Guinea pigs are the ideal pets to get if you are looking for a pet that is fun, adventurous and will keep you actively busy. It’s no wonder that kids are often the ones who enjoy owning guinea pigs. Even though they are small, guinea pigs require a lot of care and are a huge responsibility, soif you are not a hands-on owner, then maybe owning a guinea pig might not be for you.
Guinea pigs are also very easy to bond with, especially if you pay special attention to caring for them and making their environment as homely as possible. But, before we jump into how you should take care of your guinea pig, let’s first discuss the top essentials that you will need, and what to consider before adopting a guinea pig.
Before you make the decision to adopt a guinea pig and take it home, make sure that you have all these essentials:
- Cage or dwelling
- Pet bedding and cage enhancers
- Food and snacks
- Cage accessories (feeding bowls, water bottles and training wheel)
Depending on your guinea pig’s needs and habits, there is a possibility that you may have to purchase more supplies than you had anticipated and this should be something to consider BEFORE you plan your budget for your guinea, as some pet essentials tend to be heavy on the pocket.
Comfortable cages and dwellings
Your guinea pig will need a cage that is big enough to comfortably house them. Guinea pigs need a lot of space to move around and be active, especially if you plan on keeping more than one.
You can choose to purchase an indoor cage for your guinea pig or you can build them a cage outside. However, you have to make sure that the outside cage is safe enough for your guinea pig (or two) to freely roam around in without having to fear predators. Your guinea pig’s cage should also be climate controlled as guinea pigs find it hard to survive in environments that are either too cold, too hot or excessively wet.
Make sure that your guinea pig’s indoor cage is not close to places that are too noisy. They don’t like noise, so too much noise can cause them to be restless and agitated. You should also not put your guinea pig in the garage; the chemicals that are expelled out of your car may make them ill or even kill them. Remember that even though it’s small, a guinea pig is still a living creature!
It is recommended that you have more than one sleeping station for your guinea pig/s. This gives them a variety of choice, especially if you are housing more than one guinea pig in the same cage.
Your guinea pig must have a consistent supply of food and fresh water, especially during the cold winter months where they need the energy to keep themselves warm and sustained for longer.
Bedding and cage warmers
There is a variety of pet bedding to choose from to ensure that your guinea pig is warm and comfortable. It is important to choose more than one type of bedding material and warmth enhancer. Your guinea pig might prefer one type of bedding above the other, but good starting choices are the Marltons Snuggle Stuff and Safebed Paper Shavings Sachet.
It is essential that your guinea pig stays on a wholesome diet that will help them grow, but also maintain a healthy body weight to avoid diet-related illnesses. It is essential to look into diets that are good for your guinea pig’s digestive system, promotes their healthy growth and is good for their teeth. Good meal and snack options include Versele Laga Crispy Muesli for Guinea Pigs, Simply Nibbles Treat and Rosewood Edible Play Shack.
Enhancements and accessories
Your guinea pig’s cage is not complete without the necessary enhancements and accessories to make cage-living easier. Some of the essentials that you will need for your fast-footed furry friend are a water bottle, feeding bowl, and tunnels and hideaways to make their time in the cage more fun, but also give them a sense of privacy for those days when they do not feel like being out in the open. And just like with similar small animals (hamsters and pet rats), when the boredom hits, have an exercise wheel ready to keep your guinea pig entertained and enriched for hours on end.
Toys and enrichment
Guinea pigs are highly active animals that need entertainment and stimulation or they will easily get bored. The best toys for guinea pigs are those that can ensure that they get the most exercise while staying entertained and being mentally stimulated.
While owning a guinea pig may seem like an interesting idea, it is important to not forget that not adequately taking care of your guinea pig may result in them being sick or dying prematurely. Guinea pigs are also not the easiest small pets to manage at first, but when you build your knowledge and experience on how to care for them properly, they become fun pets to own.