The care of guinea pigs is a much disputed topic, and so I will generally
stay in the accepted parameters, where most people agree on what is right and
wrong, and when I diverge from the safe middle ground, I usually will tell
You should give your guinea pig pellets that specifically
say they are for guinea pigs, and make sure that there are no sunflower seeds or
nuts in them, because the shells can get stuck in their throats and lead to disastrous
results. Some say you should only give them food at specific times, or a
specific amount, but I have given all my pigs an unlimited amount of pellets,
and seen no adverse results from it.
You should also give your pigs hay ó Timothy hay is the
best, but there are other hays (such as oat hay) that I have not tried that some
people say are good as well. Alfalfa hay is considered good for pregnant guinea
pigs, but is generally considered not as good for other guinea pigs. I refer
you to The Oxbow Hay Company. I have
never bought from them myself, since I have relatives who own a farm, who kindly
supply my with the hay I need, but many, many people say it is very good.
another Internet store that has been recommended to me and others is the American
For treats, you are not supposed to give nuts or seeds, or Iceberg
lettuce, but you can give:
Some people have had success with tomatoes and watermelon,
but my pigs have never liked them. I may have forgotten a couple, but I think
those are most of the acceptable treats.
Your guinea pig should get an adequate supple of Vitamin C, which is in fruits and vegetables. if you donít give then enough fruits or
vegetables, you should give them Vitamin C tablets, which can be dissolved in
Bedding and Cages:
This is a diverse category, and there are a lot of
different ideas floating around, and so I shall add my opinions to the rest. No
guinea pig should be housed in a cage that has a wire bottom. It hurts their
feet and can give them Bumblefoot. How big the
cage should be is widely contested, and I wonít bother making decrees on the
subject, but I tend to think that the bigger the better, within reason.
Aquariums are not good for two reasons: they have almost no air circulation, and
they are really tiny. Many guinea pig owners make their own cages, but some do
buy from stores.
For bedding, the best is Carefresh
(a word to the wise: the prices on their website can, quite possibly, be higher than at a
pet supply store near you), followed by aspen. Another good bedding in kiln
Normal pine and cedar are bad, because of the oils they secrete. Some people also
use a bedding called Yesterdayís
News with success, although I have not heard much about it, so I canít
completely verify that it is one of the better beddings. I recommend putting a
couple sheets of newspaper on the bottom of the cage, and then putting the
bedding on top.
You should give your guinea pig a water bottle instead of
a water dish, since they will climb into the water, and excrete into it. Guinea
pigsí toenails do have nerves in them, so you must be careful if you cut them
yourself. If the toenails are clear, you just have to make sure not to cut the
pink part, but if your pig has black toenails, you have look at the underside of
the nail and see how much of an indent there is in the bottom you want to the
indent to be about half way into the nail, when you stop. (I am not a good
person to ask advice from on black nails ó if you find a site with a better
explanation, please send it to me).
You should separate
your male baby guinea pigs from their mother at around three weeks, and should
not breed pigs until they are anywhere from four to nine months ó the parameters
person to person. You should keep your guinea pigs out of drafts, and of course
they like being held the more you hold them, the tamer they become. If you have a Peruvian guinea pig, you need to brush or
often, to prevent its hair from getting matted. You generally donít need to bathe and Abyssinian or American Shorthair, unless they get really
muddy or dirty, since they clean themselves, although I think you should bathe
Peruvians (I have never had a Peruvian, so all of this is secondhand) every once
and a while.