Beginners’ guide on how to take care of a guinea pig

Guinea pigs are great pets to have in your household. They are social animals and require daily interaction, so ensure you have enough time to spend with them. A unique behavior of guinea pigs is how they jump and twirl in the air when they are filled with happiness. 

cute guinea pigs

You can find haired and hairless guinea pigs, as there are more than 20 different breeds. We got you if you want to get a guinea pig but don’t know how to care for it. Below we will show you a complete 101 guide on how to take care of a guinea pig. 

Raising guinea pigs

guinea pig cage with accessories

Raising guinea pigs is not difficult at all, and they require little maintenance. There are just a couple of things to know before buying one. Firstly, they stay clean. They also don’t need showers. However, you can clean them with unscented baby wipes if needed.

The fur can be brushed away with a soft brush, and long-haired breeds can be brushed a few times per week. You will also have to clip their nails once a month. Check with a veterinarian, and they will give you professional advice tailored to your pet’s specific needs. 

Breeds of guinea pigs

There are numerous breeds of guinea pigs out there, and below we will list some of them:

  • Peruvian
  • Skinny pig
  • Abyssinian
  • American
  • American Crested
  • Rex

Every breed has its characteristics. The Abyssinian species is known for being one of the most friendly and affectionate breeds out there, but they can also be very energetic and in need of attention. 

The rarest breed is the white crested one. They are easy to groom because of their short hair, and they can feature numerous types of coats

What do guinea pigs need?

guinea pig cage with play yard

Before you welcome the little one into your house, it is important to prepare everything beforehand. Firstly, you should create a suitable living area for your pet. Make sure you also have hay for bedding and food because it is essential for your pet. 

Stainless steel bowls are recommended for food. Toys and exercise mechanisms will keep your pet entertained while you are not playing with them. Get a guinea pig brush for grooming, especially if your pet is of a hairy breed. 

Lastly, consider getting a carry case so you can easily transport the little one to the vet whenever needed. 

Guinea pig care tips

guinea pig house

Taking care of these pets is not difficult, but there are some tips and tricks you can use to improve his life. For the basics, you should remember that these animals feed on fresh hay and vegetables. They also need fresh water daily, so change it regularly.

They need plenty of space, so provide them with a large cage equipped with soft bedding and tunnels or caves to hide in. Buy some toys as well, to keep them entertained in your absence. Lastly, don’t forget to trim their claws once a month. 

What do guinea pigs eat?

guinea pig supplies

Keep a well-balanced diet for your pets, and ensure you feed them the right food. Specific foods created for these pets contain all the nutrients necessary for their diet, but you can also give them fresh hay.

These animals also consume vegetables and fruits but in limited amounts. Bell peppers and green leaves such as spinach are essential sources of vitamin C, while apples and pears contain small amounts of fiber. You should also ensure they have clean and fresh water that should be changed daily.

There are also forbidden aliments that you should never give to your pet. To make them stand out, we list them below. Never give them the following:

  • Avocados
  • Bread
  • Cabbage
  • Chocolate
  • Seeds
  • Potatoes
  • Meat
  • Nuts
  • Garlic
products for caring for a guinea pig

Best toys for guinea pigs

Best tunnel – Rypet Tunnel 3 Way Collapsible Tunnels

This rainbow tunnel will attract your pets’ attention, and they will have a great time playing in it. Highly durable polyester that is also tear-resistant is wrapped around the steel frame. This product has 3 spacious tunnels, and your pets will have fun in many ways.

Hours of amusement and exercise will keep the pets entertained even in your absence. If you want to store it or travel, this tunnel folds down easily and quickly. These tunnels measure 5.9 inches tall and 17.7 inches deep. 

Exploration is the natural instinct of these animals. They can hide or sleep in these tunnels whenever they feel too exposed. These closed and tight spaces will help your pet feel secure. They do this to hide from predators, which is a response to their survival instinct. 

Best toy for chewing – Kaytee Perfect Chew

It is the perfect chewing toy to include. It includes orange slices, wood balls, and a wood log. The metal attachment lets you hook this toy anywhere and hang it into the habitat. 

It is easily disposable. All you have to do is discard it after your pet fully ate it. Because they are cheap and affordable, you can always buy a new one. 

This toy will help reduce boredom in the cage and keep them busy for hours filled with playtime fun. The dye used to color this toy is made of vegetables, and it is edible and safe for your furry friend. 

Do guinea pigs bite?

Guinea pigs are known for their friendly and peaceful behavior. If they bite, there must be a serious reason for this to happen. These pets are great both for kids and adults, and children won’t have to worry about their pets showing aggressive tendencies. 

They don’t take up a huge amount of space and are usually very gentle, both with humans or with other habitat companions. On occasion, they may nibble or bite occasionally. However, it is not a dangerous bite

How much do guinea pigs cost?

two cute guinea pigs

When you consider getting one, you should know that the purchase fee is not the only expense you will have. Typically, this can range from $10 to over $100. It depends on the breed. 

You can find out the annual cost of your pets after you break down the previous month’s expenses. Usually, a full care monthly budget sits at around $70. It can give you an idea about the yearly cost. 

That is why you can expect to pay around $100 to $500 per guinea pig, and this cost will increase if you have more of them. You can save money by purchasing food in bulk or getting second-hand cages and toys for your pet.

How big do guinea pigs get?

Like every other animal, guinea pigs can vary in size. Generally, males will be larger than females. Some breeds can be bigger than others. Genetics and overall health also play an important role in their size.

An adult male can weigh between 2 and 2.6 pounds. The biggest breed is the Rex, which measures around 17 inches long and is 50% heavier than any other breed. They are also double in size compared to American guinea pigs.

Females will weigh between 1.5 and 2 pounds. It takes 8 weeks for the guinea pig to grow. By 16 weeks, they can be considered full adults. They’ll measure between 8 and 10 inches.

Can guinea pigs eat broccoli?

Guinea pigs can eat fresh green vegetables and herbs daily, which is good for their health. You can give many herbs to your pets. It includes rosemary, parsley, coriander, and basil. 

Broccoli is also one of their favorites, among with carrots and mint. You can give fruits such as apples or papayas, but ensure you take out their seeds first. 

Any type of seed can be considered harmful to your pet, and you should always avoid feeding them nuts and seeds. 

Are guinea pigs nocturnal?

They are not nocturnal, as they choose to sleep during both day and night. Their sleep schedule is irregular, and they don’t have general habits. When your pet sleeps, it will be for short periods of time, just like short naps.

It makes them wonderful because you can observe and play with them during the day without disturbing their sleep. 

It is a characteristic of their species, but every guinea pig will be different from another. You will be able to find out the sleeping and activity schedules of your pet after a short time. 

Can guinea pigs eat cucumbers?

A guinea pig’s diet is not hard to understand, but there are certain things these pets can eat and other toxic foods. The daily food should consist of hay and pellets. However, owners often provide them with other types of food.

Your pets will eat anything you offer them, but it doesn’t mean they should eat everything. Cucumbers are one of the safe aliments, and the little ones can eat both the flesh and the skin. While it is not ideal for these pets to eat seeds, cucumber seeds are completely harmless in small quantities.

Best cages

Habitat Plus Cage by MidWest

It is a great option providing space for storing all the essential components. Bigger is better, and it’s the same way when it comes to your pets. 

With 8 square feet of space, you’ll give them the chance to run around as they deserve. It can even be extended to 16 square feet to allow more than one furry friend to be staying there. 

Add another of their products to ensure the extension gives them all the space they could want. Cleaning up is easy because of the space and how the product is set up. 

It also has a great size for interacting with your pets. 

Multi-access makes it easy to interact with your guinea pig when you want to. With a folding design, you won’t have to twist your arm to get in there awkwardly. 

The care and play areas are separated in a smart way. It allows your guinea pig to go to the toilet where they’re not playing. Would you want to go to the toilet and hang out in the same space all day? 

The modular design is done cleverly, allowing you to customize it well. You’ll have the space for two furry friends to be living together rather than each of them having their cage. Isn’t that wonderful? 

Sturdy materials

PVC can be a great material, and it’s used for the canvas to protect your pet’s feet. Its leak-proof features make it easy to clean when the time comes. You don’t want your guinea pig to live somewhere dirty. 

Assembly is easy after it’s been shipped to you. No tools are required to get that little companion sooner rather than later. The instructions provided by the manufacturer are easy to follow!

Rubor Hamster Cage Wooden

A wooden cage adds a level of style that other materials do not. With natural materials, you can place this cage in the living room. It’s sure to make your furry friends feel at home when they can see everything happening. Non-toxic is used in addition to beautiful craftsmanship. 

A tray is conveniently placed at the bottom, making cleaning easy. 

Enjoy observing your guinea pig as they run around while having fun. Digging is something they’ll quickly get into with the opportunities provided. A clear PVC board lets you see through it from the outside. 

The wire mesh at the top ensures the air quality is high. Circulation of air is also important for your pets. The ventilation system provides an environment that is very similar to what your guinea pig would experience in nature. 

Creativity included

With the ladders and other ways to entertain themselves, there are no limits to what your pets can do. The complex environment will stimulate their creativity and ensure you get a happy pet.

FAQ

Are guinea pigs easy to take care of?

When you feed them properly, they are very healthy animals. That is why they are so easy to take care of because they also don’t have many needs. All you have to do is to ensure an optimal environment and ideal living conditions for your pets. 

How long do guinea pigs live?

Compared to other small pets such as mice or hamsters, these pets can live longer. On average, they live for 5 to 7 years and will dedicate their entire lives to making you happy as you care for them. 

Can guinea pigs eat apples?

They can eat apples, especially with the skin on. This peel has lots of fiber and nutrients, so it is healthy and beneficial for your pet. Ensure to wash the apple slices before giving them to your pet, as they might have been treated with chemicals. 

Can guinea pigs eat bananas?

Bananas have numerous health benefits for these pets, like potassium and vitamin C. But because they have high sugar levels, they can also be harmful if not portioned properly. That is why you should give bananas to your pets every once in a while without making it a daily treat. 

Can guinea pigs eat celery?

Because it is another high source of vitamin C, guinea pigs can eat celery. However, you should be careful because the texture of this aliment can present a choking risk to your pet. 

Can guinea pigs eat tomatoes?

They can eat tomatoes, but only the ripened part of them. They cannot eat leaves or unripened tomatoes as it is toxic to them. 

Can guinea pigs eat strawberries?

Small portions of strawberries can be given to your pets once or twice a week. They are delicious and have high water content and lots of vitamin C. Because they cannot produce this vitamin, they need it throughout their diet, and strawberries are a good choice.

Can guinea pigs eat watermelon?

Your pet can eat watermelon in moderation, and you should feed them a small slice weekly. Their favorite food will always be hay and grass, which are important to their diet. Consider watermelon like a treat, not like daily food.