How to make emergency guinea pig food

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Guinea pigs have a delicate digestion system that relies on a consistent diet. While it’s important to feed your guinea pigs the best quality pellets and hay, switching their diet in one go can cause gastrointestinal upset or unintentional stress. [1] X Research source If you need to change your guinea pig’s diet, you’ll want to approach the process with care. Follow this wikiHow article to find out how.

How to make emergency guinea pig food

Tip: While transitioning their feed is more subtle and lessens digestion stress, some like to go cold turkey and switch their guinea pig’s pellets straight away. This may or may not be effective, as guinea pig’s will refuse pellets if they are not use to them. However, pellets are such a small part of their diet that it isn’t dangerous to go cold turkey.

Are you wondering how to make a guinea pig happy? Cavies are tailless rodents that bring joy to your household every time. They are adorable furballs that can be very sweet if you give them much attention and care.

Since guinea pigs are easy to maintain since they are also like humans who seek food, shelter, and companionship, and there are many ideas for you to do to please your piggies and make them happy staying with you.

In this article, we will be discussing some ways that you can use so that you can give happiness to your beloved pet. So without further delays, let’s get right into it! (please read here how much space do Guinea pig need)

Way To Make Guinea Pigs Happy

There are quite many things for you to remember in making your cavy a cheerful and happy one.

Here are the following that you should start practicing if you have a guinea pig at home:

Step #1. Offer a balanced diet

You have to take note that in every pet that you own or you are planning to have, it is a must that these animals would be given a balanced and healthy diet.

For guinea pigs, you must offer them a strict diet meal plan to avoid stomach issues in the future.

Cavies can be very happy if you feed them with clean and fresh hay, clean water, fresh veggies, fruits, and healthy guinea pig pellets.

Be sure to give them only an adequate amount for you to monitor their food intake and avoid obesity.

Step #2. Give cavies bonding and quality time

Guinea pigs are social creatures which love to have a frequent encounter with humans. These furballs want to have love and attention from their owners (which is very adorable!).

So for you to make your pet happy, spend at least 15 to 20 minutes every day with them as playtime, just like what I do with my pet cavy named Ginger. (please read here how to make a Guinea pig playpen)

Due to that, you can have great bonding and reduce your pet’s skittishness and boredom. It is not only that but of course; you will have the chance to monitor the physical health of your cavy.

I am sure that Ginger is happy with my actions according to this matter, which is why we clicked right away!

Step #3. Make sure to give them a clean and cozy cage

Since a cage will be the long-time habitat of your beloved pet, it will be nice if you give them a clean space which they can roam around freely.

Make sure that their environment is as comfortable and it should be and that the guinea pigs can be at a high level of safety.

There are a few things that you must consider for giving a cozy cage to your pet, and these include beddings, a water bowl, a litter box, a hay feeder, and assorted kinds of toys.

Of course, you can enhance these considerations and add more like bowls for dry pellets, wooden structures for chewing purposes, and small houses where they can run and hide. (please read here how to make a Guinea pig cage out of a bookshelf)

Step #4. Create a space where they can play

You have to understand that guinea pigs are rodents that are very curious by nature. That is the reason why they need to enhance their mental and physical aspects frequently.

To aid that issue, you must make an effort to build something that will improve both their mental and physical health.

It would be best if you offer your cavies with toys and challenges so that these items will keep them occupied throughout the day.

There is no need for you to buy the most expensive ones because there is cheap stuff that can practically imitate the costly ones.

Furthermore, to make your pet’s well-being better, you must allow it to exercise outside of its cage or another environment. By that, your cavy will surely jump out of joy and will be very cheerful!

Step #5. Place the cage in an ideal location

It is not only about a clean cage, but also you have to consider what type of environment your guinea pig is in.

There is a need for you to learn that these rodents love to be near other beings, so it is an excellent move to put your pet inside your room or the family room.

Also, you have to be very keen on the details of whether the cage is in a too cold or too warm area, which will make your cavy very uncomfortable in either way.

As a pet owner, you need to learn that guinea pigs don’t like extreme temperatures, which you should avoid.

Step #6. Handle your guinea pig with love and care

When you are holding your guinea pig, you must have it with both hands and support all of its body. There are tendencies where guinea pigs jump when you hold them, so you have to alert them at all times. (please read here why does my Guinea pig lick me)

For that issue, you can train your guinea pig not to be jumpy and let it learn to be calm in those times.

Handling it firmly and gently will let them realize that you won’t harm it and give it proper care when held.

Step #7. Giving guinea pigs their comfort food

There are a lot of treats available in the market which you can give to your cavy. It is a nice gesture that you offer a treat every time your pet listens to training because it will motivate them to do better.

If you are doing it regularly, your beloved piggy will be very much delighted each time that it sees you holding a treat for it and one form of how to make a guinea pig happy.

Though it is an excellent action, you have to make sure that you are giving only a substantial amount to avoid future issues to occur in their health.

More so, please give them a good variety of hay because that is their staple food. This food should make up the majority of their diet meal plan.

Step #8. Bathing

You can bathe your cavy every once in a while as long as the water is at a moderate temperature.

It is a must that you do not use too much soap because these rodents arecavi susceptible to pneumonia when bathed for a long time.

Furthermore, respiratory diseases will also be an issue for cavies, so you have to make sure that they do not soak in the water for hours.

You can find all you need to know about it in my detailed guide on how to bathe guinea pigs.

Step #9. Adding another guinea pig

A playmate will also be a good addition to making your beloved pet happy. As we have talked about earlier, these rodents are very friendly, which means that they love the company of others. (please read here why do Guinea pig whistle)

In getting another guinea pig, you also have to prepare for the additional needs of the newest member of your pets and treat them all equally.

Conclusion

In conclusion, if you provide your guinea pig with its essential needs, that is the answer to how to make a guinea pig happy.

An environment where they can grow physically and mentally healthy is also very ideal since they can have a robust body over time.

Though these furballs are not that playful, I am sure that toys can keep them occupied and forget about boredom.

As a pet owner, quality time every day is something that you must keep up since you can have a stronger bond with your pet if you do so. More so, treats are truly loved by guinea pigs and will inspire them to do better every piggy training.

Good luck in giving happiness to your pet, and thank you very much for reading!

How to make emergency guinea pig food

DIET

Guinea pigs are herbivores. The most important part of their diet, like rabbits, is GRASS HAY. Grasses are particularly great for guinea pigs because they’re teeth grow continuously throughout their life and grass hays are abrasive to the teeth. Grasses also provide a number of nutrients for the guinea pig, as well as both indigestible and digestible fiber. Indigestible fiber keeps the intestinal tract moving at a normal speed and digestible fiber is used the GI bacteria to produce vitamin B and amino acids. Any grass hay is good to feed, such as timothy and orchard brome. You should avoid legume hays, like alfalfa, because they are too high in calories, calcium and protein for your guinea pig. Provide hay in a hay feeder or simply put it in the corner of the cage.

Guinea pigs are unable to produce their own vitamin C, much like humans, and therefore need an outside source to avoid developing a disease called scurvy. To prevent this from happening, you should feed your guinea pig FRESH FRUITS AND VEGETABLES daily. Dark leafy greens such as kale, collard greens, mustard greens and dandelion greens are particularly good sources of vitamin C, but you can also try offering sweet peppers, apples, pears, berries, broccoli, cucumbers, parsley and basil. You should feed your pig around ¼ to ½ packed cup of fresh foods daily.

Guinea pigs can also be given PELLETS in limited quantities but make sure they are guinea pig-specific and not rabbit pellets. Guinea pig pellets contain additional vitamin C while other pellets do not. You should also read the label and pick a grass hay based pellet instead of an alfalfa based one. Pellets have a tendency to cause guinea pigs to gain weight, so watch your pet’s weight carefully and adjust the amount you are feeding if they are getting overweight. Generally, an adult guinea pig should eat no more than ¼ cup of pellets a day, with unlimited grass hay and a small amount of fresh foods.

AVOID FEEDING foods high in starch, like peas, beans, corn, nuts, cakes, cookies, cereal, grains and bread. These can cause a serious, potentially fatal imbalance in the normal bacteria found in the guinea pig’s GI tract.

Of course, it is important for your guinea pig to always have fresh, clean WATER available to them at all times, either in a sipper bottle or a heavy bowl to prevent spilling.

The sight, smell, taste, texture of your guinea pig’s food can be mentally stimulating for them, as well as the sound of the food preparation, which can provide a joyful anticipation for what is to come. To increase mental stimulation, you can put hay or fresh foods in empty toilet paper or paper towel rolls, non-toxic baskets or in little pieces of crumpled paper. You can also put pellets in a small hollow plastic ball with holes in the side.

Guinea pigs can be housed in enclosures made of wire, stainless steel, durable plastic or glass. Wood should not be used because it is difficult to clean and easy for guinea pigs to chew on and destroy the enclosure. There should be one side of the enclosure open to promote air ventilation. It should obviously be escape proof and have no sharp edges or potential hazards for your guinea pig.

The FLOORING in the enclosure can be wire or solid. While wire flooring will help keep the area clean and is easier to maintain, it often causes injuries to the feet and hocks, most commonly broken legs when the guinea pig falls through the wire mesh and panics to escape. Solid flooring may require more effort to keep clean, but it is a lot safer for your pet.

BEDDING must be clean, non-toxic, absorbent and dust-free. Examples of acceptable bedding include wood shavings, shredded paper, processed ground corn cob, and commercial pellets. It is not recommended to use cedar shavings because they are associated with causing respiratory difficulty and liver disease in guinea pigs. Saw dust should also be avoided as it can cause an impaction in males.

The SIZE of your guinea pig enclosure should be approximately 100 square inches of floor area per adult guinea pig. The enclosure can be open on the top, but be sure that the sides are at least 10 inches high so that your pet can’t jump out of the cage and cause injury. It is also important to consider any other family pets that may be a threat if the enclosure is open.

The ENVIRONMENT in which you house your guinea pig should be in a quiet spot away from noise, excitement and stress. You should avoid direct sunlight, as well as cold damp areas. They are nocturnal, so they need quiet periods of light to rest. Guinea pigs do best in dry, cool environments with adequate ventilation.

Guinea pigs are SOCIAL animals, so more than one can safely be housed together, including males with females. New males may occasionally fight in the presence of a female, but they usually are fine to be together. Older, more dominant guinea pigs may also chew on the ears or hair of their cage mates, so take this into consideration.

HANDLING

Guinea pigs are fairly easy to handle. Placing a hand into the cage will often cause the guinea pig to approach. They can then be easily scooped up. One hand should cup the hind end while the other hand cradles the midsection. Two hands are always recommended when picking up and handling a guinea pig so that there is less risk of dropping them. They rarely turn aggressive, however they may jump or try to run if they aren’t used to being handled.

Last Updated on December 8, 2020 December 28, 2020 by Danielle

In comparison to the other four-legged pets, too little is known about the digestive mechanisms of guinea pigs.

They are monogastric herbivores, meaning that they have only one stomach; unlike some bigger herbivores that have more than just one.

The stomach continues to the small intestine, appendix, and large intestine. The appendix is the main place of fermentation.

The process produces a lot of gas and diet changes can disrupt it making it generate more content than needed.

Guinea pigs are physiologically hindgut fermenters. The food is broken down after passing the small intestine with the help of different bacteria (the process is called microbial fermentation).

Intestinal gas is a normal digestion byproduct in most mammals. As long as the gas is in normal quantities and can pass safely out of the body it’s no big deal. But what happens when the content is trapped?

Guinea pig bloat is a serious condition that can be fatal if left untreated. Bloat occurs when the gastrointestinal tract produces a lot of gas.

The gas stays in place and cannot be passed through the guinea pigs’ intestines. More gas is produced in the meantime and the situation only gets worse.

Another specific thing about guinea pigs is that everything that goes inside their mouth has to come out on the hind.

There is no other way. Guinea pigs aren’t able to regurgitate content and burp up gas as other animals can.

The onset of guinea pig bloat is sudden and can become life-threatening in less than 12 hours. Gastrointestinal stasis is coming secondary as a result of the bloat and is the real killer.

The guinea pigs’ stomachs are always in motion. With stasis, the digestive movements slow down or stop entirely. That’s when it gets serious.

What Causes Bloating in Guinea Pigs?

Too much negative bacteria growth can result in excess gas and thus bloating. Bacterial infections in the digestive system can be considered as one of the things causing guinea pig bloat.

Additionally, recent antibiotic treatment can disturb the normal microflora of the intestines and create a favorable environment for the negative microorganisms.

Some vegetables can cause a massive gas build-up and should cautiously be given to guinea pigs or avoided completely.

The main problem is that they love all of them so much. Such vegetables include cauliflower, cabbage, brussel sprouts, kale, and broccoli.

Safe vegetables that are highly unlikely to cause bloat are carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, corn, spinach, parsley, etc.

Lack of quality hay in the diet can also contribute to decreased gut mobility and gas build-up. One more theory is that obesity and lack of exercise can be taken as contributing factors as well.

Guinea pigs are very sensitive to dietary changes. Any change has to be implemented gradually over a period of a week or two. Sudden shifts make the stomach and guts vulnerable and susceptible to bloating.

Bloating in guinea pigs can occur as a result of intestinal blockage. Guinea pigs chewing on non-digestive material such as plastic can accidentally swallow little pieces that can block the digestive tract.

Other materials that can also contribute to the blockage and subsequently bloat are wood, hairballs, etc.

How Do I Know If My Guinea Pig Has Bloat?

The most obvious sign of guinea pig bloat is a sudden distended and swollen appearance of the abdomen. Accompanying signs of bloating are:

  • Decreased appetite or anorexia
  • Weakness
  • Labored breathing
  • No passing of feces
  • Restless movements
  • Painful abdomen

If you want to make a quick check whether the problem is gas bloat you can do a home test. Take your guinea pig and immobilize him by grasping the shoulders and the neck.

Flick your middle finger on both sides of the abdomen. When the abdomen is filled with gas the flicking will produce different sounds in different areas.

If you suspect your guinea pig has bloat, you must realize that means an emergency. The disease can progress quickly and every second count. Taking a trip to the vet is the only solution to make sure your pet gets the care he deserves.

Firstly your guinea pig will need to be diagnosed with bloat before the treatment begins. The physical examination is what every experienced vet will begin by paying special attention to the abdominal area. Gut sounds with lower intensity can give a pretty good idea of what might be going on.

Although most vets will suggest blood work and urinalysis, bloated guinea pigs can have no changes in the parameters.

X-ray findings are most useful as they can clearly show why the abdomen is distended (gas or fluid) and which part of the digestive tract is affected. Don’t be surprised if the definitive diagnosis is pregnancy.

How Do You Treat a Bloated Guinea Pig?

Veterinarians use anti-gas medication, anti-pain medications, and antibiotics to resolve guinea pig bloat. Gastrointestinal stimulants are especially helpful when you want to make the bowels move again. Guinea pigs that are dehydrated will need to be treated with intravenous fluids.

Placing a stomach tube through the mouth into the stomach is performed to release excess air from the stomach and decompress it.

The same effect can be achieved by puncturing the stomach through the abdominal wall with a fine needle. If conservative therapy isn’t helping, surgery might be the only option.

Can Guinea Pig Bloat Go On Its Own?

In minor cases of gas fill-up bloating can resolve on its own if you withdraw the food that contributed to the problem in the first place.

But there is no chance you can be sure in what direction the situation is going to turn. Seeking professional medical help is always the number one choice.

How To Prevent Guinea Pig Bloat

Keep your guinea pigs’ water and food bowls clean all the time. Avoid changing his diet, or do it slowly if you have to.

Make a list of all the greens the guinea pig can safely consume or not and stick to strict feeding protocols. Unfortunately, some cases of guinea pig bloat can turn chronic no matter how careful you are.

If that is the case learn to recognize the symptoms early and work on an appropriate long-term treatment plan with your vet to make your pet’s life as comfortable as possible.

By: Chewy Editorial Published: February 26, 2018 Updated: January 20, 2021

How to make emergency guinea pig food

BeWell > Wellness > How to Care For a Guinea Pig

How to Care For a Guinea Pig

Guinea pigs make great first pets—and since March is National Adopt a Rescued Guinea Pig month, now is the perfect time to start looking for a guinea pig to add to your fur family!

To teach new small pet owners how to care for a guinea pig, we’ve asked Dr. Melissa McNeil, DVM, an associate veterinarian with a special interest in exotic pets at the VCA Wakefield Animal Hospital in Wakefield, MA, for advice.

Picking Out the Right Guinea Pig Cage

When it comes to a home for your fuzzy pal, bigger is always better, says Dr. McNeil. “A cage that houses one guinea pig should be 36 inches by 18 inches by 22 inches with a solid floor and soft bedding such as shredded paper or fleece,” she explains.

You also will want to choose a guinea pig cage without solid walls, so that your guinea pig can get proper ventilation. When you are selecting bedding for the guinea pig cage, you will want to stick to shredded paper or fleece. You should avoid using wood shavings, says Dr. McNeil.

Finding Nutritious Guinea Pig Food

These herbivores do best on a healthy diet that contains hay, pellets and greens, says Dr. McNeil. “For adult guinea pigs, be sure to provide free access to good quality grass hay like timothy, orchard or oat hay,” she notes. Juvenile pigs (less than 6 months of age) should be fed alfalfa hay, which is higher in calories, calcium and protein. “This hay is also recommended for pregnant and lactating guinea pigs, too.”

Adult pigs can have a small amount of timothy hay pellets, but consult your vet before offering them. “Too many pellets can lead to obesity, and be sure to avoid the high-calorie variety that’s made from dried fruits, seeds, grains and nuts,” she notes. Speak with your guinea pig’s doctor about the type of greens he should be consuming, too. Dark, leafy greens are preferred because they have more vitamins and minerals. It is not recommended to feed your pet guinea pig iceberg lettuce because it doesn’t have much nutritional value and it can cause stomach issues if a guinea pig eats too much.

“Guinea pigs, like humans, do not synthesize their own vitamin C, so commercial pellets that are supplemented with this important nutrient are essential,” explains Dr. McNeil. “I highly recommend including foods rich in vitamin C, such as red bell peppers, in your guinea pig’s daily diet. A small sliver or about 2 tablespoons, once daily, is all that’s required for vitamin C supplementation,” she notes.

And don’t forget water! “Fresh, clean water should be provided at all times, in both a bowl and water bottle, and frequently refreshed to encourage hydration,” she says.

Socializing Your Guinea Pig

Guinea pigs are very friendly animals, but you’ll need to go slowly as you begin to socialize your new pet, says Dr. McNeil. “They are wonderful pets, but it can take time for them to adapt to human interaction,” she points out. Start by offering treats and then work up to pettings, she advises. “Many guinea pigs don’t enjoy being picked up, so try to interact with them on a flat surface.”

Exercising Your Guinea Pig

Guinea pigs need plenty of time outside of the cage for exercise, notes Dr. McNeil. “I recommend at least a few hours daily, as a lack of exercise may contribute to the development of numerous medical problems, including obesity, sore hocks and bladder sludge,” she explains.

Unlike hamsters, guinea pigs do not run on an exercise wheel, but these animals do enjoy time spent outdoors. “Be sure that your pig’s outdoor time is always supervised in an escape-proof area that is not treated with pesticides,” warns Dr. McNeil. And keep in mind that guinea pigs overheat easily, so you’ll need to limit their time in the yard to days when the weather is mild.

Dental Care for Guinea Pigs

It is also important to know that a guinea pig’s teeth never stop growing, so the chewing and grinding of hay contributes to healthy teeth. Providing your pet guinea pig with hay and treats to chew on is always smart, but make sure you talk with your veterinarian to make sure that you are not overfeeding them, and that the treats you give your pet are appropriate.

Health Care for Guinea Pigs

All guinea pigs should have yearly exams with a veterinarian who’s savvy and knowledgeable when it comes to exotic pets. Meeting with the right veterinarian means you can discuss the most up-to-date husbandry tips and help prevent certain diseases, adds Dr. McNeil. Guinea pigs should never stop eating or defecating. “If this happens, or if the poops become smaller, it is an emergency, and he or she should see a veterinarian immediately,” she cautions.

Bathing is not recommended as a routine experience for healthy guinea pigs. To groom your guinea pig, you can get a small animal grooming kit, which will provide you with all the tools you need. A comb will keep your guinea pig’s coat silky and smooth, and nail clippers will keep their nails at a healthy length.

Find out what other supplies guinea pigs need:

How to make emergency guinea pig food
Jennifer Kelly Geddes is a New York City writer/editor and the mom of two teenage girls. She’s also the devoted owner of a rescue pup named Django, a temperamental Shepherd mix. Geddes has worked for Food & Wine, Parenting, Seventeen and Airbnb magazines and creates content for dozens of sites, including Care, Fisher-Price, the National Sleep Foundation and Realtor.

Published: February 26, 2018

Guinea Pig Care Guide

  • Background
  • Habitat
  • Nutrition
  • Common Diseases and Illnesses
  • Veterinary Care

How to make emergency guinea pig food

Background

Native to the Andes Mountains of South America, Guinea pigs are rodents that are common pets in the United States. Also called cavies, there are several common breeds including the Abyssinian (rough, short coat with cowlicks), the American/ English (classic shorthair) and the Peruvian (longhair). Guinea pigs are herbivores and need to feed continuously, therefore they produce fecal pellets continuously. Like rabbits, guinea pigs will form softer stools called cecotropes that they will ingest throughout the day. Guinea pigs typically live 5-8 years and are very social animals that do well in pairs or trios. It is important to note that guinea pigs and rabbits should not be housed together as rabbits can carry bacteria called Bordetella Bronchiseptica which, while usually harmless to rabbits, can be fatal to guinea pigs.

Habitat

A plastic bottom wire cage with paper product bedding is advised (such as CareFresh ®). Another creative and fun option is to make a cubes and coroplast or “CC” cage. These allow for more options with ramps, hides, multi-levels, tunnels, and environmental enrichment. A water bottle or a bowl should be placed in the cage. The dishes should be cleaned with soap and water often. Water bottles should be cleaned weekly with special attention to cleaning out the sipper tube itself with cotton tipped applicators and by placing it in boiling water.

Nutrition

Recommended daily diet (Introduce all new foods gradually to avoid intestinal upset):

Fresh Timothy hay (50% of diet)
Hay should be offered freely at all times. Second cutting Timothy hay is preferred, however first cutting Timothy hay is okay to feed. Trusted brands of hay include Oxbow and Farmer Dave’s Pet Supply. Alfalfa hay should only be fed to young or pregnant guinea pigs as its calcium content is too high for adults and can result in urinary tract problems.

High fiber Guinea pig pellets
Only varieties formulated specifically for guinea pigs will have the necessary vitamin C. Do not feed mixes with seeds or grains as these can lead to obesity and dental disease. Buy fresh pellets every 60-90 days as the Vitamin C content does not remain stable for longer than that time frame. Recommended brands include Oxbow and Sherwood Pet Health pellets.

Fresh fruit and vegetables
Feed leafy greens, including romaine lettuce and red/green leaf lettuce mixes, and vegetables such as red bell peppers, celery, cucumber, broccoli, and green beans. Herbs such as dill, basil, rosemary and oregano can be offered 1-2 times weekly in small amounts. Carrot pieces can be fed occasionally, but avoid baby carrots due to the high sugar content. Avoid high calcium/oxalate vegetables: spinach, kale, parsley, dandelion greens. Fruit, including strawberry, blueberry, citrus, and apples should be given only as treats. Avoid high sugar fruits such as bananas and grapes.

Vitamin C
Supplementation is not usually necessary if the pet is on a healthy pellet including one of the brands recommended above. Avoid supplementing vitamins in the water. Vitamin C supplementation may be warranted during times of illness.

Common Diseases and Illnesses

Scurvy (Vitamin C deficiency)

  • Young, growing pigs and sick pigs are the most susceptible.
  • The most important aspect of this disease is that the pet needs to be on a healthy diet
    including a good quality pellet as well as fresh vegetables.
  • Symptoms can include a poor hair coat, painful joints, foot sores, and trouble eating.

Gastrointestinal Disease/Dental disease

  • GI problems are often secondary to a poor diet or dental disease.
  • Signs of dental disease include decreased appetite, drooling, unkempt hair coat, and
    grinding the teeth.
  • A guinea pig that is not eating/defecating for over 12 hours should be evaluated
    immediately.

Hair, skin, and foot disease

  • Stress, boredom, or parasites can cause over-grooming behavior.
  • Mites and ringworm are common problems in guinea pigs. These can be extremely
    painful/itchy and may even cause seizures.
  • Pressure sores on the feet are seen in older guinea pigs. Obesity, Vitamin C deficiency, and wire-bottom cages are usually pre-disposing factors. These sores can lead to severe
    infections in the bones, joints, and kidneys.
  • Examine the bottom of their feet once weekly and look for any abnormalities.

Respiratory Disease

  • Signs can include nasal or ocular discharge, sneezing, abnormal breathing or weight
    loss.
  • Respiratory disease is often due to bacterial pathogens. Other causes include cardiac
    disease, viruses, or aspiration.

Reproductive Issues

  • Sexual maturity arrives early in guinea pigs. Females are able to breed at 4-6 weeks old and
    males at 9-10 weeks old.
  • Female guinea pigs that were not bred before 6 months of age will likely have complications
    giving birth later in life.
  • Intact females are prone to mammary and uterine cancer later in life.
  • Intact boars (males) may be prone to fecal impactions later in life and may require assistance in cleaning out their rectal pouch.
  • Intact female guinea pigs have a high incidence of ovarian cysts.

Urinary Issues

  • Urinary sediment or stones can be seen in guinea pigs with high calcium/oxalate diets
    (excessive alfalfa hay or high calcium/oxalate vegetables).
  • Symptoms include bloody urine, straining, vocalization while urinating/defecating, and
    hunched posture. This can be a life-threatening situation.

Veterinary Care

• Yearly physical exams
• Dental examination
• Weight determination with veterinarian
• Review diet /husbandry with veterinarian

Your guinea pigs are family, so you want them to be happy and healthy. Sometimes, simple care mistakes lead to disaster. A review of these common guinea pig care no-nos helps you avoid them so your guinea pig buddies live the good life.

Guinea Pig Feeding Mistakes To Avoid

1. No skimping on plentiful grass hay, fresh water, and vitamin C. The guinea pig diet is mainly hay; we’re talking about 80% hay. Hay is necessary because of its high-fiber content, which helps maintain the guinea pig digestive tract and also wears down constantly growing teeth. Water is vital for life. It must be fresh and clean daily. Guinea pigs need vitamin C from their food because they can’t make it themselves. Many guinea pig pellets include added vitamin C, and you can also offer guinea pig-safe fresh veggies and small amounts of fruits rich in vitamin C. Without this vitamin, guinea pigs develop scurvy and could die.

2. No bad foods or overfeeding of good foods. What are bad foods? Processed, sugary, salty, and fatty foods top the list. Other no-nos include meat, alcohol, caffeine, dairy, or foods that cause gas. When in doubt about a food, ask your guinea-pig savvy veterinarian. Keep in mind that guinea pigs are herbivores. Guinea pigs can eat as much grass hay as they wish, but portion control is needed for pellets, and even healthy treats likes veggies, fruits, and Hey!Berries. Fruit should be offered most sparingly because of its sugar content.

Guinea Pig Housing Or Environment Mistakes To Avoid

3. No free-roaming in unsafe areas. An unsafe area is any space you haven’t guinea pig-proofed. This means any area with toxins, accessible power cords, bite-sized items on the floor, sharp objects, other free-roaming pets, unsupervised small children, and more. Use common sense before allowing your guinea pigs to roam a room. Some rooms should always be off-limits, such as kitchens, garages, and laundry rooms. The outdoors presents new problems, including birds of prey swooping down, disease from scat, insect bites, or standing water, and unknown pesticides.

How to make emergency guinea pig foodMake sure an area is guinea pig-safe before you allow your pets to roam freely in it. summa/Pixabay.com

4. No warm environment. Heatstroke is a major concern for guinea pigs. Temperatures above 80 degrees Fahrenheit bring the possibility of heatstroke; with high humidity, it could happen at lower temperatures. If you’re uncomfortable, so is your guinea pig. Provide cooling options in the cage, such as frozen bottles of water or a guinea pig-safe pet cool plate. And don’t aim a fan directly at your guinea pigs.

5. No exercise balls. The safety of exercise balls for guinea pigs is under debate. Manufacturers of such products believe in their safety, but some guinea pig owners speak against them. The Guinea Lynx website, which focuses on guinea pig health, and visitors to guinea pig forums recommend against them. Avoid them until you discuss with your guinea pigs’ veterinarian about what is best for your pets.

6. No sharing a habitat with other species, even rabbits. Guinea pigs need a fairly large habitat/cage that has space to run around after accessories like food dishes, water bottles, toys, hideaways, and litter boxes are added. For people with more than one pet, the temptation might be to have guinea pigs share their living space with other nonpredator pets. Don’t do it. While different species often can share the same home, they can’t share the same living space. Guinea pigs should only live with other guinea pigs. In addition to possible inter-species aggression, diseases like Bordetella bronchiseptica can be passed between species. This most often occurs with carrier rabbits who look healthy but infect guinea pigs.

7. No poorly ventilated, small, or all wire-floored housing. Guinea pigs need well-ventilated habitats; this means no aquarium-types. The enclosure should allow guinea pigs to move around freely with all cage accessories in place. Hard or all wire-floors might cause painful bumblefoot, so provide an enclosure that has solid sections and bedding or blankets in sections so guinea pigs can rest on solid or soft areas as they wish.

8. No skimping on cleaning. A clean habitat promotes better health and minimizes any odors. If the enclosure has an odor, this means it’s time to increase the frequency of cleaning. Ammonia buildup from urine could cause respiratory disease.

Guinea Pig Interaction Mistakes To Avoid

9. No poor handling. This includes chasing a guinea pig around the habitat with your hands, not supporting a guinea pig’s abdomen and feet while holding, and allowing young children unsupervised playtime with guinea pigs. It’s best if guinea pigs come to you to be lifted out of their habitat; excessive chasing with your hands causes stress. Get your guinea pigs used to your hands by laying them in the habitat for several minutes without doing anything and offering treats on your hand. Guinea pigs always need to be supported when held to prevent injury and to prevent squirming that could lead to being dropped. Young children of about 7 years old or less won’t know how to interact with guinea pigs or have the coordination or ability to know their own strength.

10. No ignoring. Guinea pigs are social and want to be in on your family action. A guinea pig pair or group that has a clean habitat, great food, plentiful water, and lots of toys still won’t enjoy the best life if they spend all their time alone in their habitat. They need the enrichment of time interacting with you and exploring areas other than their habitat.

Guinea Pig Health Mistakes To Avoid

11. No waiting if you suspect illness. Guinea pigs are prey animals who hide any illness as long as possible. This means that by the time you might notice something is “off” with your guinea pig, your furry friend might be hours, days, or weeks into suffering. Outside of obvious signs of illness, changes to the norm are your first clues of possible guinea pig health problems.

12. No under grooming. For guinea pigs, this mainly means keeping current on nail trims and fur brushing. If nails grow too long, they can split, break, get ripped out, or make walking painful. Save your guinea pig from such agonies. Baths are only needed if guinea pigs get into something dirty or are heading for the show ring.

2 thoughts on “ 12 Guinea Pig Care Mistakes And No-Nos ”

Yes. Keep an eye on your guinea pigs when they’re out of the cage! They can get into so many things!!

Having a guinea pig first aid kit in place can be critical, especially when it comes to saving your guinea pig’s life in case of any medical emergency. Although it cannot take the place of a professional vet, it can help you to tackle any crisis until you reach the vet.

Guinea pigs are a playful creature; they love to roam around and play with each other. Sometimes they may get aggressive and fight with each other, or maybe they can get hurt with something in your living space, or perhaps they got some common health diseases.

In any such scenario, you will definitely need something to treat their wounds or illness and a well maintained first aid kit for guinea pigs might come in handy.

So, Now that you know you need a first aid kit for your guinea pigs in place, let’s quickly have a look at supplies we would need.

(You can learn more about why do guinea pigs fight and what is dominance behavior in guinea pigs from this article we have written.)

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First and foremost you need to have a card which has contact details of few vets listed in it. Just in case one is unavailable, you can quickly reach out to the other.

Now place this card at the front of the box where it is easy to find. Just in case of an emergency, you can reach out to the vet immediately.

Second, you definitely need some essential supplies in place. Something like cotton buds, cotton balls, bandages, antiseptic liquid, tapes, scissors, tweezers, syringes, etc. should be stored together.

Just in case some medical emergency arises you needn’t rush looking for these items if you have invested some time and money in keeping them organized.

Third and another essential item on the list of guinea pig first aid kit is going to be some supplements and disinfectants.

Guinea pigs can get aggressive towards each other, and in the process, they might scratch or bite each other, or maybe they get some wound by some foreign object in any such case having something to clean their injury is going to come in handy.

You can keep a sterile solution for cleaning and disinfecting their wounds.

Some other essential items on the list can be towels, disposable gloves, weighing scales, guinea pig shampoo, small animal wipes, heat pad, wound powder, skin cream, etc.