Guinea Pig Care – Beginners Guide to Keeping Pet Guinea Pigs
Guinea Pigs are wonderful creatures and make great pets for people of all ages; although quite nervous by nature with regular handling they normally become quite tame.
They have wonderful personalities and can be quite comical to watch, they are quite small, an average adult will be around 10″ in length and there are lots of different varieties with different colours and coat textures.
Although many people consider them ideal pets for small children an adult should always be present when children are handling their pet. They are quite delicate and if they become nervous they may try to jump when being handled, this could lead them to hurt themselves.
Before considering a Guinea Pig as a pet, remember they are quite social animals, keeping in pairs is recommended as you can’t give your pet 24 hour attention no matter how dedicated you are.
They must not be exposed to either extreme heat or cold, if keeping outdoors their enclosure must be secure so not only can they not escape, but they are safe from dogs, cats and other predators. Locate your housing out of direct sunlight and sheltered from the wind. If temperatures drop below 15ºC ideally they should be moved indoors, if not you should make sure they have plenty of bedding to keep them warm.
The housing will need to comprise of a shelter area for them to sleep and an exercise area, they should have plenty of room to run around and be able to stand up on their hind legs and stretch. Toys such as pipes and small boxes should be available to encourage your guinea pigs to exercise.
Ideal bedding is dust free hay; the bedding should be suitable for them to eat so avoid products made with softwood.
Food and Watering
Fresh water should always be available, without it your Guinea Pig can become ill quite quickly.
They originally come from South America and typically would eat grass, herbs and plants such as dandelions. Their main diet should consist of grass and hay for their digestive system to function properly. Many people traditionally kept Rabbits & Guinea Pigs together, but we do not recommend this, one reason is their dietary needs are quite different. You can find lots of good pet foods manufactured for Guinea Pigs; this can be supplemented by fresh herbs, grass and hay. Fresh food should be provided each day, they are grazers and will eat continually throughout the day.
Guinea Pigs can be a wonderful addition to the family. They are social and will need lots of handling to keep them happy. Many people choose to keep their Guinea Pigs indoors but they can easily be kept outdoors if provided with the correct small animal housing.
Visit www.LittleBigPet.co.uk for more information about Guinea Pigs.