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The New Guinea Pig Owner Guide

by Ariana Gonzalez 4 years ago in guinea pig
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Some Myths Busted

Her expression says it all. This is Cookie. Follow her Instagram: @navypigs 

So, you want to get a guinea pig? Do you think you're ready for the responsibility? A lot of people think having a guinea pig is easy. Let me tell you something; they are wrong. While having a guinea pig can be easy for the experienced individual, there is a lot of misinformation about how you should treat a guinea pig. This misinformation can be particularly found at pet stores (like PetSmart and Petco to name a few). So what is true and what isn't about caring for a guinea pig?

Myths:

1. Guinea pigs need small pet store cages.

This is SO WRONG. A guinea pig needs a minimum of 7.5 square feet of room in order to live a happy and healthy life. With two guinea pigs, you need about 10 square feet, and with three, about 13. The more room the better is always a good way to think for you beloved pet.

Pet store cages are SEVERELY limited. A guinea pig can barely release any of its hyper piggy energy.

The best alternative to a store cages is a C&C cage. You can get wire storage cube grids and build your own cage with a coroplast base. This is the best option for your guinea pigs and you. You can morph the cage to fit into any living situation and give your guinea pig the room it needs as well.

2. Guinea pigs can live alone.

It is actually illegal in Switzerland to own only one guinea pig. Guinea pigs are social animals. They need other little buddies to talk to. Otherwise, they are prone to depression and dying at a younger age than they were meant to.

3. Guinea pigs only need pellets and water.

Guinea pigs not only need an UNLIMITED amount of pellets everyday. They also need an UNLIMITED amount of hay (this can be either Timothy hay or orchard grass). Alfalfa hay can be given to young and pregnant guinea pigs. However, Timothy is preferred after they reach about a year in age.

Guinea pigs also need VEGETABLES and FRUITS. Guinea pigs should be consuming about 20 percent of their body weight in vegetables every day. It helps them get the vitamin C their body cannot produce on its own. It also helps to hydrate them when they aren't drinking enough water.

4. Guinea pigs can live in their cage their entire lives.

Guinea pigs love affection, although they may not always show it. Pet your guinea pig. Talk to your guinea pig. They will bond with you through their voice!

Guinea pigs also need exercise. They should be getting about an hour or two of floor time a day.

What is floor time?? Floor time is when you allow your guinea pig to roam around a larger area in your home with supervision. Guinea pigs are curious creatures and they love to explore. Make sure the environment where they are exploring is guinea pig safe.

5. Guinea pigs feel entirely safe in their cage.

While guinea pigs may come to feel safe in their cages over time, they will have moments where loud noises scare them. Guinea pigs are prone to heart attacks if they get scared enough so make sure to provide TONS of hiding places in their cages. Pigloos are a favorite of mine.

6. Guinea pigs need baths every day.

NO! Guinea pigs clean themselves like cats. They should only be bathed from the neck down about every three months. Long-haired guinea pigs should get butt baths more often.

7. Guinea pigs make great gifts for children.

WRONG. Guinea pigs are a huge responsibility and must be cared for properly. Do not trust a child with a guinea pig unless you're sure she can properly care for the piggy.

Strawberry Hideys

Instagram: @navypigs

Guinea pigs need places to hide! This will make them feel safe.

guinea pig

About the author

Ariana Gonzalez

UCLA Alumna with a passion for animals (especially guinea pigs)

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