Guinea Pig Appreciation Day is July 16th! We definitely appreciate these little guys. They’re not only super cute, they’re also very easy keepers. Of course, making sure your Guinea pigs have a great cage is half the battle here. A Champaign, IL vet offers some advice on this below.
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Start by picking a great cage. Make sure it’s big enough: these guys need lots of room to run and play. For two cavies, you’ll want at least ten square feet. Be sure to choose a cage with a solid floor.
Your furry friends will need a few hidey-holes. You can buy hides, but there are also some great DIY options for things like pet tents and cozies. Your pint-sized pals will also need dishes and a water bottle. A litterbox and hay rack are optional—and of course require some training—but may be well worth it in the end.
For substrate, avoid anything made from hardwoods, such as pine or cedar. They produce oils that can irritate small animals’ respiratory systems. Paper-based products are a good bet. You can also opt for fleece blankets. Ask your vet for recommendations.
Cavies need lots of toys, including plenty of chew toys. This is actually crucial to the little ones’ health, as cavies that can’t chew enough could develop painful dental issues. You don’t have to break the bank in order to keep that toybox full. Many common household items, such as paper towel tubes, cardboard, plain paper and many wood and wicker items will do just fine. Safety first, though: avoid anything coated in stains, dyes, paints, or varnishes, as well as items with small parts or sharp edges.
It’s also important to choose the right spot. Guinea pigs are very friendly, but they’re also easily frightened. Don’t put your pint-sized pals too close to something loud, whether it’s a TV, stereo, or your teenager’s drum kit. A quiet corner is usually a good bet. Avoid spots that are in drafts or direct sunlight. If you have a dog and/or cat, we’d also advise raising the cage so Fido and Fluffy can’t really get to it. You’ll need to petproof the area, so you can safely let your little buddies out to play.
As your local Champaign, IL pet hospital, we’re here to help. Please contact us anytime!