Guinea pigs are a favorite pet among children because of their docile nature, ease of handling, and clean, quiet nature.
If you have a guinea pig, or “piggie” as they’re sometimes called, or if you are considering adopting one, here is some useful information concerning guinea pigs.
Contrary to popular belief, guinea pigs do have a personality. Guinea pigs are famous for “pop corning”; little vertical hops of one to two inches they make when they’re excited or happy!
You can train your piggie like Pavlov’s dog. Shake their bag of food every time you go to feed your guinea pig. Soon you’re piggie will squeak when they hear the bag rattling knowing that you’re going to feed them!
I once worked with some little piggies that actually knew what I smelled like. Every day I’d come in to feed the guinea pigs apples and carrots at the Humane Society; and they would start squeaking before I even said a word or made a sound!
Funny Facts About Piggies:
– Guinea pigs all have a little bald spot behind each ear. (Don’t worry, it’s normal.)
– They have four toes in the front and three in the back.
– They will sometimes sleep with their eyes open!
– Guinea Pig pellets (not rabbit pellets).
– Dark green, leafy vegetables and carrots
– Fresh fruit (apples, strawberries, oranges)
– “All they can eat” Timothy hay
– But no iceberg lettuce or celery this can cause constipation and blockages.
Guinea pigs fruits and veggies. If you save the tops of strawberries when you cut them up and give them to your pig, they will squeak like never before! And there’s nothing funnier than staring at a guinea pig while he’s eating!
Please be sure to include these extra fruits and veggies as guinea pigs are unable to produce their own vitamin C and can potentially get scurvy from lack of vitamin C.
Change water daily! Guinea pigs tend to backwash when they drink; and if you are using a water bottle, the bottle they drink from will get quite murky. You can also serve your piggie water from a heavy ceramic dish, but make sure it’s not big enough for them to fall into.
The best cages to use are those that have plastic bottoms. The wire-bottom cages can cause sore hocks and foot problems in guinea pigs, so stay away from those. Check out this website for more information.
Guinea pigs should always have a place to hide – plastic igloos are the best option.
Newspaper and Timothy hay are the best options for lining the cage. Never use cedar shavings or sawdust. They can be very harmful to guinea pigs.
Time out of the cage is key. Piggies like to play on the floor, sit in your lap or just run around.
Guinea pigs tend to get lonely, so if you have the room, adopt two. Two females make the best match. And when two piggies pal around, they tend to be more active.
When picking up guinea pigs, be sure to support both their front and rear ends when you’re holding them as their spines are fragile. Guinea pig’s necks aren’t very flexible and so they always like to be held horizontally, not vertically. They should be held on your lap and not across your chest or your shoulder like a cat.
You can have your guinea pig spayed or neutered, which curbs aggression in males and reduces the risk of reproductive cancers in females. And sterilized guinea pigs tend to keep their cages cleaner!
Your guinea pig’s teeth will never stop growing. They need to chew on tough hay stalks or wood blocks to wear down their teeth. Their nails don’t stop growing either. They will need trimming every once in awhile. Wax behind the ears is totally normal. Try to clean them occasionally, but they will most likely never been squeaky clean.
Guinea Pigs Available for Adoption:
BUNS (Bunnies Urgently Needing Shelter) currently has six guinea pigs available for adoption. Guinea pigs tend to hide out in their igloos in shelters, so you will need some assistance in choosing one. If you sit on the floor with your legs straight out with another person doing the same, their feet touching yours, you have created a little play area for the guinea pig so you can get to know them before you adopt!
For more information on adopting a guinea pig, please call the Animal Control Services at (805) 681-5285 or BUNS at (805) 683-0521.