bare wired bottom. To ensure its comfort, put a tray that’ll cover the whole bottom. This way, the cleaning process also gets easier allowing you to slide out easily.
Get supplies for the cage: Sure your pet needs suitable bedding, a water container, a dish for food, and of course, toys. Avoid purchasing cedar, or pine shavings, cavies find them toxic. The proper bedding for them is Timothy hay, which is also a part of their diet.
Put newspaper coverings: Before putting the thick bedding on the bottom of the cage, cover them with newspapers. Newspapers are great liquid absorbents, and they make the cleaning process easier.
Set free at least a room for your pet: Guinea pigs love to run and explore. So, having a room safe for them is essential where they’ll run, and stretch without issues.
- Get rid of chewable cables and wires.
- Make sure no other pet gets in that room. Some cavies get along nicely with cats, dogs, and birds, but many get easily frightened. So if you want your pet to be introduced with your other pets, don’t rush. At first, let them get around them slowly and carefully.
- Make sure you leave no room for escape. Always keep the doors closed so that your pet doesn’t get out.
- Select a room that you can clean easily to avoid future messes.
How You’ll Handle Your Guinea Pig?
Calmness is the key: Handle your pet when it’s calm, and so are you. At times, you may need to pick it up real quick, but what would be best is to go calmly and slowly, at least at early stages.
Support from underneath: Always pick up your pet supporting its body underneath. Put a hand below the chest, and gently wrap its body around with the fingers. Put another hand down its bottom to lift it straight up.
Be playful: Hold your pet secure and don’t let it hurt itself. Guinea pigs are playful animals that also love to socialize. So be playful with them, buy them toys and be engaged with them in fun activities. They love to run around with small size balls. So you could get some of them. You can also prepare tunnels for them with the help of paper tube wrappings.
How You’ll Clean Your Guinea Pig?
Brush them on a regular basis: It’s important to brush your tiny pets regularly, so you don’t need to bathe them quite a lot. They usually keep them clean themselves. You can wipe off their bristles with dry clothes and gently brush them twice a week. However, guinea pigs with longer hair need brushing on a daily basis.
Warm up before bathing them: When guinea pigs suffer from fungal skin, it may require bathing. Since it’s imperative that it never gets cold, you must warm up the room before you bathe it. Turn off the fans and air coolers.
Use specialized shampoo: Do not use your shampoo on your pet. Rather, consult a vet, and use the specialized shampoo he suggests. However, rabbit shampoos are usually safe for guinea pigs.
Use temperate water, dry it well: The water you’ll be using to wash your pet must not be too hot or too cold. Use temperate water to carefully rinse off the shampoo. Dry it nicely to make sure it doesn’t get back to its cage in a wet body.
Clip its nails: The nails of your little pet shouldn’t grow too long. Clip them off regularly and carefully with safety nail clippers. Make sure you do not cut into the inner blood vessels.
How to Take Care of a Baby Guinea Pig?
Before we discuss this section, let me tell you that 1-1.5 months is the ideal age before bringing in and raise a guinea pig. We strongly discourage to purchase any breed less than this age range.
Building trust: Most of the guinea pigs get frightened when they come to their new owner’s house. It’s up to you to ease the little one that you’ve separated from its mother or sibling.
Start with bribing them with food, toys, and treats. When you try to reach and grab your newly adopted cavy, it gets scared and makes screeching sound. So it’s not the best idea to scare them at first sight. Rather, it’s time for you to bring out the best of your treats.
Start treating your pet by putting a food item near its igloo you’ve bought along with its purchase. It’ll definitely come to snatch it and eat. After you’ve tried this a few times, try feeding it from your hands. Reiterate the process until it becomes easy to interact with you.
Maintaining a proper diet: After you’ve managed your guinea pig to become friendlier with you, it’s time to up the caring for your pet. It takes a bit more patience and affection to maintain a baby cavy than an adult one.
Baby guinea pigs require calcium more than that of adults. Make sure you provide them with adequate alfalfa pellets and alfalfa hay to meet their calcium demands. Also, provide them with adequate oranges, melons, and such fruits containing Vitamin-C.
Feed them two times a day and make sure you maintain the feeding cycle, which means always feeding them at a certain time.
Bedding supplies: Follow the bedding setup method we’ve mentioned earlier in this article. It is necessary to keep it properly clean all the time. And you must replace the bedding frequently, so your baby cavy doesn’t get exposed to various infections or diseases. We suggest changing the bedding at least twice a week.
Washing and grooming: It’s best for your baby guinea pig not to get bathed or groomed until it becomes adolescent. In fact, in most cases, it harms their sensitive skin. So once your pet grows up, try to follow the cleaning and grooming methods we’ve discussed above.
Pregnant Guinea Pig Care
Pregnancy is surely a critical issue for guinea pigs and should be dealt with proper veterinary consultancy. Do not delay taking your guinea pig to a vet whenever you detect its pregnancy.
Vets use different sophisticated ways to diagnose depending on the duration of your pet’s pregnancy. There are ultrasound tests for visualizing the womb. In the later stages of gestation, they could take x-rays and gently palpate the baby.
We strongly recommend not to handle these situations lightly. As soon as you learn about your guinea pigs pregnancy, waste no time taking it to a vet who specializes in exotic animal surgery.
Some Relent FAQ
Should I get worried if the bottom of my guinea pig always remains wet?
Yes. Smelly, wet bottom indicates it might have been exposed to a urinary infection or even diarrhea. In such cases, take it to a vet.
My guinea pig has become quiet all on a sudden. What should I do?
If this situation lasts for more than two days, it means your pet is sick and requires medical attention.
How long does it take a guinea pig to reach its sexual maturity?
As fast as 2-4 months.
Guinea pigs, with proper care, may live up to 7-8 years. So if you’ve just happened to adopt one, you surely have a number of good days ahead. If their health concerns you, always keep in touch with your vet. Have nice moments with your new furry little friend!