Looking after guinea pigs...

With Sam Johnston

 

 

Guinea pigs, also known as cavies, are very common household pets in Australia due to their sociable and inquisitive nature and their ability to be easily tamed.

If cared for correctly guinea pigs can live for up to ten years, however they are often cared for poorly and die at a young age, as a result of preventable problems. To care for and keep your guinea pig happy and healthy, there are multiple aspects to be considered…

 

Companionship

Firstly, guinea pigs need companionship and commitment. They are usually happiest when they are kept with other guinea pigs and receive regular attention from their humans, however it is recommended that if females and males are kept together, that at least one gender has been desexed. 

Living and Feeding

Guinea pigs are herbivores and their diet should consist of: fresh leafy vegetables (eg. broccoli, celery and cabbage), a constant supply of fresh grass or hay and fruits such as melons and oranges (which are a good source of vitamin C). Foods to avoid include: sweets, sugar, biscuits, beans, corn, onions and potatoes. A constant supply of fresh, clean drinking water is also essential.

Guinea pig enclosures should include: plenty of room for exercise, a separate flyproof sleeping area and a soft, dry floor to provide cushioning and prevent foot injuries. The hutch should be kept out of direct sunlight and in a well-ventilated area. 

General Health

Regular cleaning and feeding routines will prevent many common guinea pig health problems. It is advised to clean & refresh their water, feed and bedding daily to avoid bacterial infections and other issues caused by living in a dirty environment.

Like most pets, guinea pigs are susceptible to fleas and mites which can cause discomfort, hair loss and itchiness. A healthy guinea pig is very alert with bright eyes and a good coat. If your guinea pig develops any serious issues, it is important to seek veterinarian help immediately. 

 

If you would like further information about caring for guinea pigs or if you would like to see our range of guinea pig food and flea treatment, pop in and see myself or one of our Merchandise team in store or contact us by phoning (07) 46600400.