If you are looking for a pet of the smaller kind, the adorable guinea pig is one of the a few options to consider. In general, they are friendly, fun-loving and social animals who can be your companion for around five years – or longer, if they are well looked after.
Loads of personality
Considering the social nature of the guinea pig, it is highly recommended that you get more than one. To avoid them breeding it’s a good idea to get guinea pigs of the same sex. Males might not get along too well, so your best bet is two (or more) females. Your guinea pigs will no doubt charm you with the silly things they do. For instance, they greet each other by touching their noses! And few things will be quite as cute as watching your happy guinea pig literally jump for joy – this is, quite appropriately, called popcorning. They also communicate using various vocalisations, such as whistle-type noise called wheeking. You might notice him doing this out of excitement at mealtimes. And, just like cats, they are capable of purring to tell you that they are content and happy.
Caring for your guinea pig
Like all animals, guinea pigs need a healthy and nutritious diet. Recommended food include fresh fruit, vegetables, greens, rabbit pellets (although this cannot be their only food source) and hay. Hay will keep their digestive system regular. Food to avoid include shelled nuts and seeds, as guinea pigs may choke on them. Also, raw beans and rhubarb are poisonous. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times.
Guinea pigs are active little animals who love to run around. Therefore the rule of thumbs is to get them as big a cage as possible! The bottom of the cage should be plastic, metal or wood, although wood might absorb urine and cause unpleasant odours. Steer clear of wire or mesh bottoms, as guinea pigs have small feet that my get stuck in the wire. Plastic tunnels are great for guinea pigs to hide in (something that they love doing) and wooden toys can be used for them to chew on. Hay, straw or sawdust can be used for bedding, but to not use cedar shavings, as it may cause respiratory problems.
Regularly check your guinea pig so that you will immediately know if something seems to be wrong with him. His eyes, ears, nose, mouth, feet and bum needs to be clean and his coat needs to be in a good condition. If you suspect that something isn’t right, trust our instincts and get your guinea pig to a veterinarian.