Your guinea pig requires a cage large enough for him/her to fun around. Aquariums and plastic cages are OK. Line the bottom of the enclosure with soft bedding – preferably Care Fresh (recycled newspaper) or pine shavings. Cedar shavings may cause allergic reactions not only to the guinea pigs but to people as well. Clean the cage daily. Guinea pigs love to hide in boxes within their enclosures.
Guinea pigs require Vitamin C in their diets. Guinea pig pelleted foods contain Vitamin C, but the shelf life is for only a short period of time. It is recommended to purchase guinea pig food from a pet store and get only approximately three to four weeks worth at a time. If possible, store the food in a sealed container in the refrigerator to ensure freshness. Guinea pigs may be given a small amount of fresh vegetables. Lettuce has no nutritional value at all; therefore, give only as an occasional treat. Kale, carrots, and tomatoes are all fine in small quantities.
Guinea pigs require love and attention, along with fresh food and water daily and a clean environment. An annual physical exam is recommended. If you notice less than normal stool production or loss of appetite, your guinea pig needs medical attention.
Guinea pigs need to be bred by the time they are 6-7 months old. If females become pregnant for the first time after that age, they require a caesarian section to give birth. Therefore, do not house male and female guinea pigs together!
Brought to you by Marcie L. Engel, DVM, Brookeville Animal Hospital, LLC, 301-774-9698.