The reason you have a pet guinea pig is because you were fascinated by the endearing antics of these bright, quirky little creatures. That’s why you’ve got to do at least five great things for him on a daily basis—and here’s our list of suggestions:
1. Provide Exercise
Your little guinea pig—or cavy, as they’re also called—does not want to stay cooped up in a cage all day long, any more than you would like.
Daily exercise is an important part of his routine, and you can’t just let him run up and down the ramps in his cage. Instead, set aside some time each and every day when you take him out and set him down on the floor of a larger but nevertheless somewhat contained space.
If you let him down in the middle of a large family room, he might scamper off too quickly to track and you could lose him. Instead, take him to a smaller room such as the bathroom or a pantry where you can control how far he roams. You can also use a children’s wading pool.
Do keep in mind that he won’t attach himself to you the way a dog might. That means you shouldn’t hold it against him if he seems standoffish—he’s just curious about the world around him. You’ll find he loves it if you hide pieces of food for him—nothing too hard, though! Just set down an open-ended box or bag and put a piece of vegetable right inside the opening.
2. Take Her to the Beauty Shop
Just kidding—you don’t really need to spend extra money on grooming your pet! But guinea pigs do benefit from daily brushing, and your pet will grow to like it as he becomes familiar with the process and knows what to expect. You can get a small metal comb and a small brush with fairly stiff bristles at your local pet shop.
If your pet’s coat is tangled, do not force the comb through it—trim away the knots instead. Long-haired guinea pigs really do need daily brushing; the shorter-haired variety can be done every couple days.
3. Feed Him Tasty Treats
Guinea pig does not live by pellets alone! But he doesn’t want or need sugary treats, either, so we’re really referring to the bits of grass and also fruits or vegetables that he needs on a daily basis. While he does require a mixture of foods throughout his day, be certain to mix up what types of produce you give him, because he can tolerate only limited amounts of fiber and sugar.
Guinea pigs do well with green or red bell peppers; this is one vegetable they can have each and every day if you keep it on hand. Carrots can be given every other day. He will enjoy a small piece of apple one day, and maybe a grape the next. Just like you, he does enjoy variety, and he will become fonder of some foods over others. Be certain everything is cut up so he can manage it!
If you have several guinea pigs, make a vegetable platter and let them all enjoy it.
You’ll find out more about guinea pig food here.
4. Vitamin Time
Guinea pigs are unable to produce vitamin C naturally, so you may need to give it to them as a supplement.
Without it, they can develop scurvy and become susceptible to illnesses.
Do not put it in his water dish, for two reasons.
- First, if he doesn’t drink all his water or if he spills it, he won’t get his vitamin C.
- Second, the vitamin C won’t remain stable for a long period of time in the water, so when he does drink it, he might not get the full benefit.
You can dissolve vitamin C in a dropper of water and feed it to him.
If you give your guinea a vegetable rich in vitamin C on a daily basis such as Broccoli, he might not need the supplement, but do keep it on hand to give immediately if you notice her or his coat are looking unwell.
He needs 30 to 50 mg of Vitamin C per day.
5. Time to Bring In the Maid
Check out your guinea pig’s cage on a daily basis. While’s there no hard and fast rule that you must clean it on a daily basis, you should monitor it to be certain it remains fresh. Urine will begin to smell like ammonia, and it will be hard on his lungs. The people in your household will find it smelly, also, even if it doesn’t bother you, so keep his cage clean. It must always be lined either with wood chips or with pieces of fleece.
Something else he’ll enjoy, as long as you’re keeping the cage well organized, is a change in the cage layout. If you have a ramp going to a second level, move it so that it comes out onto a different area. Put cardboard rolls from used-up paper towels in his cage so that he can hide in them and chew on them.
Just as people require food, shelter, and socialization, so does your guinea pig. You’re going to be a team for a long time to come, so the best thing you can do for him is be certain he’s well provided for in all these areas. As long as you provide this care on a daily basis for your guinea pig, he will be a happy pet and he will make you happy!
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