If you’ve decided to bring guinea pigs into your home, learning how to take care of a guinea pig is an important task. You’ll want to have a good grasp on the basics of guinea pig care in order to keep your new family members happy and healthy. Included in how to care for guinea pigs are setting up their home, feeding, grooming, and interacting with your guinea pig. Here are some simple tips on how to care for a guinea pig to help you get started.
How to Care for Your Guinea Pig
Setting Up a Home For Your Guinea Pig
Step one in guinea pig care is making sure that your piggie has a comfortable place to live. You’ll want a safe cage that will allow you to place bedding on the floor. Make sure that you place their cage away from extreme temperatures, in a place where they are safe from other pets and that their cage is not at risk of being tripped on or knocked over. Within the cage, you should have at least 2-3 inches of bedding, food and water, a hay manger, plus a nice, cozy hiding spot for your guinea pig.
Feeding Your Guinea Pig
Guinea pigs eat a variety of foods but should never be fed meat or dairy. You’ll want to make sure that they have near constant access to hay and water. Each day they should be fed guinea pig pellets, and also a variety of fresh veggies and fruits throughout the week. Remove leftovers or uneaten food to make sure that your piggie is only eating fresh foods. Read more about what to feed guinea pig here.
Interacting with Your Guinea Pig
Be sure to make time each day to interact and play with your guinea pigs. It's a very important part of how to take care of a guinea pig. Take them out of their cage and let them have time to walk and explore in a safe area. Cuddle and pet them, talking to them regularly, and giving them plenty of attention. One point that many don’t realize in how to care for a guinea pig is that they do best when they have another piggie to interact with, as well. Even when you offer plenty of interaction, your guinea pig will be at their best when they live with a friend.
Grooming Your Guinea Pig
The final piece of the puzzle in learning how to care for guinea pigs is grooming. Depending on the breed of guinea pig you adopt, the grooming requirements may be more or less. Long-haired guinea pigs should be brushed every few days and short-haired breeds should be brushed weekly. Their nails will need to be trimmed before they become too long, particularly the back nails that don’t get as much use in captivity.
Healthy guinea pigs shouldn’t require bathing, but if they have certain types of infections or illnesses, or happen to find their way into a particularly messy situation, you many need to bathe them. Small animal shampoo is highly recommended when giving a guinea pig bath. Use only lukewarm water and dry them thoroughly with a towel.
Once you understand how to care for guinea pigs, you’ll be able to provide a happy home for your new friends. Be sure that the whole family understands the basics of guinea pig care, as well, and share the responsibility together.