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How To/ Taking Care Of A Guinea Pig

Bathing and GroomingSome guinea pigs like a bath, others hate it, but with boars it is necessary from time to time, as their grease gland near their bottom can become quite messy.

Use only a medicated animal shampoo (never use human or baby shampoo!) and use your bath or a plastic bowl, but nothing to high, as they will struggle and if they fall from the height of a sink, they can break bones or worse. Never leave them unattended.

The water should only be 1 – 1.5 inches deep and barely covering their tummies. Shampoo well but avoiding the eyes and ears and then rinse as thoroughly as you can, making sure all soap suds are gone.

Have two old towels at hand, one for mopping most of the water from their coat and another fresh dry one to sit cuddling him/her until they are completely dry.

Some guinea pigs will accept being dried by a hairdryer, but if they do, make sure it is on the coolest setting and never put a guinea pig back in its cage (indoors or out) before it is thoroughly dry.

Brushing is a must, especially for the longer haired variety, and just like dogs they do moult and they usually love this activity because it means they are receiving cuddles and attention.

Guinea pigs need fresh fruit and vegetables daily and at least twice a day, they are grazers naturally so are constantly eating.

They love routine and will generally let you know when feeding time is by “weeping” at you and in Guinness’ case,

running up and down at the front of the cage like a mad thing and then standing on his hind legs making eye contact with me.

My daily routine is as follows:-
Remove all uneaten food every morning and generally spring clean (remove piggie poo)

MorningFresh water and hay
Top up dried food (you will need a dried food with added calcium – this is a must)
I then prepare a bowl of freshly cut and washed carrot, cucumber and celery.

MiddayA handful of washed curly kale

Early EveningA large piece of apple (each) and a handful of greens

Bedtime (Guinness has learned this word, along with may others)A large selection of greens, my boys favourites are curly kale, spinach and cabbage.

Foods to AVOID AT ALL COSTSChocolate
Cheese, milk etc..
If it’s not plain water (tap or still mineral) do not give it to your guinea pig.
Lettuce (some lettuces, especially Iceberg can make them very ill)
Anything in the “hot” department, i.e. peppers, garlic or onions
Bird seed or sunflower seeds and nuts

If you are in doubt, always ask your vet, this is very important, as some foods can cause serious harm.

CleaningApart from their daily spring clean, I completely clean my babies out twice a week

Wash all items, including toys, igloos, food bowls and water bottles in the hottest water you can bear as this will kill most germs.

If using an animal disinfectant, ALWAYS make sure that these are rinsed well before drying and reintroducing to their environment.

Give the bottom of the case a complete scrub and remove all wee and poo stains, if this is done properly there should be no residue left whatsoever. You would be surprised how many cages I have seen with large brown stains completely burned into the plastic. Yuck!

PlaytimeGuinea pigs like to run and “Popcorn” (jumping on the spot with a slight wiggle) so make as much time as you can for your guinea pigs to come out of their cage and run around. Make sure they are safe and block off areas which they can squeeze behind, especially where you have hidden wires as this can be very dangerous for them. They will chew anything and everything, so beware.

Health and General MaintenanceWhen brushing always feel along the whole of your guinea pig looking for little lumps or scabs, which if found should be inspected immediately by a good vet.

If your guinea pig is scratching more than usual, this could be an indication of mites and should be treated as soon as possible.

Always make sure their eyes are bright and clear and make sure their noses are clear from runny discharge as this would indicate a respiratory condition.

As my guinea pigs are indoor piggies, they need regular and routine visits to the vet to have their nails trimmed as they don’t have the opportunity to wear them down naturally.

Give your guinea pig a comfortable sized cage so they have room to roam around. At a very minimum, one guinea pig should have 7.5 square feet to live in. Two guinea pigs should have more than 10.5 square feet in one cage. Inside the home there should be objects where the guinea pig can hide in so they don't feel threatened. If the cage isn't 18 inches high, have a lid on top of the cage because you might find out that the guinea pig can jump out.

Keep the cage in an area where the temperature stays within 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. If the area is too hot, your guinea pig may suffer heat stroke.
Clean your guinea pig's cage once a week. This will help prevent diseases. Consider designating certain areas of your guinea pig's cage for certain activities, such as sleeping, eating and playing to help keep the area tidy.

Give your guinea pig commercial guinea pig food you can find at pet stores. Guinea pigs also love fresh fruit, hay and water. Throw away any fresh food that isn't eaten each day to keep your guinea pig from eating anything rotten. Let your guinea pig have a variety of food so it doesn't get bored.

Bathe your guinea pig and trim its nails weekly. Long-haired guinea pigs should also get their hair trimmed. It may take a few times for your guinea pig to get used to this sort of thing, but once it does it will gladly cooperate.
Let your guinea pig outside its cage to play for a few minutes every day. Just be very careful with children or other animals that are also lose. Pick up any electric wires and toxic plants. If you can, keep all dogs and cats in a separate room to avoid any kind of accident.

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