A guinea pig which is also referred to as a cavy is low maintenance and funny pet to have. It is affectionate and very good with kids and for beginners as it does not require a special kind of care. If you are searching for materials on how to take care of a guinea pig for beginners, then you are on the right page.
1. Set-up Its Cage:
- Your guinea pig may be small but it needs space to move around. Ideally, the size of the cage should be 7.5 square feet at the very least. But, if you want to care for two or more guinea pigs, they’d be happier to live in a larger cage with a size of 8 to 10 square feet.
- Check the bottom of the cage. Be sure that it is made with a solid bottom to give protection to your pet’s tiny feet. Don’t forget to line the bottom with newspapers.
- Secure the lid. Though a guinea pig is terrible in climbing up high, sometimes it will do it just for the heck of it. To prevent it from escaping and from predators like cats, make sure that the lid is secured.
- You want your new pet to be comfy in its bed, right? So, make it nice and soft by providing your guinea pig with a thick layer of bedding. Paper is the best choice of material but you can also use a fleece blanket. Make it a habit to change its beddings twice a week.
- Place its cage in a quiet and cool area like your bedroom, perhaps. Just do not place the cage in your car garage because car fumes will make it sick. Do you have cats at home or maybe there are stray cats in your area? That’s another reason why it is best to keep your guinea pig indoor.
- Do you know that a guinea pig can get lonesome, too? Since they are herd animals, it means that they are happier if they are not single. Just make sure that there is a ‘formal introduction’ or they will fight all the time.
- Does it need exercise? For as long as it has enough space to run around, then that is sufficient enough. You may buy it some exercise toys like a running wheel or a ball to keep it happier.
- Tame your guinea pig. Being a newbie, you may find it odd to talk to your pig, right? But it’s not. In fact, that is one of the tips that we could give on how to take care of a guinea pig for beginners. The idea is for your new pet to recognize your voice and your scent. Once it already knows that you are a friend, your guinea pig may even allow you to pet it.
2. Feeding Your Guinea Pig
Providing good nutrition is one of the ways to make your pet happy and active:
- Fresh veggies are the best for your pet but the majority of it must be green leafy vegetables like lettuce, mint, raspberry leaves, and kale. If you are introducing a new vegetable, be sure to do it gradually to avoid an upset stomach. While there are many kinds of good veggies for them, but a quick change in diet can make it sick.
- Treats are not just for you to enjoy but for your guinea pig, too. Fresh fruits are good choices for treats like apples and strawberries.
- Give your pig lots of Timothy hay because it needs to chew on something while its teeth are growing. Alfalfa hay is another option but it should be fed if your guinea pig is more than 6 months of age.
- One of the useful tips on how to take care of a guinea pig for beginners is to always give it a fresh supply of clean water. You can either get a water bowl or a water bottle made for guinea pigs.
It is also a good idea to weigh your pet weekly. If there is a fluctuation, say more than two ounces, then, that could be an indication of an illness.
3. Playtime With Your Guinea Pig
Let it out and enjoy its freedom once in a while. Make sure that the area is clean. Do you have a terrace in your house or apartment? Allow it to roam around freely on days when the temperature is not too cold nor hot. Just watch out for potential predators like cats and hawks.
You can make it extra fun for your pet if you will provide it with toys to enjoy. It is actually not hard to please. You can make toys out of food carton containers, old boxes, just to name a few.
Plus, guinea pigs are social animals which means that it will allow you to carry it and play with it.
Here are some tips on how to properly carry a guinea pig:
- Choose a time when both of you are not anxious.
- Support the body of your guinea pig from underneath. Place one of your hands under its chest and then gently wrap your fingers around its body. Place your other hand at its bottom for support.
- You can hug her gently so it will feel secure and safe. You can talk to it and carry it around the house. You’d be surprised but, yes, guinea pigs can learn some tricks like spinning and jumping.
4. Grooming Your Guinea Pig:
Just like you, your new pet needs to look fab, as well. One of the tips that we can give you on how to take care of a guinea pig for beginners is to keep it clean all the time. Here’s how:
- Brush its coat so you do not have to bathe it often. The short-haired pig can be wiped-off with a soft cloth and then brushed gently at least two times a week. But the long-haired pig has to be brushed every day.
- If you see fungal infection, then bathing should be done. Prepare its bath by using warm water and shampoo for small animals. You can use rabbit shampoo.
- Keep it quick and dry its coat immediately. As much as possible, refrain from using a blowdryer.
- Clip those nails. Be careful and just cut the tip to avoid injuring your pet.
- Are you caring for a male guinea pig? If yes, then we advise you to make it a habit to check its genital area to see if it is impacted. Massage the area and if you notice the presence of soft poop, then clean it with a cotton swab.
5. Tidy-up Its Room:
- Clean its cage twice a week. Remove food debris and dirty hay and then replace with clean ones.
- Wash its water container and food bowl every day.
- Do a deeper kind of clean once a week by emptying the cage and wiping the entire cage with a cloth diluted with vinegar. You have to keep in mind that the cleaners that you use around your house are not safe for your guinea pig. In fact, water is enough to clean the cage.
- Scrub the tray to get rid of the urine smell.
- Replace the newspapers and cage lining with fresh ones.
How to Know Your Guinea Pig Is Happy and Healthy?
As a pet owner, one of your concerns is if your pet is happy or not. To find-out its disposition, here’s what to look for:
- The eyes speak for itself. These should be clear. If you notice some discharge, then it is better to have it evaluated by a Vet.
- Shine bright like a diamond. The coat should be shiny and free from bald spots. If you see redness or flakiness on its skin, then it is not a healthy sign.
- The poop. Your pet has two kinds of bowel movements- soft and hard poops. If you do not see any type of droppings in its cage, then your pet could be constipated. You can give it a few slices of apples and see if it improves. If not, it will require the attention of a Vet.
- Is it constantly running or jumping around? If yes, then your pet is happy. Does it show enthusiasm when it sees you? Congratulations because you have a healthy and happy guinea pig.
The good news is that this kind of animal does not require Vet visits for immunization. The only time that you will take it to the Vet is if it is lethargic, suffered from skin problems like having bumps on their skin, and when the teeth do not align well.
Your guinea pig, if well taken care of, will live between four to eight years. It is an amusing small pet to own. In fact, since it is not a high-maintenance pet, a lot of animal lovers are drawn to its fun nature. But, before committing yourself to own one, it is best if you would learn how to take care of a guinea pig for beginners.