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What is a guinea pig

Guinea pigs might well be the gentlest of all pets. Happiest in small groups, these rodents are delicate but reasonably easy to care for. They are affectionate and gentle, and well-suited for households with children. However, as true herbivores that are very low on the food chain, they should be kept away from dogs, cats, ferrets, and rats. Also, they cannot jump more than a couple inches into the air. Make sure they are not in danger of falling off the edges of tables, beds, stairways, or other hazards.

Provide a clear bit of floor for the Guinea pigs to just run around. You might even consider a play pen or an empty plastic wading pool. Some people have even started teaching their Guinea pigs to jump over very short toy horse oxers. Guinea pigs are messy. Be prepared for them to foul their food and water dishes. A water bottle hung on the side of the enclosure is a good back-up for the water bowl.

Fresh grass hay must be available at all times, and good Timothy-grass-based Guinea pig pellets ought to be the main part of your pet?s meals.

Find your guinea pig

Things to consider

Guinea Pigs & Children: With proper care, guinea pigs live 5 to 7 years (or more). If the guinea pig is for a child, make sure an adult is involved to supervise and make decisions for good, nurturing care. When it comes to cages, the bigger the better; for one guinea pig 24" by 24" is good. The pan of the cage should be 4 to 6 inches deep. A deep pan will prevent bedding from being kicked out of the pan. Never house a guinea pig on a wire mesh floor. This can be dangerous to their feet and legs. The floor must be made of solid material. Do not use an aquarium. Provide a nest box for the guinea pig to sleep in as this gives the guinea pig a sense of security.

Carefresh or Aspen bedding is recommended. Never use cedar bedding as it can cause damage to the skin, liver, respiratory system, kidneys, and other health problems. Bedding should be generous and cover the cage pan. Buy pellets formulated for guinea pigs. Do not feed rabbit pellets as rabbits have different dietary needs. Avoid mixes that contain peanuts, sunflower seeds, or other nuts and seeds in the shells. Guinea pigs can choke and die on the shells in these mixes.