Guinea Pig Care 101

Sharing my tips on taking care of guinea pigs here!

Hi friends! Hope you’re having a wonderful morning. I’m hopping in with a totally random post today about our family’s most recent pet additions: Donut and Lollipop.

A while after we got the guineas, I shared this post on how to keep your guinea pig cage clean. It’s been one of my top posts every day since then! (I have a fitness blog but my most popular posts are about baby food, potty training, and guinea pigs lol.) In the weeks before we finally pulled the trigger, I researched a ton about how to take care of them and what they would need so we’d be ready. I thought I’d share all of the info here in care you’re looking to add furry friends to the family any time soon.

I have to confess that I like the guinea pigs WAY more than I thought I would. I was happy to take care of them because they were a successful bribe for Liv to stop waking us up in the middle of the night, but fell in love with them. They’re so cute and funny, they can learn tricks (!) and their happy “Week!” sound and popcorn jumps are pretty adorable.

Tips for taking care of guinea pigs! Feeding, grooming, play, etc. fitnessista.com

Guinea Pig Care Guide

Guinea Pig Care 101

Some of the major things I’ve learned about caring for guinea pigs:

– They need a large space; much larger than anything you’d find in a pet store. The minimum requirement is 7.5 sq ft and for two guinea pigs, they recommend a minimum of 7.5 sq ft but up to 10.5 sq ft.

– They don’t like to be alone. Guinea pigs are social animals and like to have a buddy, so if you’re thinking of getting one, you have to get two! This way they have a friend. 🙂 Just make sure you get the same sex, otherwise baby guineas could be in your future. Also, try to pick two that have already been together so they don’t have aggression towards each other. Put them in an area with lots of family traffic so they can hear you and know you’re around.

– You will need enormous amounts of hay. They eat a LOT of hay. I just order this giant box from Amazon and keep it in the garage.

– Do the fleece bedding! It’s less stinky and if you litter train them, it’s easy to keep it clean. Here are my tips for keeping their cages clean.

Guinea Pig Care Tips

– Feeding: Guinea pigs mostly eat hay and pellets, which are fortified with extra nutrients. It’s common for guinea pigs to be deficient in Vitamin C, so many resources suggest a Vitamin C supplement. Ours hate the liquid Vitamin C that was highly recommended, so instead, I focus on giving them lots of fresh veggies that contain Vitamin C and the pellets are also fortified with Vitamin C. For the veggies, they love greens (romaine, chard, kale, cilantro, parsley, etc. but limit the amounts of spinach because they can cause kidney stones), veggies (like carrot, bell pepper, cucumber and zucchini) and minimal fruits. We mostly give them apples for fruit max 1-2 times per week.They get timothy hay twice a day, pellets once per day (about 1/4 cup) and fresh greens and veggies once per day.

– Wood chews. They’re rodents so their teeth grow indefinitely! Make sure you have some wood chews that they can chew on to naturally file down their teeth.

– Water: They drink a TON of water. I like the glass water containers and the entire thing needs to be refilled almost every day.

– Grooming: We haven’t given them baths because they don’t seem to get too stinky. I have noticed their nails are getting long but I’m too afraid to clip them… If you have any tips, please let me know.

– Cleaning the cage. I clean out their kitchen tray every 2-3 days and the entire cage once per week. Since we have a large cage and they’re litter trained, it’s very easy to keep it clean. Cleaning the entire thing takes about 20 minutes from start to finish. Here’s the process that I use!

 

– Play: Guinea pigs are playful little things! They’re also prey animals so they like to have hiding options. Get a couple of hidey huts or sleep sacks for them and some toys. They like little wooden roller balls, Timothy hay pops, and chew toys. They’re also surprisingly smart! Ours have learned to stand on their hind legs for a piece of lettuce or veggie.

Guinea pig resources:

How to make fleece bedding without sewing

All about C&C cages

Feeding guinea pigs

How to get your guinea pig to like you

– And just for fun: this guinea pig doing SO many awesome tricks!

Tell me friends: any unique stories about how or why you got your pets? What are your pets’ names? I love hearing these.

xo

Gina

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22 Comments

  1. Nicole Kump on March 30, 2020 at 8:42 am

    I wanted a pet so bad so we got our 2 rats Gizmo and Remy. I love them! They even have an Instagram page gizmo_and_remy hehe. As for clipping nails, I was scared to do it too, but if you use a small human nail clipper and just take off a bit, it is better than nothing!

    • Fitnessista on March 30, 2020 at 8:13 pm

      ok i’ll try that!

      • Laura D Rench on March 31, 2020 at 4:05 pm

        I usually have my daughter hold our piggies while I trim their nails. I just use a small nail clipper. You have to be careful how much you cut. It’s easier to tell if your piggies have clear nails as you can see where the quick is. You don’t want to cut too much as this can hurt them. If your friend has dark nails you need to be extra careful. So for these I trim the bare minimum. One of my piggies has both dark and clear nails. Hope this helps!

        • Fitnessista on April 1, 2020 at 10:51 pm

          this is very helpful. thank you!!

    • Penny Cole on March 31, 2020 at 9:53 am

      I have a Ginnie pig her name is Bella she is 5 months my dogs love her they kiss her Harley my little dog mother’s her all the time it’s really cute. I have had Ginnie pigs ever sense I was young. One time I had 9 Ginnie pigs the mommy pig had baby’s and I watched her give birth it was amazing she had 7 baby’s plus the mom and dad 9 Ginnie pigs. I love all anmails I do anything for them.

  2. Colleen @ Frenchie Farm on March 30, 2020 at 8:43 am

    How fun! We have a small hobby farm and recently realized that our animal count is up to 61 (how did that happen?!) We have goats, chickens, ducks, and dogs

    • Fitnessista on March 30, 2020 at 8:13 pm

      wow, that is amazing!

  3. Katie on March 30, 2020 at 10:42 am

    We found our cat at the liquor store a little over 7 years ago. I was buying a bottle of wine to thank our friend for watching the cat that we already had while we traveled for the holidays. When I exited the store a tiny kitten marched right up to me and started batting at the fringe on my scarf. I bent over to see if she had a collar with tags and she jumped on my head, so then I was the crazy lady outside the liquor store with a brown paper bag in one hand and a cat on her head. It was about 8 degrees that night so I took her home with me and called animal control. After they held her in kitty jail for a few days and no one claimed her, she was ours! We named her Hadley, after Ernest Hemingway’s first wife, a notorious alcoholic.

    • Crystal on March 30, 2020 at 1:46 pm

      Omg this is a great story

    • Fitnessista on March 30, 2020 at 8:13 pm

      i LOVED reading this! so good

  4. Allison on March 30, 2020 at 2:20 pm

    We got guinea pigs a few months ago, and I kept hoping you would talk about them more on here or insta! I would have asked but didn’t want to be a crazy guinea pig lady (spoiler alert, I am). We got two baby sisters from the Humane Society and love them so much! Need to get a bigger cage though. Thanks for the tips!!

    PS-We gave them a bath yesterday, there was a video on youtube that was helpful. I didn’t think they really needed one, but my 8 year old son has been begging to give them a bath since we got them so it was our fun activity for the weekend 😉

    • Fitnessista on March 30, 2020 at 8:13 pm

      ok i’ll have to check out that video! the girls really want to give them baths but i’m not quite ready to do it haha

  5. Jamie Weaver on March 31, 2020 at 6:23 am

    We have two rescue male pigs named Rolf and Petey that we love, but clipping their nails is tricky. We found a two person system that works really well and is less traumatic for all of us. Between my partner and I one of us holds the pig while the other clips the nails. The one holding the pig feeds the pig a big leaf of Romaine lettuce while the other clips. This keeps the pig distracted and from moving around too much while we are doing all the nails.

  6. Jessie R on March 31, 2020 at 3:41 pm

    We adopted our corgi, Harvey, about 7 1/2 years ago! I can’t believe it’s been that long <3 He is our best little friend and ensures we all get fresh air every day 🙂

    I had a guinea pig when I was in elementary school, her name was Ashley haha, oh the 90s!

    • Fitnessista on April 1, 2020 at 10:52 pm

      ahh i love corgis!
      and ashley is the perfect 90s guinea pig name 🙂

  7. Myk sanchez on March 31, 2020 at 3:57 pm

    I lived with guinea pigs for over 20 years. A veterinarian told me to avoid feeding those pellets to Guineapigs, because they are high in fat and can contribute to obesity and other health problems in these pigs. It was also recommended that I feed them romaine lettuce and/or endive, instead of iceberg lettuce, because iceberg has no nutritional value; which is too bad because my pigs LOVED iceberg lettuce. Nail clippers are available to clip nails like the ones on Guinea pigs, but keep in mind that some pigs do not appreciate the process; watch YouTube on how to handle the clipping process. Thanks for sharing, and happy pigging…

    • Fitnessista on April 1, 2020 at 10:52 pm

      wow, good to know! so you just did hay, fruits and veggies? i could see it being high in fat because as soon as i take the bag out, they start squeaking like crazy. they love the pellets haha.
      i’ll watch some youtube videos on the clipping and thankfully some other commenters have left great ideas, too.
      thank you!

  8. Eileen Simpson on March 31, 2020 at 4:16 pm

    To trim the nails, have one person holding the pig, swaddled tightly in a towel with the foot to be trimmed exposed. The other person uses regular nail clippers to trim. You want to avoid the “quick” which is the blood source to the nail. If the nail is white it is easy to see the quick which appears pinkish in the center of the nail. Just trim to about an eighth of an inch to the quick and you are done. if the nail is dark, just trim a little off the end, you don’t want to take too much!

    • Fitnessista on April 1, 2020 at 10:51 pm

      this is a great tip – i’ll try that. thank you!!

  9. Sarah on April 1, 2020 at 12:30 pm

    I actually found a groomer near me that cuts guinea pig nails. I bought my own scissors made for guinea pigs but scared to cut the nails myself. I’ve cut them but not able to get them all at once. The groomer I found charges $5 per animal, so I bring my dogs also to her. Now I have to do myself since our groomers were forced to shut down. Their nails grow so fast.

    • Fitnessista on April 1, 2020 at 10:46 pm

      that is amazing!! i’ll look into that after all of this is over…

  10. k on April 4, 2020 at 2:49 am

    How does Bella do with the guinea pigs?

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