One of the most popular pets in the United States is the feisty guinea pig. Unfortunately, because they are so readily available in pet stores these days, many people adopt them on impulse without really taking the time to learn more about these gentle animals before bringing them home. As with any other type of pet, it is important to know all you can about guinea pig care and feeding before you go about adopting a new pet.
Guinea pigs are very popular with children, but they aren’t always the best choice, depending on your unique situation. Today we will talk about the ins and outs of adopting small rodents as pets and what you need to know about guinea pigs before you bring one home.
Guinea Pig Care and Feeding: The Basics
Guinea pigs require a lot of time. They need time outside of their cage every day to stretch their legs, explore their surroundings or even just to cuddle with their owners in their laps. Guinea pigs require a lot of attention and human interaction in order to remain social, friendly and healthy. Grooming is important as well. Guinea pigs love to be brushed and pampered. Short-hair breeds should be brushed once a week and long-hair breeds must be groomed on a daily basis.
Your guinea pig’s cage must be cleaned completely on a weekly basis. It should be checked and spot-cleaned every other day to maintain a clean and safe environment. You should never be able to smell your pet’s cage. The bedding should be fresh and clean. You wouldn’t want to have to live in your own excrement and neither should your pet. This is true of all small rodents as pets – cages must be cleaned regularly.
Questions to Ask:
- Do you have enough time for proper guinea pig care and feeding?
- Can your child spend enough time with the guinea pig with school, after-school and sports commitments?
- Will you help out with cage cleaning and attention if your child cannot?
- Do you think your guinea pig will get enough attention if you already have other pets that need attention too?
- Are your children old enough to properly handle and care for small rodents as pets?
- Do you know someone who can care for your guinea pig if you go on vacation or have a family emergency?
Depending on the age of your child, a guinea pig might not be the best type of pet. Young children often lack the motor skills and self-restraint to not drop a small rodent, scare him or squeeze him. A gentle touch is required as part of normal guinea pig care and feeding and this must be considered when adopting a new pet.
Guinea Pig Care and Feeding: Habitat
The adoption fee for a guinea pig is usually small, but you need to know that a significant investment is required in order to build a proper habitat for your new little friend. It can cost as much as $100 each year to feed and care for your guinea pig, not including any visits to the veterinarian at Anchor Animal Hospital in Dartmouth. Before you adopt a guinea pig you need to purchase the following equipment and supplies:
- a large cage, hutch or special guinea pig enclosure
- a hide box for when the guinea pig needs privacy or for sleeping
- bedding material both for the floor of the cage and for sleeping
- food dish and water bottle designed for use with guinea pigs
- high quality guinea pig pellets and timothy hay for proper nutrition
- toys and nutritionally responsible treats
Adopting a New Pet in Southeastern Massachusetts
If you want to find out more about getting small rodents as pets, such as the noble guinea pig, contact your local animal shelter to see if there are any available for adoption. Most people just think about cats and dogs when they think about animal shelters, but other pets get abandoned and need homes too. Guinea pigs are frequently available at local animal shelters and rescuing one that has been abandoned can make adopting a new pet an even greater experience for all involved.
Guinea Pig Care and Feeding: Veterinary Visits
Anchor Animal Hospital in Dartmouth is a veterinary clinic in Southeastern Massachusetts that offers treatment and check-ups to small rodents as pets, such as guinea pigs, hamsters, mice, rats and gerbils. Common issues with guinea pigs can include mites and lice; cysts, which have to be drained; respiratory issues, due to allergies or cleaning issues; fungal infections, from improper cleaning; digestive issues, from eating the wrong types of foods; urinary tract infections and other issues, from improper feeding and cleaning; obesity, from over-feeding or too many treats; and scurvy, due to lack of vitamin C.
After adopting a new pet, make sure to bring your guinea pig to see the veterinarian at Anchor Animal Hospital in Dartmouth for a well-pet check-up. This will help determine the starting health of your new pet and determine whether any special treatments or precautions must be recommended. A well-pet check-up can help any pet get on the road to good health, and can help new pet owners learn more about their new pet from a professional veterinary point of view. Call Anchor Animal Hospital in Dartmouth to set up an appointment for a well-pet check-up today!