Guinea pigs are very cute, cuddly, small and at first glance, seem like pets that don't need a lot in life. Don't many people keep them in hutches down the back of the garden and get them out every once in a while? Guinea pigs as pets, actually have a lot more to them then meets the eye!
They are amazing creatures. Full of personality, life and character!
There are a lot more to guinea pigs then meets the eye, this is why many of them are misunderstood. Contrary to what many people believe, guinea pigs can live from six to eight years, not four or five. The only reason that pet guinea pigs live for only two to four years is because their owners made all the common beginners mistakes with improper diet and housing.
Noises: Guinea pigs make the cutest noises and they are not too loud. While patting them, you may notice that they burble away contentedly. Their sounds are not annoying, unlike many animals and they are unlikely to keep you awake at night.
Smell: Guinea pigs have a soft, pleasant sort of smell, lovely to bury your nose in its coat and snuggle. If the cage is kept clean, it will not smell much at all. Many people worry that if they have an animal inside, it will smell and make the place dirty. This is not true of guinea pigs.
Fur: Although guinea pigs shed a little bit, the american breed is very easy to keep clean and doesn't need to be brushed very often. Bathes are restricted to once or twice a year because the skin dries out very quickly and shouldn't be overdone. For those who have time and commitment, long haired varieties like silkies are lovely to brush, clip and style. But for those who don't want the extra work, short haired breeds are very easy to keep clean.
Most guinea pigs aren't biters or scratchers, they can be very docile and with the right amount of Tender Loving Care, they become wonderful, friendly pets to own.
It is very important that you do the right amount of research before getting a guinea pig. They are not backyard pets and would much rather be inside with you and the family.
- Do you have the time to care for a guinea pig and its needs. Guinea pigs need to have playtime with you everyday!
- Are you planning on doing anything in the near future- getting a dog, having a baby, moving house, studying, traveling overseas? These things may affect your decision.
- How much can you invest financially? Guinea pigs need a cup of veggies every day, unlimited hay, large indoor cage and pellets. Can you afford a vet bill if it comes up?
- What will you do if you go away on holiday? Is there someone who can look after you guinea pig while you are away?
Most importantly, why do you want a guinea pig?
Is it for you, or your children? Did you make an impulse decision or has this been on your mind for a while? Guinea pigs are not disposable animals like so many people believe that they are. They cannot be brought and given away when you become bored with them. Guinea pigs are forever!
Guinea pig checklist
- Indoor cage
- Bedding- fleece/towels or shavings
- Small hidey houses
- Toys-tunnels/beds etc.
- Scales for weighing your guinea pigs in case they start loosing weight and become sick
- Guinea pig shampoo
- First aid kit
- Toenail clippers
- Coconut oil for cleaning the grease gland
- Water bottle
- Food bowel
Provide a wonderful life for your pets and they will reward you in return!
Guinea pigs are surprisingly needy little pets, despite their easy reputation, they do require a lot of care. The reason why most people deem them boring is because they often have inadequate housing, nutrition and lack of stimulation. Most people will be surprised to see how the personality of their pets develop with more space to run around in a a lot of toys.
After all, nobody could possibly be expected to perform in a tiny space could they?
When allowed the space to run, guinea pigs can turn from sitting potatoes, to bouncy, cheeky little critters with a personality as large as life! They race around the cage in circles, popcorn and burble in excitement!
What most people don't know about guinea pigs...
They LOVE to climb! Although they have short little legs and dumpy little bodies, guinea pigs actually enjoy climbing what they can manage. Small rocks, logs, hidey houses, and even hammocks! I often find a piggie sitting on top of the hay rack. Therefore a second story to the cage is enjoyable and guinea pigs love to run up and down the ramps. However, this does not mean the cage should be tall and not wide.
Males CAN live together in pairs! However, they do go through puberty stage from six months to a year old where they become very territorial. Generally speaking males need more space then females because they are territorial and need their own space. But this doesn't mean that they can't live together!
Guinea pigs NEED lots of space! A small pet store cage in the corner is not enough because guinea pigs love to run and do laps around the cage, popcorning and having fun with each other.
Just a carrot is NOT enough! Guinea pigs need a variety of fruit and vegetables in their diet to keep them healthy.Guinea pigs should NOT live in a hutch outside. There are too many accidents that can and do happen: dogs, cats, hypothermia, hyperthermia and theft. It happens all the time.