Guinea Pigs Care Guide
The Essential Guide to Keeping Pet Guinea Pigs (Cavie Porcellus)
Guinea pigs are generally a hardy rodent & make an excellent first pet! They originate from South America & are also known as 'Cavies' with the Latin porcellus being short for 'little pig'.
Do Guinea Pigs have any Health Problems?
Scurvy is a disease caused by a long standing Vitamin C deficiency. It is aprogressive condition and symptoms can be quite severe. Scurvy is preventable by providing a vitamin C supplement in your guinea pigs water bottle and by supplementing their diet with plenty of foods rich in Vitamin C.
Guinea pigs teeth grow constantly. They need to forage on grasses and hay to help with this.
Guinea pigs should be treated for lice and mites every 6 weeks.
What Should I House my Pet Guinea Pig in?
Guinea pigs can be kept inside or out. Most guinea pigs in Australia are housed outside in a guinea pig hutch. To help keep your pigs comfortable, their bedding area should contain clean straw.
There are numerous indoor hutches available should you decide to keep your guinea pig indoors.
Your guinea pig will also need a food bowl, a foraging basket (for hay and vegies) and a water bottle to hand in their enclosure.
What Diet do Guinea Pigs Eat?
You need to pay some attention to their dietary requirements & in most cases, disease prevention is far more successful than the disease treatment.
Guinea pigs are strict herbivores that require specific amounts of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium & potassium in their diet. Our 'guinea pig & rabbit mix' is a specially formulated mix that contains these vitamins & minerals. Your guinea pig will require this each day as well as fresh water every day.
You can supplement feed your guinea pig with high fibre foods such as lettuce
(in small amounts), carrots, broccoli, apple, capsicum, bread and fresh grass. Guinea pigs will also enjoy a salt lick to supplement their mineral intake.
Salt licks are designed to fit easily on the inside of your guinea pigs hutch. A vitamin C supplement should be included in your guinea pigs diet as this vitamin is unable to be stored in their body.
How Long do Guinea Pigs Live for?
The average lifespan of a guinea pig is 5-8 years. The record for the oldestliving guinea pig was 14 years and ten months! Guinea pigs are social creatures & enjoy the company of other guinea pigs. We don't recommend keeping male & females together as they breed easily.
The size of your guinea pig is dependent on the breed of guinea pig you have. Our expert staff can advise you on this.
Fun Guinea Pig Facts
- A female guinea pig is called a sow, a male is a boar & babies are called pups!
- When guinea pigs sense their owner is nearby they will squeak to get their attention!
- Rather than having a continuous block of sleep, guinea pigs prefer to nap.
- Guinea pigs can sometimes eat their own poo! Guinea pigs have a unique eating habit known as coprophagy, which is the consumption of their own droppings. This practice helps them to digest certain B vitamins from their food. Two kinds of dark brown pellets are produced by guinea pigs—the traditional poo that we all recognise and a second compound called caecotrophs, which act like cud in hoofed animals and helps them to break down their food into useful vitamins. Guinea pigs need to chew their food more thoroughly than other animals to properly digest it, so they will eat the caecotrophs after they are excreted in order to get the necessary nutrients.
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