If you’ve recently brought your new guinea pig home, you might be wondering how best to take care of them! From handling and feeding to understanding their needs, this guide will teach you how to take care of your new furry friend. You’ll be an expert before you know it.
Get their home ready
As guinea pigs spend a lot of time in their cage, it needs to be spacious and homely. Ensure the cage has appropriate bedding – you can use newspaper clippings, paper towels or washable fleece to make their home as comfy as possible. Try to avoid wood shavings as these can cause respiratory problems for your new guinea pig.
Their cage should be well-ventilated and the humidity levels should be below 50%. Failure to do so can cause your guinea pig to suffer from heat stroke if they get too warm.
Don’t forget to include lots of toys and enrichment in the cage to keep your furry friend happy and healthy. They love to explore, hide and chew things, so keeping them entertained is a must. Use paper bags, tunnels and cardboard boxes with cut-out holes to prevent boredom.
Guinea pigs are strict herbivores and require almost continuous eating due to their high metabolic rate. They should always have access to hay, as this is the most important part of a guinea pig’s diet.
They can also eat guinea pig food, vegetables and pellets, and should always have fresh water available. You can slowly introduce various vegetables, such as carrots, lettuce and celery, and your guinea pig should eat approximately a cup of vegetables every day.
How to handle a guinea pig
The majority of guinea pigs are easy to handle, but they could take a while to adjust to you and their new surroundings and might be a little shy.
Always use a calm voice and be gentle with your guinea pig. When picking them up, use one hand to support their rib cage and the other to support their rear end. Hold them firmly against your body to offer comfort and stability to your guinea pig.
Understanding guinea pig sounds
Guinea pigs make a variety of sounds to express how they’re feeling. Chattering noises are a sign of happiness and these usually occur when your guinea pig is exploring their environment or they’re near food.
If your guinea pig is moving around slowly, they might make a low, rumbling sound known as “rumble strutting”. Alternatively, they’ll “wheek” when exploring new objects, and this can sound like sneezing.
If your guinea pig is in danger or senses fear, they’ll make a loud scream-like alarm call, in which you’ll need to take control.