At the start of the year 2020, Guinea Pigs have sky-rocketed their popularity among pet owners. They started to fill in more houses as loving indoor pets since the beginning of the quarantine season.
However, little do people know that Guinea Pigs did not actually come from Guinea, and from their looks, they are far related to pigs. In terms of their physical body, Guinea Pigs look more like a hamster, only more significant. And instead of Guinea, they come from the Andes region in South America as an exotic wild animal species.
Over the years, Guinea Pigs are finally domesticated in some households and have become popular as pets worldwide. However, many pet owners are new in keeping and caring for these fluffy friends. So here is a list of facts about guinea pigs and how you can care for and love them in their lifetime.
- Have a Large Housing for your Guinea Pig. An average Guinea Pig would need at least thirty by the thirty-six-inch size of the housing. It’s relatively large for their size, but they need it to have extra space for exercising.
- Make the Base Solid. Guinea Pigs are larger than hamsters, but their bodies are delicate, so as their feet. So make sure to get a solid base for their feet instead of using a wire mesh as flooring. Otherwise, their tiny feet will be injured.
- Add Some Bedding. Guinea Pigs love warm bedding, so add bedding on the flooring of the enclosure for their comfort. You can use paper or wood shavings as bedding, but do not use pine or cedar since these are harmful to their lungs.
- Put a Small Nest or Hideout. There are times that Guinea Pigs need to rest or feel secure, so you can provide this to them by adding a small nest or hideout. You can purchase them at a local pet store in different designs and colors.
- Add Some Toys. Guinea Pigs may be miniature, but they still need toys to chew on or play with. So add a couple of toys from a local pet store. They can also use them to exercise their bodies.
- Some Don’ts to Take Note of. These furry pets are easily stressed, so you need to note things you should never do to keep Guinea Pigs. First off, stay away from direct sunlight; they don’t like too much light and sun rays. Second, they are naturally shy pets, so loud noises can easily startle them and stress them out.
- A Stack of Hay a Day is Okay. They are vegetarian pets that would only eat plants, fruits, and veggies. You can also use pellets for Guinea Pigs that you can purchase from a pet store.
- Use a Ceramic Bowl. You can use a ceramic bowl for their food instead of a stainless steel or plastic bowl. This will prevent them from toppling it over and making an unnecessary mess on the flooring.
- Provide Daily Fresh Water. You can use either a water bottle for guinea pigs or a water bowl. For water bottles, expect some leaks on the flooring. Just remember to replace the water daily with fresh ones to keep it clean for your guinea pigs.
- Avoid Getting a Single Guinea Pig. Get a pair of guinea pigs instead of a single one. Guinea pigs are very friendly pets, and they need to bond with other guinea pigs so they will not feel bored or lonesome.
- Interact with Them Several Times a Day. Guinea pigs need their humans to interact with them often every day. If this is not provided to them, guinea pigs can also have depression that can be expressed by losing appetite, having no physical activity, or not interacting with their humans. This could be dangerous to guinea pigs in some cases since their depression may lead to death.
Keeping Them Healthy
- Do not bathe them often. Guinea pigs do not need to be washed frequently. Aside from the fact that they don’t like it, it can also harm their body. They only need to be bathed at least twice or thrice the entire year.
- Trim their nails. Check their nails at least twice a month. They can grow as fast as every two to three weeks, so you trim them by that time.
- Clean their housing. A clean house means a healthy pet. No pet will be beneficial if their beddings or house is dirty. So make sure to replace their beddings or as needed.