Noah's Ark Pet Shop

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Guinea Pigs (Cavies)

Guinea Pigs (Cavies)

General :
Guinea pigs are friendly, inquisitive small animals who like company and to be handled and this makes them an ideal child’s pet. Guinea pigs can live for up to 8 years and although they can be kept on their own, they are sociable little creatures and we would recommend they are kept in two’s. Males or females make good pets but care should be taken when introducing any guineas which have not been brought up together.

Housing :
Indoors – A cage should have adequate space for them to move around and be placed in natural light but out of direct sunlight. It should be draught free and away from areas of loud noises. The benefit of keeping pets indoors is that they can become part of the family and have lots of attention and company, instead of an outside pet who gets attention only when the weather is nice.
Outdoors – The hutch must be weatherproof and raised off the ground. It must be positioned in a sheltered area and be secure from foxes etc.

Woodshavings are an ideal floor for a guinea pig. Straw can irritate their eyes. Bedding must be changed regularly, with particular attention to the toilet area. Guineas like somewhere to snuggle up and feel cosy in, so an “igloo” or box should be provided for them.

A good quality hay is essential to a guinea pig’s diet to ensure the correct wear on their teeth and to ensure proper digestion. This should be given on a daily basis. There are a number of ready made mixes available or pellets which should be given in a heavy earthenware dish. Quantities of fresh food eg apple, carrot, cabbage etc should be given, but check what your new pet has been used to so as not to upset its digestive system.. Although guineas love it, lettuce is not good for guineas and should not be given.
Guinea pigs cannot make vitamin C which is essential to their well-being. By giving guineas daily vegetables, they should have enough in their diet to keep them healthy.
There should always be a fresh supply of water available by a bottle attached to their cage.

Young guineas are often quite timid, and as with all animals patience is the key to handling. When first taking them home, the guineas should be settled into the cage with food and water, and then LEFT IN PEACE for at least 24 hours. Check them to make sure they are eating and drinking, before attempting to socialise them.
Begin by talking gently to the guinea pigs while they are in the cage. Then offer them treats from your hand. Gradually start stroking them again whilst still in their cage, and only when they are quite used to this should you attempt to lift them. Use both hands when lifting and place one under his chest and one on top to stop him wriggling and falling. Once they are accustomed to it, guinea pigs love to be handled.
Guineas are very expressive wee creatures and you will soon get to know what their different squeaks and “weeps” mean!

Guinea pigs will need space to exercise and generally a separate run is used. Pipes and logs can be placed in the run to add adventure to the guinea pigs exercise routine.
If letting them loose in the house, ensure no other pets are around to frighten them and be careful they do not chew through wires.


Guineas are generally quite hardy animals but there are come ailments you should look out for. They can suffer with respiratory problems which can be treated with antibiotics. If you hear the guinea sneezing or sounding raspy when it breathes you should seek veterinary advice.
Like most rodents, guinea pigs teeth continue to grow throughout their life, so you must check their teeth are not overgrowing. A good quality hay, and boxes, nests and wooden toys to chew should help.

Shopping List

Hutch / run
Wood shavings
Heavy food bowl
Water Bottle
Guinea Pig Food
Vitamin supplement
Mineral Stone

Pets are live animals not playthings.
They cannot be discarded when you get fed up with them.
If you buy a pet you become responsible for it for the rest of its life.
Make sure you are able to look after the pet you pick and have the right accommodation to house it, ie cage, hutch, tank, heater and light.
Ask advice and buy a book about the pet you pick before buying – if in doubt, don’t buy.