What are the most important parts of taking care of a guinea pig?

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Answered by: Melissa, An Expert in the About Guinea Pigs Category
There are many reasons why guinea pigs make good pets. Guinea pigs, which are also called cavies, are easy pets to take care of. For this reason, they are the perfect first pet for a child. Since their main home is a cage, they don’t need to be cleaned up after. They can’t get into much trouble while you’re gone like other types of pets. Taking care of a guinea pig involves providing proper nutrition, a clean place for it to live and plenty of love.

The biggest part of taking care of a guinea pig is making sure it gets the nutrition it needs. Guinea pigs require lots of vitamin C in their diet. They cannot produce Vitamin C for themselves, so making sure they get plenty of it in their food is very important. A quarter of an orange will provide the daily amount of the vitamin that they need. The ASPCA recommends offering a small amount of fresh fruits and vegetables to your guinea pig every day.

The ASPCA also recommends that you offer fresh fruit and vegetables every day to your guinea pig. As with people, every guinea pig is going to have its own personal tastes. One guinea pig might love green peppers, while another one will not even look at them. Try giving different types of vegetables and fruits to them to see what they prefer. Fresh peas, cucumbers, apples and carrots are just a few things you might offer to your pet.

Providing a guinea pig with fresh hay is also very important for its digestive system. When the guinea pig is young, make sure to have plenty of alfalfa available. After they get older, it is not necessary to have alfalfa but other types of fresh hay. Timothy hay and orchard grass are two common types you can find at any pet store.

Having a clean place to live will make a guinea pig happier. A cage with a solid floor that has wire sides will give the guinea pig plenty of ventilation and comfort. The bottoms of the cavy’s feet are tender and if the cage has a wire bottom, it will cause the feet to become irritated. The cage should be cleaned every three days or so. If the cavy plays with its water bottle and gets water on the bedding, then it should be cleaned more often. It’s a good idea to cover the floor of the cage with newspaper and bedding material. There are several types of bedding available to use that are completely safe. Cedar chips should never be used because it can cause a guinea pig’s liver to operate improperly which can cause death.

One other key thing to having a healthy and happy pet is showing it that you love it. Just like with any other pet, a guinea pig needs to be held and even played with from time to time. Some guinea pigs do not enjoy being held but time out of the cage is very important. There are pet playpens available so you can safely let it out on the floor, giving it more room to run around and exercise. There are also toys you can buy for your pet’s enjoyment but you don’t have to spend a lot of money on them. Pleasing a cavy can be as easy as giving them a paper towel core to play with or an empty box to run through. A scratch behind the ears or under the chin might be appreciated if the guinea pig enjoys being held.

Taking care of a guinea pig is pretty simple. If you make sure they have the essential things for their health, they can live for quite a while. The average life span of a guinea pig is four to seven years. When considering a first pet for a child, a guinea pig is a very good choice. They don’t require as such constant attention as a dog would, but they are just as cuddly.

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