Guinea Pig Care and Behavior

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Guinea pigs are rodents that were domesticated as pets in South America about 500 years ago.  Their scientific name is "Cavia Porcellus" and they are commonly known as Cavy. There are many breeds of guinea pigs such as American, Abyssinian, Peruvian, Silkie, Teddy, Coronet, etc.  They are a cute and cuddly creature with a button nose, beady eyes and a wide head.  Their life span can be up to 10 years.  One of the things that make them a joy to have around is the sounds they make such as chirps, whistles, chirps and squeals.  They are very social by nature and like to play with others.
History of the Guinea Pig: A summary of the most recent research on the early domestication of the guinea pig in South America.
Mary's Cavy Clubhouse: This is one of the best known cavy websites and has tons of information and resources including photos, movies and a question-and-answer forum.
NetVet at Washington University: Academic information about the biology of guinea pigs.
The Peter Gurney Guinea Pig Pages: Tons of useful guinea pig related information from one of the most famous writers on the subject.

Finding the Perfect Cavy

If you are getting cavies for the first time, it will be a nice surprise for you.  Since they are very social in nature, it is advised to buy at least a pair.  Some of the things you should consider when getting a cavy include:

  • Whether it is active or not;
  • Do the eyes appear clear and shiny?
  • Is breathing normal and without any effort?
  • Is the coat shiny and without any bald spots?

Choosing a guinea pig: This site provides information about factors to consider when choosing a guinea pig. Everything you want to know about building inexpensive cages for guinea pigs.
Guinealynx : Another well known resource on guinea pig care that has a large number of articles.
CavyMadness: If you are just starting out with guinea pigs, this is a great resource. There is also a message board and a boutique.

Guinea Pig Housing

Arranging a living space for cavies is not difficult because they are not picky and easy to please.  You don’t need to buy an expensive cage, just make sure that it is sufficiently large.  Since they are sensitive to temperature variations, keep the cage inside the house, where the temperature can be controlled.  A few necessities for their cage include bedding, hay for chewing, water bottle and a salt lick.
CavySpirit: A nice collection of links and articles on various aspects of cavy care.
Seagull's: Lots of fun information about guinea pigs and their care.
The Pigloo: This is an active forum on cavy care, where members share useful information and advice.
Beanmakers: A Guinea Pig Portal: Tons of useful and fun information on cavies.

Your Cavy’s Diet

Guinea pigs don’t need a high maintenance diet; it primarily consists of vegetables, plenty of Timothy hay and grass, fruits and dried guinea pig feed pellets.  They especially love to eat lettuce including green leaf lettuce, romaine lettuce, escarole, red leaf lettuce, etc.  However, there are certain vegetables that are not good for their health such as the cabbage family, iceberg lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower, beet greens and radishes.  They also need regular intake of vitamin C.  Fresh water is a very important part of their diet.  Use a drip bottle for water and change it daily.
Guinea Pigs Online: This site has a variety of information about guinea pigs.
Introduction to Guinea Pig Breeds: A detailed guide about various guinea pig breeds.
Guinea Pig 101: This site has a lot of useful information covering the basics of care and many other topics.

Guinea Pig Care | AWLQ: Tons of information for new guinea pig owners.

Cage Maintenance

Cavies are a little fussy about the cleanliness of their cage.  You should remove the droppings and uneaten food every day.  Bedding may be changed every two to three days.  Thoroughly clean the hutch once a week but don’t use strong chemicals for cleaning.
Guinea Pig Tricks: If you want to know how to teach your guinea pig to do tricks, this is the place!

All About Guinea Pigs: Just about everything you want to know about guinea pigs.

Keeping Your Cavy Healthy

  • Clip their toenails every couple of weeks but be careful to not cut too deep
  • They don’t need frequent bathing so do it once every two to three months.  Use clean, warm water and then keep them warm until they are completely dry.
  • Keep an eye on their weight because weight loss of more than two ounces indicates a possible illness.

Guinea Pig Education Center: A large collection of information about guinea pigs.

Common Mistakes in Treating Sick Cavies: This site provides useful information about mistakes to avoid when taking care of sick guinea pigs.

Emergency Medical Guide: Learn about the common symptoms and possible causes of illnesses.

Finding A Vet: This article shares advice on finding and choosing a vet for your guinea pig.

Guinea Pig Facts:

  • Baby guinea pigs are called pups, while males are called boars and females are called sows.
  • Guinea pigs fully mature in about 10 months and grow up to 12 inches in length;
  • Their average life span is three to six years;
  • They need regular vitamin C in their food because their body can’t produce vitamin C;
  • Make sure they always have a chew toy because their teeth constantly grow, therefore, they need a chew toy to keep their teeth properly worn down;
  • They can be taught to perform tricks such as responding to their name;
  • Cavies love to eat Dandelions and these are very good for them;

Social Life: Learn all about interacting and bonding with your cavy.

Jackie's Guinea Pig Sounds: This page discusses different guinea pig sounds and what they mean.

How to Find a Guinea Pig Pet Sitter You Can Trust: If you ever need a sitter for your cavy, this site has all the needed info.

Jackie's Guinea Pig Fun and Games: Lots of games to keep your cavy happy.






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