A guinea pig is a popular pet to have, tame enough for children, and perfect as a small, furry companion. If anyone has a pet that is not a cat or a dog, it’s likely a guinea pig (also known as a cavy.) They do not require too much maintenance but do take some measures for health and good cheer. If you are looking to bring a new guinea pig into your home, it is best to follow some guidelines.
Preparing for Your Guinea Pig
Preparation begins with having a closed room where your new guinea pig can roam. Have a safe place with an easy-to-clean floor for your pet to adjust to the setting, feel safe, and stretch its legs outside the cage. Guinea pigs are tropical creatures and do well at room temperature between 65 and 79 degrees. Have a spot for the cage with indirect sunlight.
As for the cage, an adult cavy will need at least a 7.5 sq. ft. wire cage with a tray over the wire bottom that someone can easily pull out to clean. Timothy hay and kiln-dried pine shavings are two good options for bedding material.
Feeding Your Guinea Pig
Because a guinea pig’s teeth never stop growing, they constantly need a fresh supply of Timothy hay. As for nutrition, cavies do well with around a quarter cup of commercial guinea pig food per day. The Animal Humane Society recommends a supplement of vitamin C mixed into its food daily. Along with this, guinea pigs benefit from a healthy helping of fresh greens or fruit per day. Spinach, bell peppers, parsley, romaine lettuce, carrots, potatoes, apples, and pears are safe options. Have fresh water available at all times through a water bottle, and clean the bottle daily.
Short-haired guinea pigs generally keep themselves pretty clean, but regular brushing will help prevent them needing frequent baths. They also will need regular nail trimming. When bathing, don’t forget to gently clean the ears as well.
Cavies are social animals and there to be your companion or explore on their own. Daily attention will make them (and likely you) happy. If no one is in the house for most of the day, consider getting two guinea pigs of the same gender. To pick up your guinea pig, wrap one hand around it from the front and support the bottom with the other hand. Supervise your cavy when it meets other animals.
Milky discharge around the eyes and nose are normal for guinea pigs, but other secretions are not. If your cavy is lethargic or anti-social, bring it to a vet if the mood persists past a day. If your pet is not excreting any hard pellets or if its bottom smells, it may have a gastrointestinal issue or urinary tract infection that a vet can address.
Trust the Care of Your Pet to the Professionals at Everhart Veterinary Medicine!
At Everhart Veterinary Medicine, our veterinary professionals strive to provide your pet with the very best of veterinary care. We believe that the best care for your pet should be provided by experienced, compassionate, and knowledgeable veterinary professionals. With two Maryland locations in both Baltimore and Pasadena, we are always ready to welcome your pet as a new patient! Give us a call today at 410-355-3131 or 410-793-7670! For more information, as well as updates on veterinary news and topics, visit us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Pinterest!