5 Common Mistakes Guinea Pig Owners Make

Updated on February 23, 2016
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Jessie is an art director and a long-time cavy lover and 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. | Source

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, even shortened, life for your pig.

Things to Avoid

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. | Source

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. | Source

Cage Size Guidelines

# Of Guinea Pigs
Minimum Size Acceptable
Preferred Size
In 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.

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    • profile image

      Courtney 23 hours ago

      Dear,

      PetHelpFul my guinea pug was bought from PetSmart and i got my cage from my frined who had guinea pigs also. Yes I washed it out good and my guinea pig has dry stuff around it's eye, I have 2 guinea's the other is fine.

      Sincerly,

      Courtney

    • profile image

      lili 5 days ago

      my sister slept with her ginea pig and ran away what do i do but we have other ones but they are mine

    • profile image

      Sam 6 days ago

      Dear PetHelpful,

      My guinepig was bought from Petco. Is that a good store?

    • profile image

      Eden 8 days ago

      I only have one piggy now and can't afford another one, how do I comfort him without getting a new one?

    • profile image

      Ella 9 days ago

      I can't stand the people that don't agree with this. It means they are VERY cruel to animals. I must explain why everything is true and why people need to agree with this and be more nice to animals.

      Why you shouldn't buy guinea pigs from a pet store:

      Many people say it's fine to get them from a pet store because not all pet stores are bad. This may be true and it definitely is better to get one from a good pet store than a bad one but it's still best to get them from a rescue because it can be hard to tell when a pet store is or is not bad and even if it's not bad it's still best to support the rescue because if you don't support a pet store, they will let the pets have a nicer, happier life but if you don't support a rescue the pets will never get rescued and die.

      Why they need cagemates:

      this is the problem that bothers me the most. So many people think not all guinea pigs are social and that they 'seem fine on their own' but the truth is. how can they tell they're fine? they will want another guinea pig no matter what but they don't know how to show it to humans. A lot people say it's bad for them to be together because whenever they see each other, they fight. People think this is because they don't like each other but it's actually because they're mad they didn't get to see them earlier! I know it may seem like a weird reason to fight but you need to understand that guinea pigs are different from humans and will show they way they feel differently

      Why you need a big cage:

      A lot of people say when there guinea pig gets to go in their teeny cage they are happy and would want to be there more than any other place but that's only because they're not used to the other places and don't know what to do. If you did give your guinea pigs a bigger gave and gave them time to get used to it, trust me, you'll be surprised. they'll be exploring the whole thing and and will really enjoy them selves! I sometimes don't close my cage properly on accident and my guinea pigs get out asap because they love to have more space! (even though my cage is already bigger than it needs to be!) And if your guinea pigs learnt to adjust to different places like that, I'm sure they would do the same thing!

      Thanks for reading! I don't really have anything to add on to the last two things but hopefully you can still learn to agree with them! Hope this changed your idea about how guinea pigs should be treated! If not, please tell me and I will explain more. bye for now!

      PS. If you were wondering what my sources are I would like to tell you I have many sources. My friends, the YouTube channel about guinea pigs called little adventures other pet helpful articles and just lots of experience from my own guinea pigs. So you should definitely believe what I say!

    • profile image

      VA 10 days ago

      I did look into a rescue as I come from a family who supports rescue animals. The application was more lengthy than any dog or cat adoption process I've encountered. I would need to drive about 50 miles from Virginia to Maryland in order to go to their specific 'adoption event' on their specific time and day (which is hosted every 4-6 weeks), even if the guinea pig's foster home is located near me!

      Besides that, I was told I would have to 'be patient' and 'wait a few weeks' for the adoption process because they are all volunteers. With work and kid schedules, when would I have time to drive that far away to maybe find a guinea pig to take home? Maybe the guinea pig looks nice in the picture but the personality is not compatible.

      Anyway, the large guinea pig rescue in VA and MD means well but they shoot themselves in the foot by wanting so much. In the end I bought a mom and baby from the nearby pet store. I was told the baby was likely pregnant (she was) and readily took her to the vet.

      I'll still seek out rescue animals but let this be a lesson to rescue places. If you want the result to be that an acceptable someone adopts your rescues, be available and ready to do so!

    • profile image

      pkify 3 weeks ago

      Such a large number of awesome focuses!

      I generally attempt to surpass my customers desires as it has such huge numbers of advantages.

      It fulfills my customers, it enables me to do awesome things and it is incredible for business.

      A debt of gratitude is in order for sharing.

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      Betty Sakai 3 weeks ago

      We live in San Jose, CA. We have 4 fancy guinees (3 females and 1 neutered male). Our children are now teenagers and do not have time to care for them, so the burden falls on us as parents. We are looking for a new home for them. The gardener said he would take and eat them...(oh dear..He is from a different country...). Now looking for an elementary school teachers who wants loving pets to encourage learning, or seniors who want something warm and sweet for company. Must live close to San Jose in CA. Adoption comes with large cage, food, and supplies.

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      Laura 5 weeks ago

      Kiln dried pine is actually fine for small animals. The process of high temperature kiln drying removes the harmful phenols (the chemicals that cause the strong smell and make it unsafe for critters with sensitive reapiratory systems).

      There's an easy way to tell if pine is kiln dried or not.......if it smells like a pine tree air freshener (raw pine has a ridiculously strong smell), it's not safe. If it just has a pleasant, light woody smell, it doesn't contain those awful phenols.

    • Rebecca Rizzuti profile image

      Becki Rizzuti 5 weeks ago from Indianapolis, Indiana

      Excellent points in this article, Jessie! I hope that it leads to many more guinea pigs getting the homes and care that they deserve! I'm not a guinea pig owner myself but I've been looking into keeping rats again. It is *so* tempting to buy from a pet store under the notion that you're "rescuing" a pet from certain death. It doesn't work out that way a lot of the time because among other things, these pets often aren't healthy.

      My ideal right now would be to adopt my rats from a lab rescue.

    • profile image

      Amy 6 weeks ago

      We bought our piggies from a pet store and until last month they were sharing a cage while my dad built them an amazing home! In the cage they used the paper bedding but with their new home I knew I wanted to switch them to fleece. The fleece is absolutely hands down the best thing I ever done. Don’t worry about your piggies chewing on the bedding because they will probably test it the very first day. It’s more as a curiosity thing than anything else but after they get used to it they stop. I only noticed it the very first day! It’s much easier to clean and hardly no work keeping it clean. The no-pill fleece is what I use so it doesn’t have shedding when washed. My piggies love red pepper!

    • profile image

      Lilly 6 weeks ago

      I have had my geauinpigs for 3 years and now their acting strange my gueainpig is acting the strangest

    • profile image

      Anon 6 weeks ago

      I adopted a single male 6.5 year old piggie from a petshop that had an adoption day with a shelter. Pleasant little easy going guy about bedding and such. If anyone is curious as to why pine bedding has a bad rep, it has some sort of oil that can cause respiratory distress if not kiln dried. So if you get pine bedding please read the packaging and look for "kiln dried".

    • profile image

      Jason 6 weeks ago

      Good advice except #1. That’s someone’s personal feelings/agenda and that’s not what I read something like this for

    • profile image

      Tamar Ulmer 7 weeks ago

      I greatly appreciate all of this helpful information. We area adopting 2 females tonight that the owner no longer wishes to take care of. I am going to follow all of this advice. Thank you!

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      GuineaPigLover 7 weeks ago

      I am giving my guinea pigs timothy hay is that good for her?? I agree with giving them a partner or pal because I have 2 of them and they are best friends forever.They can never stay apart and its the cutest thing EVER! Also i heard that guinea pigs live up to 10 years. On musically i saw this person abusing this poor adorable hamster.She is shoving the hamsters head in the floor.Holding it the wrong way,and squeezeing him super hard! in the profile picture I even saw the poor thing crying!! What should I do to save him??!

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      Blank 7 weeks ago

      I don't like this. I felt like crying for hours because my pig doesn't have a buddy, but he has me. I am with him for hours and my parents say it's ok. This isn't very reliable. I've had my pig forever and he is doing fine. One star

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      Blank 7 weeks ago

      My boy has no mate but I play with him every day for over three hours and he has a huge cage. Is it ok for him to have me for hours instead of a mate?

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 weeks ago

      is it ok that i have two guinea pigs but they're not in the same cage?

    • profile image

      LucyHutt 7 weeks ago

      Thanks for your advice. I am trying to convince my mom and dad to get me one for christmas and I was wondering how big is their poop?

    • profile image

      Diana 2 months ago

      I am concerned that the guineas could nibble and swallow pieces of fleece, surely this would be very harmful as I believe it is made from plastic micro fibres? Really reluctant to change them onto this - please advise.

    • profile image

      Autumn101 2 months ago

      Thx I already have two fur balls and I got everything I was just making sure

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      Ella 2 months ago

      Perrie, if you really want a your guinea pig to have a cage mate you should show them lots of websites that encourage people to have another one. tell them it won't smell more and that you will look after it all by yourself. you could also do some work so you can get it as a reward. then hopefully your parents will let you get a second

    • profile image

      perrie 2 months ago

      My parents said my pig is fine alone and that he isnt lonely....

      but he needs a cagemate so badly

    • profile image

      Random Derpy Person LOL 2 months ago

      I’ve gotten a guinea pig and idk if I should or shouldn’t give him fruit

    • profile image

      Wang 3 months ago

      Great. Thanks for your info

    • profile image

      Anne 3 months ago

      My parents say it's alright to have one piggy

    • profile image

      Elizabeth 3 months ago

      Nice and helpful post. Thankyou!

      God bless

    • profile image

      Ella 3 months ago

      I have a few questions about the foods they should eat. You said they should eat lots of fruits every day but I thought they couldn't have much sugar and there's no way they can have just a small amount of sugar when they eat so many fruits! My friend once said that her vet told her that all pellets were bad for guinea pigs but now that I've read this, I think either she or her vet got confused and thought it was all types instead of most. Does that sound correct? Please answer my questions so I know what foods to give my guinea pigs!

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      Jeffrey 3 months ago

      My guinea pig is adorable

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      Mickey 3 months ago

      My guinea pig , Elliot, loves shiny things. He's always after my necklace or rings (when their on me!) Can anyone tell my why? There is no information on the web..

    • profile image

      avery 3 months ago

      This is very helpful so now i know what not to do if i get a guinea pig!!

    • profile image

      Shyanne 3 months ago

      I need a c&c cage but my parents probably won't agree. Help!

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      Ella 4 months ago

      Everyone should have at least two guinea pigs. they will always be happier with a companion. Even if they don't seem to get along there is always a way for them to get along with at least some guinea pigs. And although they might fight occasionally that doesn't mean there not friends.

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      Laurie 4 months ago

      babs4ever25@yahoo.ca

      Hassan please email me, I have a guinea pig and chinchilla that I rescued from being released into the country cause no one wanted them. Both boys, I know they are getting up in years so they are seniors. I need to know what to feed in the way of fruit and veggies. Building a new home right now for them. A huge one so they can live out their last days in a proper environment.

    • profile image

      Hassan 4 months ago

      Ive read so much facts of how to take care of a guinea pig and now I learnt how Im the best at it. So if any needs help Im here to do it.

    • profile image

      Lily 4 months ago

      Thanks! Glad I read this before I got Guinea pigs. I was just gonna get one, but then I read this article and I thought twice about it. Also, I had picked out a cage that looked good, but then I figured out it was to small after reading this, so, thanks again!

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      Zac 4 months ago

      Sorry, but this drives me insane. NEWFLASH: not all pet stores abuse the pets!! I have a piggy name Zac who I bought from a pet store, and at first he was really timid and hid in a box all the time. When he came out and I picked him up I noticed he smelt really bad, like not just poo-smell, like really bad. Then I noticed the sore on his side. He had been bitten by another guinea pig (which was NOT the pet shops fault in ANY WAY, it happened the day we bought him and they just missed it at the time) and it had gotten infected. We called the pet shop and they told us to bring him back and the would have a look. They then waited after closing time for us and looked after him for 3 weeks until he was fully healed- which included antibiotics, food, water, everything- at no cost to us and now he is much more friendly and loves snuggles. So before you stereotype pet shops as horrible, inhumane places, get your facts straight.

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      Lil Muffin 5 months ago

      Hi, Its lil Muffin im going to be getting two guinea pigs soon because the one I have is lonely i have been planning to get another guinea pig for him but ive had school and ive been going on 5 hour drives to my pops because hes really sick and the guinea pig i have is really sick too i dont think he will make it through the night its really sad

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      Shirl's 5 months ago

      I just inherited a little 2 yr. old after my sister-in-law passed suddenly!! Just couldn't see him (Fat Bastard is what she named him) going to a pet store or shelter, he's her baby. I need to know is he ok to be out of his cage to hold, & treat kinda like a special kitten? It's driving me insane seeing him just be in a cage when I just want to play with him & want him to feel free instead of jailed?? How do I do this, slowly, to get him comfy in his new home, cuz he's stuck with me now, fallen in love!!!!

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      TeenyTonnie 5 months ago

      @Bald Unicorn

      This is horrible! Take action now, and take care of Bravo yourself, and give him the same pampering you give your guinea pig. Bravo needs it-he's probably starving! If your brother wont take care of his guihead pig, don't let the pig suffer. Your brother clearly knows nothing about taking care of a guinea pig.

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      Ella 5 months ago

      To Piggie owner,

      Guinea pigs almost always get along with most other guinea pigs.

      To make sure the new guinea pig you gets along with the other guinea pig, you should introduce your guinea pig to

      all the other guinea pigs avaliable at the place your getting it at and whatever guinea pig you piggy gets along with best can be your new piggy!

      If your current piggy acts a bit rough to your new piggy don't worry! This is normal and within a few days, they should become great friends.

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      bob 5 months ago

      i love my piggy

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      Piggie owner 5 months ago

      I have a piggie and I was wondering what if the other piggie I got did not get along with each other ?

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      Anonymous 5 months ago

      I completely disagree with everything you just said, I'm sorry but this was not helpful at all :(

    • profile image

      Jennifer Vaughn 5 months ago

      My mr piggy piggy won't eat today what could be wrong with him

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      Bald Unicorn 5 months ago

      HELP!! My step brother and I both have guinea pigs I have only have one, Bianca, but she's my BEST FRIEND. She has a plate of fruits and vegetables every morning and night and lots of hay. She goes everywhere with me and is very happy and healthy. She is now a year old and has had no health problems. But my step brother has a male guinea pig, Bravo, and he is never played with, rarely fed, never has fruits or veggies, and is rarely fed some cheap strings of dried grass. Literally strings of grass. Bravo also never has water and his cage, which is TINY, is always filthy. And every time I say something about him not being played with or cared for my step brother completely denies it like he's the best piggy owner ever! What do I do??!?!!

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      Lynn 6 months ago

      My pigs don't like to have any other pigs IN the cage with them. I try to do social interaction with the 3 of them, but one or another will atta k and need a separation, so they only get supervised visitation with each other. Lol. Other than that, even though I have tried having a cagemate and haven't been able to find one as of yet, I fully agree with this article.

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      Anonymous 6 months ago

      This doesn't have very good tips. I have been using almost all of these things and she has been living for 9 years so far!

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      scruffy 6 months ago

      I have had GP's for at least 20 years or more. My first pet was a skinny pig, Sydney. Loved that little guy. He only lived 3 years because of inbreeding. I bought a book on GP's as suggested by the Pet Store person and learned all I needed to know about them.

      My second GP, Pigidy, was the cutest pig in the world. She loved to sit on my shoulder and watch TV with me. She was a real happy popcorner. She was well cared for and lived for 7 yrs. so yes pigs can live longer than 5 yrs!!

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      no name 6 months ago

      so i have realized that if you get a piggie from the store they may die from heart attack or something like that we think that is how my piggie died

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      Vivian 6 months ago

      They are so cute!!!!!

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      alicia McMillan 6 months ago

      I made a nice big c&c cage after reading about how important it is to have a nice open area for him to play. I made it so their was an open divider so he could have his food in one area and bedding in an other area. He seemed so happy and did well for a few days. I took him out to clean cage and when I put him back in cage he became afraid of the side were the food was, like their was something there that was going to hurt him. I finally took the divider away and he is slowly taking the food from that side and bringing to were he sleeps. Why would he be ok one day and be afraid the next? Please help it breaks my heart that he has become afraid of one side of hie cage.

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      Pigpig 7 months ago

      My gineu pigs are girls but we have to use hay because they poo and wee everywhere and fleece gets wet and there for it STINKS

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      Brandi 7 months ago

      The person we bought our pig from said males shouldn't have a cage mate because they don't get along n they only sell males. We will spend lots of time with him but feel a 2nd one is a good idea. I'd appreciate your input.

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      Mango and Ginger 7 months ago

      This is really helpful for me. But I have heard that guinea pigs can live up to 8 years

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      christine SAMPSON 7 months ago

      Can guinea pigs be kept with rabbits?

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      Annonymus 7 months ago

      I did just about every thing you said not to do on this list and my pig still lived a very happy 6-7 years.

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      GalaxyRat 7 months ago from The Crazy Rat Lady's House

      Hi A,

      Tell your friend that the Piggie is being mistreated. Call animal control! This is a case of abuse/neglect. They will take the animal away because of this. Animal control is really your only option. I wish you luck!

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      Anonymous 7 months ago

      Help! My freind has a very small guinea pig, maybe 6 cm long, and she is keeping it in a dog kennel that is 4 feet off the ground on top of her dresser. Ruby gets almost no attention and lives alone. She's sleeps on some little soft fluff pellet things that always go everywhere! All she gets is a little bowl of pellets and a stuffed animal in her cramped cage along with a rabbit water bottle thing. She is miserable and terrified of all human interaction. Being an animal lover my self I want to help the poor creature but I can't do anything. How do I convince my freind that Ruby needs to be cared for better?

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      billy 7 months ago

      you did a great job

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      GalaxyRat 7 months ago from The Crazy Rat Lady's House

      Hi BakingBread,

      My vet said Piggies only live 4-5 years. He's a vet. What's your qualification?

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      roberta 7 months ago

      hi !!! i don't agree with anything you just said !!!

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      BakingBread-101 8 months ago

      I fully disagree regarding how "short-lived" guinea pigs are. With proper care, guinea pigs can live up to 10 years. It is because of lack of proper care that many die between 2-4 years of age. The 18" x 42" rabbit cage is a sufficient cage for 2 guinea pigs as long as they get floor time to run around. While it is messier, I use shredded paper for my piggies cage. It's free, which works for me. I shred everything except "shiny colored" postcards or window envelopes. It then goes in the cage. After it is soiled, it then goes in the compost heap (worms love it). The cage gets cleaned about every 4 days and every other time, it gets disinfected with vinegar. Most people don't live next to a Timothy Hay farmer, but buying the larger bags from the local pet store is ridiculously expensive. Check and see if you have a local farm store. I buy a compressed bale of Timothy Hay on Tuesdays (because of a Senior Citizen 10% discount) and pay $14.69 for it. The bale is 50 lbs. They load it into the car (I put down contractor's paper first) and then I plop it from the car into a large, plastic Sterlite tub that's on a dolly, cut the straps, and wheel it to the area of the garage I want to store it in. I have a 22 quart container that I transfer some to and store that in the house by the cage. Since I also have a Holland Bunny that eats Timothy hay, it works out well.

      To Munchkin, you should get a cage mate of the same sex for your guinea pig since they are such social animals; however, you need one that is about the same size. Look to adopt one from the local shelter or through Craigslist. The new one does not have to be Abyssinian. We had the same situation, and now have both an Abyssinian and American guinea pig.

      @Elsa, it's probably too late to return your guinea pig, but I suspect that it has fleas or lice. Both are very difficult to get rid of, but they must be gotten rid of or your guinea pig could die. First thing you want to do is look for tiny crawly dark bugs at the skin or "rice - looking" flecks. Either one is yucky bad. Get some mineral oil, which is found in the laxative aisle of any pharmacy or Walmart. Really rub a good amount through the guinea pig's hair all over the body. Leave the piggy oiled up for several days (she'll look silly). Then either use cornmeal to dust the piggy to have it absorb the oil or give the piggy a slightly warm bath using a couple drops of dawn dish soap (Palmolive is too fragrant). Wrap your piggy in a towel to stay warm until she is dry. Meanwhile, completely clean down the cage, sprinkle Borax all over the bottom of it and leave that on for 4 hours. Borax can be found in the laundry detergent aisle of the store. Throw away the Borax, clean the cage free of any Borax residue (I would use vinegar to clean and disinfect it). Put piggy back in the cage. Repeat all of this every few days for a couple of weeks if necessary. The Borax will kill flea eggs and larva.

      If you have the availability of a medicine syringe (the pharmacy often gives them out with infant medications), you can get kitten flea treatments with dinotefuran and pyriproxyfen (Simple Guard was the brand I used) and give 0.1 ml/lb of guinea pig between the back shoulder blades (this info came from my Veterinarian -- I am not an animal doctor). I was told do not use Frontline on them. This will keep the fleas away. Sulfa baths can help during an infection.

      When you introduce two guinea pigs to each other, you simply need to put them on the floor in a contained area and give them an hour or two. Do not introduce them in the cage they will be sharing, especially if one of them had already been living in it.

      I hope this is helpful to those of you who are reading it.

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      Brit 8 months ago

      Most Guinean pigs come from a pet store even if you do adopt. I adopted one of my piggies from a shelter and the other from a pet store. The one from the shelter was born at petsmart got adopted then neglected and abused. Which left her skittish

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      Munchkin the GP 8 months ago

      Thank you, this helped so much! I have a few questions but please help me even though they aren't related to this article.

      I have a girl Abyssinian guinea pig and her cagemate recently died.

      She is ok, she sorta stopped grieving, eating an appropriate amount of food.

      But....

      I know her breed needs extra social attention. So how do I convince my mom that she is better off with a little buddy? I am always busy with school and projects and we go loads of shopping over the weekends. I'm not allowed to stay home alone. I'm giving her attention as much as possible. If I do get another piggie, should I get one her age or a baby guinea pig? Munchkin is about 3 yrs. old. I know I should get another girl because we don't want two guinea pigs to mate.

      Thanks for the help! This website is really good and one of the other articles convinced me to switch to fleece bedding since others make such a mess and make piggies very sick.

      Again, thanks for the help.

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      Jasmine 8 months ago

      Cute!

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      Kaitlin 8 months ago

      I have my one male guinea pig for about a year and then one week he stopped eating and was sleeping for days then I looked it up and it said he might have depression from being alone. So I went out and bought another guinea pig that had been in the pet store for about 2 months and nobody wanted him. I felt very bad for him so I decided to buy him. I was worried that since he was a male that he wouldn't get along with my other pig. I kept them in sperate cages next to each other for about 2 weeks so they could get to know each other and as soon as I put them together both of them were so much happier. If you have another guinea pig it is better to get a baby pig so the other one will not feel threatened by the new pig

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      JJ 8 months ago

      In Ecuador they eat Guinea pigs

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      GalaxyRat 8 months ago from The Crazy Rat Lady's House

      I had a Guinea Pig named Mr. G, and I didn't know most of this stuff. My Piggy was in a cage all by himself, so I could've gotten him a companion because my dad wouldn't let me get a second Piggy. I did get the cage, bedding, and all that right, though.

      But here's something pet shop people don't tell you about Piggies: they live only 4-5 years. Not the 7-8 that they lead you to believe.

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      8 months ago

      Cinnamon and Nutmeg have a 2 by 4 but it's a 2 by 3 with a ramp that isn't steep so there backs don't hurt and that leads to a 1/2 upper "lounge" so the if Nutmeg takes Cinnamons carrot, he can go on his own and pout without having to look at his bro. If Nutmeg wants to sleep he can go hide in the willow tunnel and not worry about chatty Cinnamon waking him up. If you make the ramp shallow enough that they don't hurt there backs climbing up I really don't mind an upper level to a cage like I've seen some people actually hate. Wheels and hamster balls aren't save but a ramp that isn't steep is fine!

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      tommie 8 months ago

      gangstalkers in homer alaska are narcisstic types

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      Lily 9 months ago

      To "Jenius"

      Calm down, most people do know about puppy mills and things like that, we all think adopting is better than going to a pet store. Sometimes people may not go adopt though, and that's okay once in a while. Not everyone on this website is doing the things you say we are. Everyone also wants to make sure they are doing the best they can for their guinea pig and that is why they are on this website. Don't insult people before you even know what they are actually doing and how they actually feel. Not everyone is ignorant and you can't assume everyone here is. Buying from a pet shop may not be the best thing to do, but, not every pet shop is bad. People can still be animal lovers and good pet owners if they don't know everything from the start or didn't buy from a pet shop. Everyone is human and may make mistakes, insulting people will not get you anywhere. Yes, it is better to adopt and yes, it is good to be informed first, but not everyone can know everything before they get a pet. Go do something useful to do with that anger and find some ways to help those animals and more people know about things like puppy mills. Just please don't get mad and lecture, yell and/or insult people.

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      Jenius 9 months ago

      OmG!!! Everyone posting here should ask their questions BEFORE getting a pet!!! ITS CALLED being educated. If a pet owner is worried about having money available to properly provide for their pet, THEY SHOULD NOT HAVE A PET. ITS CALLED BEING RESPONSIBLE. Finally, for those little minded cabbage's that do not understand the difference between buying from a pet store, from ADOPTING from a rescue, including those of you pet shop workers who think their pets are treated well....this last bit is for you: JUST WHERE DO YOU THING THESE POOR ANIMALS CAME FROM BEFORE ARRIVING AT PET STORE!!???? The amount of ignorance displayed by posters is enough to make me cry. Have you ever heard of puppy mills??? GOOGLE IT. As a statement of FACT: SMALL ANIMALS MILLS MAKE PUPPY MILLS LOOK HUMANE!!! Small pets aré classified as "disposable"...research people...seriously. why on Earth would you support (support meaning provide a demand with your cash) am industry of the most obscene, inhumane disregard for life, when you claim to have a love of animals!!??? The pet you bought, you tell yourself ypu "rescued" it from a uncomfortable life at a pet store...don't you know, that what you just bought takes away 3 LIVES!?? & ensure the suffering of countless others!!??? They will just be replaced, and how many animals does it take to replace that one living that you just bought!!??? Out of 10 only 1 survives to show up in a pet shop display...not to mention the lives you stole from 2 shelter animals that indeed, are in need of real rescue. LOOK IT UP. You're big enough to get a pet, big enough to mouth off on helpful, expierenced advice, be big enough to FACE THE TRUTH AND LOOK IT UP....or do not ever consider yourself a lover of animals, or even a good pet owner. Seriously.

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      Madison 9 months ago

      Where do you go to find a guinea pig then

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      Scott 9 months ago

      To those wondering if they need a second guinea pig. The answer is always YES no matter the situation. Always have at LEAST two, three is the best because they are meant to be in packs (3+) but two is acceptable.

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      Elsa 9 months ago

      I just got a new baby guinea pig, she seems to be upset though, i think she may have a tooth problem because she seems to be grinding or chattering her teeth a lot. I don’t know what to do, she makes noises i think are upset noises and itches sometimes, I’m not sure if she has an itching problem but I’m worried. Should we take her to a vet? We just got her a couple days ago and i have never had a guinea pig before so please help. We put a bunch of nice chew things out for her like untouched wood, cardboard, and more but is it enough? Please give some advice.

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      Ella 9 months ago

      We just got a new guinea pig for the first time, should we get a second? Also she has a huge cage but a kind of guinea pig tent covered by a towel that blocks most of the room and she always hides in it.

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      Lucy 9 months ago

      Help there is a big fly in my room and I don't want it to hurt the guinea pigs should I put something on the cage I don't know what do

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      Nicole 9 months ago

      Help? we adopted 2 piggies together, one just passed this morning. Is the other one going to be ok being by itself now? And if we do get another one can they share a cage?

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      Grace 9 months ago

      I just went to the vet for my guinea pig and they requested to get oxbow food. But you said it isn't good for guinea pigs, what do I do?

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      Sarah 9 months ago

      Is that a box of hay in your cage?

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      Liz Elias 10 months ago from Oakley, CA

      When my (now 40+) daughter was just out of high school, she had a couple of guinea pigs. They were adorable. We did adopt them from an animal shelter, so that much we got right. ;-)

      We also got huge wire mesh cages, that were about 30 inches long and 18 wide. We would line the bottom of the cage with newspaper, to cover the mesh, and then top it with pine bedding, which we would buy by the bale! (Yep, wrong, and wrong...but we did not know at the time.)

      I had custom metal pans fabricated to fit under the cages, to protect the tabletop from moisture.

      After a time, we got a second cavy as a companion. The first was an adorable Abyssinian; the second was a Peruvian. They each had their own cage, but they were butted up together, so they could be neighbors. Separated, why? Well, the Abby considered herself a barber, and would incessantly chew the Peruvian's fur! Poor girl looked like she had a mohawk!

      We would let them out for floor time for an hour or more every day. I bought a set of unpainted wooden building blocks, and we'd create mazes for them to run through. The Abby cheated, and jumped over the tops! LOL

      We would sit inside the enclosure, with our knees bent up, and they would run figure-8s around us; behind our backs and under our knees. We also had to tuck in our shoelaces!

      Any time someone went into the fridge, and rattled a plastic produce bag, you would hear their signature, 'Wheep! Wheep!" coming from upstairs! Quite the hearing; another floor up at the opposite end of the house!

      The darlings each lived about 6-1/2 years. They were the most interesting pets, with such personality. And no, the were not scared of us at all! They'd come right up to the front of the cage, knowing it was time for petting, floor time, feeding, or what have you.

      Great article, with lots of good information; much of which I wish I'd know way back then! Thanks for sharing your knowledge. All the best to you!

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      GUNIEA PIG EXPOER ANONOMUS 10 months ago

      In school leanring about guinea pigs they can not stop being so addoable.

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      jy 10 months ago

      What do you do if some piggies have bald spots?

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      Guinea pig help 10 months ago

      I've just got a guinea pig and I need to clean the cage! but my guinea pig is too scared and runs around so I can't get it out of the cage to clean! What should I do?

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      pig lover 10 months ago

      what if you have had one for a year? will it get along with another Guinea pig?

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      Mrmanlymanofall 10 months ago

      Is this the same for skinnypigs?

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      Answers 10 months ago

      Kelly - More space is the ideal, but if someone is home a lot, a daily "floor-time" would definitely help alleviate their cramped feel. The more time they have to run around, the better. I've built a C&C cage like the one pictured and you could either put it up high so it's away from the dog, or you could attach a roof with the Cube panels, just make sure to secure it well when the dog is around.

      LittleBear, you should be trimming your pig's nails as they grow. If it's a baby, it will have small pointy nails and a few gentle strokes with a file might help. As he grows up, those nails get longer, you need to trim them. A $6 pair of small-animal nail scissors can make sure you don't hurt them. Best to wrap them in a towel like a sausage and do one paw at a time. Don't cut too short or they will hurt, Just enough to knockdown the excess nail.

      Skunk! Your pigs feet have what's called bumblefoot. They aren't running around because their feet hurt. Take them to a doctor immediately!

      You said your cage was for a rabbit. Is it a mesh cage where the floor is a grid that poop falls through? If so, you NEED To put down a different bottom or get a new cage. Guinea pig feet are too soft and small for that grid and that could be why they are hurt.

      If it's a flat bottom, you may just need to change the bedding more often. Go with fleece layers or paper bedding (see: Care fresh) and do a spot cleaning every day or so, and a full change weekly.

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      Kelly 10 months ago

      I love your bigger cage idea, but we can't do that. We have a dog and he would eat them. We need something secure with a roof. Is it acceptable to keep them in a 1.5 x 3.5 ft. cage and have them out in a bigger play space when the dog is secure?

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      Allison Holden 10 months ago

      Is there a way to tell if a guinea pig has had a litter before? I got a female and male from a lady who didnt have them long and didnt know if she has had babies before. My boar is getting very frustrated with her rejection. Please help me.

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      LittleBearTheGuineaPig 11 months ago

      umm my little bear has sharp claws i dont know what i can let him do on the floor he eats the carpet he gets his nails stuck in it thankfully i never let him do that but still HIS PAWS ARE TO SHARP lol

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      Piggywig 11 months ago

      Hi Skunk sprout, it sounds like you and your piggies are going through a lot right now! First of all, good news about your boy with the wild hairdo, that's the natural way fur grows on a type of piggy called an abbysinian. They are a very pretty breed :)

      With regard to their feet, I would take them to the vet and ask what you need to do to make sure their feet heal well and it doesn't happen again. You may get something to put on their feet so they heal up, so it's important to see a professional. It seems to me like if they have urine scald, they are walking around on damp bedding. Cleaning them out before this happens, or using something absorbant as bedding will help.

      Regarding the cage, that is very small for 2 pigs, especially boys, and this is probably why they are fighting. As the article suggests, a home-made cage can be a lot better than a bought one and mich cheaper. Tell your parents that you feel responsible for making sure your pets are happy and healthy, and they need a bigger cage for this. You may need to save your pocket money and investigate what materials you'll need. If you can bring a list of what you need to them and it is not too much money, they will be more likely to help you with your project. At the moment they are probably picturing an expensive trip to a pet store so showing them you can build something yourself will help.

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      GP LUXE 11 months ago

      i need to disagree with the immaculate cage idea & fleece spot cleaning , guinea pigs need to eat their own poo (it's like a pro biotic for piggies) they should be outside on lush grass with their same sex mates (be aware males can often fight & may need to be separated by an individual cage but still able to see & chat to their mates) water & green leaffy snacks inc vitamin c rich food like red capsicum full protection from heat/cold/rain /wind

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      Skunk sprout 11 months ago

      The cage is 1 & 1/2 by 3 feet.

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      Skunk sprout 11 months ago

      Also my parents won't get a new piggy cage and mine was a cage "big enough" for one rabbit. I have two piggies and no space for a c&c cage, my parents don't want to spend much money on them but I love them a lot. (Also sorry for the double post before, I forgot to sign in) Thanks!

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      Skunk sprout 11 months ago

      Hi I'm eleven years old and I want to be a vet when I grow up, I love my piggies dearly, but I need help for some things, my parents know nothing about guinea pigs...

      I have two boars. I got them from petsmart and they are believed to be brothers. They have been cage mates their entire lives. They are 2 years old (or so we were told)They fight a lot what do I do?They never interact with me and can't seem to bond. Help? The youngest, skunk has fur that goes wild in different directions I can never brush it flat and it doesn't seem to have a certain direction to go, is that normal? They also have what I believe is called a urine scald on their feet, should we see a vet for any of this?My second biggest concern: they have big hard spikes of dead skin on their front paws growing out of the sides of their paws... is that normal? MY BIGGEST CONCERN:

      When I take them out of their cage they do not move or explore. They just sit and squeak. Is there something wrong with them?

      Thank you for the helpful info. Please help by answering this!

      PLEASE HELP ME AND MY BABIES!!!!

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      Skunk and sprout the guinea pigs 11 months ago

      My piggies are both boars. We bought them from petsmart and they are believed to be brothers and cmfl (cage mates for life) but they always fight and when I put them out of their cage they just stand there and squeak. They never explore. That is my biggest concern... also, one of my pigs has really messy hair that goes off in different directions, is that normal? My parents won't let me get them a bigger cage, there's is pretty small (1 1/2 ft by 3 ft) and be can't fit a bigger cage... they also won't let me change the bedding to fleece. My piggies also have some hard skin clumps growing out of their front paws. What do I do? Also, they don't interact with me, and I can't get them to bond with each other!

      HELP ME OUT PLEASE!!

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      Emily 11 months ago

      This helped me so much! I enjoyed reading it!

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      Heidi 11 months ago

      So happy to read the post that said a piggie made it to 12 years old. We are so in love w/our adopted piggies (which are said to be about 2 1/2) - can't imagine life without them.

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