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10 Most Important Guinea Pig Facts For New Owners

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Tim Rhodes

Guinea pigs are social and wonderful; they make friendly family pets as they are gentle and inquisitive creatures, so read about the 10 most important guinea pig facts for new owners.

Like all pets, guinea pigs require as much affection and care to keep them happy and healthy living together with you as their owner.

But if you are a first-time owner of a pet guinea pig, here are 10 guinea pig facts for new owners that you will need to know about your furry little friend to guide you along the way.

10 Most Important Guinea Pig Facts For New Owners

Here’s a list of the 10 most important guinea pig facts for new owners.

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Last update on 2021-11-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

1. Guinea Pigs Require a Comfortable Living Space

Guinea pigs are not suited for a small cage, guinea pigs need plenty of space to live and roam around.

This is particularly important, especially if you have more than one pet guinea pig sharing the same living space.

You could also place them outdoors confined within a hutch but only do so if the area is comfortable, waterproof, and predator-free.

The hutch should be placed in an area that is not exposed directly to sunlight as guinea pigs cannot tolerate extreme temperatures.

If kept inside, guinea pigs will need a relatively quiet area, they could use some quiet time.

Similar to rabbits, they have sensitive hearing so they must not be left in noisy areas around your home.

For both cages and hutches, arranging their sleeping area so that it is separated and out of sight helps your guinea pig roam around without accidentally tainting the bedding.

The hay and bedding laid out in its living area must be changed regularly to maintain hygiene and prevent diseases from spreading.

2. Guinea Pigs Need a Constant Balanced Diet

It is important to remember that guinea pigs have a sensitive gastrointestinal tract, making them prone to digestive issues with common symptoms such as diarrhea.

To keep their digestive system healthy and functioning, guinea pigs will need non-dusty hay available to them at all times.

They will also require a mix of foods of fruits and vegetables as well as pellets made for guinea pigs that are easily bought from a pets store.

The reason why guinea pigs need a constant and balanced diet is due to their sensitive digestive systems.

When introducing new foods to your pet guinea pig, it is advised to do so at a gradual pace over a week to prevent upsetting its digestive system.

This golden rule must always be followed unless advised otherwise by your vet.

As with other pets, keeping the water and food bowl filled is vital with leftover foods, and water is replaced with fresh ones regularly to prevent potential bacteria growth.

Owners should also study what kind of fruits and vegetables they can and cannot give to their guinea pigs.

Food that is healthy for humans is not always healthy for guinea pigs, and the balance of nutrients in fruits and vegetables can be detrimental to their health.

Likewise, never overfeed your guinea pigs, as they can eat too much.

3. Guinea Pigs are Sensitive to Infections

While these creatures are slightly bigger in the rodent family, they are also quite susceptible to a number of infections and diseases.

Some of the common problems found in cavies are skin infestations, urinary obstruction, scurvy, respiratory infections, and diarrhea.

While there are several other problems that are much more worrying like a corneal ulcer, these are only a few common issues guinea pig owners face and should know how to act when symptoms arise.

Pet owners must take extra precautions when it comes to an ill guinea pig as this is where their bodies are openly susceptible to more bacteria infections either due to an open wound, low antibody count, or a stressful living environment.

It is emphasized that the guinea pig’s living areas must be clean and have a sufficient amount of space as to not impact stressful conditions on your cavy as this could result in unwanted symptoms such as anorexia, hair loss, or teeth chattering.

An uncomfortable guinea pig is an animal easily affected by harmful bacteria.

4. Guinea Pigs Are Friendly to Other Guinea Pigs

It is not a secret that guinea pigs are sociable creatures even to other cavies, making them wonderful family pets.

As they live in herds with others, they will have no problems easily integrating with the same kind of its own and you can also give each one of them a cute name.

There is nothing wrong with owning one pig guinea, however, the decision to have more than one guinea pig is often based on what is more suitable for the pet owner as well as the guinea pig itself.

Usually, deciding to get more than two guinea pigs comes from giving what’s best for your own cavy.

Do keep note that if both guinea pigs are under six months old and are of the same sex, they may have difficulty getting along.

This becomes much obvious as they enter into adolescence.

Also, make sure that there is enough space for multiple pigs guinea to roam around.

A lack of space from overcrowding even from one additional guinea pig will make them susceptible to infections and diseases.

5. Hidden Symptoms Can Be Checked In Its Hair Coat

Your guinea pig’s coat of hair can tell a lot about its health.

Due to their thick coat, guinea pigs would need to rely on their owners to brush through their hairs in order to spot annoying parasites that may be residing on their skin.

When handling your guinea pig, always do so gently by holding it on your lap before beginning examinations.

The main goal when it comes to checking your pig’s coat is to search for possible bald areas, crawling creatures, or scratch injuries.

More often than not, flea infestations can infect your guinea pig easily especially after it is let to roam around in the outdoors or even being in the same room as a flea-infected animal.

Prevent your guinea pig from scratching itself to the point of injuring its skin by taking the necessary precautions against skin parasites and infestations, mainly by keeping its environment clean and regularly grooming your guinea pig.

Moreover, a healthy guinea pig’s coat often looks dull whenever it is ill.

So be sure to check on other symptoms that may be affecting it.

6. Guinea Pigs are Encouraged to Exercise Regularly

As advised to provide your guinea pigs enough space to roam, this also implies that exercise is vital for cavies.

They are naturally sociable creatures so a lack of exercise makes guinea piglets incredibly timid and docile.

Like all animals, guinea pigs experience boredom, making it a need for you to provide them as much fun to keep their bodies active and keep their bundles of energy occupied throughout the day.

Toys are essential to keep guinea pigs entertained.

There are also fun activities you can try that will definitely help strengthen the bond between you and your pets while at the same time, enjoy a fun-loving time with it as it grows healthier and happier.

Start getting creative by creating an obstacle course made up of a series of tubes wide enough for your guinea pig to crawl through and then switching the tubes up to a different course weekly.

As guinea pigs are smart animals, this will help them stimulate their brain and keep their curious minds active.

You could also interact with soft sounds to signal an activity, such as using a soft bell when it is feeding time.

Don’t forget, keeping your guinea pig safe from obstacles and toys that may potentially harm it is important to let your pets have fun freely on their own.

7. Guinea Pigs Need Vitamin C in Their Diet

Guinea pigs cannot store nor synthesize vitamin C in their bodies just like us.

Therefore, they require vitamin C supplements, whether it’s from tables, fruits, or vegetables to prevent vitamin C deficiency issues from spiraling up.

Scurvy is a common issue among guinea pigs as owners would often forget to add vitamin C foods into their diets.

Even as they are not able to consume all kinds of fruits and vegetables, vitamin C-infused pellets for guinea pigs can be easily purchased at a pets store.

Vitamin C deficiency affects your guinea pig’s bones and joints, making them swell painfully as the cartilage and bone formation becomes abnormal.

Not only that, vitamin C is vital in creating collagen, which is a structural protein created to maintain blood vessels, bone formation, and heals wounds.

Guinea pigs experiencing a much severe deficiency rate over time may result in bleeding around the gums and teeth, skin, and in its internal organs than most pets.

This makes it incredibly painful for cavies to move and chew their food.

8. Guinea Pigs Need to Wear Down Their Teeth

It is obvious that guinea pigs have very long teeth.

It’s important for pet owners to check their guinea pig’s teeth regularly to spot any symptoms that may hint out that their teeth might need attention.

A sign that your guinea pig has healthy teeth can be seen if your pet is consuming its food normally without any signs of stress or discomfort as this means that its teeth are being worn down naturally through their meals.

Healthy teeth in guinea pigs will have both their top and bottom incisors to be at roughly the same length with no signs of decay.

Even so, as healthy as a guinea pig’s diet can be, their teeth may not be on par.

A guinea pig’s diet can be quite complex to those who are new owners as they require a high fiber yet low-calorie diet with a balanced amount of grass and hay.

Feeding the right foods helps to prevent future dental problems.

Feeding compressed pellets made for guinea pigs alongside fresh grass and hay are great at keeping their teeth worn down at a healthy length.

They can also benefit from having something to chew or gnaw on like clean tree branches or hardwoods to give them an extra hand on nibbling.

9. Don’t Neglect Vet Check-ups

Many pet owners may be guilty of avoiding a trip to the vet.

With the existence of the internet, people can easily find home remedies that can save them a hassling trip to a veterinarian.

Unfortunately, for guinea pigs, that cannot happen.

Registering your guinea pig with a vet is an important step and should be done as early as possible.

Instead of trusting an internet forum on how to self-medicate an ill guinea pig, your vet will be able to run proper diagnosis, prescribe the right kind of medicine according to the kind of illness, run health checks, give vaccinations, and provide necessary advice on how to take care of your guinea pig with utmost certainty that it will be cured.

Registering with a local vet at the start right after adopting a guinea pig can save you a lot of time and cost, especially when your pig falls sick.

Furthermore, take the opportunity to ask questions about your guinea pig’s well-being during routine vaccinations or a regular health check-up.

If you’re not sure about which vet to register, choosing a vet based on ratings or ask for recommendations from other guinea pig owners can help.

These are some things to consider when thinking about getting a guinea pig.

10. Guinea Pigs Require Commitment

A guinea pig typically has an average lifespan of around 4 to 8 years.

While some guinea pigs don’t manage to live very long, but other pigs that live in a healthy and happy environment can live up to a much older age.

Even though guinea pigs do not have long life spans as with a car or a dog, they still require commitment from you as their owner for care, protection, and love.

Simply keeping them in a cage with food and a bed is not enough as this form of commitment also includes understanding their needs, trips to the vet, and interacting with it.

A neglected guinea pig will not live up to be the sociable and loving animals they usually areas more often than not, a shy and docile guinea pig is a big sign that it is not doing so well living in the environment that you placed it in.

So before making another commitment to adopt another guinea pig, learn to get to know the one that you have.

All guinea pigs have a vibrant personality, and your guinea pig definitely has a personality waiting to be opened up to you.

There is no need to think that owning a guinea pig is an easy task, it’s quite the opposite, although it is rewarding it is going to be hard sometimes to figure out what does your guinea pig need.

The top guinea pig products on the market:

Last update on 2021-11-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

What Do I Need To Know About Owning a Guinea Pig?

Pay close attention to what your guinea pig might need because these pets are social beings and would really need you to spend a good amount of time with them.

Taking care of such a small animal with a large personality is not easy.

Doesn’t matter if it’s young, old, male or female make sure are only buying high-quality food and items.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this list of 10 guinea pig facts for new owners.

If you see something that’s not on this list and should be, we’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

Final Thoughts

Guinea pigs are social creatures and great family pets because they are gentle and inquisitive.

They require much affection and care to keep them happy but all the time and effort you invest into your pet’s wellbeing is worth it!

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