They’re small, cuddly, energetic, and irresistibly cute. If you’re looking for a small pet to keep around your home, a guinea pig might be one of your best options. These little wide-eyed balls of energy are a lot easier to manage around the home, and much easier to maintain.
But despite their minute size and adorable personality, being a pet owner of guinea pigs require you to be mindful of how and where you keep them. Here are some of the best ways to properly take care of guinea pigs:
Ensure proper nutrition
What you feed your guinea pigs must be enough not only to sustain them but also to provide them with the right nutrition they need to stay healthy. Guinea pigs are grazing animals, which means they should be fed with fresh hay that they can munch on throughout the day.
You can also give them small portions of vegetables, Vitamin-C rich fruits, and guinea pig mix to balance out their diet. Vegetables like spinach, cabbage, and kale, as well as fruits like melons and oranges, are great treats you can give to these adorable little munchers. Finally, there should also be fresh clean water within reach to keep them hydrated at all times.
Make sure they have friends
Guinea pigs are social animals. They love to have company in their quarters. This is why it’s always best to raise guinea pigs by pair or in small groups. You can introduce pigs of the same gender as early as a few weeks old, although adult guinea pigs are also capable of getting along well when kept in the same area as their peers.
Moreover, while it may seem like a fantastic idea to keep rabbits and guinea pigs in the same hutch or run, this may do more harm than good to the small pigs. Rabbits may bully the smaller critters, which could lead to major injuries for the little ones.
Guinea pigs reach sexual maturity within a few weeks after birth. Male guinea pigs can become sexually mature after nine weeks, while females tend to mature faster at around four to five weeks.
Pregnancy for guinea pigs can be immensely risky. Females who do not breed within eight months will not be able to give birth afterwards as their pubic bones stiffen with time. This is why males should be neutered if kept in the same area as females. Keeping guinea pigs of the same sex is also an easier option to prevent potentially fatal pregnancies altogether.
Let them wander
Their bodies may be small, but they have big personalities that show through their unstoppable behaviour. Let your pet guinea pigs wander by making sure they have enough room to play and run around.
Your guinea pig hutch or run should be big enough so they have a quiet private space they can sleep in, and a wide free area to run around in to play. Having a wide space is crucial especially if you’re keeping three or more guinea pigs at a time.
Handle them properly
Guinea pigs are cuddly little darlings especially when handled properly. When picking up a guinea pig, make sure to be as gentle as possible. Use both of your hands, with one hand securing their shoulders and ribs, and the other hand supporting their weight under their bottom. Make sure not to squeeze or hold too tight as their tiny bodies might not be able to handle your force.
The secret to having happy guinea pigs lies in your ability to give them the best care while allowing them to play, run around, and be themselves at the same time. Guinea pigs are energetic but also easy going, which is why taming them is pretty easy with proper care and handling.
Visit your local vets in Auckland to know more about how you can properly take care of your pet guinea pigs. You can also visit us at https://www.vetforpet.co.nz/shop/Guinea+Pigs/x_cat/00331.html for the best selection of products for your pocket pet.