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SMALLPET / new pets

A Set-up Guide for New Guinea Pig Parents

Tips for home, health, food and fun


5 things to know about your guinea pig

  • Guinea pigs can live up to eight years
  • They grow to about a foot long and weigh up to 2.5 pounds
  • They are most active during the day
  • They’re gentle, social and energetic
  • They make a great first pet

Your guinea pig’s digs

Guinea pigs are social and can live together in the same cage. Just make sure the guinea pig groups are all-boy or all-girl.

Guinea pigs need a cage, or hutch, with a solid floor. They love to hide and burrow, so give them four to five inches of aspen, pine or recycled-paper bedding to root around in. Remove droppings frequently and completely replace their bedding once a month.

Your guinea pig’s home should be large enough for a food dish, a water bottle, a hay manger and a hiding house. The minimum recommended habitat size is 24x12x12 inches. A multilevel home is especially nice because it will help your piggy get more exercise.

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Feeding your guinea pig

Guinea pigs enjoy a menu of hay, pellets made for Guinea pigs, and vegetables. Unlike many other animals, guinea pigs can’t produce Vitamin C on their own (fun fact: neither can humans), so they’ll need a Vitamin C supplement every day.

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Playing and grooming

While usually sedentary, Guinea pigs can be real gym fans at times. They love sprinting around their home or out of their cage, in an exercise pen. Guinea pigs also like to have a hide house for privacy. You can even get one that’s edible, so they can gnaw on it to help keep their teeth healthy!

Keep your guinea pig away from anything electrical that can be chewed. It’s also safest to keep guinea pigs away from cats and dogs — they don’t play so well with other species.

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Help keep your guinea pig healthy

Try not to handle your new pet for three or four days after bringing them home to give them time to adjust and get settled. Even a settled-in guinea pig can feel sick. If your pet has any of these symptoms, contact a veterinarian:

  • Cloudy, sunken or swollen eyes
  • Overgrown front teeth
  • Lethargic behavior
  • Bare patches in fur
  • Weight loss; not eating or drinking normally
  • Sneezing
  • Discharge from the eyes, nose or mouth
  • Diarrhea or discolored droppings

If you have questions about your guinea pig’s health, talk to a PetSmart store associate or a veterinarian familiar with small pets.


Pets purchased at PetSmart are part of our exclusive Vet Assured™ program, designed by PetSmart veterinarians to help improve the health and well-being of our pets. Our vendors meet a high standard in caring for pets and screening them for common illnesses. This program also includes specific standards for in-store pet care.

The PetSmart Promise: If your pet becomes ill during the initial 14-day period, or if you’re not satisfied for any reason, PetSmart will gladly replace the pet or refund the purchase price.