A guinea pig can be a very cute and personable pet, and they are surprisingly easy to care for. In this article, I will focus on feeding, grooming and handling.
Provide fresh, dry rabbit pellets, clean water and fresh fruits and veggies every day!
Guinea pigs are vegetarians. They eat rabbit pellets, hay, fresh fruits and vegetables, and fresh, clean grass that has not been contaminated by car exhaust, pesticides or any other contaminant. It is very important that guinea pigs get fresh fruits and veggies daily because they need vitamin C, just like people. If they don’t get it, they will get scurvy and die. While it is possible to buy outrageously expensive guinea pig food that includes vitamin C, it is not necessary, and it is not preferable. Vitamin C dissipates with time, so guinea pig food that has been sitting on the shelf for a while will have less vitamin C than it did when it was made. And it will have less and less vitamin C as time passes. It is far better to feed rabbit pellets (which are much less expensive than guinea pig food) and supplement them with fresh greenery, fruits and vegetables every day.
How much greenery does a guinea pig need?
A quarter of an apple or orange, a carrot, a piece of celery or a big handful of grass daily is enough to stave off scurvy; however, your guinea pig will probably want more than that. They are not called guinea “pigs” for nothing! Guinea pigs are enthusiastic eaters who greet meal time with happy whistles that are sure to make you want to give them more! Don’t overdo it! Half a piece of fruit and a handful of grass or lettuce or an equivalent amount of veggies should be plenty. Be sure to clear away any leftovers daily when you give new food. Of course, if your guinea pig is not eating everything you give it, you will want to cut down on the portions.
Should I brush my guinea pig?
Guinea pigs can be fun to groom. They come in three basic varieties: short or smooth haired, Abyssinian, and Peruvian. The short haired ones are just what they sound like. They have short, smooth hair that needs little or no care. Abyssinians have short hair with rosettes – little whorls – scattered over the body and usually one right in the middle of the forehead. Abyssinians need little or no grooming. Peruvians have long silky hair with rosettes that make it swoop and curl. Peruvians need a great deal of grooming and/or trimming.
For smooth haired guinea pigs and Abyssinians, you may want to have a small, soft bristled brush on hand to groom just for fun, but it is not absolutely necessary. For Peruvians, you will need a wide toothed comb and a soft bristled brush. You will also need some very mild shampoo like an organic baby shampoo and conditioner. You will need to groom your guinea pig every day and give it a bath as needed. If you want to grow your guinea pigs’ hair very long, you will need to roll it up in papers and pin it to keep it from dragging the ground and getting dirty and worn. For myself, I prefer to keep short haired and Abyssinian guinea pigs. If I had a Peruvian, there would be frequent haircuts!
Do guinea pigs like to play?
Guinea pigs are friendly little critters, but they are not as friendly or as hardy as a cat or dog. Your guinea pig may or may not like being picked up and petted. Generally, it is better to stroke your guinea pig while it is sitting in it’s enclosure and just take them out for brushing and grooming. However, guinea pig personality can vary. Some guinea pigs do like to be handled and petted. Some even learn to do simple tricks. Just be gentle and quiet with your guinea pig and try to be sensitive to what it seems to enjoy. Once you have a clear understanding of your pet’s personality, you will know how much handling is appropriate.
Setting up a home for your guinea pig.
It is easy to set up a nice home for your guinea pig. To find out more about this, visit my article:
Housing Your Small Pet for Less
For more on pets and pets care, you may enjoy:
Advice On Selecting Just The Right Pet
Training Your Deaf Dog
A Bed For Your Best Friend