Well, in as much as being social is not limited to other humans, pets are our second best companions, probably the first, from our soulmates. However, deciding the type of pet to keep in your home requires great intellect.
But you don’t need that, we got you! I was equally confused about which pet to keep in my home, which would go well with my kids and my friends when they visited.
I finally made up my mind to have a guinea pig as a pet.
Why do you ask? Guinea pigs are great pets when you have a large space. I needed a pet that is gentle to handle, one that I can socialize with, and of course less expensive to keep.
A guinea pig was a perfect match for my checklist!
So here is all you should know before buying a guinea pig.
Little Background About Guinea Pigs
Guinea pigs are also referred to as cavy or domestic cavy. These animals have a scientific name Cavia Porcellus being a species of rodents in family Caviidae and genus Cavia. They resemble rabbits especially the face and feeding habits.
However, their naming isn’t native when keeping Guinea pig as pet as you would assume. Also, they aren’t biologically related to pigs as their name would hint. The origin of their names is still unclear. Even so, they are known to originate from the Andes in South America.
Research has it that they are domesticated species of cavy e.g. C. stchudii. This makes them not exist naturally in the wild. Western society has greatly domesticated guinea pigs as a type of household pet.
This can be attributed to their docile nature, friendliness and good response to handling and feeding. Below, we discuss all relative information to keeping a guinea pig as a pet.
Let’s dive in!
Best Diet For Guinea Pig
Just like people, guinea pigs can’t make their own vitamin C thus depend on diet for it. Without it, they develop scurvy with swollen joints, skin & fur problems, loss of appetite and lethargy consequently.
Initially, there were two discovered breeds of guinea pigs; Abyssinian and Peruvian also called American/English. Currently, 13 breeds are recognized by American Cavy Breeders and American Rabbit Breeders Association.
The Lifespan of a Guinea Pig
Guinea pig lifespan is around 5-6 years depending on individual, environment and quality care.
They are social animals that are dependent on the company. They live as a group or in pairs at least founded by a 2008 Switzerland law that declared them abused if deprived of company.
Their incisors are white contrary to other rodents. Their teeth grow continuously thus need rough food like grass hay to keep the teeth size at bay.
In South America, guinea pigs are called cuy while North America, Europe, and Australia call them cavy.
They have dark eyes (black, brown or blue) and pink/red having a ruby pupil. Their eyes shine red with a dichromatic vision.
These animals eat some of their feces for health purposes. Those that don’t eat eventually become ill.
Cuy in South America are raised as food and pets and are larger and savage compared to guinea pigs. This makes cuy less of pets than guinea pigs.
At 7-8 months old, guinea pigs that don’t give birth are likely to have a difficult pregnancy. Their pubic bones are fixed at that age hence making birthing difficult.
Previous studies may be inconsistent. Louisiana State University research has it that guinea pigs have a range of 54 to 50,000 Hz unlike 64 to 23,000 Hz for humans.
GUINEA PIG NAMES (10 CUTE GREAT NAMES)
Just like any other pet, guinea pigs are given cute names. Naming is probably the greatest part of the life of your pet. Don’t give your pet a name that doesn’t form a kind of connection. For this reason, you need a cute name for your guinea pig. A name that not only gives your friends an Aha! moment but also one that appeals to you.
Here is a list of 10 cute guinea pig names.
This name is suitable for an Abyssinian guinea pig that has spiky hair. This name sounds good to pronounce due to its consonance.
This name can be given to any guinea pig. There’s a striking resemblance in the face of Donald Trump and guinea pigs hence the name Toupee.
Crumpet or Jelly Bean
These names are generic from the feeding and dieting of guinea pigs. Other than that, these names are cute and well sounding for your pet.
This is a cute name with pun embedded. It suits those guinea pigs which are single ladies with and class.
This name is very popular when pet naming is the talk of the day. It’s a cute name that not only suits other pets like cats and dogs but also guinea pigs. It’s quite a name for quite a pet.
Just like a pancake, this name is very popular. I don’t actually know if it’s the sound of it or just the beauty that comes with this delicacy. Anyhow, this is a cute name.
This is just another generic name that comes from the feeding of guinea pigs. Its mention alone makes you hungry both literally and for your pet. Go for it.
This name brings back the general name of your pet. It marks a small version of the pet thus making a cute name for your pet.
This name is generic and associated with their squeaking noises. Fortunately, this name is cute and unisex. You can also relate it to winning.
This name suits a silkie or Peruvian guinea pig with fine locks. If your pet resembles this description, you just got your pet the name.
GUINEA PIG GIRL NAMES (16 GREAT NAMES)
Penelope, Betty, Dottie, and Annie are all cute old fashioned names. Besides that, these names have strong consonances which make them top notch.
Your guinea pig would choose them.
This name sounds nice even to pronounce it. It would go hand in hand with a lady friend to Fabio.
This is a name derived from Genevieve which makes it classy and cute. You guinea pig friend might take some time to learn it.
Hamlet, Juliet or Cleopatra
These are names linked with literature and everything that goes with it. Your pet deserves this if you are a literature fanatic. It builds a connection between you.
Other great girl names for guinea pigs include;
GUINEA PIG BOY NAMES (16 GREAT NAMES)
Guinea pigs require names just like other pets. When choosing a boy name for your pet, you need to come up with a name you are proud of.
This makes you call your pet thus making him learn his name.
Below is a list of names to jag your memory. These names are inspired by male names while others are completely unique. The choice depends on the names you feel a connection to.
The best 16 names for boy guinea pigs include;
Colonel-This name is to be given to a guinea pig that looks like a sheepdog.
Lago suits a guinea pig that is very talkative and noisy.
Abu-This boy name suits a guinea pig with a fiery personality.
Bagheera-This name suits a guinea pig that is all black in color. The one that resembles a panther in color.
Banzai-This name suits a guinea pig that is likely to get into a lot of trouble.
Pongo, Tibbs, Rolly, Lucky, Patch are all names that suit guinea pigs that are black and white in color.
Harry is yet another great boy name for your pet. It’s better on guinea pigs with long hair.
Rex-This name has a certain touch of authority. Other than that, it’s brave and protective. It makes a good name for your pet.
Sleepy-Just as the name suggests, this one is for sleepy pets.
If you guinea pig likes to sleep every other time, this is the name. Other boy names for guinea pigs are; Teddy, Oreo, Rusty, and Shaggy.
There are still other boy names that are good for guinea pigs.
They are popular due to their vast use.
They include; Matty, Braveheart, Abel, Abraham, Rocko, Bob, Ozzy, Leonard, Chomper, Zipper, Bart, Homer, Paco, Oliver, Fabio, Ham, Boomer, Pepsi, Nemo, and Tank.
Walter or Bob
Ha-ha, my bad! These two names have a business suit sensation, especially on Wall Street. Their cuteness is second to none.
Simon or George
These are cute names to name your male guinea pig. They represent classic goodies and perfectly meet the minimum requirements for cute.
This name is amazing in the way it sounds. It would suit a guinea pig with a Scarface and gangster wannabe.
GUINEA PIG DIET
Guinea pigs mostly feed on vegetables and fruits. Vegetable especially is a core meal in their diet. If your pet could just have 3 vegetable servings a day, it would be prudent. But don’t repeat the same vegetables for the second and third meals. When it comes to fruits, once or twice a week will suffice. Please check out our blog on the best dog food for sensitive stomach. Back, other food types to feed your guinea pig include;
Grass hay is lethal to the dieting of a guinea pig. Making it available to your pet makes it healthy as it provides fiber. This helps their digestion and also grinds their teeth which are in constant growth. Mixed grass hay is the best e.g. orchard, grass or blue glass for balanced calcium supply. Alfalfa contains a lot of calcium and could suit nursing and pregnant guinea pigs. It could also be good for guinea pigs below 6 months. To guinea pigs not requiring a lot of calcium, alfalfa could cause stone formation in their bodies.
Pellets are other food types that a guinea pig shouldn’t be deprived of. Usually, 1/8 cup is a good quantity for guinea pigs a day. However, you can exceed this amount for pregnant, nursing and guinea pigs below the age of 6 months. These three categories of guinea pigs could also be fed alfalfa hay for additional calcium requirements. Guinea pigs exceeding 6 months of age should be fed timothy pellets. This reduces the likelihood of stone formation in the body. In a nutshell, pellets being fed to any age guinea pig should not contain junk e.g. nuts and seeds. This could lead to obesity which could increase the chances of choking.
In most pet stores, you will find many food types usually treats. These types of foods shouldn’t be fed a lot to your guinea pigs. The reason is they contain a lot of sugar and too many calories. This is a hazard to the health of your guinea pig. There are those customized treats that have reduced quantities of sugars and calories. Most of them have no added sugars or other fattening ingredients e.g. seeds and nuts. To feed your guinea pig with such treats, look for those customized and free of additives. Alternatively, feed the treats in small quantities and rarely. Otherwise, your guinea pig will grow excessively fat and may become obese eventually.
Factually, guinea pigs don’t make their own vitamin c. For this reason, they depend on their diet for it. Deprivation of vitamin c causes scurvy just like in human beings. This disease can be avoided by supplementing vitamin c in your pet’s diet. Pellets, vegetables, and fruits contain vitamin c thus keeping their health in check.
Older and sick guinea pigs have a challenge of absorbing vitamin c from their diet. This should be solved by supplementing them with vitamin c besides their diet. Most of these supplements are directly put in their mouths. These supplements could be in the form of tablets. A non-cooperative guinea pig may be hectic at this point.
There’s also Liquid c got from the human health food store and not pet stores. It’s liquid in nature and has a sweetener to make it easy for the pet to swallow. Vitamin c is usually bitter and the sweetener keeps it in check. This also trains your pet to consume medication orally for future purposes. Vitamin c from a pet store is usually bitter and your guinea pig won’t consume. If it does, it will be just a little which is below the specifications for its diet.
Vitamin C Biscuit
This biscuit contains vitamin c in it. It acts as a supplement for vitamin c. Your pet may find it too hard especially if it’s old. With time, however, it gets easier. In pet stores, there’s gummy vitamin c but contains a lot of sugar. This undoubtedly will cause health problems.
GUINEA PIG WEIGHT LOSS
Weight loss or gain in a guinea pig isn’t easy to tell. Unless you weigh them regularly, it’s hard to detect any changes. However, if your guinea pig either adds or loses weight, it might be a hint to a health problem. Drastic weight loss requires you to visit a vet for a check-up. Sometimes the breeds could also determine the weight. That means that not always that weight gain or loss points to health problems. Rex guinea pigs, for instance, are mostly large than their counterparts. Loss of about 40-50 grams is a normal fluctuation unlike 90 grams and above.
Treats could lead to weight gain over a short period of time. If you want your pet to lose some weight, you need to cut the supply of treats, pellets, and fruits.
You can also motivate your pet to play or move for the sake of burning calories. You can achieve this by letting it out of its cage for more space. Add toys to the cage to which will encourage the guinea pig to play around. A large cage also creates space for your pet to roam about.
Foods with a high amount of starch should be fed to your pet rarely. They include peas, beans, corn, nuts, cake, cookies, cereals, and grains.
Water helps to cut the weight of a guinea pig. Always ensure the pet is well hydrated as it helps in weight loss just like in humans.
GUINEA PIG NOT EATING
Guinea pigs like to eat. Any indication that your pet isn’t eating means something is wrong. Your pet could be sick or suffering from an infection. You should visit the vet immediately. Among other common illnesses, your pet could be suffering from Gastrointestinal stasis. This disease occurs when food from the stomach goes slowly to the intestinal tract or stops.
Guinea pigs die of starvation between 2-3 days. For this reason, you should ensure it’s well fed. Ensure the pet eats most or all of its food and also drinks a substantial amount of water.
If your guinea pig doesn’t eat, defecation becomes minimal. This means your pet may be suffering from Ileus. This could be caused by an illness that’s underlying.
The diet that you feed your guinea pig also determines whether it will eat or not. You need to keep changing the diet until you find out what it prefers to eat.
Don’t pour bitter supplements on its food or water. These supplements may make your pet not to eat at all. Ensure you administer the supplements orally through a syringe. For tablets, place them directly in the mouth.
Other factors that can hinder your pet from eating include; recent surgical procedures, environmental changes, dietary changes, insufficient fresh water, extreme temperatures, malocclusion of teeth and ketosis.
GUINEA PIG ALLERGIES
A guinea pig can cause allergies. These allergies are being caused by their dander but saliva and urine. The signs for these allergies include itchy eyes, persistent cough, sneezing, wheezing, running nose, skin rash, breath shortness, and anaphylactic shock.
Allergic reactions are indicated by:
Asthma-It causes breathing difficulties
Rhinitis-Is characterized by a running nose
Conjunctivitis-It’s indicated by itchy eyes
Eczema-It’s indicated by a skin rash which can be airborne.
GUINEA PIG DISEASES
Just like any other pet, guinea pigs can suffer from diseases. All diseases should, however, be treated as emergencies. This helps to keep them in check due to their serious consequences on your pet. This could cause drastic weight loss, rough hair, and death at extreme conditions. Guinea pig diseases include; Scurvy, Tumors, Abscesses, Heatstroke, Bladder stones, urinary problems, fungal infections, diarrhea, foot problems, and injuries.
GUINEA PIG LIFE EXPECTANCY
Pet – guinea pig lives for 5-6 years. This range depends on their environment, individual. This shouldn’t, however, be a deterrent factor standing in your way between you and your pet.
GUINEA PIG BREEDS
Different breeds of guinea pigs exist. Most of them can be differentiated by their color, shape, and size. These breeds are distinct and it up to you to choose the one that appeals you.
They include; American, Abyssinian, Peruvian, Silkie, Teddy, Texel, White Crested, Rex, Himalayan, and Skinny Pig.
All these breeds differ in some aspects but still unite in others. Their maintenance is almost the same. Only your eye will deceive you. Pick the one that makes you delighted. In case you need more insight, you can visit a pet store and ask a veterinarian.
GUINEA PIG GROOMING
Grooming of guinea pigs includes brushing their hair, trimming their nails, bathing, cleaning their ears and finally cleaning the grease gland. This will get your pet clean.
GUINEA PIG HAIR LOSS
Among other causes, hair loss may be as a result of microscopic mange mites and fungal infections. Hair loss in older guinea pigs should be checked by a vet.
HAMSTER VS GUINEA PIG
Usually, guinea pigs are bigger than hamsters even with them being rodents. Hamsters, however, resemble rats and mice as compared to guinea pigs.
Hamsters are in Cricetinae genus while guinea pigs are a type of Cavia.
Additionally, they stay on all their legs while hamsters use their front legs to hold their food.
Guinea pigs are herbivores while hamsters are omnivores eating meat inform of insects.
Regarding social aspects, guinea pigs are more social than hamsters. This is in relation to other guinea pigs and other different pets.
GUINEA PIG CAGES
Cages ought to have 7.5 sq. ft. of space for one pet and 8-10 sq. ft. for two. Bigger spaced cages are better for playroom and toys.
GUINEA PIG TOYS
Guinea pigs fancy toys like guinea pig wheels, tunnel, playpen, ball, swing, and hideout. These toys keep your pet busy and cut weight gain as a result.