Guinea Pig Care
The below article was written by Amy of Ultimate Pet Hub and published on NAPPS' petsitters.org. Exotic Pet Pals' owner is a proud member of NAPPS, and completed the NAPPS certification course. Not only do we pet sit guinea pigs at Exotic Pet Pals, but we also offer guinea pig nail trims and come to you, to keep the pig in his/her comfort zone. :)
Guinea Pig Care | Guinea Pig Schedule | Owning A Guinea Pig
Proper Guinea pig care is important if you want to keep your guinea pig happy and healthy for longer.
Guinea pigs are social animals and enjoy human interaction, including petting, stroking and playing. However, it’s important you learn how to handle your guinea pig correctly to avoid any injuries.
How to Handle Your Guinea Pig
It’s not uncommon for guinea pigs to be skittish around their owners. You should try your best to encourage your guinea pig to feel comfortable and trustworthy in your arms. Take time to gradually build your relationship with your guinea pig and to ensure that your guinea pig feels safe when being held.
Here are 4 smart tips on guinea pig care
1. Don’t take your guinea pig out of their guinea pig cage when they first arrive at your home.
It is often best to avoid handling them for a few days so they can adjust to their new surroundings. Even though you are not physically handling your guinea pig, you can still make efforts to bond with them.
2. Talk to him through the guinea pig cage to get him accustomed to your voice.
Your guinea pig will start to grow comfortable with your scent. He will associate you with food, which will be a pleasant experience. By not pressuring him to interact with you straight away, your guinea pig will eventually learn to see you as a positive element in his life, instead of a burden.
Remember that all guinea pigs need to feel secure. When you take him out of the cage, let him walk around and try to sit on the floor to get down to his level. He will feel more comfortable if you are both on solid ground.
3. Be careful while holding
Let your guinea pig come over to you, and quietly pick him up by sliding your hand under his belly. Be careful not to crunch any of his legs. Instead, let them hang over your hand. Hold your guinea pig close to your chest to help him to feel secure. You can even pet him gently with your free hand.
4. Stay seated on the floor in the beginning when you are holding your guinea pig.
Over time, as he becomes more comfortable with you, and you feel more secure holding him, you can begin to stand up and walk around with him. However when introducing him to a new person, instruct them carefully on the right way to hold him, and make sure they stay seated in the beginning.
Always remember that your guinea pig is a living creature with feelings and emotions. Avoid causing him stress by remaining quiet and respectful when handling him. Be sure to always supervise others when they are holding your guinea pig to ensure that they do the same
Guinea Pig Daily Schedule All good pet owners have a daily schedule they stick with to ensure their pet is happy and healthy. This is a great way to ensure that your guinea pig gets all the nutrition, exercise and rest that they need and will keep all day to day activities manageable.
A guinea pigs daily schedule is not the same as ours, so be sure to create a schedule that fits both your busy lifestyle and your guinea pigs. Once you’ve worked out a guinea pig schedule that suits both you and him you’ll see a noticeable difference in his behavior.
Also your relationship with will be more rewarding as you learn the roles and responsibilities of being a good pet owner.
Daily Schedule Routine One important thing to remember is that guinea pigs are primary nocturnal meaning they will be more active at night! Make sure you plan this in your daily schedule routine.
If you aren’t a night owl then make sure you take special attention in the early hours of the morning when your guinea pig is still active. This is the perfect time to interact, play and get some daily hygiene duties done.
The best time to give your guinea pig his first meal is at the beginning of the day. Try to include lots of hay to graze on especially if you will be out for most of the day. After mealtime will be nap time so keep things quiet at home around this time of day.
Usually, most guinea pigs will sleep throughout the day only waking up occasionally to snack. Once the evening rolls around its time to get ready for playtime. This is the best time to give him his second daily feeding and is the perfect time to get him out of the cage for one on one interaction and exercise.
Try not to be too hard on yourself if you aren’t able to transition into the perfect guinea pig schedule at first. The perfect schedule can take time and you will eventually get the hang of it.
Guinea Pig Training Most Guinea pigs can be trained, although it’s not always the easiest thing to do and you will need patience. The best strategy to use is a conditioning technique with a treat he loves. This will make the training reward cycle much easier.
If he makes a mistake or gets things wrong it’s not a big deal. Guinea pigs take time to learn and repeat simple commands but with enough repetition, you can have him doing simple tricks!
A quick example is to call him by his name and then wait for him to respond. Once he does and he start to move closer to you reward him with a treat. This is a simple but very effective way to train your guinea pig and have him respond actively to his name.
One cool tip is to vary the distance between the call and reward. Start off close and once your guinea pig gets the hang of the command start moving backwards until you are a few metres away. Now when you call him he will travel a good distance across the floor to get his treat!
Owning a guinea pig should be fun. Remember to implement all these tips and you’ll be a veteran guinea pig pet owner in no time!