Guinea pigs are an intelligent species that make great pets. Each guinea pig has their own unique personality, and they are known to form strong bonds with their owners.
They are quite easy to care for, however as a guinea pig owner it is important to be aware of the feeding, husbandry and veterinary care that guinea pigs require.
It is ideal to move your guinea pig between indoor and outdoor environments. Time indoors provides them with warmth, comfort and security at night and time outdoors allows them access to fresh air, grass and plants to chew on. It is important to consider, however, that the ideal temperature for guinea pigs is 18-25°C, and they are very sensitive to heat. Therefore, if you do decide to keep your guinea pig outside, remember to be careful with their cage placement and housing setup during summer, when temperatures and humidity are highest.
It is also important to make sure your guinea pig’s cage is well constructed and is suitable to keep them safe from cats, dogs and birds. When you first introduce your guinea
pig to its new household, ensure its enclosure is placed in a calm, secluded spot in the house away from large pets to minimise stress and help them transition calmly into their new environment. Make sure you also give them time to settle in before involving them in lots of human interaction.
We recommend keeping your guinea pig in an area of your home that is easily accessible, such as a common family area, where adults can ensure they are receiving all the care and attention they need.
In your guinea pig’s enclosure, make sure to include interesting spaces and objects that allow them to explore their environment. These can be bought from a pet shop, however you can easily utilise everyday objects from around the house, such as cardboard boxes, toilet rolls, tennis and ping pong balls, or children’s toys.
Guinea pigs are herbivorous and, along with humans, cannot synthesise vitamin C. Therefore, the majority of a guinea pig’s diet should be comprised of vegetables and fruit.
Ideal foods to feed your guinea pig include:
- Vegetables such as celery, cucumber, radish, tomatoes, capsicum, carrots, spinach, cabbage, cauliflower, corn on the cob and snow peas
- Fruit such as apple, banana, watermelon, pear, paw paw, strawberries and kiwi fruit
- Fresh herbs such as parsley, chives, basil, rocket leaves and watercress
However, some foods are toxic to guinea pigs and should be avoided, including:
- Iceburg lettuce
- Nuts, seeds, lentils and beans
- Tomato leaves
- Dairy products