Top 5 Tips for Keeping Guinea Pigs

Photo of Kassandra Smith

Kassandra Smith

Senior Editor • Backyard Chicken Coops

23 February 2014

Guinea Pigs, or cavies, as they are often called, are an excellent first pet. They’re easily handled due to their nice compact size, they’re friendly and sociable, they love to talk and squeak and play hide and seek, they’re easy to care for, plus, they come in quite a variety of breeds and colours. Having a Guinea Pig as a pet is a wonderful way to introduce your children to pet care basics and how to be responsible for another living creature.  So, follow these five helpful tips for keeping your piggy healthy, happy and squeaky for a long time!

five guinea pigs

1. Provide Proper Housing and Living Conditions:

  • Guinea Pig hutches should be placed up off the ground, well protected from the elements, and located in an area that gets plenty of shade during the hot summer months and is shielded from blustery winter winds-piggies cannot tolerate extreme temperatures! Add extra hay bales for insulation from cold!
  • Guinea Pigs are very busy little creatures so, choose a hutch that provides LOTS of room to roam, run, leap, chase, and hide.
  • Guinea Pigs have sensitive respiratory systems and need to live in a well ventilated hutch.
  • Be sure that bedding is edible, not dusty and really absorbent. The best option is hemp bedding.
  • Cavies are social critters and should be housed with at least one other companion cavy-preferably two female guinea pigs, as males tend to squabble.

2. Feed Your Cavies Well: diet is very important in raising happy healthy piggies!:

  • Feed your Guinea Pigs a commercially made feed specifically made for cavies.
  • Guinea Pigs also need LOTS of fiber rich hay to aid digestion and dental care.
  • It is vital that you also provide your cavies with a daily supplement of vitamin C or offer them a treat of fruits and veggies such as oranges, apple chunks, broccoli, carrots, dandelions, parsley, kiwi, or spinach.
  • Always provide your Guinea Pigs with something to gnaw on to keep their front teeth from growing too long - a Guinea Pig chew toy, a hardwood tree branch, or an untreated wooden block, etc.

guinea pig eating hay in treat ball

3.   Clean Your Guinea Pigs’ Hutch Routinely

  • Scoop the poop daily!
  • Wash out water bottles daily!
  • Remove all bedding and scrub you Guinea Pig hutch’s cleaning tray about once a week with plain soap and water. Furnish with fresh, fluffy bedding!
  • Try our Homemade Coop Cleaner Recipe!

4. Groom Your Cavies with Care!:

  • Short Hair breeds will need to be brushed about once a week, while Long Hair breeds will need to be brushed every day. Not only does this help to keep their lovely fur soft and fluffy, but it’s a nice way to spend time with your sweet cavy. Feel free to chat, hum, or even sing to your piggy while you brush. They may even sing along!
  • A Guinea Pig’s toe nails do grow and can grow quickly so keep an eye on them, and trim as needed with an ordinary household nail trimmer.

5.  Fun and Games!:Provide LOTS of Entertainment

  • Guinea Pigs LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to play! So, provide your little cavies with LOTS of sources of entertainment - equip their hutch with paper towel tubes, boxes, or boxes made into tunnels.

Sources and further reading

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