Guinea Pigs are social, inquisitive creatures and make lovely pets. Although they are commonly thought to be easy first pets for children, they require plenty of attention and time and a thoughtful approach to care. Although small, guinea pigs require plenty of space to exercise.
Guinea pigs are very susceptible to heat stress. Always ensure they are kept in a well ventilated area, which provides adequate shade and maintains a comfortable temperature.
If you are thinking of getting a Guinea Pig as a pet, here are a few things for you to consider:
Guinea pigs are quite social animals and are at their happiest with other guinea pigs, so you may want to consider this.
To avoid unwanted litters it is best to get two guinea pigs of the same sex.
Male guinea pigs will get along better if they are introduced at a young age.
Even though they are small animals, guinea pigs still need ample space to stretch their little legs.
The bigger the enclosure the better. As a guide, one guinea pig should have an enclosure size of about 100cm x 50cm x 25cm high. Two guinea pigs will require double this space.
You will need to line the enclosure with newspaper that is then covered with soft grass hay which will be easy under foot. This should be changed daily.
You will need to be conscious of the heat as guinea pigs are rather susceptible to hot weather.
Guinea pigs are herbivores or ‘leaf eaters’.
Recommended food sources include:
- Grass and/or grass hay such as Oaten, Wheaten, Pasture, Paddock, Meadow or Ryegrass hays which they should receive in constant supply.
- Fresh leafy green vegetables & herbs. Examples include broccoli, cabbage, and Brussel sprouts as well herbs such as parsley, basil and mint.
High quality ‘Guinea Pig’ pellets in small quantities. These should not form the basis of the diet
They should NOT be fed the following:
- Alfalfa or clover hays. This because they are too high in protein and calcium, as well not promoting long periods of chewing. Chewing helps wear down the guinea pigs ever growing teeth.
- Cereals, grains, nuts, seeds, corn, beans, peas, breads, biscuits, sweets, sugar, breakfast cereals, chocolate, buttercups, garden shrubs, lily of the valley, onion grass, onions, potato tops, raw beans; beetroot, spinach and rhubarb leaves; and any bulk plants (may cause digestive problems).
Daily grooming is essential for long-haired guinea pigs. Gently remove any dead hairs, tangles and pieces of twigs, dry leaves or burrs.
Grooming is also an opportunity to look for any external parasites as well checking the length of a guinea pig’s toenails.
Guinea pigs may be susceptible to respiratory infections, often caused by poor housing conditions.
Inadequate cleaning can also lean to skin ailments.
Mice are interactive and sociable animals that make great companions. Mice make fantastic pets for young children as they are quite easy to handle. Mice don’t require large and bulky enclosures, so they make the perfect pet for people living in smaller properties.
Mice are highly sociable animals, so you should consider housing at least two mice together.
To ensure unwanted litters, same sex pairings are recommended.
Mice can be housed in a number of cage types. You will need to provide a cage that is as large as possible and is easy to clean and well ventilated. The cage should also be predator and escape proof.
The area should not be exposed to extreme temperatures as this can stress your mice.
Appropriate bedding materials include shredded paper or pelleted recycle paper. Bedding should be regularly changed.
Mice should be fed fresh fruits and vegetables as well as small amounts of good quality mouse/rat pellets or cubes.
Avoid feeding mice seeds/grains as these are too high in fat and sugar.
Access to fresh clean water at all times
The following should be considered as treats and only offered in very small amounts: cereals, grains, seeds, breads, biscuits, sweets, cooked pasta and rice and breakfast cereals.