When you plan to get your first guinea pig, maybe for your children or yourself, the first question that comes to your mind will be, are guinea pigs easy to take care of? Like every other to be guinea pig owner, I wondered the same thing, and here is what I found out
Yes, Guinea pigs are easy to take care of. They are a great beginner’s pet. However, they are far away from mainstream pets like dogs and cats yet so popular among many people.
One of the main reason for them being so popular is because they don’t need many supplies. Just some good quality hay, vegetables, pellets. Freshwater and regular maintenance are all that is needed to keep them happy.
If we could provide our guinea pigs with all the necessities like a fairly large cage, Quality food, Daily exercise, they can live a happy life. They can easily live up to 5-7 years if all their needs are taken care of properly.
But it is quite possible that a pet can be easy to take care of for one person while it might be a difficult task for others.
It all depends upon your passion, time, and dedication. So, let me help you clear your thoughts out about the same. Here I have listed a few points which will help you clearly determine the same.
Needs a large enclosure
Guinea pigs do need a large enclosure to live a happy life. On average, a pair of guinea pigs should have an enclosure of at least 7.5-10 sq feet size.
The larger the cage, you have the more bedding material you shall need. Also, ensure to use only good quality bedding materials for our guinea pigs.
Now, this is important not only because of the cage’s cost or the bedding itself, but the larger the area, the more maintenance it shall need daily.
If you don’t clean the poop and other derbies daily, it can be bad for your guinea pigs’ health. It also creates a foul smell, making the room or place you keep guinea pig smelly. Go ahead and read How To Keep A Guinea Pig Cage From Smelling? (Avoid Unsafe Ideas)
Thus, Depending on the number of guinea pigs you own, you might need a cage size of 7.5 sq feet to maybe 30 sq feet if you plan to keep lots of them. So the level of care and your efforts shall vary accordingly.
Grooming on a regular basis
Guinea pigs are cute little pets, but they do need a grooming session every so often. Yes, the grooming shall depend upon the breed to breed, but usually, there is something or the other you need to look after. You need to see if that is an easy task for you or not.
Guinea pigs have a silky layer of hair or fur that covers their entire body. They do need to be brushed now and then. Now, this shall totally depend upon the breed of guinea pigs you own.
If you own long hair guinea pigs, then brushing their hair is going to be a serious, time-consuming job. You can use a small soft toothbrush for short hair guinea pigs and move around to remove any loose hair.
Cleaning Grease Glands:
All guinea pigs have a Grease Gland located just below their tailbone. These glands secrete an oily substance that is used for scenting and making purpose. Some guinea pigs have a more active grease gland than the others.
If the grease glands are not cleaned regularly, then there might be a grease buildup that not only smells bad but can also lead to health issues in guinea pigs.
Guinea pigs do need a bath, but not frequently. In general, if you maintain good hygiene in their enclosure, then guinea pigs can go without a bath for months.
It is recommended to bathe them only if the situation so demands. Like, if they smell really bad or if their fur is filthy and so on.
Needs a variety of diet
Guinea pigs make great family pets, and most people would consider that they are straightforward to take care of, but they do need a good and maintained diet.
A normal diet of guinea pigs consists of good quality Hay (80%), Fresh fruits and vegetables (15%), Pellets and treats (5%).
Along with those, they do need a supply of clean drinking water all the time.
Although it might not look much, their diet needs to be balanced a lot. You cannot just toss in any vegetables or fruits as you may like. A balance of Vitamin C, Calcium, and other nutrients plays a vital role in a guinea pig’s diet.
You need to provide them with a cup of fresh vegetables daily, and they do need food refills daily.
If you are planning for a holiday trip or trying to get away for a long weekend, it might be a little troublesome for you. How long can you leave your guinea pig alone? (A Day, Weekend or More)
If you have not researched their diet, I would strongly recommend reading this article: A to Z Of guinea pig diet. You can also learn about their water needs in our article: What can guinea pigs drink?
Easy to tame
Guinea pigs really are easy to train, which makes them a perfect choice for most beginners.
Many people are worried because they have a high metabolism rate, but if you can take some time out and potty train them, trust me, you will get a lot of relief while cleaning the cage.
Guinea pigs can also be tamed for a lot more things. They can learn a handful of tricks as well. So, as a whole, taming your guinea pigs can make things easier for you in the long run.
Needs daily maintenance
We do need to understand that just because the guinea pigs are easy to take care of doesn’t mean they are low maintenance pet.
Guinea pigs require daily maintenance of their cages or enclosure they are housed in.
If you don’t know yet they have a really high metabolism rate, now what does that imply? It means that they pee and poop multiple times in an hour or so.
So, if you are not cleaning their cage regularly, they can create a lot of mess around, which can lead to a smelly and dirty cage and an ill guinea pig.
Guinea pigs cage or enclosure do need a spot cleaning daily. You will also need to clean their housing thoroughly once a week and also change or clean their bedding as necessary.
If you can devote the time and effort for daily maintenance, it might not be a tough job.
You can learn in-depth about their cage maintenance and smell in this article: Guinea pig smell and how to get rid of it?
Vet visits for nails, teeth, etc.
Guinea pigs are hardy creatures, and they do not get sick easily if you take care of them properly. But they do need some regular vet visits now and then.
Guinea pigs have ever-growing teeth, and so they do need a lot of hay in their diet to keep them in shape.
However, sometimes their teeth can grow out much larger than usual, and so you will need to visit a vet to fix the same.
The nails of guinea pigs are another major concern. If you are a beginner, it might be tough for you to trim down your guinea pigs nails so, you might also need to visit a vet for the same.
In general, guinea pigs do need a nail trim once every month. You must learn to do it by yourself or take them to a vet for the same.
This can be challenging in some cities because guinea pigs are exotic animals and need a specialized vet that is sometimes unavailable in your area.
You can learn more about vet visits and their diseases in this article from RSPCA.
Needs some floor time daily
Guinea pigs are active animals, and they do need lots of exercises to remain healthy. If your guinea pigs don’t get enough time to play around and exercise, it might negatively impact your guinea pigs’ health.
If you have a large enclosure where they can move around and play a lot, then it might not be that tough for you.
But if your enclosure is not big enough, then you might need to take them out of their cage and let them play around at least for a few hours every day so that they can exercise and play around.
You need to make sure that you have a couple of hours every day that you can dedicate to your guinea pigs. This will also help build a good bond between you and your guinea pigs in the long run.
Toys are essential to keep our guinea pigs mentally and physically stimulated and happy.
So, Are guinea pigs really easy to take care of?
Yes, guinea pigs are fairly easy to care for if we compare the same with other mainstream pets like dogs and cats.
However, there are a few factors you need to take care of, which we had discussed earlier in this article.
I would recommend you go ahead and get your first guinea pig pair if you haven’t already.
They really are an adorable pet, and I am sure they will change your life forever.