There are a couple things to consider when having guinea pigs which we’d like to share with you. This will be a guide to aid you with the care and purchase of guinea pigs.
Are they the right pet for you?
Guinea pigs are considered exotic animals and therefore require an exotic vet who is trained in small animals. That will come with higher medical costs because they charge more than normal vets. Guinea pigs are also high-maintenance pets which require your attention and time for regular cleaning and feeding.
The minimum size cage for one guinea pig, according to the RSPCA is 7.5 sq ft, but the ideal size would be 10.5 sq ft (0,9m²). As guinea pigs are herd animals and need companionship, keeping at least 2 or more is better. Males will benefit from a cage that’s a size bigger. Their set-up is ideally horizontal as it gives them the running space they need. With more guinea pigs, the cage size also needs to increase. There are many options on the market like C&C cages or Midwest cages.
Guinea pigs are masters of poop and pee and therefore need very absorbent bedding. Towels, bath mats, puppy pads, fleece and wood shavings, just to name a few.
A guinea pig’s diet consists of over 80% of hay which has to be available in abundance. It will help keep their teeth short and their gut healthy. Additionally, they will need vitamin C from vegetables and fruit that you can feed every day or every other day. We also recommend pellets or nuggets and water for their diet.
Where can I buy guinea pigs?
Many guinea pigs have been given up in the current climate of the cost of living crisis (in the UK) so if you want to get guinea pigs, we recommend getting in touch with a rescue or sanctuary and ask if they have any guinea pigs available for adoption. You can easily find them on Google Maps by searching “guinea pig rescue” or “animal sanctuary”. They will know their guinea pigs very well, can distinguish between a female or male and even provide you with a medical record if you so desire. This can help you in future when your guinea pigs fall ill and you have to seek a vet.
We would like to advise you to have a medical box for general guinea pig care or minor illnesses that do not necessarily need a vet or will help you until you can see one. These things are what we consider the most important items:
1. Gripe water (to treat bloat)
2. Multivitamins or Vitamin C liquid
3. Fiberplex (to keep a poorly guinea pig’s gut going)
4. Anti-fungal cream
5. Pain relief
With the overall care that guinea pigs require, they aren’t cheap pets. Medical care, pet care and food costs can be high depending on where you live and what is available to you. We recommend getting a savings account, care plan from your vet or pet insurance so you will be able to pay for any costs, be it medical or supplies like cages, grooming products, toys and food.