Adopting a small Pet – all you need to know about Guinea Pigs
Guinea Pigs can live up to on average 5 years. Because of their small size, they can be housed in a cage. They are curious and active animals. They sleep in intervals, this way they will be awake when the owner is around.
Guinea Pigs do not bite or scratch and they can be suitable for younger children handling them under adult supervision. However, as they tend to run away when you are trying to catch them, they can be hard for small children to pick them up from the cage.
Best is to keep them as a pair or with multiple Guinea Pigs. Although they do not breed as fast as rabbits do, it is best to have them sterilized. Their urine does smell, so the cage needs to be cleaned regularly. The more Guinea Pigs you have, the more often the cage needs to be cleaned.
Unlike other animals, Guinea Pigs do not produce their own Vitamin C (like humans and primates) and therefore need to take it from the food. All commercial brands of food, state they have added Vitamin C, but this vitamin oxidizes very fast once the bag of food is open. It is therefore advisable to give them Vitamin C every other day. You can dissolve a tablet in water (prepare fresh) and give it with a syringe directly into the mouth or add some small amount of strawberry jam to it to make it more appealing. Besides pallets, they need grass hay for a healthy intestinal tract. Occasionally they can have fruits and vegetables like apple, carrots, coriander, strawberries, parsley, pears, kale, and hibiscus.
Guinea pigs do not tolerate heat and cold well. They should mostly be kept indoors and away from air-conditioning. They are quite sensitive while young and can suffer from respiratory problems and constipation.
There is a variety of colors and types of Guinea Pigs, like Curly Haired, Smooth Haired, Long Haired and also Hairless Guinea Pigs. Longhaired and Curly Haired Guinea Pigs will require brushing at least 3 times a week and groomed by a professional groomer for bath time and hair trimming. As with Rabbits, Guinea Pig’s teeth grow constantly and need to be checked often. The teeth are best kept in shape by providing your Guinea Pig with a lot of chew toys specially made for them.
All in all, with the right care and dedication, Guinea pigs make wonderful pets for any family.
Most Guinea Pigs will whistle in joy when they know you are around, showing obvious signs of recognition.