Guinea pigs are curious little creatures that can make great pets, even for beginners who have never owned a pet before. They are active during the day, fun to watch, and come with rather low maintenance compared to some other pets.
As a whole, guinea pigs are rather easy to take care of. The daily tasks include feeding, exchanging the water, a little cleaning, and some interaction. They are social animals that need to be kept in groups of at least two.
In the following, you will find information on the guinea pigs’ diet, the environment they should live in, the company they need, and their behavior. All of these components contribute to a healthy and happy life for a guinea pig and need to be provided by the pet parent.
Diet of a Guinea Pig
Guinea pigs should have access to fresh water and hay at all times. The water can be provided through a bottle, a bowl, or both. If you choose a bottle, make sure, that you choose a non-dripping bottle such as this one, to prevent a wet mess in the cage:
A water bowl should be fixated somehow, or be heavy enough so that your guinea pigs cannot accidentally flip it over.
Guinea pigs need to be fed every day with fresh vegetables, pellets that are specially made for guinea pigs, and need to have access to hay at all times.
Guinea pigs are active and curious animals. They need a large enclosure with many places to hide and rest. As prey animals, they tend to run away and hide, but they are also curious and interested in exploring their environment and enjoy playing in the enclosure, and also outside of it.
Guinea pigs need to have some out-of-cage-time for at least one hour daily, but more is better. You can either let them run free in a guinea-pig-friendly room with some hiding spaces and structures they can nibble on and play with, or in a playpen, either indoors, or outdoors if that is possible.
The enclosure itself needs several resting areas, houses to sleep in, a soft floor (either bedding or fleece) to protect their tiny feet, and a place with their hay, pellets, and veggies.
Guinea pigs are very social animals. In the wild, they live in colonies of many, many animals. In order to feel safe and happy, you need a group of at least 2 individuals, but three or more would be better.
Guinea pigs should never be kept on their own. A lonely guinea pig will mentally suffer and eventually get sick.
Health and Welfare
If a guinea pig suffers from any kind of injury or medical issue, it is your responsibility as a pet owner to prevent any suffering. If that means that you need to see a vet, you should do so in order to offer your guinea pig the best life possible.
Guinea pigs are active, curious, and very social. They need their friends around, a large enclosure, additional space to roam around, food, water, and be healthy in order to live a good life. If you detect any awkward behavior such as regular scratching, neglection of food, weight loss, or aggressivity towards other guinea pigs, you should try to find out what the reason is, and if necessary consult a veterinarian.
Lisa is one of the two founders of Animal-Knowledge. She has been very interested in animals and insects from a very young age and has owned different kinds of pets such as snails, ants, fish, turtles, mice, rats, hamsters, rabbits, a dog, … you get the idea 🙂