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We’re hopping mad for these little guys.

Outdoor shelter.

Guinea pigs need a hutch stored in a sheltered outdoor area. Ideally, it’ll have two sections — a fully enclosed area for protection from the weather and for sleeping, and an open section for activity.

It is important to ensure the hutch has good ventilation and allows your guinea pig to avoid direct sunlight. They’re very sensitive to heat and susceptible to heat stroke.

Bedding should be changed frequently as dirty or wet bedding can cause sores on the feet. The flooring should consist of hay or hemp (be mindful that hay bedding may be eaten away and will need replenishing).

Guinea Pigs like going to the toilet in a dark, safe space. Keep this in mind, as their sleeping area will more than likely also become their toilet, so this area will need to be cleaned regularly. Using a litter tray lined with Mini Hemp bedding and positioned in their sleeping area is an ideal way to manage this.

Toys.

As such, guinea pigs can chew carpet, furniture, shoes, their own bedding, and more. So it’s important to provide them with suitable gnawing toys. We have a great range in store, as well as other stimulating enrichment toys they can enjoy.

Guinea pigs love to run around and can be very energetic. Letting them roam free for a short time each day is a great way to help them expend this energy, and also lets them have fun! A play pen is ideal for this, we have a great selection in store.

Feeding.

Your guinea pig must have a constant supply of fresh water and be fed a daily diet of hay and good quality pellets in a 60:40 ratio, and fresh vegetables as a supplementary treat. Broccoli, carrots, cucumber, brussel sprouts, capsicum, and parsley are all safe for guinea pigs to consume.

However, guinea pigs should not be fed rhubarb or lettuce as these can cause diarrhea.

Socialising & handling.

Guinea pigs are very social — there is a lot of evidence showing that guinea pigs are happier and healthier when they have at least one companion. We always suggest having a pair of desexed (or same sex) guinea pigs.

When it comes to handling your pet, guinea pigs are timid by nature, but can become very affectionate pets with time. First, let your guinea pig get used to your presence for a few days. Without picking them up, calmly talk to them and pat them gently.

Once you feel your guinea pig is a familiar with you, carefully place your hand under your guinea pig’s mid-section, just behind the front feet, and use your other hand to support their hindquarters. Bring your pet close to your chest, supporting their entire body with two hands. Always keep a firm yet gentle hold. If your pet begins to struggle, lower yourself to the floor to reduce the chance of fall injuries. When placing your pet back in its cage, release it at ground level.

Young children are often (unintentionally) too rough or firm with guinea pigs. Always supervise children when they handle these small animals, and ensure they never pick them up by the head or neck.

Treatments

Guinea pigs should be wormed every three months with a small animal wormer, and undergo regular examination for fur and ear mites. Mite and lice sprays can be used in minor outbreaks; however veterinary treatment must be sought if the condition worsens.

Nails can grow very long and sharp, so they need to be checked on a regular basis and trimmed as necessary — especially if you have young children who may be scratched.

Guinea pigs do not tolerate heat well and can die from being overheated. On very hot days, provide relief through frozen plastic bottles of water, or a fan and frozen vegetables. If possible, bring them inside during the hottest part of the day.

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