Learning how to bond with your guinea pig is important.
Every guinea pig is different and some will have more playful and outgoing personalities while others will be more relaxed. Learning the subtle clues that show your Guinea Pig is fulfilled and happy is a smart way to keep them happier for longer.
There are also many Guinea Pig Sounds that you can learn to help you to better understand and care for your Guinea Pig.
Here are the 9 main ways to keep your guinea pig happy for longer.
1. Food & Nutrition
A telltale sign that your Guinea Pig is unhappy is if they are eating incorrectly. An unbalanced diet will lead to digestive problems and a poor diet will have a significant effect on their mood and general wellbeing.
Guinea Pig’s need a fresh supply of water every day as it will keep their little bodies running correctly. To keep your Guinea Pig healthy it’s vital your keep their hay supply topped up as it will have the knock-on effect of improving their dental health as well. (by limiting the growth of their teeth)
Lettuce is a Guinea Pig’s favourite food and you can supplement this with other green vegetables like green peppers and green parsley. You can also include strawberries and watermelon as part of a balanced and healthy diet. Try to stay away from avocados, garlic and onions though as they are very dangerous for Guinea Pigs.
Lastly, Guinea Pig pellets are recommended as an everyday food for Guinea Pig’s and it’s important you add it into their daily diet.
2. Health and hygiene
Always keep your guinea pigs nails nicely trimmed down. This is quite easy to do, although guinea pigs do have a tendency to wriggle about a bit. Ask your vet to show you to cut your guinea pigs nails at home by yourself and remember to always be extra careful that you do not cut the quick of the nail.
Keep a close eye on your guinea pigs teeth to make sure they have not grown into the roof of their mouth. Most guinea pigs will not have a problem with this as long as they are suppled with ample foods and toys that they can chew on.
3. Bonding time
Guinea Pig are extremely sociable pets and they do love getting lots of attention from you. It’s ok to hold, pet and stroke your Guinea Pig but make sure you handle it with care. It can wriggle out of your grasp and fall if not held correctly.
You can aim for 15 – 20 minutes of play time every day and it’s also a good way to do a visual scan for any anomalies or scratches and marks on their coats and body.
Exercise is an important factor in keeping your Guinea Pig happier and healthy. Allow your guinea pig to run around outside on the grass but use an enclosed pen for safety. This enables your guinea pig to get the exercise he needs, coupled with the opportunity to eat some grass.
Remember, never place your guinea pig in direct sunlight as they can overheat very quickly and subsequently die. Also never leave them alone either as they can become food for other bigger pets. Before bringing them back inside your house, glance over their bodies and fur to make sure that there are no insects attached to them.
5. Keep their cage clean
A Guinea pig cage should be a tranquil place of relaxation and fun. Therefore, it’s important you keep their cage clean by giving it a spruce up from time to time. A happy Guinea Pig will almost certainly know the difference between a clean and dirty cage so it’s important you keep it clean to prevent spreading harmful bacteria.
We recommend doing this on a daily / weekly and months basis:
|Replace dirty bedding and soiled litter
|Clean water bowl, change water.
|Declutter hay feeder (top up if necessary)
|Clean existing toys and Replace old toys
|Look out for broken accessories
|Replace old toys with some new ones
|Clean out cage entirely including all toys and accessories.
Guinea pigs can be given a bath every once in a while as long as the water is warm and you do not use too much soap either. Guinea pigs are quite susceptible to catching pneumonia and other upper respiratory diseases so be sure to dry them thoroughly.
Guinea pigs are natural swimmers and will enjoy a good swim in the bathtub as well. Be sure to stay with them the entire time and if you see them struggling in the water take them out immediately.
7. Cage Location
Guinea Pigs are very sensitive pets and will become unhappy if they are in loud or breezy areas of the house. Always keep cages in quieter areas of the house and places that don’t have access to constant cold air coming in and out (like a window)
Keep your Guinea Pig away from loud TV’s or radio’s and closer to quieter rooms like conservatory’s. Remember Guinea Pigs are generally sociable pets and will wont to be near you. Don’t keep them in a very quiet part of the house as this can have negative effects on their temperament and health.
Never place their cage in direct sunlight, too much darkness, under or near an air conditioning or heating vent.
If you are still unsure on the cage location then ask yourself these questions:
- Is My Guinea Pig safe here in this location? (no access to other bigger pets)
- Is there anything nearby that could leave a dangerous fume or chemicals trail?
- What about warmth? Will they be warm in this location overnight?
8. Adding a second Guinea Pig
One often overlooked way to keep your Guinea Pig happy is to add another Guinea Pig playmate into their cage.
As Guinea Pig are sociable pets they love being around other pets and getting another Guinea Pig will almost certainly keep your Guinea Pig happy for longer. Remember it doesn’t cost too much more to have an additional Guinea Pig as you have the majority of costs already covered (food, cage, accessories etc)
9. Regular Checkups
All Pets need regular checkups by VETs and your Guinea Pig is no exception. Make sure you take them in at least once per year but try to take them more often. You may be able to prevent any serious Guinea Pig illness from happening just by getting them checkup more frequently.
Overall a guinea pig is a fun, sociable and affordable pet to have. Keeping them happy doesn’t have to be a chore. Just make sure they are well fed, get enough exercise and get plenty of 1 – 1 bonding time.
Featured Image Credit: Jaroslaw Slodkiewicz, Unsplash