Guniea Pig
Cavies can be tamed quickly, they are social creatures and appreciate attention from their owners. They love to play in water and love to make a mess!

Living together
Guinea pigs are social creatures and prefer to live in small colonies of 2 or 3. Females and males can live happily together providing they have been neutered, otherwise it is best to keep them in single sex groups, providing the guinea pigs have been reared together from a young age, they will form tight bonds with each other.

Housing
The hutch should be at least 100cm x 60cm x 60cm, this is adequate room for sleeping and resting for short periods during the day. Your guinea pig will need to have a have run in the sun, as this will aid in calcium absorption and provide entertaining exercise. Smooth wood is the ideal material used when selecting an appropriate home for your new cavies. Wood is a great incubator of heat in winter and has insulating qualities during summer. The smooth edges will eliminate some unwanted chewing, and will have sufficient nesting quarters. Avoid metal cages as this will be icy cold in winter and often unbearably hot in summer. Covering wire floors with straw will be a lot kinder on their feet and be much more comfortable for your cavies to lie on. Ensuring the hutch has a mosquito net covering the cage is also ideal as this will prevent unwanted diseases from spreading. Guinea Pigs can be extremely sensitive to outside temperatures, ensure the hutch is covered at night to prevent cold winds from creating a draught. It is advisable to have a secondary cage that can be easily transported inside and out. During cooler winter days or hot summers, allow your guinea pig to come inside, this will ensure they are kept in comfortable temperatures. In summer tiled surfaces such as the laundry or bathroom make excellent cavy rooms, they will enjoy laying on these surfaces allowing their bellies to keep cool. Freezing drink bottles on hot days will also be greatly appreciated by your Guinea Pig! 

Food and Water Containers
Separate food and water containers are needed in your Guinea Pigs enclosure. Guinea pigs love to make a mess and love to play in water. They enjoy sitting in their food bowl and filling the water bowl up with straw. They are comical little creatures that require an attention to detail when cleaning! The use of sipper bottle to dispense water will allow them to have fresh water all the time and are easy to clean so bacteria will not be an issue. Food bowls should be heavy enough not to be knocked over, and small enough that they cannot get inside them.

What is Scurvy?
Just like people, guinea pigs lack the ability to convert Vitamin C from other food sources and need to eat Vitamin C directly. If the guinea pig does not receive enough vitamins in its diet, the body’s supply of vitamin C will disappear quickly.  Scurvy will affect the body’s ability to manufacturer collagen which is an important component of bone and tissue formation. This will lead to blood clotting problems as well as skin and joint problems. Some signs or symptoms may be, appearing to have little or no energy, difficulty in walking due to swollen joints, spots or sores under the surface of the skin, rough coats, teeth rotting, diarrhea or sudden death.

Diet
The natural diet of guinea pig is grass, they do well on high fibre such as lucerne hay. Lucerne should be available at all times as it helps provide fibre and helps to wear their continuously growing teeth. Guinea Pigs should be offered fresh fruit and vegetables with their diet and tend to graze on pellet food throughout the day. Premium Guinea pig pellet food is available and has all the correct Vitamin C levels needed. At Northside we recommend Vetafarm Cavy Diet. Vitamin C tablets can also be added to the guinea pigs water. Vitamin C should always be supplemented as fresh fruit and vegetables may not supply the adequate levels required.  The Vitamin C levels in fresh fruit are unpredictable and can deteriorate rapidly in the elements. Vegetables that are suitable include apples, pears, carrots, broccoli, zucchini, bok choy, and cucumber. Avoid green leafy vegetables such as cabbage or lettuce as  these may cause your guinea pig to bloat or give them diarrhea. Avocado, potatoes, rhubarb, beetroot, beans, peas salad dressings should be avoided as these are unsuitable and sometimes poisonous.       

Health Problems
Like other animals guinea pigs should be regularly wormed and treated with a mite and lice spray. Prevention is always the best cure and is easily applied to all Cavies. Wormers can be dispensed through their water bottles and mite and lice spray can be applied through spray application. It is important to ensure the cage is kept clean, well ventilated, free from draughts and away from the hot summer sun.
Dental Problems - Guinea pigs teeth continue to grow throughout their entire life. If the teeth are not worn through chewing, they will grow incorrectly. This can lead to discomfort, abscesses and lack of appetite. Some indications of dental problems may be saliva around the mouth, chest or front paws, and an inability to eat or excessive teeth grinding.
Parasitic skin Problems– Guinea pigs are prone to skin conditions, perhaps the most common of which is mange. Mange is caused by a little mite that burrows into the skin surface. There will be small raised spots on the skin that can become dry.  The guinea pig will scratch at these itchy areas, which will develop into scabs and cause its hair to fallout. Lice can also be a problem for guinea pigs and may cause dermatitis.  
Our friendly staff at Northside Pets can advise you on which treatments are best to use, whether it be sprays or shampoos for your furr baby.

Chew toys 
Chew toys should be supplied and continually rotated. Their clever creatures and often get bored of the one particular item. Different toys will keep them stimulated mentally and prevent stereotypical behaviors such as pacing back and forth.

Guinea Pig Check list
  • Hutch
  • Straw (for bedding)
  • Lucerne ( for eating)
  • Premium Guinea Pig Pellets with added Vitamin C
  • Vitamin C Tablets
  • Sipper Bottle
  • Food Bowl
  • Worming and mite Treatments
  • Chew Toys
  • Nail Clippers
  • Brush