Guinea Pig Care can be confusing at times because there is a lot of misinformation about Guinea Pigs at pet stores and on the internet. We would like to touch on a few subjects that sometimes seem to have conflicting information.
The size of Guinea Pig Cages:
In general the cage should be as large as possible. Guinea Pigs like to burrow and need to room to move around. You will also want to have room for a pigloo house or boxes and tubes for the pig to play with. The small cages being sold at pet stores are really too small for an adult guinea pig. There are many great sites that offer bigger cages for sale or instructions for creating your own.
Feeding Guinea Pigs Hay:
Please read carefully. In addition to giving your guinea pig good quality, Fresh food pellets daily, Timothy Hay should be made available as much as possible. When purchasing hay PLEASE read the label carefully as many times the local pet stores offer Alfalfa hay rather that Timothy hay and there is a BIG difference. Alfalfa hay should NOT be given your guinea pigs as it can cause severe issues with bladder and kidney stones due the fact that the Alfalfa hay contains large amounts of calcium.
Multiple Guinea Pigs in the same cage:
In general guinea pigs prefer to live together in groups or pairs. However, due to varying personalities of some guinea pigs, it is sometimes impossible to house them together. Keep in mind that male and female pigs should NOT be housed together unless you are prepared to care for the babies as well as they will mate. Male and Male or Female and Female together in the same cage is not uncommon and can many times be more favorable to the guinea pigs.
Tooth and Nail Health:
A steady supply of Timothy Hay and a good quality food pellet will help keep the guinea pig teeth in great condition. As for the guinea pigs toe nails, if your pigs lives and spends most of their time in a cage with soft bedding then these Must be trimmed every 6-8 weeks. Otherwise the nails can grow quite long and begin to curl causing a lot of pain for your guinea pig.
A steady supply of fresh vegetables and some fruit can usually offset the need for any additional supplements. Before giving any vegetables or fruits to your cavy, you need to check if it is safe first. For example if you want to give celery to your cavy first check is celery safe for guinea pigs or not. The ONLY vitamin supplement that a healthy guinea pig should ever need is Vitamin C. If you decide to give a dose of Vitamin C, please read the label carefully as many of the Vitamin drops offered at the pet store contain other vitamin in addition to the C which can cause illness. Do NOT mix the drops with the guinea pigs main drinking water as it can cause the water to have a strange flavor which in turn may cause the guinea pig to not drink enough and become dehydrated.