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Guinea Pig basic care guide

Guinea pigs make excellent pets. They are generally friendly, loving and attentive to their owners. Make sure you give your piggy the best care and enjoy a long, healthy and happy life with him.

Food:

Many people make the mistake of simply feeding their cavies a rabbit pellet diet. Just like humans, Guinea Pigs don’t produce their own vitamin C, so it’s vitally important to ensure that this is included in their diet. The SAGPS currently recommends the Versele Laga Cavia Pro or Crispy food. This is to be fed daily, along with unlimited fresh hay, such as lucerne, and fresh veggies. It’s important to remember that high sugar levels can cause diabetes in your piggy, so keep fruits to a minimum.

The following veggies can be fed daily:

Lettuces – except Iceberg
Carrot
Tomato
Green Pepper
Parsley

Avoid vegetables that tend to produce gas, such as cabbage, as guinea pigs can easily suffer from bloat.

Housing:

Guinea Pigs are energetic and playful animals, and so need lots of space to run, a 1 square metre cage or bigger is ideal, and the more piggys you have, the bigger the cage should be.

Bedding is a difficult matter as there are not many commercially viable products available. Try to avoid soft wood shavings, as these release toxins and phenols that are detrimental to your cavies’ lives. Corncob and cat litter is also bad as they eat this and it causes blockages in their intestines. We recommend you keep them on pelleted straw bedding, Kenaf, Fleece bedding, or alternatively on newspaper and hay.

Health:

Guinea pigs can suffer from a myriad of different illnesses, so it is important to monitor them regularly. Guinea Pigs are prey animals, and as a result hide their illness quite well. We recommend you weigh your piggy weekly, as weight loss is the number one sign of disease.

If you suspect your guinea pig is unwell, visit your nearest experienced vet as soon as possible. It is important that you find a vet that has experience with guinea pigs, as they require a specialized care that goes beyond the usual veterinary training.

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