Guinea pigs are really very hardy little guys. They do not require massive amounts of tedious
attention-just some basic care to keep them happy and healthy. If you can provide all of these things, you are a good candidate for guinea pig ownership!
1. Keep your piggie's cage clean and dry. Pine chips, straw, hay-no cedar chips! They are toxic to guinea pigs.
2. Keep away from drafts! This is a big one. Once a guinea pig catches a respiratory illness, it is very hard for them to recover.
3. Keep their room at a consistent temperature. Gradual seasonal changes in temperature are not a problem. Just no abrupt changes. 60 - 80 degrees is suitable.
4. Allow plenty of fresh air, but no drafts.
5. Give fresh pellets made for guinea pigs, not rabbit pellets, and water daily.
6. Daily vitamin C is essential. They are like humans in this regard, needing outside sources of this vitamin. Fresh, clean, raw veggies and fruits are best.
7. Give your piggies plenty of light without placing him in direct sunlight.
8. Keep his toenails clipped. This is an easy task-just like clipping your own! Be careful to clip below the 'quick', the fleshy part underneath the nail.
9. Examine your guinea pig often to catch any lumps, bald spots, runny nose etc. before they get serious. Playing regularly with him will keep you more alert to any changes.
10. It is possible to transfer a respiratory illness to your pet. Be careful to keep your distance when you are sick and wash your hands before touching him.
If you notice any of the following, unless you are well versed in guinea pig care, talk to your vet! These may develop into serious conditions.
Not eating or drinking, discharge from eyes or ears, diarrhea, hair loss, weight loss, dull ruffled hair, dull or half closed eyes, nose in corner of cage with little movement or hunched posture.
Yes! You CAN teach your guinea pig to play dead!
But can you teach him to fly? I will let you know after I have some lessons with Tooey!
Of the 30 or 40 guinea pigs I have had, I have lost a few to the above illnesses, mainly in my childhood years, due to ignorance. Most of my piggies have lived 4 or more years. For the little amount of care they require, they have brought an abundance of fun and joy into our lives! I can't imagine life without a guinea pig!