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Guinea Pigs

Thinking about getting a Guinea Pig or have questions about the Guinea Pig you already have? At Oakland Hills Veterinary Hospital, Dr. Husman is happy to answer all your Guinea Pig questions and concerns.  Here are some helpful tips about Guinea Pigs from Dr. Husman.

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What should I feed my guinea pig?
Guinea Pigs should have food available at all times. There are many commercial guinea pig pellets that are well balanced for your pig. You shouldn’t feed them rabbit pellets or any mixtures that contain corn, nuts or seeds. Unlike rabbits, guinea pigs require high levels of folic acid and vitamin C, so guinea pig pellets are formulated to meet all of their special dietary needs.

Guinea pigs can’t make their own vitamin C, so they have to get it from their food. You can supplement their regular pellets with things like fresh kale or other dark, leafy greens because they’re high in ascorbic acid. Other fresh fruits, such as a slice of orange, can be a great vitamin C packed treat. Dry fruits are not recommended because they can cause trouble such as choke and bloat in guinea pig bellies.

Lots of fiber is also needed to keep your guinea pig’s intestinal tract running smoothly. One of the best ways to do this is to have fresh hay daily. Guinea pigs can have a variety of grass hay including timothy, oat, orchard grass or brome hay. Avoid alfalfa, legume hay that contains higher levels of calcium, which can cause balder stones. Hay can also help your pig maintain proper tooth wear.

What bedding is best for my guinea pigs cage?
Bedding material should be absorbent and relatively dust free. There are commercial bedding’s available or wood shavings and shredded news paper work well. Avoid cedar shavings and saw dust, which can cause respiratory and liver disease.

My guinea pig seems bored. What can I give them to play with?
Guinea pigs like to hide in dark places but they love to play, too. Make sure your pig has a dark, quiet place to rest. Hideaway huts are great but even cardboard boxes work well. When they’re in the mood to play, toilet paper rolls or cardboard box huts make great chew toys. You can even add in non-toxic twigs and branches or untreated wood to give your pig something to chew on.

Fun guinea pig facts:

  • The average lifespan of a guinea pig is 5-6 years.  The oldest recorded guinea pig was 15 years old!
  • Just like other pigs, a male is called a “boar” and a female is called a “sow”.
  • Guinea pigs purr when they’re happy.
  • The world’s largest rodent is a capybara, which is a close relative of the guinea pig. They can weight almost 100 pounds and stand 2 feet tall at their shoulders.
  • Guinea pigs have 3 toes on their front feet but 4 toes on their back feet.
  • When they live in the wild, guinea pigs go around in herds.

So, if you run into a herd of guinea pigs out there, call Dr. Husman at Oakland Hills Veterinary Hospital and she’ll help you figure out what to do!

Helpful guinea pig websites:

www.cavyspirit.com

www.oxbowhay.com

www.guineapigs.info

www.guinealynx.com

 

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