Guinea pigs are one of the most popular starter pets because of their gentle nature. Guinea pigs are very social animals, who love attention from their human friends and also from other guinea pigs. We would always recommend that male guinea pigs are neutered as it can help with hormonal behaviour and can reduce the chance of fighting once they're grown up. We like our guinea pigs to go into pairs or groups as they are very social. If you have a single guinea pig and would like advice on introducing a friend please ask for help.
Hay makes up a large part of a guinea pigs diet. It reduces the chances of them becoming bloated and also keeps their teeth trim, as they grow constantly and could easily become overgrown if they don't eat hay. They should always have hay available, as they will graze on it all day, as in the wild they would have spent all day foraging. We feed our guineas on two types of hay and Nature's Own guinea pig food, which is a high fibre diet with added vitamin C. We feed our guinea pigs on a variety of vegetables whilst they are with us, and recommend that you continue to offer them a selection of fresh foods. Guinea pigs can't produce their own vitamin C and you should add this to their water daily. We sell vitamin solution in store that you can add to their water. Providing vitamin C rich vegetables will also help, a guide for this can be found below.
Fun Fact: Guinea pigs are born with full coats, teeth and their eyes open. They are usually up and running around within 3 hours!
Guinea pigs require enough space within their enclosure to run about. We have a number of hutches and runs available, as well as indoor cages, please speak to a member of staff if you're unsure what type of home to offer your guinea pig and we'll be happy to help. Guinea pigs require time out of their hutch or enclosure each day too, so they can use their energy and have some more fun. We strongly advise they have access to an outdoor run that is separate to their regular enclosure.
When keeping your guinea pig indoors be aware that they are chewers and to always supervise them when they are out of their enclosure to ensure no accidents happen. We also sell a number of 'bitter sprays' so that you can spray onto things in your house to deter the guinea pig from chewing on them, alongside a number of wooden toys to keep your guinea busy. Variety is key to a happy guinea pig and toys should be moved around and changed a few times a week so they don't get bored of them.
Guinea pigs are burrowers by nature and should be provided with plenty of bedding to get warm and dig into, you should also use plenty of straw to keep them warm. They will also need a few places to hide away and a covered area to sleep so they can feel safe, as they are a natural prey animal and can get nervous in wide open spaces.
When you pick your guinea pig up, always support their rear end and hold them close to your body to make them feel secure. While they aren't 'kickers' they can be extremely wriggly, especially when they're young. A good way to bond with your guinea pig is by brushing them. In the wild grooming is a very social activity and if introduced early enough can really help strengthen the bond between you and your new pet. We have plenty of different types of brushes in store to choose from and a member of staff will be happy to advise you on the best one for your guinea pig.
You should regularly health check your guinea pig to make sure their eyes are bright and alert, their nostils should be open, clean and not crusty, and their vents should be clean. You should check that their teeth and nails don't become overgrown. We sell a variety of mineral blocks and wooden chews in store and hay will help to keep their teeth short. If their teeth do become overgrown, we advise a trip to the vet. Giving them access to rough surfaces such as concrete will help to keep their nails short, we also sell nail clippers and files.
If you have any questions about the pet you have just purchased, then please feel free to give the store you purchased them from a call.