Thursday, December 1, 2016

How to Keep a Guinea Pig As a Pet
Guinea pigs are used not only in scientific research, but also kept as pets.

Guinea pigs are not really from the pig family – they actually are a type of rodent. They are larger than hamsters. They are very docile and tame and can be handled by older kids. They bond well with humans and do not bite. The total cost of keeping a guinea pig as a pet is not high, and is very affordable. The only thing is that it better to buy or adopt them in pairs or more (of the same sex, otherwise they breed very fast).
Guinea Pig

Breeds of guinea pigs


There are many different types of guinea pigs but the commonest ones are the Smooth Coated ones, with glossy fur, the Abyssinian which has short hair which grows in tufts and the Peruvian which has long silky hair. There are many others as well like textel, dutch, coronet, sheltie and if you go to a shelter or a pet shop, you may find others. They are available in different colors.

Housing guinea pigs


Guinea pigs need a somewhat largish accommodation to allow them some freedom of movement. You can either buy cages or a hutch for them. These should have a solid floor and wire tops to provide adequate ventilation. You can keep them outdoors, provided the weather is temperate. But you have to make sure that they are away for drafts and from extremes of temperature as they are prone to heatstroke.

It is better to cover the floor with grass hay. They also need a small enclosed space to sleep in  a flower pot will do. You can furnish the cage with some tubes and other play equipment, bricks, rocks and stuff they can move in.

Feeding your guinea pig


Guinea pigs are herbivores. They can eat ready made pellet food at least twice a day and they can also be fed fresh vegetables and fruits. They can be given grapes, cucumbers, corn, peas, carrots and pears. As most of the nutrition can be got from food, there is only one thing that they need and that is Vitamin C. You can give them fruits and vegetables which have this vitamin or add it to their meals.

They will also need an inverted water bottle, which should be changed daily. Bedding can be hay and newspaper. The hay can also be gnawed upon, eaten and burrowed in, so it has many uses.

Cleaning and maintenance


You have to remove soiled bedding and other stuff daily. If there is leftover food it must be cleared out. Otherwise the cage or hutch should be thoroughly cleaned once a week, otherwise it will start smelling.

Guinea pigs keep themselves clean. However, you should bathe them two to four times a year, using a specially formulated shampoo for them. You should use lukewarm water so that they do not catch a chill. If your guinea pig has long hair, its hair should be brushed daily.

If your guinea pig gets sick, gets lice or mites or coughs or sneezes, you need to take him to the vet.

Play


After you and your pets have got used to each other you can start by hand feeding it you should allow it some freedom inside the house or shed. However, you have to be careful that they do not escape into the wild as they are easy prey. And inside, too, they can chew through electric wires with disastrous results, so they need supervision.

A guinea pig as a pet is low care and low cost. It does not need to be taken for walks and needs very little. It communicates and can interact affectionately. It lives for three to six years, depending on the breed and the care.

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