Purchase or build a cage.,
Line the cage up with absorbent bedding.,
Choose where to keep the cage.,
Decide on water bottles or water bowls.,
Purchase a food bowl.,
Purchase food prior to the arrival of your guinea pigs.,
Choose your hay.,
Purchase a hay dispenser.,
Purchase huts, tunnels and toys for your guinea pig.
Guinea pigs can be housed in three different types of cages; C & C, hutches or runs. You can purchase these from warehouse/pet stores or build your own. The cage must be at least 4 square feet for each guinea pig housed in it (the more the better) or at least 8 square feet for two.
Don’t fall into the trap of buying inappropriate sized cages from pet shops that do not hold enough space for guinea pigs.
If you want to keep your guinea pig indoors then a C & C cage is recommended. Hutches are recommended if you’re keeping your guinea outside.
The cage must have a solid floor. Don’t purchase one with a wired floor as guinea pigs have fragile feet. Wire flooring can and will easily cause bumble foot.
Most C & C cages do not have lids. If your cage is going outdoors, you have small children or dangerous pets in the house then you will need a lid on your cage.
Do not use an aquarium for a cage as the glass sides don’t provide good ventilation and most are terribly small.;
, You will need two layers of bedding to ensure extra absorbency as guinea pigs tend to wee a lot. Your first layer should be either newspaper or puppy pads which will take in any leaks and protect the flooring. The second layer should be either wood shavings or fleece lined on top of the first layer.
Fleece is more suitable for indoor cages such as C & C cages but will require more regular cleaning and possibly spot cleaning. And cleaning the fleece is a bit more difficult as you will need to shake off and vacuum the fleece before washing it.
Wood shavings require less regular cleaning and is generally easier to clean. It’s also less smelly and more absorbent.
, You will want to keep the cage in an area where it’s safe, secure and away from any toxins or dangerous pets. Guinea pigs like somewhere that doesn’t get too stressful or too noisy – somewhere that gets light traffic.
Keep the cage out of direct, constant sunlight. Morning sun is adequate for guinea pigs but they prefer to keep out of constant sunlight.
Keep the cage away from any dangerous pets and small children. Dogs and cats will easily scare your guinea pigs as would small children who aren’t supervised.
Do not keep the cage in a garage where toxic fumes are given off from cars. This could be fatal to your guinea pigs.
, Water bottles are less messy but some do leak. However bowls don’t leak and are more natural to the guinea pig but if you use wood shavings expect to see some mess.
Some guinea pigs prefer to drink from bottles whilst other like bowls as a more natural instinct. Ask the previous owner of the guinea pigs to see which one they use.
Remember to never add vitamin supplements to your guinea pigs water as it isn’t effective and your guinea pig could refuse to drink.
, Your guinea pig will need somewhere to eat. Purchase two bowls – one for pellets and one for vegetables. You should avoid chucking their food on the ground as it’s unsanitary., Guinea pigs will need pellets and plenty of vegetables every day. Pellets should be unlimited however whilst they need 1 cup of mixed vegetables a day (each). So make sure to plan ahead!
Make sure to purchase plain pellets rather than a guinea pig mix. Guinea pigs will pick out their favourite treats out of a mix which results to them not eating what they actually need.
You can also optionally purchase commercial treats if you plan on training your guinea pig. However, treats should be kept to a limit due to the high sugar content.
, Guinea pigs need an unlimited supply of hay as they are grazing animals. If they aren’t constantly chewing on something their digestive tracts can shut down.
Purchase a reliable, good quality manufacture of hay such as oxbow and/or timothy hay. Alfalfa should only be fed to guinea pig pups and nursing or pregnant sows.
, An hay dispenser will lessen the mess of hay and make it last longer rather than scattering the hay on the floor. You can purchase a hay dispenser from a pet shop or use a small paper bin instead., A main criteria that needs to be met for guinea pigs is entertainment and comfort through toys and tunnels.
You should have at least two huts/tunnels or one hut/tunnel per guinea pig. Guinea pigs like being hidden and need a place to run to when scared or in conflict. You can build a critter-safe hut or find one at a pet store.
Some log tunnels even act as a double as they import into bridges due to their flexibility (if tied together with string).
Toys are a great boredom buster for guinea pigs but make sure the toy you purchase is safe and has no negative reviews. Some toys can be dangerous so watch out.
Something as simple to chew on could be a great and beneficial toy for your guinea pig and help grind down their large teeth.