Caring for a Guinea Pig
Before thinking about getting a Guinea Pig it is important that you are prepared before you bring your Guinea Pig home. These small animals need a good amount of exercise, usually a couple of hours a day, so ensure you either have a large enough cage for them to roam around in, or have allocated an area in your house or outside where they can get some exercise. Guinea Pigs also like to hide, so if possible, buy a cage or hutch which has areas specifically designed for hiding. If you cannot get a cage like this, then a standard one will do the job and you can use cardboard boxes and tubes for them.
Guinea pigs need a fresh supply of water at all times and a constant supply of fresh hay and vegetables. Cereal based pellets and pet food can also be given. Ensure the bottom of the cage is covered with soft hay or specific Guinea Pig cage padding, as anything too rough, such as woodchip, can injure them.
Guinea Pigs are very timid creatures at first and their natural instinct is to run away from things they are scared of, and they may appear to be scared of almost everything at first. Handle them gently and always supervise a child when they are handling them. When you first let them out, they may try to run away. Just leave them to it for a few days until they get used to their environment. Try not to take them out of their cages and put them back in a lot of times, as this can also distress them.
Ensure their cages are cleaned thoroughly at least once a week. Guinea Pigs can get very sick if left in a dirty cage. Groom them and clip their nails regularly and also check their teeth. Sometimes teeth will need to be clipped at a later age. Always ensure you take your pet to a vet who is used to dealing with Guinea Pigs.
Once they get used to their new home and their new owners, your Guinea Pig will become a lovable, cuddly and loyal pet.