Category Archives: Choosing a guinea pig

My guinea pig lost his cage mate, shall i introduce another guinea pig

My guinea pig lost his cage mate

My guinea pig lost his cage mate. If you have had two guinea pigs living together and one piggy happens to pass away then the issue is that the other guinea pig can quickly become very lonely.

My guinea pig lost his cage mate

Going from having a friend at your side to just being on your own can be a difficult thing for a guinea pig.

They may not noticeably show it but as social creatures, they very much enjoy the company of others.

But you may notice some changes in their behavior, such as becoming quieter.

They are not creatures for expressing their emotions though.

Shall I introduce another guinea pig?

So if they lose a cage mate, then it is a good idea to consider introducing a new guinea pig. A good reference for this is this post here.

This is better done sooner rather than later.

A new guinea pig is best obtained from a rescue where they are known by expert staff who can recommend one that might be suitable and know their character.

Guinea Pigs vs Rabbits: Which Pet is right for you?

Guinea pigs and rabbits. Both cute and adorable pets right?

Absolutely, they are both great pets. But how do you know which one is right for you?

In this post, we’re going to look at the similarities and differences between them so you can make up your mind as to which pet is right for you.

Guiena pigs vs Rabbits: The Similarities

Accommodation

Both guinea pigs and rabbits enjoy similar types of accommodation. Both are at home outside in a hutch or inside a home. They do not like being limited to a small space and enjoy having space to run around in. The accommodation needs to be dry and cleaned out often, free of poo droppings. They much prefer warmer temperatures between 10 degrees and 25 degrees Celsius but can handle the cold and survive it if they need to.

Food

Both rabbits and guinea pigs need hay to chew on all the time. Both need hay to grind their teeth on and to give them some of the nutrients they are missing. It is the most important food that they need to eat. Both rabbits and guinea pigs cant take foods with too much sugar, calcium and fat.

They both cant eat cooked food and only drink water as a staple food. Fruits should only be fed to both species sparingly and both species should not be eating carrots and lettuce as much as you would think.

Maintenance

They both require regular feeding, and hay and water must be always available for them to eat on demand. Their teeth are constantly growing and so need grinding down.
Their hutches will require cleaning out at least once a week at the minimum as they are always pooing or weeing.

If you have longer haired breeds of guinea pig or rabbit they both need their hair maintained on a weekly, if not daily basis. This is especially the case around the anus where excrement can be built up on the anus of both species and around their feet from the mud that they drag into their hair.

Short breed varieties of both species are both quite low maintenance pets and can be left whilst the owner is at work as long as they have both hay and water available.

Cost

Both species are inexpensive to purchase and maintain. They can be bought from pet stores and rescues alike, or from listings on the web. They tend to be roughly the same cost.

Owner friendliness

Both species react well to their owner treating them well. The more time you spend with a rabbit or a guinea pig, the more they respond to you and are friendly. The less time you spend with them, the less they will be friendly and will be afraid of you.

Agility

They are both very fast runners and so are hard to catch if they were to escape their accommodation.

Keeping Guinea pigs and Rabbits together

Some owners of both species have kept them both together in the same accommodation. This can be done but must be done with great care, and is not recommended for new and novice owners. They are much better being kept separate.

Child friendliness

Both guinea pigs and rabbits are very good first pets for older children. Younger children however do need to be supervised around them to ensure that both species receive the care that they need.

 

Guinea pigs vs Rabbits: The Differences

Size and growth

Obviously there is a size difference between guinea pigs and rabbits once they grow the maturity. Guinea pigs only reach a certain size, where as rabbits can grow much larger.The Mass of a guinea pig is between 0.7 – 1.2 kg (Adult) and they measure in Length: 20 – 25 cm (Adult). Where as a rabbits weigh between Mass: 0.4 – 2 kg (Adult, In Wild) and Length: 20 – 50 cm

Age

Guinea pigs tend to live between 5-8 years where as rabbits can live anything between 9 to 12 years if their diet is right.

Sleep

Rabbits tend to need around 8 hours of straight sleep and much more heavier sleepers than guinea pigs who much prefer to sleep on and off and even sleep with their eyes open to stay on guard for predators.

Food

Rabbits and guinea pigs do have certain differences and both species have different nutrient requirements and so they cannot be fed entirely the same foods.

Agility

Rabbits have the ability to jump and to burrow which has repercussions on the accommodation you provide. Any rabbit runs, must either have a ceiling on them or be high fenced. They must also be burrow proof. Guinea pigs however, cannot jump or burrow and so these precautions need not be met.

Summary

If you are wondering whether to buy a guinea pig or a rabbit then it all depends on what you like. Both species are as owner friendly as each other. It really depends on which you would like to own and what suits you. Both are as inexpensive as each other and low maintenance. They are both very friendly creatures and respond well to human interaction.

why guinea pigs make fantastic pets

11 Reasons Why Guinea Pigs Make Great Pets

‘Do guinea pigs make great pets?’

That’s a great question and one that has been asked over the last five centuries.

Ever since they were discovered by explorers of the new world in the 16th century, and brought to other countries they have been enjoyed as pets the world over.

They have continued to be enjoyed to this day because of their adaptibility to the western home. So if you are wondering whether ‘guinea pigs make great pets’, then here are 11 reasons why you should consider one for a pet

image: flickr photon_de

So why should you get a guinea pig as a pet?

Surely there are other animals that make better pets? Well read on and find out why guinea pigs are extraordinarily good pets to have around the home.

1. As they are much larger than other small animals that are usually kept as pets, like hamsters and mice, they are a lot easier to catch if they do so happen to escape out of your hands.

2. They are easy to locate. The great thing about them is that although they will often try and find hiding places in your home if they do escape, they wont be able to lodge in places like underneath your sofa of behind sideboards like hamsters and mice can. However that doesn’t mean to say that they wont try and get into inconvenient places.

3. They are well-behaved. Even though they are rodents and like mice and rats, they do enjoy gnawing at things, they are less likely to eat your household furniture. But they do need keeping an eye on and you can’t leave them to run about in your home. Unfortunately guinea pigs can’t be trained in this ray like rabbits can.

4. They are very low maintenance pets and can be left whilst you go off to work or school. They enjoy their own company and don’t require a great deal of attention if you have a group of them as pets. You just have to make sure that they are fed, watered and looked after. However, a lone guinea pig will need a lot more attention.

5. They are very good at bonding with people. This makes them idea companions for elderly people as they are low maintenance but affectionate all the same. They do love to be handled though and will purr nicely if you hold and cuddle them.

6. They are great first pets. Because they are easy to look after they also make great pets for young children to look after. They will require supervision to ensure they are looking after them well and that they handle them in the right way. They are great for children aged 6 and upwards to teach them about responsibility .

7. They love to communicate. They will try and communicate with you using many different sounds sunch as purrs, squeaks and churs. When my guinea pig knows im coming, it squeaks to acknowledge me. They get to know your routines and will start squeaking if they hear you rustling a food back for example, in hope of getting more food.

8. They are real characters. Guinea pigs most unique disctinctive is called ‘popcorning’ which is wehre they will jump and leap up like popcorn when it has been heated up. They do this when they are excited and so are very expressive with their emotions.

9. They are passive animals. The only time they will bite you is when you have made them angry or it thinks your hand is food. They are unable to see directly in front of their noses and so only sense food with their whiskers and nose.

10. They don’t require a great deal of space. Although they should have a good size cage approximately 7.5 square feet for each guinea pig, that is not a lot of space and they can be kept in a large home or a small apartment very easily.

11.  The are inexpensive to keep. Once you have purchased a cage and initial bedding, sawdust, food and play toys they just require regular feeding and looking after to ensure they are kept well. Keep them well and they shouldn’t need visits to the vet as well.

 

Why One Guinea Pig Is Not Enough.

The thing about having guinea pigs is that people often think that they can get away with just having one guinea pig alone. That’s the easiest way right. Its less hassle and a lot less financial outlay, not to mention maintenance. But if you want to be kind to your cavy, then one guinea pig is not enough.

Guinea pigs are very sociable animals and are naturally used to living with one another so if you can help it is not good for the guinea pig to be kept apart from others if you can help it.

There are always exceptions to this however, as some do prefer their own company. But on the whole, guinea pigs do get quite lonely and much prefer the company of others, even humans.

So this is why getting one guinea pig is not enough. If in doubt, get two. It isn’t that much more effort to look after.

If you are buying two together for the first time, then assuming they have been purchased at the same time then they will have no trouble settling down.

It is always best to keep cavies of the same sex together unless you want to breed them and you will find that two of the same sex will live together just fine.

A good mix is to have one older and one younger guinea pig together of the same sex. Two older guinea pigs cohabiting can often be difficult.

If you do have a male and a female together, then you may want to get the male neutered by a vet.

Usually, cavies do prefer to share a hutch but you could give them a separate place to go each such as a box each. The hutch does need to be of a good size though, to accommodate them all. The RSPCA recommend a good sized hutch will be a minimum size of 100cm x 50cm with a minimum run size of 150cm x 100cm.

We have just acquired another guinea pig through a breeder in our area who we knew, to give some company for our boar ‘Rocket’. We thought Rocket would be just fine on his own, but actually he did get quite lonely and to be fair to him. We acquired ‘Uno’ and have spent time getting him settled in and acquainted with Rocket. It really hasn’t taken much time at all and we know that they are now able to keep each other company.

I quite often hear them squeaking away at each other or chasing each other around the run in a playful way. They are getting on great, and it is not much more maintenance compared to just having Rocket on his own.

You can get guinea pigs from local breeders in the area or the best thing is to get a guinea pig from a local rescue centre who are always looking for owners.

how many guinea pigs should I get

How Many Guinea Pigs Should I Get?

Deciding to get a guinea pig for the first time is an exciting thing.

There are many great things about owning a guinea pig which is why they are one of the most popular pets in the world today and are increasing in popularity.

Their cuteness and amiability are over-riding factors in why so many decide to take on the care of a guinea pig as a pet, not to mention how they are economical, easy to care for and very good for your well being.

Here we look at one of the most important questions to consider when getting a new piggie.

How Many Guinea Pigs Should I Get?

An important question that needs answering before getting a guinea pig is ‘how many should I get?’

The reason is this;

Guinea pigs are very sociable animals and are naturally used to living with one another so if you can help it, it is not good for the guinea pig to be kept apart from others.

There are always exceptions to this, however, as some do prefer their own company. If you are buying two together for the first time, then assuming they have been purchased at the same time, the cavies will have no trouble settling down.

It is always best to keep cavies of the same sex together unless you want to breed them. You will find that two of the same sex will live together just fine.

A good mix is to have one older and one younger guinea pig together of the same sex.

Two older guinea pigs cohabiting can often be difficult. If you do have a male and a female together, then you may want to get the male neutered by a vet.

Usually, cavies do prefer to share a cage but you could give them a separate place to bolt to, such as a box each. The cage does need to be of a good size though, to accommodate them both.

In summary;

If you are going to have male guinea pigs together do be aware of these things;

– Some get on well but others may not get on so good.
– When first introduced there may be some fighting between them and one may attempt to mount the other. This is a show of dominance.
– If they do attack each other you should consider separating them.
– You shouldn’t have this problem if you have two males that have been raised together and haven’t encountered females.

If you are going to have a male and female guinea pig together then be aware of these things;

– The male will attempt to mount the female as soon as possible.
– If the female is not in season, she will reject his advances, however if she is in season she will happily accept him.
– If you have an older neutered male then don’t put him immediately with the female after he has been neutered. Allow some time to pass by so any active sperm will die off in the male before letting share the same cage.

If you are going to have two females together then be aware of the these things;
– Two females will usually get on very well together.
– Do provide a place for them to get away from each other if there is squabbling.

Guinea Pig Droppings

10 things you need to check for when getting a Guinea Pig

Getting a guinea pig is a great thing to do if you are looking for a pet for your household.

So when looking for a healthy guinea pig, here are 10 things you need to check for when getting a Guinea Pig

Things you need to check for when getting a Guinea Pig
1. Check its feet.

Make sure that they look to be healthy and pink. If there is any sign of inflammation then this can be a sign of bacterial disease.

Make sure the guinea pig’s claws are of a good length and not excessively long.

There are also guinea pigs that develop flaps of tough skin that protrude from their front feet; these are called spurs. However, they can be removed with a nail clipper.

2. Check their teeth.

Open the guinea pigs mouth very carefully, and gently whilst supporting its whole body prise the mouth open with your finger. Check that the two incisor teeth and the molars of the upper jaw touch those on the lower jaw.

If this doesn’t happen this will be a problem for them in later life.

3. Check for crustiness around the mouth

If you see any crusty deposits around these areas then this is not good.

4. Check its eyes

They should be slightly moist and bright. If they have watery, crusty, cloudy, ulcerated, receding or protruding this is should cause concern.

5. Check its shape

Make sure that the guinea pig is nicely rounded. If it is thin  and limp then that is a bad sign that it has been underfed.

6. Check its responsiveness to your handling

Carefully and gently lift the guinea pig holding its body in one hand and supporting its backside in the other and let the spine lean into your hand.

Check how it responds to you picking it up. Don’t be put off if the guinea pig is shy.

7. Check its hair

Make sure it is bright, does not have scurfy skin beneath and shows no signs of hair loss.

If you see any bald patches then this is a sign of an infestation of mites or even an infection.

8. Check its droppings

They should be thin, solid and rounded much like a small bean-like the image below.

Guinea Pig Droppings
Guinea Pig Droppings

If you see any looseness in the droppings then this indicates a health problem.

9. Check its activity

Make sure it sits up normally without any hunching in its back and runs around actively.

Make sure that it is not moving around in circles and has its head pointing up as this can be a sign of blindness.

10. Check how they interact with others

If the guinea pig stays clear of others, it will most likely be calm and peaceful where as a Guinea pig that is in the crowd and runs around a lot will most likely be active and like playing.

This can have an impact when getting a guinea pig, especially if you are either buying few cavies.