March is small animal adoption month: This week lets talk Guinea Pigs!
March 13, 2012

By Sheri

This month is small animal adoption month at the MSPCA Nevins Farm and I wanted to just point out the difference between some of our small guys and why they make such great pets.

So let’s start from the top. By that I am referring to our most popular small animal we adopt out, Guinea Pigs. Guineas Pig truly make amazing pets, they are full of personality and very social. So what are some of the noteworthy perks?  They are typically easy to handle even for our younger adopters. Guinea pigs are mainly up during the day so they are active when you are. They are vocal animals and interact with people through wheeks and squeeks. Guinea pigs actually have 13 distinct noises they make and each one is even cuter than the last when you start to hear them. 

Guinea Pigs love company and do best housed in pairs or small groups. Guinea pigs do very well in same sex pairs. You do not want to keep an uneutered male with a female guinea pig, they will reproduce and not only can the pregnancy be very dangerous for the mom, please don't add to the over population.  There are so many guinea pigs that end up in shelters and adding to the unwanted population would be a shame. At the MSPCA we do only adopt out same sex pairs.

What’s involved in the care of guinea Pigs? Guinea pigs are ground animals, so they need lots of room to explore. Ideally for two guinea pigs you would want to have a cage at least 40 inches long to give them room to move. Guineas do need frequent cage cleaning,  pretty much everyday since they do produce a lot of waste. Fleece blankets over newspaper is a very cost effective and healthy way to line their cage since the fleece is easy to shake out and wash plus it gives them a solid cushiony surface for their tiny feet. 

Their teeth are constantly growing so they really benefit from having a wooden hut or toys in the cage that they can chew on to help keep those teeth nice and trim.

Guinea pigs are strict herbivores and about 70 percent of their diet should be fresh vegetables and  timothy hay to keep their digestive tracts healthy and moving. They also need a good quaility pelleted food made from timothy hay to round out their nutritional needs and a source of vitamin C daily to prevent them from getting painful joint issues and a dull coat. Red peppers are truly a guinea pigs best friend since they are loaded in a natural source of vitamin C and low in sugar.

Guinea pigs do not need any vaccinations or shots, but should get a wellness exam from an exotic vet yearly to make sure everything looks okay. Guinea pigs are prey animals so they hide illness, so it’s important that if your guinea pig is every not eating or drinking that they see a vet right away since it’s typically the first signs of illness. They do also require frequent nail trims. Usually a  quick trim about every 4 weeks will keep their nails looking short and fabulous.

So considering adding a guinea pig to your household? Check out our MSPCA Guinea Pig Information page

Guinea Pigs

and stop into the shelter to find out more about they make adorable and fun pets.