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CARING FOR YOUR GUINEA
- Gradual exposure to a variety of foods is
recommended as food preferences are established early in life.
- Guinea pigs are herbivores (plant eaters)
and, unlike most other pets, they do not make their own vitamin C. They
should be fed a high fibre diet of 70% grass, good quality grass or oat
hay; and 30% a variety of vegetables and fruit naturally containing
vitamin C such as carrot, broccoli, spinach, parsley, tomatoes, oranges
and kiwifruit. Avoid celery and lettuce as they are of little nutritional
- Good quality grass hay pelleted
diets can be used for up to 10% of the diet. Guinea pig and rabbit “seed
muesli mix” is not appropriate as it is high in sugar and very low in
- Supplement daily with Vitamin C.
- All food and water should be fresh and changed
- Do not give sugary or salty treats. Acceptable snack foods include some
fruits, rolled oats and dry cereals, in small quantities only.
Sexual maturity occurs at two months in females
and three months in males. To prevent unwanted pregnancies they can be desexed at this age or should be separated.
Difficulties giving birth are common in guinea pigs.
- Dental disease is common in guinea pigs and is
generally a result of a diet low in fibre. The teeth most commonly
affected are the back teeth (cheek teeth) which can only be examined with
- Other common health problems seen in guinea pigs
include skin mites, bladder/urethral stones, and respiratory disease.
- Book yearly health checks. These will include a
dental examination. Faecal tests may also be necessary.
- Guinea pigs are quite social and can be housed
together but allow several days for a pecking order to be established and
expect the occasional squabble.
- Housing can be constructed of plastic or
untreated wood. Do not use small mesh wire for the flooring.
- Good ventilation and frequent changes of bedding
material are important to prevent respiratory infections from a build-up
of ammonia from the urine.
- Frequent access to sunshine and exercise is
highly recommended, and will help encourage weight loss and general good
- They are extremely sensitive to heat-stroke from
high temperatures and humidity, so temperatures of 18-260C are
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