5 Common Mistakes Guinea Pig Owners Make - PetHelpful - By fellow animal lovers and experts
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5 Common Mistakes Guinea Pig Owners Make

Jessie is an art director and a long-time cavy lover who has way too many hobbies.

Thinking about getting a guinea pig? Be sure to avoid these common pitfalls.

Thinking about getting a guinea pig? Be sure to avoid these common pitfalls.

Tips for a Happier, Longer-Lived Cavy

A guinea pig, or cavy, is a very fragile pet that requires more care than most people think. Many new guinea pig owners are guilty of some or all of these five common mistakes. Before you bring your little ball of fur home, do some research and use this article as a guide to make sure you are fully prepared. Although some of these misconceptions can seem harmless, they actually can lead to a less happy—or even shortened—life for your pig.

1. Buying Your Cavy From a Pet Store

Unfortunately this is a huge mistake that happens far too often. You go into a pet store and see a piggy that makes your heart melt, and then see that it's crammed into a small aquarium with four other guinea pigs. Your initial thought is that if you buy this special pig, you'll be rescuing it, and therefore it's a good thing you chose to buy a guinea pig at a pet store. Really, the best thing you can do is to actively avoid supporting that pet store so that hopefully some day it won't exist and those animals won't be treated that way, especially when there are literally thousands of guinea pigs in shelters that need homes.

Supporting pet stores that mistreat animals is the perfect example of an easily avoidable, but all-too-common mistake for new owners. The "cages" they use are usually aquariums that aren't big enough for even one pig, but often house three or more at a time. These practices are no secret and have been a problem for years.

If you are interested in owning a guinea pig, the best thing to do is to adopt. A rescue that is specific to small pets like guinea pigs will know how to care for a cavy more than any pet store will, guaranteed. Guinea pigs that come from pet stores aren't cared for as well, and are likely in a worse state of health. Your local rescue will also be able to answer any question under the sun regarding your newfound pet, which might not be true of the 17-year-old working at the pet store.

Another good thing about adopting? You can easily find cagemates, so it eliminates the entire "introducing a new pig" dilemma. My guinea pigs are brothers who have been cagemates for life, and I received a two-for-one special because the woman who rescued them knows how important it is for cagemates to stay together. Her husband was a vet, so I knew that when I adopted these two baby boars, they would be at optimal health. After over three years, we still stay in touch and she asks how they are doing from time to time. You can't find that kind of care in a store.

But what if you want a young guinea? Don't worry, there are thousands of guinea pigs of all different ages waiting for homes at shelters and rescues (and don't rule the mature pigs out until you meet them). If you assume that you can only get a fresh new guinea at a pet store, you might want to think again.

2. Assuming That Guinea Pigs Are Fine Without Cagemates

I can't imagine how it would be if I had split these two up.

I can't imagine how it would be if I had split these two up.

This is another common misconception about guinea pigs. A lot of people think that owning just one pig is fine, and that it doesn't need a friend. This may be true if you have enough time to give it the attention it's lacking from a cagemate, but most people have jobs or school. Imagine if you were left to spend an entire day in a confined space. Would you survive? Of course, but it'd be a lot better if you had a friend with you.

Guinea pigs are very social animals. They are also a prey animal, so no matter how many hours you spend hanging out with your guinea pig, I'm sorry but your guinea pig would still rather hang out with another guinea pig. Humans are scary to piggies, while other piggies are protection.

"Ew but two guinea pigs would smell so much more!"

No, not really. If you have an appropriately sized cage for two pigs, your cage will not smell any worse than your current cage does. I've owned one pig; now I own two, and I don't notice a difference in odor at all. What I did notice is that it is much more fun to have two pigs than just one. Why? Because watching them interact, seeing their differences in personalities, and catching them cuddling together is much more rewarding than looking at one pig with a blank look on its face who is terrified of me.

3. Buying a Cage That Is Too Small

If you bought a cage from a pet store, it's probably too small. Even if you splurged on the biggest cage in the store that cost over $100, not only is your cage probably still not big enough, but you also wasted a ton of money.

The best way to ensure that you are getting an appropriate cage for your cavy is to build your own guinea pig cage. This is much easier than it sounds and much more cost effective than trying to buy a cage that is big enough. For the price you paid for your cage from the pet store, you could have built what's known as a C&C cage triple the size. The C&C stand for cube (the wire storage cubes you can assemble with plastic connectors) and coroplast (corrugated plastic).

Some may look at an appropriate cage for a guinea pig and think that it is way too big, but if you look at how an average-sized guinea pig compares to the size of an average store-bought cage, you can see it'd be like keeping a hamster in a shoebox. Would you keep a hamster in a cage the size of a shoebox? Just because it can turn around and take five steps doesn't mean it's an acceptable size. Exercise is a necessity for the longevity of guinea pigs, just as it is in all other living things. If a Labrador was kept in a pen that was only big enough for it to take a few steps each day, most would consider it animal abuse, so why is it okay to give that same treatment to a guinea pig?

An Example Of A Bad Cage

Petsmart says this cage is a "perfectly sized home for your guinea pig". Not only is this cage less than half the size it should be, the $60 you would have spent buying it could have built you a C&C cage in the right size, with cash to spare.

Petsmart says this cage is a "perfectly sized home for your guinea pig". Not only is this cage less than half the size it should be, the $60 you would have spent buying it could have built you a C&C cage in the right size, with cash to spare.

An Example Of A Good Cage

Choosing to build a C&C cage means the sky's the limit to all different types of customizations. This is a 2x4 C&C cage that my piggies Wilson and Apollo currently share.

Choosing to build a C&C cage means the sky's the limit to all different types of customizations. This is a 2x4 C&C cage that my piggies Wilson and Apollo currently share.

Cage Size Guidelines

# Of Guinea PigsMinimum Size AcceptablePreferred SizeIn C&C Grids

1

7.5 Sq Ft

more

2x3 grids

2

7.5 Sq Ft

10.5 Sq Ft

2x4 grids

3

10.5 Sq Ft

13 Sq Ft

2x5 grids

4

13 Sq Ft

more

2x6 grids

If you have male guinea pigs, the preferred size acts as more of a requirement than a suggestion. Boars often tend to fight more, and therefore require more space to have alone time. A rule of thumb is basically the bigger the cage, the happier the pet.

4. Neglecting Nutrition

This is probably the most important thing to get right when raising a guinea pig. As with any other living thing, nutrition for guinea pigs is not something to take lightly. Follow these guidelines to ensure you're doing everything you can for your piggy's diet:

  1. Pellets: Dry food, or pellets, come in all different types, brands, and prices. Most of the pellets you will find in stores are ones that should be avoided. This article gives an in-depth discussion on what to look for, and what not to look for in guinea pig pellets. Popular brands used by guinea pig experts include Oxbow Cavy Cuisine (my favorite, which can be found cheaper online than it can in stores), and pellets sold by KMS Hayloft.
  2. Hay: Your guinea pig needs an unlimited supply of hay at all times. Oh, the wonders of hay—guinea pigs need it for many reasons. Their digestive systems require a high-fiber diet in order to keep things running smoothly, if you catch my drift. Not only that, but their teeth are constantly growing, and chewing hay keeps the growth of their molars under control. Piggies love to eat hay, sleep in hay, play with hay—everything. If a guinea pig made a Valentine's Day card, it would be to hay. When you purchase your pig's new best friend, look for second-cut Timothy hay. Second-cut means that it's the second cut of the season—the first cut tends to be tough, so you want the second, more tender, batch—and Timothy hay is a type of grass grown specifically for hay. You can get hay in stores (not the best option), online (much better option), or from a trusted local Timothy-hay farmer (the best!). Start stocking up and spoiling your pig with ample amounts of hay; it will be greatly appreciated.
  3. Fruits & Veggies: Guinea pigs should get a wide range of different fruits and vegetables every day. It can be fun to see what different fruits and vegetables your pig prefers. My pigs' absolute favorite vegetables are carrots. Follow this detailed nutrition chart from a popular guinea pig website to see what vegetables and fruits are acceptable, as well as appropriate serving sizes.

A Few Additional Tips

  • Sugar-filled, wacky-flavored, colorful guinea pig treats are not good. There are probably appropriate treats through brands such as Oxbow, but a general rule of thumb is that if you aren't positive about how good it is for your pig, don't buy it.
  • Some people try to sell hay balls that go in your cage and act as a movable hay rack. These have been known to be very dangerous to pigs because piggies get their little feet stuck inside them.
  • If a pellet food looks delicious to you, it's most likely bad for your pig. Look for plain pellets. Avoid any with mixes of seeds, nuts, and weird-colored shapes.
  • Never feed your pet iceberg lettuce. It is not nutritious and can cause diarrhea. The greener the leaf, the healthier the lettuce.
  • Salt wheels = bad. If you feed your pig high-quality food such as Oxbow, it already has enough sodium in its diet.

5. Using the Wrong Guinea Pig Bedding

One of the most common types of bedding used in guinea pig cages is in the form of wood shavings or paper-based bedding. This is completely fine if you are using the appropriate kind (not pine, cedar, or sawdust). However, wood shavings may not be the best choice for the health of your piggy. Small bits of wood, paper, or dust inhaled by a guinea pig may cause respiratory problems or bother its sensitive eyes. Wood shavings and paper-based bedding can be kicked around easily, and isn't the cleanest option because your guinea pig will be living in its own waste until you completely clean the cage. Although many people use wood- and paper-based bedding, it isn't a very eco-friendly choice, and it can get crazy expensive.

This leads me to my next tip: the magic of using fleece bedding. Fleece is a newer bedding option that has been sweeping the cavy nation. It is cheaper than any other option and more eco-friendly. Using fleece allows you to "spot clean" your cage daily, so your piggy can literally live in a poo-free world if you want. Instead of absorbing urine like paper or wood bedding would do, thus becoming soggy, fleece allows it to pass straight through (underneath the fleece, you should have two layers of a towel or something similar that you will have to wash periodically), so the top layer is left completely dry to the touch. It doesn't hurt that cleanup's a snap and your cage looks better either.

Wilson Loves to Catch Z's on Soft, Homemade Pillows

Another added bonus to fleece? Your pigs will love it! Having a clean dry cage means you are free to make small pillows and beds for your pigs to lounge around on, without having to worry about them getting filthy in minutes.

Another added bonus to fleece? Your pigs will love it! Having a clean dry cage means you are free to make small pillows and beds for your pigs to lounge around on, without having to worry about them getting filthy in minutes.

Best of Luck to You and Your New Pets

This was written in the best interest of the health and longevity of cavies. It is information every new owner needs to know, but unfortunately is not always taken seriously. I hope that with these tips and guidelines, you will be able to start off on the right foot with guinea pig care. Guinea pigs are precious little pets with unfortunately short life spans, but by giving them optimal care we can hopefully give them longer, happier lives.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

Questions & Answers

Question: My home-bred guinea pig died for no reason. She was perfectly fine, with a big cage, another guinea pig, water, food, and all that stuff, but she died. It happened three times to three guinea pigs. She was fine, and then I went to the bathroom, came back, and she was lying on her side, and after a minute, she was dead. Why? What did I do?

Answer: Sometimes when pigs go, it's very sudden and seemingly for no reason. I would only question it if all three seemed too young to die that fast.

Question: My brother's' guinea pig is always hiding in its hideaway home. It never comes out, and when it does come out, which is very, very rare, it panics and goes crazy! Why does it do that, and why won't let us hold it?

Answer: Guinea pigs are prey animals, it's in their nature to be scared of pretty much anything.

Question: My guinea pigs always run away when I try to take them out of their cage. Is that normal?

Answer: Yes, guinea pigs are prey animals, and it's in their nature to be terrified of pretty much everything.

Question: Do I replace the fleece for my guinea pig daily? How would one clean the poop? I have two piggies, and wow can they make a mess. I am willing to try anything.

Answer: We replaced the fleece weekly, and swept poops daily with a hand broom and dust pan.

Question: We have two female guinea pigs. One is eight months old, and the other is six months old. We adopted another one that is a little over a month old. The older guinea pigs want to attack the baby. What do you think I should do?

Answer: You need to research how to properly introduce a new guinea pig to a cage of established cage mates. I've never done it before, but I do know that you're not supposed to put them in the cage together.

Question: Can you wash the fleece in the washing machine?

Answer: Yes, just make sure you don't use fabric softener! It will prevent the fleece from being able to wick.

Question: Why do guinea pigs eat their own poo?

Answer: They digest their food twice, it's actually normal for them to do that!

Question: What does it mean if my guinea pig is purring? I'm a new guinea pig owner, and she doses it all the time.

Answer: Purring can mean a lot of different things, depending on how low or high pitched it is. Generally, a low, deep purr is a content piggy.

Question: We have a new guinea pig and she is usually very peaceful but tonight she has been "popcorning" all over her cage. Is this normal?

Answer: "Popcorning" is a good thing! It means your guinea pig is happy.

Question: Can guinea pigs have watermelon?

Answer: Yes.

Question: Do you ever go to pet stores? Your article is total crap. I own and operate a pet shop and have bred pedigreed guinea pigs for 20 years and they always have a lot of room and great, top-notch care, so before you lump all box pet stores in with us independently-owned shops, why don’t you learn a few things and visit some stores before bashing them all!

Answer: Gold stars for you operating a pet shop that takes proper care of small animals! I think you can agree that MOST pet stores do not operate as well as yours does, however. I will edit the article with that taken into consideration and mention that I'm mostly referring to big box stores. That being said, you criticized me for lumping all pet stores, but you've decided my entire article is crap based on just one of my points. Eye for an eye I suppose.

Question: How do I put a blanket on my guinea pig's cage if they poop a lot?

Answer: I have an article on Hubpages about using fleece in place of guinea pig bedding that you should visit. Using fleece for bedding requires regular sweeping of the cage, but it overall provides a cleaner environment for your pig to live in.

Question: is it good if a guinea pig licks you?

Answer: Sure, I don't see any problems with that!

Question: I am looking to adopt 2-3 guinea pigs, but am completely new to piggies, so this information is very helpful. I have been leaning towards getting females because I've read males can require more room and be smellier, and females are said to be friendlier. Does this sound correct?

Answer: I adopted two bonded males, worried that they'd be smellier and that I'd regret not choosing females. They were honestly just fine, and both were very friendly. I believe females don't mark their territory the way males do, but either gender will require regular cleaning to prevent them from getting smelly. Hope this helps; I wouldn't worry too much about it.

Question: Would it be safe to use a plastic serving bowl with a door cutout as a DIY hidey-hole?

Answer: Yes.

Question: Do guinea pig bites hurt?

Answer: Yes, they do.

Question: Is it ok if I feed guinea pigs wet veggies and fruits?

Answer: Yes.

Question: Can I make my guinea pig a bed out of a pillow?

Answer: Yes, I think you can make a bed out of a pillow for your guinea pig.

Question: Guinea pigs cannot live entirely off hay, and like humans, they cannot produce their own vitamin C. So, is it okay to give them vitamin C tablets?

Answer: Some fruits can provide vitamin C, but I had a pig who was very picky with what he'd eat, and our vet recommended we give him vitamin C drops, not tablets, that were safe for small animals. I wouldn't do anything without checking with your vet first.

Question: Will my guinea pig die if I leave him with a person he doesn't know?

Answer: If the person you leave him with takes proper care of him, he'll be fine. Guinea pigs are fearful of pretty much anyone because they are naturally prey animals.

Question: I have two happy boars. Should I get another so when the much older one dies, the other two will be friends already?

Answer: That's up to you, really. Adding a third pig to the cage would mean needing a different cage size, for boars especially. Also, there are steps you have to take when introducing a pig to your family that you will have to research.

Question: I'm new to the piggie life, and I was wondering if having my two piggies in separate cages is bad. Also, should I use a jumbo cage for my piggies?

Answer: Pigs don’t like to live alone, but if they aren’t already a bonded pair, you will have to follow specific instructions to introduce them to share a cage. Generally, jumbo cages don’t provide enough space for what is required for guinea pigs. Google the needed square footage depending on how many pigs per cage you will have, as well as their genders. Then, see if the pen you are looking to use will be large enough. If not, I recommend a C&C cage.

Question: Do I need more than one guinea pig, or do I need doubles like two, four, six, eight, etc.?

Answer: If you're asking if it's ok to have three rather than groups of pairs, yes that's fine. The size of the cage changes as you go up, so be sure to make it big enough!

Question: Don't guinea pigs chew on fabric?

Answer: Surprisingly they don't. If you make sure to tuck the fleece under itself so that there aren't any loose pieces hanging around, they don't even realize they're walking around on fabric. I used to have draped fleece everywhere for tents and sleep spots, and my pigs never touched it.

Comments

Whatever on August 29, 2020:

Lay off pet stores I know of several who care more than you can imagine and keep their animals in nice environments and clean and healthy animals are there main focus! Do be slandering pet stores.

Sam and Turnip on August 17, 2020:

Hi my ginny pigs or wait guinea pigs are named Sam and Turnip, they live in a midwest cage is that good?

Jaydan Nichols on July 29, 2020:

I have a huge problem with mites what can I do?

Zay on July 25, 2020:

Are newspaper shavings ok to use?

... on July 24, 2020:

Do guinea pigs like tomatoes and canalope

Kai on June 22, 2020:

My guinea pig hates other guinea pigs and will bite if they come near she only likes me

Guinea pig owner on June 14, 2020:

I have a guinea pig who is on her own. Our other one died but she seems to really enjoy it on her own. Also, not sure how big the cage needs to be as I think it is 7 feet I am not sure. It is indoor so she doesn't have a run or anything not sure I feel this is good. Been like this for 2 years but don't think she has enough space or gets enough exercise. Please help

Nallely on June 12, 2020:

Hello, I have 3 Ginny pigs 2 males and 1 female. At first they would get along fine but now the males fight all the time and i have to separate them all. Is this normal or what can o do so they are all in the same cage.

RB on June 10, 2020:

Another suggestion over a C&C cage is a large Rabbit cage that you can buy additions for. Not everyone has the room or place to put a C&C cage. Personally, I need a cage up on a table, so I have a large rabbit cage and it works well I just recently got my second guinea pig and the rabbit cage I have also comes with a divider so I can let them be together and yet separate until they get to know each other (after the quarantine stage that is). So for anyone that doesn't want to have to build their own c&C cage, check out rabbit cages on Amazon. They have one that you can buy additions for in either more cage space or even hutches to add on.

Cora C on June 03, 2020:

My guinea pig seems to not like me even though I take him out of his cage from 15-30 minutes a day, I just want him to be happy. What do I do?

Lizzie B on May 20, 2020:

I'm planning on getting a guinea pig, but I know know what kind would be best for me. What should I do?

Mobiili-, interneti-, TV- ja IT-lahendused - Telia on May 14, 2020:

天猫精选

Unknown n curious on May 14, 2020:

My sister in law whos under 18 teenager n wanted guinea pigs as pets 4 her n her mum( my in-law) bought them off some person who breeds n uses guinea pigs 4 pet show n selling n at the beginning she was good with taking care for the piggies but now she hardly takes care of them . This includes feeding them as she reckons hay and pellets are not the main diet of piggies n that fruit n veggies are and that also she hardly feeds them n also as for the cage it's not cleaned properly to theres nothing on the floor for the piggies as sometimes she'll put the wet pee pad on which b soaked with pee n wont change for a long time n that these piggies are left out on the lounge with no cover on the cage n that she refuses to put any extra hay or food or even blankets or even a box or cover for them to hide in or go to sleep in especially at night times even . Is that more of a animal cruelty or not . And if we were to try tell her to educate about the piggies she says she knows better n does not agree amd even her mother allows it amd tries not to get involve or say something as she throws tantrums n that mother would rather do nothing n say nothing than to do something about it. Is that cruelty n abuse ?

Kelly lykos on May 09, 2020:

I have a very large cage that's housed my Livia as a puppy yet should grow to be 10 years old never even went in the cage after that but I lost her and I'm thinking about making a three-story condo for guinea pigs and you have the nerve to say don't get guinea pigs from a pet store pretty much saying don't get animals from pet store right just get them from the Breeders all ship people that breed animals should be dead should be shot in the freaking balls how dare you I'm not stupid I'm thinking of a three-story condo that's the one guinea pig of course I'm going to get to make sure they get along but someone like you this is don't get them from a pet store no let the ones in the pet store just suffer for th stuff e rest of their lives while other people breed make money that's what you're saying you should be ashamed of yourself and you're lucky I have no idea who you are

@meep on April 29, 2020:

No the general rule for owning guinea pigs is at least 7 square feet for one this should be at least 10.5 square feet for two OTHERWISE IT WOULD BE CRUEL and if your thinking of adopting from a rescue you would want to wait until you make a cage to give it the best life possible making a cage cost a lot less I spent only about $15

meep on April 23, 2020:

I have a small cage for my one guinea, but I don't have room for a bigger one... would the cage I have work??? I really think it will but I am adopting from a rescue so I don't know if they have cage requirements...

Marin is cool on April 08, 2020:

Sorry if I'm commenting too much!!!

Dear @ziv,

If your piggy has bumblefoot, you should take him/her to the vet!!! Bumblefoot is a serious disease and it hurts your piggy's feet! I don't know if you have done something about it yet, but if you haven't you should! If you think your piggy is sick then take them to the vet.

Marin is cool on April 08, 2020:

I meant not just the ones at shelters oops XD

Marin is cool on April 07, 2020:

I disagree with the first one. Maybe the pet stores don’t have enough space to put the piggies, and can’t afford to put in huge cages. And while it’s true that there are thousands of piggies at shelters that need to be adopted, THERE ARE ALSO THOUSANDS OF PIGGIES AT PET STORES THAT NEED HOMES TOO! So don’t just say that the piggies at pet stores don’t need homes, which is what you are saying! Every piggy needs a home, not just the ones at pet stores! I have six guinea pigs and they are healthy and happy and in a C&C cage and I got them all from a pet store. My local pet store supports many charities to help finding homes for animals, and they know a lot about piggy care. And do shelters provide things like hay and pellets for piggies? No. Also that is just YOUR opinion and I came here to read facts, not opinions. The other stuff makes sense and I agree with it.

Frankie on March 28, 2020:

My guinea pigs don’t really like me and I have had them for a month now. Is this normal and can I do something for them to like me?

Marley on March 08, 2020:

I don’t have a guinea pig yet but I’m fixing to get one I want to have it in my room but the only clear spot I have is in a corner near a window but it’s not directly beside the window on the floor is that ok????

Josh on January 31, 2020:

I think my guinea pig is going to die what should I do

Cindy on January 11, 2020:

Previous piggie passed away yesterday. Do you recommend putting a new guinea pig in the used clean cage ?

ziv on January 08, 2020:

i have 2 guinea pigs in the same cage. 1 of them has some bumblefoot on his back paws and the other doesnt. shld i do anything for the one that has it?

Ianna on January 04, 2020:

I've just got a male skinny pig. It was a surprise gift so I didn't have the time to properly prepare. Now, reading about it, I'm getting worried about he being the only one. Do you think that is really necessary to get him a friend? And if so, what's the best time to get one, considering I only have him for a week and he's still getting used to with the place?

Andie Allen on December 29, 2019:

I have one male guinea pig... and I feel bad for having him alone in a cage but now that he is older I feel that if I get him a cage mate then he will claim territory. What should I do? Are they suitable with rabbits because I own two male rabbits who do not live with one another?

Chelsea Dixon on December 27, 2019:

I have 2 female guinea pigs of 2 different breeds and sometimes one would chase the other one around the cage and bite her what should I do

anonymous on December 21, 2019:

I do find if research a day and I'm getting one soon and my dad insists on that guinea pigs will be perfectly fine with pine! He said his eye perfectly happy with pine and I try to explain to him every pig is different and he didn't have easy access to what a happy guineapig ACTUALLY looks like. Advice?

Jaci Hawk on December 10, 2019:

Why dose my Guinea pig tuck his head underneath himself while eating .? He’s been

A happy baby since I got him

Jrovnf on December 07, 2019:

Melanie take him to the vet

Mellanie Palacios on December 01, 2019:

My guinea pig recently fell and broke its left tooth the problem is that the tooth is hanging ig from his mouth idk if I should yank it or what I’m really confused someone help me please.

Ivy Taylor on November 25, 2019:

Can guinea pigs die if you don’t boar clean them?

lil pigy on October 21, 2019:

i think my pig is pregnant byt i cant tell

moebecca44 on October 09, 2019:

One hot day in July my husband was leaving to work and in front of his truck on the dumpster there was a cage. He freaked out and called me come out. I brought the cage down and there was a guinea pig in it. I don’t know how long he had been there for but he was so happy to see us. Wouldn’t stop whistling! I called a friend who takes in stray animals and she cared for him for about a week. Took him to a guinea pig rescue to get examined and to get his nails cut. We found out he was a HE and was about a year and a half. I ended up bringing him back home with me and I’ve had him since and I JUST LOVE HIM! He is very very spoiled. I work from home and his cage is right next to my desk. I’m constantly cleaning the poop from his cage because he likes to lay in it. I talk to him all day but I still feel he’s sad and lonely. I’ve been thinking about a friend for him but I’ve been told that sometimes they fight especially since he’s been alone for so long and has already established dominance in his cage. I am so torn. BTW his name is Forky. Like from Toy Story since he was found in the trash.

ethyhr on September 18, 2019:

oof oof oof

Carly on September 10, 2019:

My guinea pig never wants to excersize. What can I do to help her?

jade on September 10, 2019:

my boys keep chasing my big australian cattle dog and bite her nose when she sniffs them. why do they chase my puppy?

Zoe T. on August 28, 2019:

Fiona Wilson,

I am so sorry, but she will not be fine on her own. You can get a cage divider, so you don't have to get a second cage, if that helps.

maddie on August 16, 2019:

First of all, I disagree with the statement that you should avoid buying a guinea pig from a pet store because they all mishandle and abuse them. I work in a pet store and we take tremendous steps to make sure our guinea pigs and other animals are happy, safe, and healthy.

Fiona Wilosn on August 06, 2019:

Hi, I bought my little boy a guinea pig on Saturday from pets at home. She has been great, letting us pet her hold her etc but I’m worried she’s lonely. So today I went into the pet shop to buy another one (her sister) to keep her company. The pet shop said even after 3 days of them being apart I would Hav to buy a separate cage for the new one and gradually introduce them. This isn’t ideal as I don’t have room for another cage. Will she be okay on her own?..

Victoria Abel on August 05, 2019:

Can I wait to get a second Midwest cage and get a third piggy’s I will have to wait about 200 days until I get the second one though?

I love the article but.... on July 26, 2019:

please say anything to help me back I red all of your articles and they are amazing and you really inspire me to really take care of all my pets and please something about where to get the pets

I love the article but... on July 26, 2019:

firsty i love the article number two where do i get the stuff for the C&C cage?

Im trying on July 24, 2019:

I am really scared to get a guinea pig i dont know I want to only have one but i don't know if i will have time for it can I get a toy guinea pig Also this is really helpful

Nevaeh on July 14, 2019:

Can u give more exsamples of a good cagefor guine pigs

Stephanie on July 02, 2019:

I just recently got two pigs and one of them is warming up to me fast but the one is still iffy about me still. Back story: the first day i bought them home my 3 year old picked her up and i think he scared her

Beetoe88 on June 30, 2019:

Hi patty

This worked great for me . Get a bowl and fill it a little less then halfway with apple cider vinegar and just one or two little drops of dawn dish soap the blue kind and stir it in .Then cover the bowl with Saran Wrap make sure it’s nice and tight. Than grab a fork and make a bunch of holes in the wrap. This worked great and should definitely help!

Patty Holmes on June 26, 2019:

I am at my wits end in what to do about fruit flies. I have tried fruit fly traps that do not work! Right now I have 6 fly traps that are full of fruit flies and I just walked through a huge cloud of them. I have two cavies and have tried several options. My family is not happy with the situation. Can you help me?

Emma on June 25, 2019:

I’m just trying to give my guinea pigs the best live but I’ve been reading all these articles and watching all these videos and I see my cage is to small but I can’t upgrade to a bigger one because of limited space it’s already 17x21 and I don’t know how much space I can spare please help I want to give my two girls a happier life but I don’t know how

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Dawn on June 06, 2019:

To introduce a new pig to cagemates, you put them outside. Cagemates go in one run, the new guy in the other

Kassandre Kuss on May 30, 2019:

Do guinea pigs get diabetes easily?

Tierney woodrome on May 29, 2019:

I’m about to get 2 guinea pigs and I don’t know if i can make a cage out of wood I wanna to know if they will be ok

Johnny Larue on May 27, 2019:

Disagree about adopting. The adoption places are overly invasive, like to find reasons to reject potential owners and lack professionalism.

Kendall on May 22, 2019:

My guinea pig is scared of people who is that ever stopped up

ka kz on May 15, 2019:

i have a piggy named Lucky but he died May 13 2019

Sanduni on May 01, 2019:

I'm a sri lankan..I like to have a ginipig..but I already have 2 dashound dogs..I'm afraid my dogs will not like the new one..what can I do for that

? on May 01, 2019:

My dad won't let me neuter my male pig because he thinks neutering is cruel.What should I do?

Leah on April 23, 2019:

Hi, i have my pigs now for 5 weeks and they are not tamed yet. They don't let me pick them up but they do let me fees them from my hand. Both of my guinea pigs need their nails trimmed. How do i do that when they keep jumping out of my hands? I prefer not to go to the vet.

Morgan on April 13, 2019:

I got two guinea pigs from a breeder I know very well who’s guinea pigs lived outside, so my guinea pigs lived in a hutch with a run attached to it outside in my garden. One day, I noticed one of them was sleeping out of the bed area and in the main bit of the hutch and the other one was sleeping in the bed. They seemed to take it in turns every night. One day I came back from the shop with some veggies for them and found one of them dead in the hutch. The other was fine and there was no blood. Why did he die? And now my other piggy lives on his own. Will he be ok by himself?

Crazy animals on April 12, 2019:

Is it better for my guinea pigs to live inside

jodycarlo19@gmail.com on March 29, 2019:

My baby guinea pig bit's when I hold her. Will this stop?

Briana on March 27, 2019:

I have a question not a comment. If I go back and get my guineas cage mate will they recognize each other?

michelle on March 25, 2019:

I adopted two females who were sisters. The previous owner had them in an insufficient store-bought cage. I purchased the Midwest Habitat and created an open partition so they could unite or retreat as desired.

I placed the habitat in a quiet location and approached them sensitively. After a week, the sisters' quarreling had become intense with biting and bleeding, forcing separation, which didn't make sense to me since my research indicated being cage mates was preferable.

I attempted gradual reunification, but the fighting persisted and I contacted a Rescue for advice. They suggested placing them with them to be paired with different mates.

I just don't understand why they fought when they were raised together and then I brought them into a better environment with more space.

Gilbert Powers on March 17, 2019:

This article is a waste of money spent on the writer.Just the beginning is so controversial and written at such a novice point of view. Not all pet stores mistreat or put them in harmful situations. Plus adopted guinea pigs are more common to bite and have emotional traumatic experiences from previous owners.Please don't waste reading on it gets worse,your welcome and don't write for like ever who ever wrote this article on 5 common mistakes we make as guinea pig owners."Mic drop!"

bobby on March 11, 2019:

i got my guinea pig a few days a go and the lady told me that he cannot live with other piggies cause he got his litter mate got into a fight with him, and now he is tramatized and cant live with other piggies cause he is scared of other pigs. he is a very sweet piggy and when i hold him he gets excited and pop corns when i have him on my bed to play with him, he also likes to groom me, im very worried that he will be lonely when i go to school, or go to my cabin. should i see if he can live with other piggies or should he be a single piggy?

Kit on February 18, 2019:

A fairly good list, but the first one, while full of good intentions, is actually rather hurtful and incorrect. While adopting is always the best first option, let's point out a couple of the wrong assumptions there.

1. "17 year old pet store employee." Most pet stores that I know of won't hire anyone under the age of 18, sorry to burst your bubble.

2. "Your local rescue will also be able to answer any question under the sun regarding your newfound pet" with the assumption that you "17 year old pet store employee (lol)" won't be able to. As someone who has worked for a pet store for years now, I can say that, at least in our store (and yes, a major chain store), we receive hours upon hours of constant, never ending training over all aspects of the store. Add this together with knowledge gained from fellow coworkers, personal experienced, and even from some customers, and we can probably answer almost any question you have about any of our animals in the store. And if we can't, I guarantee we can probably grab an employee for you who can.

3. The misconception that if you go to a pet store, you're only able to buy animals. WRONG. I don't know about PetSmart or other pet stores, but Petco will take in relinquished or abandoned small animals, birds, reptiles, AND even fish, and adopt them out, showing and suggesting the animals for adoption first before people look into buying one of the other animals in the store. Sometimes, these animals aren't cared for properly by their owners either, and employees at the stores have to nurse the animals back to health themselves before they can adopt them out. As long as there is room and the proper means to care for them, they won't turn away a homeless animal.

So, if you do find yourself shopping in a pet store, even just for goods or services, don't be afraid to track down an employee to ask for help or questions. Most also carry caresheets and other items to aid you! Plus, you can also find animals, reptiles, birds, and even fish for adoption at pet stores like Petco, too! Just ask.

Sierra on February 16, 2019:

What happens when a guinea pig falls out of the bed off of the bed

Jen on January 28, 2019:

I bought a guinea from a pet store and a guinea from a rescue and the rescue pig had hordes of problems! Lice, respiratory problems... feeding problems. Maybe I'm biased but the rescue did not take good care of her... very sad. The other piggie is so healthy.

So I have a pen o got from pet smart should I build my own? on January 22, 2019:

Should I build my own

M on January 11, 2019:

Why do i never see my two guinea pigs sleep?

Hope on January 02, 2019:

Rachel is really right the guinea pigs at some pet stores really do get treated right and have a good life and maybe you should not tell everyone not to get them from pet stores because that is false information you are giving. And you should be telling people not to get them before at least three weeks because they need there mothers milk. And six weeks is better. That one person who wrote she got hers at four days is really bad for the guinea pig. This is just my point of vew.

peson on December 15, 2018:

so i was eating cinniim toast crunch with my guinea p. and one fell of so one second later i heard a cruching soud , my guinea pig ate about 1/3 of a sugery cereal ,will he die becuase i know sugar is REALY bad for them please help !

Wendy on November 28, 2018:

I dont like fleece it ruined my washer besides in my case it was expensive my pigs had mites i kept thinking they were gone but nope. They got plenty of vitamins orange peppers almost daily.

I use puppy pads the xxlarge they fit cage perfect with extra to go up wall about 2" i also cut one of the pads into 4 i put in corners where the1 pee poop most.

Dont over feed calcium loaded foods. They love hand scissor plucked fresh grass/dandelions not too many highest calcium load is in them. Everything green has calcium so its good but its the extras like parsley dandlion..also carrot.

Not too much urine turns then i lay off for a while. I give salt lick for a yr now. When they get a cold i give green beans and orange peppers daily until gone.

If that lingers then doctor always get benebac culture buy at vet get critical care for emergency force feed and fresh daily water fill bottle to brim room temp no leaks.

Wood chips..tissue goes in buthole it clogs very painful. Know difference between straw and hay. In order for digestion they eat hay after every veggie meal.

Do not bathe they dont dry. Give ivermectin one drop for mites tactor stop sells it for cattle know what your getting. Guinealynx tells you approp or they lock you out.

Amanda on November 18, 2018:

I have two female guniea pigs. Minnie and ruby are from the same liter.4days old just got them today sooooooo cute!

Sara on November 12, 2018:

It's getting colder out, winter is coming soon. This is my first winter with my guinea pigs. Should I get them a little cuddle cup bed? Is that beneficial or a waste of money?

Also, should I get a carrier? Are those beneficial to have too?

Thanks,

ashley on November 09, 2018:

So i have one guinea pig and he has no other guinea to play with can that kill him if he feels lonely or stressed out with no other animal in his cage to play with??

Sherry craft on October 16, 2018:

My guinea pig is not playing or eating so what am I supposed to do

Name on October 08, 2018:

Thank you, when i read number 2 to my mom she might let me get another Guinea pig for my Guinea pig to play with.

Toni on September 29, 2018:

I want to build a cage large cage for my 3 boy pigs. But I am disable and probally wouldn't have the ability to create a cage so they all three could be together. Any suggestions. I have been looking at the C&C cages but I have RA in my hands and wrists so I don't think I can put a cage together for them. Just give some suggestions and have a blessed day. Toni Pinckard

Cecilia Freeburn on September 12, 2018:

You forgot to mention that people shouldn't get them running wheels

Guinness pig lady on September 04, 2018:

You should Weigh your Ginny pig every month or forghtnight to make sure they are putting on waight and not catching anything

Fjjhhjkk on September 01, 2018:

I really wanted to get one Guinea pig

Marin is cool on September 01, 2018:

The first one is dumb. Every guinea pig needs a home, and someone to love them. And maybe supporting them will HELP, because maybe they cannot afford huge cages for their animals.If you give them money, maybe they could buy bigger cages. Yes, it is good to support a rescue, but it is also good to support a pet store.They probably WANT to get money to help animals. My local pet store is PetSmart, and they know a lot about animals and sponsor and run many charities to help less fourtunate animals. I agree with the rest of this though.

dMartens47 on August 14, 2018:

Great guide. My niece wants to have a guinea pig pet. Guess it is the best to build our own cage.

Deb on July 17, 2018:

Hoping someone has a suggestion. I have an adult guinea pig and one that is very young. How do I meet both of their nutritional needs ie calcium. HELP!

Dee & Jenny Newman on July 04, 2018:

So glad I found you, we adopted two kiddos, and Jenny was 1 we were foster parents.for years but as My way she is now 7, I always said I'd never have a guinea pig, she changed my mind, she and I both own one, best thing I ever bought. From an individual. That knows her babies.mine is named (Cinnamon) and Jenny's is (pretty puff) thank you for all your info. It's helping me love our babies even more. Dee & Jenny

Jasmine on June 09, 2018:

You also should add in that your pet food shouldn’t have timothy hay as the number one ingredient after a certain age.

Dr Suggestion on June 06, 2018:

Maybe you should add a 6th one where people mistakenly assume guinea pigs come from guinea

Sarai Sanders on May 22, 2018:

Hey my guinea pig died and i´m getting another one on June 1,2018 and i need some tips before i get it so i wont have to worry about anything PLEASE!!!!!!!

Ty Dee on May 09, 2018:

@Rachel

Fleece fabric can be purchased by the yard at any Walmart store or craft store if you plan to make the bedding yourself. Etsy and EBay offer custom sewn fleece bedding to the size of your cage if you prefer to order and have it shipped to you.

Rachael on May 03, 2018:

I am looking for fleece bedding for my guinea pig. She has a playpen and a larger size cage. I have looked in my local stores and come up with nothing. I do not know how to search on Amazon. Can anyone help me please?!

Angelina on April 28, 2018:

I purchase a four-year-old guinea pig from an owner how would I take care of it from there

Adam on April 25, 2018:

@Jenn - I just had my male guinea pig neutered earlier this year and now he's happily living with 7 females. Just make sure you find a guinea pig savvy vet who has done neuters before and read up on the subject so you know what to expect. You still shouldn't put them together until at least 4 weeks after the neuter.

Jenn on April 25, 2018:

I adopted two guineas thinking both were male now o have a pregnant guinea and put a divider between them which they can socialize but not get to each other. After she has the babies I am worried because they have been raised together but I don’t want her to get pregnant again. Any suggestions

Lizzie on April 21, 2018:

@Jen Maus

People say boars fight but they definitely prefer company. If I were you I would find a young male and introduce them in neutral territory where they can both hide if necessary. I think it would be unlikely they would fight badly, especially with no females around, and would become good friends in no time.

I had no problems introducing a new young boar to my male and then another young boar later. Just make sure they have space.

Anonymous on April 20, 2018:

My guinea pig got out and it hates me now And there's is evidence of hair from it on my bookshelf. Help!

Jen Maus on April 13, 2018:

Hi everyone! I recently took a male piggie from my niece because she was not taking care of him properly. I have 3 syrian hamsters which I know a lot about, guinea pigs not so much. My niece got him from petsmart in November as a baby and did not pair him. He was in a 40 gallon aquarium by himself. I know have him in a huge c&c cage with fleece and have done extension research. There however is one thing I am getting mixed answers on whether to pair or not. Some say yes cause they are social and need a friend, and then some say that he's been by himself too long. I have been able to tame him and give him lots of attention but if he needs a friend I want to get him one. I want him to have a better life.

Thanks!!

Margaretann30@hotmail.co.uk on April 08, 2018:

I am. Going on holiday is it save to take my guinea pig to other house to I am back

Ella on April 06, 2018:

Guinea pig Hattie, don't worry, it's never to late to get a new guinea pig. Just be careful which one you get because although they always do want to be with another guinea pig, they can be fussy about which one they live with. I suggest you check out You tube little adventures- how to properly select a new guinea pig.