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Guinea Pigs as Pets

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Authored by Sandy Rothra in Pets
Published on 10-12-2009

Guinea pigs are not pigs. They do not come from Guinea. These popular pets actually are a rodent from Peru, sometimes called cavies. Although these creatures range widely in size, they average about two pounds and live from eight to ten years. They have distinct personalities, are seldom sick, are cheap to feed and are easy to care for.

Choosing a Pet Guinea Pig: Guinea pigs can be purchased from pet stores or breeders. You may also find them at animal shelters. Since there are many types based on the coat color and size, your choice may be different if you intend to show. However, when choosing a pet, you need to check for a good disposition, and health. A baby may be weaned at five weeks and read y to become your pet. However, an older guinea pig can also become a family member. To make sure it is healthy, check for good teeth, bright eyes, and dry nose. Its coat should be shiny and thick, and it should be active and playful. Unneutered males may generate an odor, but that will be eliminated when neutered. Since guinea pigs like company, two females or a female and a neutered male usually get along well.

Feeding Pet Guinea Pigs: Guinea pigs do not eat meat. Your pet’s diet should include fruits, vegetables, and grains. Guinea pig pellets, sold at most pet stores, provide good nutrition when supplemented with extra vitamin C. This can be tablets or dark leafy green vegetables. Of course, they always need fresh water available. According to Guinea Lynx website, never feed your guinea pig dairy products or rabbit pellets.

Grooming Pet Guinea Pigs: Although guinea pigs seldom need to be bathed, they must be brushed regularly. Long haired pigs may need grooming daily. Short haired guinea pigs may only need brushing when shedding. Their nails will need to be trimmed as needed. Their teeth grow continuously. Consequently they need to chew to keep them worn down. Chew toys and twigs from safe trees are necessary daily.

Caging Pet Guinea Pigs: Your guinea pig will need a home. The cage must be easy to clean and well ventilated. Cage size may range upward from two square feet. However, bigger is better as they need room to move around. It must be made of a material that they cannot chew, like metal or glass. Wood will not work. The cage must be in a quiet place, warm, dry and away from drafts or direct sun. Provide bedding made from wood shavings or shredded paper and provide a small box or hiding place for them.

Your guinea pig is a social creature and will enjoy having a companion. A single pet will need lots of attention. They make a variety of sounds to communicate their hunger, fear or excitement. They love to be handled. However, you must support its entire body when holding. They can be taught simple tricks. They enjoy exploring the house but need supervision when out of the cage.

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