Avian & Exotic Pet Clinic of Roanoke

Paul Stewart, DVM

(540) 989-4464

Guinea Pigs

Did you know...

  • Potatoes, raw beans, flowers and leaves are poisonous to guinea pigs, but surprisingly, dirt is ok for them to eat!
  • The rolling balls that they make for hamsters to run around in CANNOT be used for guinea pigs. It can break their backs and injure their feet.
  • Despite their names, guinea pigs are not pigs and do not come from Guinea. They originated in the Andes, and studies based on biochemistry and hybridization suggest they are domesticated descendants of a closely related species of cavy such as Cavia aperea, C. fulgida, or C. tschudii, and therefore do not exist naturally in the wild.

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  • Life expectancy: 5-7 years
  • Timothy or Orchard Grass Hay (free choice), appropriate fresh pellets with adequate quantities of stabilized vitamin C (see www.Oxbowhay.com ) are needed. Young and breeding guinea pigs benefit from some alfalfa in their pellets. Otherwise, timothy based pellets are recommended.
  • Greens such as romaine, green leaf, escarole, spring mix and endive are well received, but should be gradually introduced, then fed consistently.
  • Provide water via a bottle
  • A well-ventilated wire cage with solid plastic floor, bedded with aspen shavings or recycled newspaper products such as Care-Fresh or Yesterday’s News.
  • Cage should be away from predatory animals or other stressors and be large enough to provide adequate exercise (2’x 4’).
  • A hiding area can be provided for security. Housing seperately may prevent fighting.
  • $15 to $60
  • Do not use a wire-bottom cage, use cedar chips in the cage, change diets suddenly, use antibiotics on your guinea pig without a veterinary prescription. .
  • Health tips: : Annual veterinary examinations (including dental exam), appropriate parasite screening and treatment. More frequent exams may be needed at they get older.
  • House males separately.
  • Do not begin breeding females that are older than 6 months of age prior to being bred as they commonly have birthing trouble and could require surgery.
  • Bedding should be changed frequently to prevent urine and fecal build-up leading to health problems.
  • Have nails trimmed regularly. Have a veterinarian trim any corns from the front feet.
  • Monitor weight regularly to check for abnormalities.