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Guinea Pigs – A Total Guinea Pig Guide

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Total Guinea Pig Guide

Introduction

Guinea pigs make a great first pet for children.  They are a lot of fun and do not require much work or attention.  As long as you take the proper precautions, they can make fantastic pets.  So whether you are deciding on purchasing a guinea pig for your child’s first pet or just for you.  Please check out the guinea pig guide below so you know what you are getting yourself into before purchasing.

guinea pigs

Guinea Pig Breeds

Did you know that there are 27 different pet guinea pig breeds?  The most common breed of pet guinea pig is the “American”.  When you picture a guinea pig, that is the image that is probably going to pop into your head.  The American guinea pig has short hair, usually a tan, black, grey or white color.  They have a really good temperament and they get along with other pets, and of course with children aswell.

Another breed with a little older history is the “Abyssinian” Guinea Pig.  The Abyssinian is basically a longer haired version of the American. This breed is usually considered show guinea pigs because of the beautiful swirls in their fur.  However, be cautious as this breed requires special attention when it comes to their fur. The fur has to be maintained and groomed quite often.

Another popular breed is called “The Silkie Guinea pig”. (*pictured below)  The Silkie has long, smooth hair that almost looks like it has been slicked back in the front. Again, this is another species that is going to require some additional grooming. They are great for children to play with, however require more attention as far as caring goes for a child to manage.

guinea pig breeds

Guinea Pig Life Span

A guinea pig life span varies between four to eight years, based on the amount of care and attention they receive. Although guinea pigs do have longer life spans than other pet rodents.  The longer life span is one of the reasons, why they would make a good pet for your child.  There have been some reports of guinea pig’s lasting over ten years, however this is pretty uncommon. The breed of Guinea pig also has significance on the life span.

Baby Guinea Pigs

Female guinea pigs can reach sexually maturity as early as 4 weeks old.  So please be aware of this before putting Males & Females together in a enclosure.   Gestation of a guinea pig is anything from 59 to 73 days. It is highly recommended that you do not breed your guinea pigs.  Pregnancy and birth can be quite difficult for a female Guinea Pig.

A baby Guinea Pig is called a “pup”.  It is important to understand that baby guinea pigs, require a great amount of work. It is recommended they stay with their mom until three weeks of age or until they are weened off.   At this age, baby guinea pigs will begin to go up for adoption.  Baby Guinea pigs will reach adult size quite quickly, so please be aware of this when purchasing an enclosure.

guinea pigs, guinea pig, guinea pig lifespan

Guinea Pig Food

The most important part of a guinea pig’s diet is grass hay and it should always be available.  Guinea Pig babies generally eat the same Guinea pig food as an adult.  Be aware that certain guinea pig food like “gourmet” pellets that include peanuts, seeds, and colorful cereal can upset their digestive system.  As a treat, on every other day, you can give them cubed fresh vegetables.  Vegetables like carrots, cucumbers, or raspberry leaves make nice treats.  However they do not need this every day, they should be saved for special occasions.  When it comes to guinea pig food it is best to keep it simple,  give them what their body needs.


Guinea Pig Cages

Guinea pigs cages can come in a range of materials.  If you want your Guinea to live a happy healthy life, then choosing the right enclosure is important. The most important factor is space, they love plenty of it.  A good guide is to try and aim for 7.5 square feet for a single guinea pig.  If you plan on having more than one guinea pig, be prepared to get a bigger cage if you want them to live together.  Ensure your Guinea pig pets have plenty of room and toys to play and hide, whether that means a single guinea pig cage or a split-level guinea pig cage.

The bedding (or the flooring) should be something like Timothy hay.  The hay needs to be changed on a daily basis to avoid smells and the guinea pigs eating dirty hay.  You can change the toys in their cage regularly to keep them fresh and entertaining.  Toys that are obstacles or challenges are great for guinea pigs.


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