These cute little balls of fluff are not pigs at all—they’re actually rodents! Friendly, social and docile guinea pigs make terrific low-maintenance pets.
The most important element of guinea pig care is diet—they need a good combination of hay, grass and vegetables to nibble on.. Like rabbits, pellets should be avoided unless they are a hay-based pellet such as our Oxbow range. Pellets that can be found in pets shops and in the aisles of your local supermarket do not contain adequate fibre levels. A good range of fresh vegetables should always be provided to ensure guinea pigs obtain adequate vitamin C in their diet. Guinea pigs are unable to make vitamin C themselves (just as we as primates cannot) and so without adequate dietary intake of vitamin C guinea pigs can develop a condition called scurvy. Our experienced vets can advise you about the best diet for your pet guinea pig.
Guinea pigs also need the safety of a hutch with a water source, sleeping area and protection from predators. Whilst they are happy to roam about the garden or home, it’s important to tuck them away safely at night, with a good source of bedding and water. Our vets can advise you on choosing the right hutch for your guinea pig. A good large hutch is important, and it should be bigger for each extra guinea pig sharing the space. Guinea pigs are prey animals so they appreciate places to hide in their cage and feel safe.
Guinea pigs are good at grooming, and will groom themselves, and sometimes each other. You will need to trim their nails every six weeks or so. You can visit our vets to have them trim your guinea pig’s nails for you, or we can teach you how to do it yourself.
Guinea pigs are sociable animals and need the companionship of at least one other guinea pig for company. If you don’t want guinea pig babies, make sure to create a group of same sex guinea pigs though non-desexed male guinea pigs should not be kept together as they will fight. Females can also develop ovarian cysts and for these reasons we recommend desexing all guinea pigs.
Common ailments that affect guinea pigs include dental problems, mites, swollen footpads or respiratory and digestive troubles. Guinea pig owners should observe guinea pigs for signs of illness, including change in eating habits, drinking less water, lethargy or hair loss. If you spot any concerning changes, take him or her to the vet for a checkup.
When it comes to finding a vet for your guinea pig, it’s important to choose a vet that has practical experience with guinea pigs. Our team of vets have a solid understanding of the unique health requirements of guinea pigs and have plenty of experience treating guinea pigs as patients.
The Karingal Veterinary Hospital is open 7 days a week.
Our hours are
- 8am-8pm Monday-Friday,
- 9am-5pm Saturday,
- 9am-1pm Sunday,
* We are closed on public holidays.