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SMALLPET / health & care

Caring for Your Guinea Pig

Tips from home to health to food and fun.

Overview

Your guinea pig’s home

What you’ll need:

  • Solid-bottom cage (minimum 24 x 12 x 12 inches)
  • Water bottle
  • Food bowl
  • Hay rack
  • A hide house (store-bought, or use a small flower pot)
  • Chew toys
  • Aspen, pine, or recycled paper bedding (but NOT cedar – it’s toxic for your pet!)
  • Timothy hay, orchard grass, or oat grass

Before you bring your new guinea pig home, make sure the habitat is stocked with toys and treats. Your new guinea pig will be delighted if the habitat is in a calm, secluded spot away from larger pets. Keep their home far from drafty windows too, it will help keep their body temperature regulated.

Guinea pigs love a good cuddle but on the first day home, give your guinea pig time to settle in. Speak with your new furry friend in soft, soothing tones. They also like it when you gently stroke their head. Still a little shy? Don’t worry. Give your guinea pig 15 minutes and then try again.

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Feeding your guinea pig

You’re going to want hay— lots of hay! It’s your new guinea pig’s favorite food, and they thrive on a variety of it. Serve hay out of a hay rack. (The hay that guinea pigs snack on looks a bit like their bedding, and you don’t want your new guinea pig dining on its mattress!)

Every day, fill your guinea pigs’ food bowl with fresh hay. Every other day, add some salad to their meal with kale, collard greens, zucchini, or shredded carrots pigs. Once a week, treat them to a fruity snack (papaya, banana, or mango). Twice a week, let them nibble on raisins and alfalfa. A healthy guinea pig diet is about 20% vegetables and 5% fruit. Guinea pigs cannot store or manufacture their own vitamin C. Help them out with a daily supplement.

Your guinea pig will love all the food you offer, but if sits in their bowl for more than four hours, it’s time to take it away. Also, clean food and water containers daily—and change their bedding once a month.

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Playing & grooming

Guinea pigs love to forage. Toys that hide treats (and can stand up to a good gnaw) are perfect. So is a wire playpen that will protect your furry friends and allow them to safely scurry across large spaces in your house. Always keep a watchful eye on guinea pigs playing outside their enclosure (you don’t want them chewing on anything dangerous, like electrical wires). Always clean the enclosure to keep it nice and fresh for your furry friend.

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Keeping your guinea pig healthy

Little critters need checkups just like any other family pets. Take your guinea pig to a vet a few days after coming home, then schedule check ups once a year. Check your local PetSmart Banfield Pet Hospital to see if a small pet vet is on staff. Take your guinea pig for a check-up if it displays any of these symptoms,

  • Lethargy
  • Lack of interest in food
  • Change in bowel movements

PETSMART CARES 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.