Guinea pigs have been a firm favourite as a family pet for many years now. They are sociable creatures who depend on the companionship of other piggies but also enjoy interacting with their owners.
Your home will never be quiet again and opening the fridge door or rustling a bag will achieve as much excitement from your guinea pigs as saying “walkies” to a dog! Here are some day-to-day tips on how to care for these lovable and charming little animals.
To help your piggies live a long and healthy life, their diet should be as natural and varied as possible. Guinea pigs are herbivores who require a full belly of fibre at all times. A healthy diet should include the following:
Daily fresh water is extremely important. Many guinea pigs prefer to drink from a bowl - bottles are suitable but can often leak and be tricky to clean.
Foraging for your piggies is a cost-effective and organic way of feeding them. Some forage, like stinging nettles and rose petals, can be dried out and given as treats later in the year. Other plants such as fruits, vegetables or soft leaves like mallow can be fed on the day.
This list is not exhaustive – there are many other tasty, fresh feeds available for your guinea pigs. If you would like more inspiration, please contact our Small Animal Team
Dry mixes made with lots of colourings, dried fruits and cereals can have a negative effect on your guinea pigs’ health. If the mix is made with lots of dried soft fruit or peas your guinea pigs are likely to suffer with dental or urinary problems.
Colourful treats, sticky honey based treats, salt licks and mineral blocks can all be harmful to your guinea pigs. If you’re feeding them a good quality natural diet, you won’t need any form of supplements.
Most guinea pigs will wriggle or try to run away when you want to pick them up - this is completely natural. Although you can socialise with them, feed them from your hand and have them sit on your lap, they’ll always remain slightly wary of you - a potential ‘predator’.
Guinea pigs can be suitable for children, but make sure you supervise at all times to prevent the piggies being squeezed or dropped.
When choosing your guinea pigs, consider going for mature adults that are used to being handled by young children rather than starting with babies. Young guinea pigs can be extremely fast and easy to squeeze or drop, whereas a mature adult will sit happily on your lap eating some treats.
Never allow a child to carry or walk around with your guinea pig in their arms. Encourage them to sit on the floor with a blanket on their lap for the guinea pig to sit on. This way, if your guinea pig moves, there’s no risk of a fall injury.