Guinea Pigs Care and Adoption Application
This is where you will find our Guinea Pig Care Packet (below) and Application (bottom).
Guinea Pig Care
If there ever comes a time where you decide you do not want your guinea pig or cannot care for it any longer, give us a call and we will gladly take it back. Guinea pigs adopted/sold by NWI will always have a home with us.
Temperature – Guinea pigs live in temperatures that are comfortable to humans. Ideally, your guinea pig should be kept in temperatures between 65-75 degrees. Your guinea pig should be kept away from drafts and out of direct sunlight.
Bedding – Kiln dried pine or aspen bedding should be used in your guinea pig’s cage. Carefresh-type bedding can also be used, but only if your guinea pig does not eat this type of bedding. Never use cedar bedding, as this type of bedding is toxic and can eventually kill your guinea pig.
Water Bottle – For the most part, guinea pigs are fine with plastic water bottles and do not chew them. As for the size of the bottle, the bigger the better! Guinea pigs drink a decent amount of water for a small animal, so please be sure that your guinea pig always has access to adequate amounts of water.
Food Bowl – The best type of food bowl for your guinea pig is a heavy ceramic bowl, one that cannot be easily knocked over. Another alternative may be a metal bowl – specifically, a coop cup. Coop cups attach to the side of your cage so that they remain in place and cannot be moved around by your guinea pig.
Cage – Guinea pigs need room to run around; they are not meant to be kept in an aquarium. The general rule of thumb is that your cage should be at least four square feet for one guinea pig, with an additional 1-2 square feet for every additional guinea pig. Basically, bigger is always better when it comes to guinea pig cages.
Hidey-House – Guinea pigs tend to like having something they can go in to feel secure. They can use plastic hidey houses or plastic igloos (aka “pig-loos”), or they can have wooden hidey houses.
Your guinea pig is currently being fed Oxbow Cavy Cuisine.
Pellets – Oxbow guinea pig food is one of the highly recommended foods for guinea pigs and will keep your guinea pig healthy for years to come. For young guinea pigs, that is, guinea pigs under eight months of age, they should be fed Oxbow Cavy Performance (alfalfa based). Once the guinea pig is over eight months of age, it should be fed Oxbow Cavy Cuisine (timothy based). Pellets should be free-fed; that is, you should not restrict the amount your guinea pig eats. Put in more food than your guinea pig will eat so that the guinea pig can choose how much they want to eat.
Hay – Guinea pigs should have access to hay at all times. Eating hay promotes healthy teeth and a healthy digestive tract. Young guinea pigs (under 8 months) should have their diet supplemented with alfalfa hay, while older guinea pigs can eat a wider variety of hays, including grass hays such as Timothy hay. It is a great idea to vary the type of hay that you give your guinea pig. Other good hays include orchard grass, brome grass, and meadow hay.
Leafy Greens – Fresh foods are also an important part of your guinea pig’s diet. They provide additional nutrients as well as different textures and tastes, making them enriching for your guinea pig as well as necessary for essential nutrients. Guinea pigs cannot make their own Vitamin C, so they must get it from the foods they eat. Fresh foods help provide this to them. Guinea pigs require approximately one cup of vegetables per days. Leafy greens can make up a good portion of this. Some examples of safe vegetables/leafy greens to feed include the following: parsley, romaine lettuce, red romaine lettuce, Boston lettuce, celery, leaf lettuce, spinach, carrots, tomatoes, and red/green peppers.
There are some vegetables that your guinea pig should never be given. These include the following: iceberg lettuce, cabbage, cauliflower, potato peelings, and rhubarb.
Fruits – Fruits can also be fed in small amounts. Some examples of safe fruits to feed include the following: apples (small wedge, no seeds), apricots, bananas, cantaloupes, oranges, strawberries, and watermelon.
Treats – While some people feed a variety of foods to their guinea pig, their diet should be limited to foods that are actually healthy for them. Some foods that should never be fed to a guinea pig include the following: raw beans (kidney beans, pinto beans, etc), shelled nuts or seeds, meat/fish, dairy products/cheese, chocolate, caffeine-containing products, alcohol, cookies/bread, and corn kernels/popcorn.
Water – The water in your guinea pig’s cage should be fresh and should be changed often to prevent bacteria build-up. The water bottle should be scrubbed clean at least once a week.
Guinea pigs are generally healthy animals, but they can get sick. Signs of illness include a change in eating habits, lethargy, labored breathing, wheezing, sneezing, a rough or “puffed up” coat, diarrhea, balance problems, excessive scratching, hair loss, or tilting the head to one side constantly. If you notice signs of illness, please take your guinea pig to the veterinarian.
Taming and Handling Your Guinea Pig
The more attention you give to your guinea pig when you first get it, the sooner it will get used to your voice, your smell, and begin to accept you. When you first bring your guinea pig home, we suggest you give the guinea pig a day or so to settle in. After this, you should handle your guinea pig regularly to get your guinea pig used to human contact.
If you decide to get a friend for your guinea pig, please get a same-sex friend. There are many guinea pigs in rescues around the country already. Males and females housed together will produce pups, and there is no need to add more guinea pigs to the rescues. It is not advised to breed guinea pigs without extensive prior knowledge, as without the genetic history of the parents, you could greatly endanger the heath of the babies, as well as pass on deadly genetic conditions.
I hope you will be happy with your new guinea pig. If you ever have any questions, concerns, or need anything relating to guinea pigs, feel free to call me at 219-789-0026 or e-mail me at [email protected].
There is a wealth of guinea pig-related information available online. Some useful websites are found below:
- Guinea-Lynx - http://www.guinealynx.info/ - a medical and care guide for guinea pigs
- Guinea Lynx forums - http://www.guinealynx.info/forums/ - a site where people can talk about all things guinea pig