Since we last talked about how getting a guinea pig was a great lesson in delayed gratification and impulse control, we’ve added another guinea pig to the mix. They are getting along great and their squeaks and purrs make them amazing pets. Many people have reached out to me to find out how we are enjoying out pet guinea pigs and what they need to consider before getting some.
First, the short story is that we LOVE them. I was not one hundred percent sure about them because they ARE rodents. However, I have been very pleasantly surprised.
Things to Know About Pet Guinea Pigs:
- They live for an average of 5-7 years but can live much longer.
- They need a pretty big cage. We are going to buy a new one today because ours is too small.
- They need fresh leafy greens and vegetables to be healthy.
- If they don’t get enough Vitamin C they can get scurvy.
- You need to use a cloth when holding them because they pee and poo whenever they need to. It sounds gross but is mostly a non-issue for us as they rarely pee and their poo is just little tiny pellets.
- Guinea Pigs are social creatures. It is best to get two if you get any. Two females are condidered the “optimal” pairing but any same sex pair can work. If you get a male and a female, you WILL be overrun with babies. Just don’t do it.
- You must buy specific guinea pig food so that it will have the vitamins they require. You cannot use rabbit or hamster food instead.
- Guinea pigs have teeth that grow throughout their life span so you have to give them lots to chew on to keep the growth in check.
- Like any animal, guinea pigs can have different personalities. Make sure to handle and interact with a guinea pig before you bring it home!
- Guinea pigs can make noises! They purr, sing and chatter.
- Consider adopting a guinea pig from your local animal shelter. Often they are young guinea pigs from people who inadvertantly got a male and female guinea pig pair and had lots and lots of babies.
- Did I mention that you shouldn’t get a male/female pair. Seriously. Don’t.
Pet Guinea Pig Essentials
Here are the things you will need immediately upon getting a new guinea pig:
Guinea Pig Cage – Make sure it is big enough and then consider buying the next size up. Guinea pigs can become overweight if they don’t get enough exercise and it is hard to run around a cage that is too small. We have found that the water bottle that comes in cage kits are usually crap so don’t be afraid to go with a stand alone cage and buy the pieces and parts separately.
Water Bottle – Most guinea pigs will be trained to use a water bottle. Dishes are not recommended because they tip them over. We like glass bottles which allows you to install it inside or outside of the cage. Plastic will get chewed.
Food Dish – A heavy ceramic dish works best. Otherwise they can flip it or may chew on it. If you have two piggies, consider getting two dishes.
Guinea Pig Hut – Guinea pigs are prey animals so they need a place to hide to feel secure. A guinea pig house is a must. If you have two guinea pigs, you may want to buy two houses so they can have their own space if they want.
Guinea Pig Bedding – This is the brand we use and I LOVE it because there is no smell. Zero. The key is to clean the cage often. Every 7-10 days for one piggy and every 3-5 days for two. Wood chips work but have to be specific for guinea pigs. Cedar shavings are NOT okay and can make your piggies very sick.
Timothy Hay – One of the main parts of a Guinea Pig’s diet is hay. Our piggies love the stuff and plow through it in no time. You have to make sure to keep them stocked up! We prefer to just put a handful of hay in their cage instead of using a hay feeder. We found that trying to get the hay in the feeder made a huge mess.
Guinea Pig Food – Make sure to buy food that is made just for guinea pigs!
Those are the things you HAVE to have. We are on to the “nice to have” items like a guinea pig leash, an outdoor play fence and more. Really, the sky is the limit.
Have you considered pet guinea pigs? What questions can I help you with?
Here is a fun video of our guinea pigs, Taffy and Gumdrop. (note that their cage is MUCH too small which we are remedying today).