Many parents choose a guinea pig as the first pet for their children. One of the reasons for this is because they are cute animals that are sociable and they don’t mind sitting on a lap for some gentle stroking. Here are our tips for responsible care for anyone looking to give a home to a guinea pig.
- When you give a home to a guinea pig, even on a temporary basis, you are required by law to care for them properly under the Animal Welfare Act. It’s important for parents to always take responsibility for the appropriate care of guinea pigs so they will have the proper care they need and be handled properly.
- Guinea pigs live for on average 5-6 years. They require proper housing, which includes a hutch or a cage that provides enough space for exercise and to stand up fully on their hind legs.
- Outdoor guinea pig hutches should be sheltered from direct sun or windy areas in the garden.
- Guinea pigs kept indoors should be kept away from radiators, draughts, sunny windows and any other sources of heat.
- Provide plenty of bedding as they love to be comfortable and warm.
- Bring outdoor guinea pigs indoors when the temperatures drop below 15 degrees Celsius.
- They love to chew so provide suitable chew toys and materials including fruit tree sticks and willow sticks. Plastic toys should be avoided at all costs.
- Provide plenty of space to exercise. These pets only sleep for small amounts of time each day and are active for about 20 hours. They need space to move and play.
- Guinea pigs are highly sociable animals and should never be housed alone. In the wild, they live in groups of up to 10!
- Ensure your new pets have a high fibre diet that includes a vitamin C supplement.
Do you have guinea pigs? Share photos of your pets on our Facebook wall, we’d love to see them.