Are you wondering if a guinea pig is the right pet for you? Take our quiz and test your knowledge!
Guinea pigs are lovable and cute animals and are perfect as a pet. You may be wondering
"Should I get a guinea pig? " or “ Are Guinea Pigs the right pet for me?”. Guinea pigs require lots of care and sound knowledge to allow them to lead happy and healthy lives. With guinea pigs living for an average of 4-7 years, it is also important to consider the long-term commitments.
Test and check your knowledge with this quiz to help make an informed decision about owning a guinea pig for the first time.
#1 What should you feed a guinea pig?
Guinea pigs should be provided with unlimited hay at ALL TIMES. Good quality hay makes up 80 - 90% of a guinea pig's diet alongside freshwater, pellets, and a variety of fresh fruit and vegetables.
Hay is essential for many areas of your guinea pig's health. With guinea pig's teeth constantly growing it is important that their teeth do not become overgrown. Constantly chewing hay will wear down your piggies teeth, keeping them at a healthy length!
With Guinea pigs designed to be constantly grazing, hay provides the essential high-fibre diet that they need in order to help keep their gut moving. To find out more check out our Importance of Hay blog.
Fresh fruit and vegetables should be provided daily for your guinea pigs. As guinea pigs cannot produce vitamin C, like humans, this must be obtained through their diet. One cup of leafy green vegetables should be provided either once a day, or one ½ cup in the morning and ½ cup in the evening.
Check out our free guinea pig care sheets with advice on the correct foods to feed your guinea pigs for a healthy and balanced diet.
#2 Can guinea pigs live alone?
NO! Guinea pigs are social animals and are at their happiest living with other guinea pigs. In certain countries, it is illegal to only keep one guinea pig due to them being social creatures. In the wild, guinea pigs live in large groups and raise their babies together. Even though guinea pigs enjoy human company and need interaction, this is no substitute for another guinea pig.
The ideal situation is to buy two or more guinea pigs of the same sex in order to prevent any unwanted litter. With guinea pigs having large personalities it is important to be mindful that in certain cases some guinea pigs may not get along. It is best to buy pairs of guinea pigs who have been introduced together at a few weeks old.
However, with the right care, it is possible to bond both older and newer guinea pigs. A great way to do this is by separating your guinea pigs at first and slowly introducing them. Our C&C Cages with dividers are the perfect solution to bonding new guinea pigs or separating fighting ones.
For tips and tricks on how to bond guinea pigs check out our blog.
If you are planning on keeping mixed male and female groups of guinea pigs it is important to get your boars neutered. Female guinea pigs can become pregnant as young as 3 weeks old so this is essential for preventing any accidental litters.
#3 Can guinea pigs live outside?
Yes. Guinea pigs can be kept both indoors and outdoors or a combination of both. The decision is a personal preference and takes into consideration weather and climate. Many guinea pigs currently live indoors and have the option of using a run on the grass to be outdoors in the summer months.
If you make the decision to keep your guinea pigs outdoors it is important to understand how to keep your guinea pig healthy and safe. Guinea pigs are vulnerable to all extremes of weather such as very hot or very cold. Guinea pigs are very sensitive to the cold and damp, so housing must be warm and dry enough to protect them.
If you decide to keep your guinea pigs outside the following points are crucial:
- Provide a large predator-proof wooden hutch that will not allow entry for any other animals
- Provide a separate sleeping area where your guinea pigs can hide and keep warm
- The hutch should be out of direct sunlight, weatherproof and draught-proof
If the temperature drops significantly, you may have to consider bringing them inside.
If your current guinea pigs are indoors and you decided to temporarily allow them outdoor time, check out our outdoor runs that are perfect for summer days on the grass.
#4 What should you do if a guinea pig is sick?
Due to guinea pigs being prey animals they have the natural instinct to hide illness and symptoms until it is too late. If your guinea pig is showing any signs of ailments it is important to get your guinea pig seen by an exotic vet immediately. As guinea pigs are small animals they are vulnerable to a wide variety of illnesses and can deteriorate very quickly in a matter of hours.
It is important to closely monitor your pet for any signs of illness. A healthy guinea pig is bright-eyed, alert, and will eat and defecate regularly. As guinea pigs have a huge appetite, a lack of interest in food is usually a sign of something wrong. Regularly weighing your guinea pig on a weekly basis is important to detect any changes in weight that may be linked to an illness. For more information on guinea pigs weight check out our blog here.
Keeping your guinea pig's environment clean and away from extreme temperatures and drafts will help reduce your guinea pig falling ill with any respiratory illnesses that are common in guinea pigs. Just like anything it is impossible to prevent certain illnesses, however, it is always best to be prepared. Our blog, What should you keep in a guinea pig emergency kit is full of useful tips for dealing with guinea pig illnesses.
Disclaimer: Please note that this is only advice and you should always consult with your veterinarian. If you suspect your guinea pig is sick, call your vet immediately.
#5 What cage should a guinea pig live in?
It is essential when keeping guinea pigs to ensure the cage is large enough to allow them to live comfortably. It is a well-known fact that many pet store cages are not suitable for guinea pigs. The size of a guinea pig's cage is detrimental to their health and wellbeing and having a large cage makes all the difference to the quality of their lives.
A C and C Cage is the perfect home for your guinea pigs. C&C Cages provide the ideal living situation for your guinea pig, allowing them the space they need to roam and to live a happy life. For two guinea pigs the minimum recommended space is 2x4 C&C = 10 ft2.
To learn more about guinea pig cage sizes check out our blog here.
The biggest benefit to a C&C Cage is the ability to move away from more traditional bedding to fleece liners. Fleece liners are a great alternative bedding choice for guinea pigs allowing them comfort and to reduce the change of respiratory illnesses. To learn more about fleece liners and alternative guinea pig bedding check out our blog.
Keeping a guinea pig cage clean is crucial to their health and well-being. With guinea pigs pooping up 100 times a day it is important to both spot and deep clean your cage. C&C Cages make cleaning guinea pigs quick and easy. For tips and tricks on cleaning your guinea pig cage see our blog on six guinea pig cleaning hacks I wish I knew.
#6 How much love does a guinea pig need?
Guinea pigs are naturally lovable and social creatures that love interacting with humans. It is proven that guinea pigs are not only smart but emotionally intelligent and need daily interaction and mental stimulation to prevent boredom. Guinea pigs have huge personalities and just like humans, each guinea pig is unique. Some guinea pigs are more skittish and prefer limited cuddle time. Other guinea pigs are more loving and love having unlimited cuddle time with their owners! As you bond and spend more time with your guinea pigs, you will begin to understand their individual needs.
Daily interaction and floortime keep your guinea pigs happy. Our guinea pig guide to happiness and understanding guinea pig noises blog will provide priceless knowledge on how to tell if your guinea pig is unhappy and understand their unique noises and personality. Spending regular time with your guinea pigs will develop a strong loving bond.
Our guide on how to tell if your guinea pig loves you is a great read to see if your guinea pig loves you back!
So, Is a guinea pig the right pet for you?
Guinea pigs are a long-term commitment and require lots of care. Researching and arming yourself with lots of knowledge before investing in a guinea pig will allow you to be prepared as a new pet owner. If you scored more than 80% you clearly know your stuff and are on your way to becoming a guinea pig expert!
If you can provide the six basic needs of a guinea pig then maybe a guinea pig is the perfect pet for you!
- Companionship - Guinea pigs are social animals so cannot be kept alone. Two or more guinea pigs, ideally of the same sex should be kept together.
- Healthy Diet- Guinea pigs should be fed unlimited hay and a variety of fruit and vegetables in order to produce Vitamin C.
- Large Living Space - Guinea pigs need space to live and roam. A C&C cage is the perfect home.
- Unlimited Hay- Guinea pigs' diet should consist of good quality, timothy hay to aid digestion and prevent dental issues.
- Love and Interaction - Guinea pigs are social animals that need daily interaction, love and care.
- Health Check-ups - Guinea pigs are susceptible to many illnesses and should be regularly checked. Funds to provide exotic vet care in an emergency should be available.