So you’ve brought home a new guinea pig? Now what?! Right?! If you’ve never had a guinea pig before there’s a little bit of a learning curve. Here are our best quick tips for guinea pig care. These pointers for guinea pigs will help you get set up, on track, and settled in with your new furry friend.
Quick Tips For Guinea Pig Care
Setting Up a Guinea Pig Cage
The first thing you’ll need is somewhere safe, secure, and happy for your guinea pig to live! We are big fans of Midwest guinea pig habitats. Others are not. The choice will ultimately be yours…do what’s best for you and your piggies. Here are our tips for setting up Midwest cages. The main goal is to give your guinea pigs as much floor space as possible!
Using Fleece Bedding
Now you’ll need to figure out what to put in your guinea pig cage to deal with droppings, urine, and food spills. Here at Charlie and the Pips we’re all fleece all the time! All of our guinea pigs have fleece bedding in their cages. Learn more about the easiest way to do fleece bedding here. (I mean it. You guys, no sewing, no expensive purchases, SO easy). There are other good options out there if you don’t want to use fleece bedding.
Keeping Your Guinea Pig Cage Clean
I have tips for cleaning fleece bedding, but more importantly than that you can do some smart cage set up to minimize cleaning tasks. Set up a “kitchen” area in your guinea pig cage so you can keep a majority of the mess in one area. A clean cage is a key part of guinea pig care. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Small plastic tubs like litter pans or dish pans
- Hay racks
- Bricks or stepping stones
Fill the bins with paper or other litter box material and place them under the hay feeders. Guinea pigs will do most of their potty business when they are eating and drinking so keeping their food and drink sources over these bins with litter will keep most of the mess in one area. The bricks will help make it easier for the piggies to get into the litter pans or plastic bins.
You can also use the dividers like this one in the Midwest cages to create a kitchen area like we’ve done here!
You can get the divider panels right here:
Safe Cleaning Solutions
Now that we’re talking about guinea pig care we need to talk about safe cleaning solutions and scents. Guinea pigs have very sensitive respiratory systems so harsh chemicals can not only harm them from eating, chewing, licking, etc. they can also harm them just by breathing in the vapors. Here’s a safe cleaning solution that will work great for wiping out cages, cleaning off water bottles, and sanitizing food dishes and hay racks.
Natural Cleaning Solution For Guinea Pigs
Combine these ingredients in a spray bottle so it’s ready for use when you need it:
- 1/2 Cup Vinegar
- 1 1/2 Cups Water
- 1 Tbsp Baking Soda
- 2 Lemons, Juiced
Make sure to give it a good shake and it’s ready to go!
Natural Deodorizer for Guinea Pig Areas
This is a simple way to keep the rooms and cage areas smelling great without being harmful to your furry buddies!
- Citrus shells (cut in half, scrape out the fruit)
- Baking Soda
Fill the citrus shells with baking soda to help act as a natural deodorizer. The natural chemical reaction between the two will give off a pleasant fresh scent and the baking soda helps absorb odors!
Gunked Up Water Bottles
Guinea pig care also includes some really odd stuff…like trying to get the gunk out of water bottles because they tend to push tiny particles of food and hay into the bottles when they drink. The easiest and safest way to clean them is to put about 1/2 cup of water and 3 tablespoons of uncooked rice into the bottle. Give it a good shake, twirl, a few twists, and then empty it out. All the gunk will be freed up and you can rinse it out and fill it back up!
Cutting Guinea Pig Nails
Guinea pigs, especially new ones, can be skittish. They won’t enjoy getting their nails cut. Enlist the help of a friend or family member to get this job done safely. Make sure to have a bright LED light on hand. Shine it under the nail so you can see where the quick is, this will work even with black nails!
It’s best to buy a clipper that will work for small dogs. They’re built better and are sharper than the flimsy ones they sell for guinea pigs and rabbits. This will mean a more precise cut, easier cut, and less stress for you and your piggies.
If you want to spend a little extra money you can use one of these!
Can’t Get Your Guinea Pig To Try New Food
Guinea pigs will never resist an orange or an apple. Use some juice from a fresh fruit to coat the new foods. Chances are once they dig in they’ll love it and you won’t need the juice trick for very long!
What To Feed Guinea Pigs
We’re going on a deep dive into what guinea pigs can and can’t have this week so be sure to check out that post but here’s a quick breakdown of what they should have:
- 75% of their diet needs to be high quality Timothy hay.
- 1/4 cup per day max of a high quality Timothy based pellet.
- Fresh fruits and veggies focusing on leafy greens and avoiding high sugar content!
- Plenty of fresh water in a clean bottle
Guinea Pig Teeth
Part of guinea pig care is keeping their teeth healthy and short. This is easy! Make sure to provide them with plenty of late cutting Timothy hay to eat and they’ll keep their teeth ground down naturally. Other great options are chew sticks, cardboard boxes or tubes, and small pet toys. Chewing will keep their teeth naturally under control but they’ll never stop growing so be sure to keep an eye on them and have a guinea pig savvy vet take a look from time to time!