Guinea Pig is a pet which is popular especially in United States, Australia and United Kingdom. In recent years, they started to get worldwide popularity. So, with this article, you will learn lots of useful information about guinea pigs. If you have a guinea pig or want to own one, you should read it carefully.
I will try to give everything you need to know about guinea pigs in this article. It doesn’t consist from only internet researches, it also contains our 2 years experience of having and caring guinea pigs. In this article, we don’t try to show their beautiful parts for commercial purposes like other websites do. We will share the complications of having guinea pigs and their solutions too.
In short, you can reach the contents of article that i parted, right below. If you want, you can read the topic you wondered about, but my advice is to take sometime and read them all.
- 1 What Is Guinea Pig?
- 2 Guinea Pig Diet – Guinea Pig Nutrition
- 3 Guinea Pig Cage
- 4 Guinea Pig Care
- 5 Guinea Pig Breeding – Sexing – Pregnancy – Birth and Babies
- 6 Guinea Pig Breeds
- 7 Conclusion
What Is Guinea Pig?
There are some different names in public. Guinea pig, cavy, cavia etc. Inspite of the word ‘pig’ , these animals have no relation with pigs. They are rodents of mammal family.
Most of the websites says that guinea pigs don’t gnaw things around although they are rodents. But this is wrong. I ensure you, they gnaw everything they could. Insomuch as they gnaw to get to know an object. Good news is you don’t need to worry because they don’t gnaw human. I will mention the reasons in oncomming parts of article.
Their origin lasts for 10.000 years ago. In Middle and South America, people were breeding guinea pig for meat. After Spanishes discovered South America, guinea pigs get moved to Europe and they started to be a popular pet. In recent years, they have a world wide popularity and they are really cute critters.
Guinea Pig Diet – Guinea Pig Nutrition
Guinea pigs are herbivorous animals. They eat grass, vegetables, fruits, nuts etc. They need vitamin C a lot, so they must eat foods contain vitamin C. Guinea pig favorite foods are pepper, tomato, lettuce, cucumber, carrot etc.
Besides, you should keep dry food, timothy hay or alfalfa hay in their cage continuously. They supply their daily fiber needs from these dry foods and hay. There are pressed dry vegetables in their dry food but still you can’t feed them only dry foods.
It will be useful if you choose a dish bowl that doesn’t overturn for pets. You can get them from any petshop.
They love tomato and cucumber peels that you’re about to junk. They eat tomato and pepper stems completely. If you have 2 guinea pigs at home, you can turn these stuff to an advantage!
You must refresh their water daily. Usually they drink their water from vertical water bottles with nipple. Don’t use cat or dog bowls for water.
These extremely fearful critters run so fast when they feel themselves in danger, and in this bustle they could overthrow their water bowls (which are for cats and dogs) over and over again, even jump into it. Experience is talking. 🙂
Best Guinea Pig Food
You can provide their dry foods from internet or petshops. We tried almost every brand, but yet we can’t say which one is best guinea pig food.
Guinea pigs like fresh vegetables and fruits much more. They are less interested with dry food. Our advice is; you must buy the dry foods as wholesale, because they have a long expiration date. Thus, you can get them much cheaper.
As hay, you can prefer alfalfa hay. They love it either but they musn’t eat them too much. Because it contains much calcium so it can cause kidney stones. About supplying it, if you have a chance, you can go to a village which has farmers and buy it from there. Mostly, they don’t even want money from you. Pay attention for less wild herb in it. If you don’t have that chance, you can buy it from internet or petshop.
For more detailed information about diet, you can read our Guinea Pig Diet – Guinea Pig Nutrition article.
Guinea Pig Cage
Guinea pigs can live in cages handmade or bought but it must be as spacious as possible. Besides, guinea pigs are very social cirtters so we advice you to take two guinea pigs at least for their own goodness. Therefore you need a spacious place enough for two guinea pigs.
In petshops, guinea pig cages are too small and useless. Considering that you need 0,7 m2 space for each guinea pig, for two guinea pigs you need 1,5 m2 space at least. But if you have more space than that, it will be more useful for you.
Cage’s floor must be maden of a plain matterial. Don’t use wire floored cages, wires can hurt their feet, there could be nail breakings, even bleedings.
You can place swarf or cat litter all over the cage floor or especially specific areas like their peeing corners ( recommended). But the cat litter may not be the right choice in terms of hygiene. Some scented cat litters have chemical ingredients which are harmful for guinea pigs. Using swarf or organic products could be the right thing to do.
Guinea Pig Training
Guinea pigs can be trained. When it called training, it comes to mind litter training. On the other hand, you can train them for some moves and figures by using prize foods. But guinea pig owners don’t prefer that usually.
For the litter training which is part of Guinea Pig Training, there is an effective method. We explained this method with detailes. If you want to learn how to give your guinea pig litter training you can read our Guinea Pig Litter Training In 9 Steps article.
The cage’s walls must be 12-15 cm and completely closed. Otherwise all the swarfs, cat litter or dirts can be scattered out. It’s adequate that if the cage’s walls’ total lenght with wire barrier is 25-30 cm.
If you put roofed bedding materials into the cage, it will make them feel safe when they’re sleeping. It’s their nature that they don’t like being exposed in the middle of a place. They always try to find a shelter and if you don’t put these roofed bedding area they will always be grumpy and scratch the floor all the time.
To make the floor cleaning easier, our advice is using disposable picnic envelope. There are a lot of kinds of them. Besides, these envelopes are waterproof for cage floor.
With a fine litter training, these picnic envelopes can stand for 3-4 days. It makes your floor cleaning easier. You can gather it easily and throw away. When you set up the new envelope, it could be useful if you spread it with covering the walls and fixate it with band.
Last thing to say, you can put wooden unpainted toys for them to chew and get fun. For detailed information check our Guinea Pig Cage and Equipments article.
Guinea Pig Care
Guinea pig care is very easy work. First of all, the ideal temperature is 18-25 degrees Celcius. You must protect them from overheat or extreme cold. You shouldn’t expose them to direct sunlight. Even though you can put their cage in your balconyim summer, on the winter months you must get them into the house.
Guinea Pig Bath – Cleaning
You can bathe them once in 2-3 weeks in summer, once in 4-6 weeks in winter. You must prepare their water before, and it must be warmish.
As a shampoo, you can buy puppy shampoo from petshops. To get more detailed information about guinea pig bath, you can take a look at our Guinea Pig Bath Step By Step article.
Additionally, you can visit our Long Haired Guinea Pig: Guinea Pig Hair Care and Shedding Tips article for more information about guinea pig hair care.
Guinea Pig Nail Clipping
You must cut their nails once in 1-1.5 months. You must be very careful when you do it. If you cut it much, it could bleed and hurt them.
Guinea pig nail clipping must be done properly. You can use a light to see it clearly. Under the light, you can see the vein in nail so you can cut it without any accidents. You must clip it from the top a little.
If you hesitate to do that, you can take them to vet.
Guinea Pig Dental Care
To prevent your guinea pigs’ teeth overgrowth, you must give them wooden toys to chew. They don’t have to be toys from petshops. Clean tree bough will be useful.
Guinea Pig Diseases
It may not be easy to find an experienced vet about guinea pigs. It’s easier to find them in big cities, but harder in small cities or districts. So may be you should take care of them properly.
Diseases come with symptoms like coughs, sneezes, diarrhea etc. For example, diarrhea could be fatal for your guinea pigs. So you should avoid to give them green vegetables much.
To get more information about diseases, you should read our Guinea Pig Diseases – Most Common Skin Diseases article.
Guinea Pig Breeding – Sexing – Pregnancy – Birth and Babies
Guinea Pigs can breed a lot quickly. A new mother which is gave birth just a few hours ago can mate and get pregnant again. But consecutive pregnancy could be dangerous for both mother and babies.
The experienced vets suggest to seperate the male guinea pigs before or rihgt after the birth. Generally, 3-4 babies are born. These 3-4 babies can dubble up their mother’s weight when she’s pregnant.
On the other side, female babies can be ready to give birth when they are 4 weeks old. But early pregnancy is unhealty for them. As she doesn’t grow enough, probably her babies won’t be healty . Insomuch as , pregnancy could make so much presure to her internal organs and that can kill her.
On the other hand, if she is late to be pregnant, it’s unhealty too. Especially after 6-8 months, cartilage tissue of their hip bones will decrease and during the birth they could seperate instead stretch, so this will finish with death.
Spaying female guinea pigs is a risky operation. You need a real experienced vet for that. Spaying males is less risky and an experienced vet can manage that without trouble. So male and female guinea pigs can live together.
You can read everywhere that guinea pigs are very social critters. Yes. They really are.
We owned one guinea pig (male) at the beginning, it was very obvious that he was unhappy no matter how much we look after him. He was standing slothful all the time in his cage or he was trying to run from the cage.
We decided to own another friend for him. It was risky to get a female so we owned a male again. Because of they are not real brothers (from same mother), first they had difficulties to get along with each other. But in time, they used to live together and except little arguments, they love each other a lot. 🙂
Guinea Pig Breeding Details
Pegnancy Duration: 60-72 days
Weight of A Normal Newborn: 75-100 gram
Time Of Delactation : 14-21 days
Weight Of Delactation: 150-200 gram
Estrus Mating Frequency: 15-17 days
Earliest Mating Time For Females: 24-30 days
Earliest Mating Time For Males: 19-21 days.
As you see, female guinea pigs can get pregnant in a short time like 24-30 days. The healty time of delactation for your new owned babies must be 3 weeks at least. Therefore, pay attention for where you own your female guinea pig from. Otherwise she can be pregnant when you own her.
Guinea Pig Breeds
Despite of what’s supposed to be, guinea pig breeds are not unnatural. Although some breeds of guinea pigs are used as experimental animals in labs, not much of them have altered genetics. There are 2 specieses which are maden in laboratory; Skinny and Teddy guinea pigs.
There are almost 10 kinds of guinea pig breeds. Usually they’re classed according to their hair’s lenght and shape. Long haired guinea pigs could seem cute and cool, but their care is very hard. Therefore you should think about taking extra time for them before owning.
Short-haired guinea pig breeds are less troublesome than long-haired ones. At least you don’t have to waste much time for their hair care.
You can get some information about most popular guinea pig breeds from below. Also, you can learn more detailed information about guinea pig breeds by visiting our Guinea Pig Breeds category or Guinea Pig Breeds Article.
At this category, there are informations for every each breed that where their origins are from, how they are look like, how to care them and which breed is suitable for who.. If you didn’t decide what breed you’re about to own yet, or which breed you should own for second time, you can get which breed is for you.
Peruvian Guinea Pig
Peruvian guinea pigs are famous with their long hairs. It’s a plesure to have one of them and they show their difference in other breeds. People who saw this pet will be amazed and interested. They look very cute.
Their personality has curiosity and timidity. If this curiosity unites with their energetic nature, it comes up a charming species. After all that praise, i have to remind you that, this breed’s care is as privileged as themselves. If you are going to own one, you must take extra time for their hair care.
To get more information about caring and other characteristics of peruvian guinea pigs, take a look at our Peruvian Guinea Pig And Characteristics article.
Abyssinian Guinea Pig
According to various information sources, Abyssinian guinea pigs origins are coming from Ethiopia/Abyssinia. Along with there are no certain evidences, guinea pigs’ origins are coming from South America, this Abyssinia theory can’t be acceptable. Anyway in today’s conditions, there are no guinea pig breeds in Abyssinia. Abyssinian guinea pig’s origin isn’t known for certain, they are accepted as occured before they moved to Europe.
They are the second most common breed in guinea pigs, very famous and the favorite ones of competitions. Their popularity is coming from rozettes in their fur. They have a zippy and energetic personality. Especially young Abyssinians are like hyperactive. Their care is a little hard than short-straight haired ones but if you have time, they are worth it.
If you think to own an Abyssinian guinea pig, maybe you should get more information about them. To get more detailed information about their rozettes, characteristics and care take a look at our Abyssinian Guinea Pig And Characteristics article.
American Guinea Pig
Their origin lasts for 5000 years B.C. They are the most natural breed in guinea pig breeds. They got moved to Europe in 1500’s and after that a lot of variations of them have been started to breed. Some of these variations are; dalmatian, himalayan, white crested, lilac etc.
They are the most common breed in guinea pigs. There are a lot of color variety of this breed. Anyway, there is a reason why they have that much popularity. Aside the arguments about selling animals, even petshops want to sell them most. Because this breed is very tough and convinient to breed. They have more resistance for diseases than other breeds.
If you want more detailed information about American guinea pigs, we suggest you to read our American Guinea Pig And Characteristics article.
Teddy Guinea Pig
This breed is not very common. It’s one of the breeds which are maden in laboratory. It’s not known that why they are maden in lab. There is an uncertainty about this topic, but not about their cuteness. 🙂
They take more attention recent years especially in Europe and America. There are rightful reasons. Teddy guinea pigs are really interesting and they have tehir names from Teddy Bear. Teddy guinea pig’s most prominent and unique characteristic is their puffy fur. Their fur is very different and it seperates them from other breeds.
They have dense, fluffy hairs like Abyssinian guinea pigs but it’s shorter and with no rozettes. American guinea pigs have dense hairs too but not puffy like Teddy’s.
In short, even if they’re not common, they have a unique and cute apperance. For more information about them, please take a look at our Teddy Guinea Pig And Characteristics article.
Except those, there are breeds like sheltie, lunkary, sateen, texel, skinny etc. We will add information and images for each breed to Guinea Pig Breeds category in time. Keep following us.
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