Small Animals – Guinea Pig Care

At All Creatures Veterinary Hospital we see all types of pets  (just as our name implies) and that includes many small pocket pets like hamsters or Guinea Pigs, which are a great pet for kids to start out with, providing they are old enough to handle them with care.  We invite you to visit our small animal clinic in Tulsa where we provide guinea pig care. Whether you have a bird, pot-bellied pig, iguana, dog, cat or something else we can offer you great care for your pet..  We have excellent staff and veterinarians who can treat many different species.

Guinea Pig Care

Guinea pig care Tulsa OK

Guinea pigs, or cavies, are small mammals native to South America. They first came to Europe about 400 years ago, and have been cherished as pets ever since. Guinea pigs are often calm and docile, but still make lively pets. They are vocal when excited and will make a variety of sounds when they see their favorite people or when the fridge door is opened (they love treats!). Guinea pigs weigh about 1.5 to 2.5 pounds, and males are typically larger than the females. Guinea pigs rarely bite and are good pets for children who are old enough to handle them carefully and treat them with respect. The three most common breeds of guinea pig are the Smooth-Coated, with short, glossy fur; the Abyssinian, whose hair grows in fluffy tufts all over the body, and the Peruvian, with long, silky hair that flows to the ground.

Housing

Guinea pigs need a minimum of eight square feet of floor space in their cages. They are very social and will be happier if housed with another guinea pig, but this doubles the amount of space that they will need in their cages. Guinea pigs have sensitive paw pads and need solid flooring. They cannot be housed in a wire-bottomed cage.

When guinea pigs are frightened, they either freeze in place or run away, and they prefer to have a hiding place in their cage. Plastic tubes and wooden or woven hay boxes are available in pet supply stores. A good, free alternative is using a cardboard box with the bottom cut out of it. Many guinea pigs love to chew on cardboard boxes and, while you may need to replace it regularly, this chewing will help keep their teeth worn down to a good length. Small pieces of untreated wood can also be provided to help satisfy your guinea pig’s need to chew and keep their teeth from getting overgrown as well.

Paper or pine bedding should be several inches thick and should be changed twice weekly. Cedar shavings should not be used as bedding, as they contain phenols, which can be harmful to guinea pigs. Remove soiled bedding, droppings and stale food from the cage daily. Clean the cage completely once a week by replacing dirty bedding and scrubbing the bottom of the cage with warm water. Be sure everything’s dry before adding fresh bedding.

Make sure that your guinea pig doesn’t get overheated or chilled, as they are susceptible to both. In general, if you are comfortable, they are probably at a safe and comfortable temperature. If you need to venture out with your guinea pig in cold weather, make sure to cover the carrier with a warm blanket. On hot days, the car should be pre-cooled for them. Remember to never, ever leave your guinea pig unattended in a car for any reason even for just a few minutes, especially if it is a hot or cold day.

Read more at ASPCA.org