Guinea pigs are often considered low maintenance starter pets. While they do not require vaccinations such as dogs and cats, their propensity for problems such as dental disease requires regular veterinary visits. They are a long-term commitment with an average life span of 5 to 7 years. The oldest guinea pig currently under my care is 9 years old. However, guinea pigs can be fun, rewarding companions for both children and adults. If your life is in transition, a guinea pig may be more portable than a dog or a cat, but remember that five years or more is a significant period of time. Read on to learn more about pet guinea pigs, and to decide whether one of these cuties is right for you.
Domestic guinea pigs, which are also known as cavies, are friendly, social pets that enjoy interacting with other animals as well as their owners. These animals, originally from South Africa, will love being your pet, especially when you have more than one. They also love having plenty of space, so make sure that their cages are at least seven feet long. They will love it if you put recycled paper in their cage so they can make a bed for themselves.
If you are a new guinea pig owner, check out these tips to learn how to care for your pet:
- Set up your guinea pig’s cage with appropriate accessories and food before you bring them home.
- Use the same type of food and bedding that they’re used to and introduce new products slowly.
- Be sure to use paper-based bedding, not cedar or pine shavings.
- Cover the cage with a light cloth for the first day or two to allow your guinea pig to explore their new home with greater privacy and fewer distractions.
- Don’t rush to handle your new guinea pig; give them a day or two to acclimate to their new home before you start petting them or picking them up.
- Discourage friends and visitors from handling your new guinea pig during this adjustment period.
- Be sure your guinea pig is receiving adequate Vitamin C each day. Do not depend on the food as an adequate source of Vitamin C each day. Instead, give each pig 25 mg of Vitamin C.