Tips for Bringing Home Your New Guinea Pig

| January 5, 2024

Bringing a new guinea pig into your home is an exciting and rewarding experience. These small and sociable pets require specific care and attention to ensure their well-being and happiness. To help your new guinea pig adjust to their new environment and foster a strong bond with them, consider the following tips: 

Choosing the Right Enclosure

Providing a suitable enclosure is essential for the comfort and safety of your guinea pig. Here’s what you need to consider: 

  • Select an appropriate size: Choose a cage or pen that offers enough space for your guinea pig to move around comfortably. The minimum recommended size is 36”L x 24”W x 18”H. A larger enclosure will allow for more exploration and exercise. 
  • Opt for a solid bottom: Guinea pigs have delicate feet, so it’s crucial to choose an enclosure with a solid bottom to prevent foot injuries. Avoid wire-bottom cages, as they can cause discomfort and potential health issues. 

Environmental Enrichment

Guinea pigs are curious and active animals that require mental stimulation. Here’s how you can provide environmental enrichment: 

  • Offer tunnels and toys: Provide tunnels, hideouts, and chew toys to encourage exploration and play. Guinea pigs enjoy running through tunnels and chewing on safe toys to satisfy their natural instincts. 
  • Provide foraging activities: Hide food or treats within the enclosure to stimulate their foraging instincts. You can use puzzle feeders or scatter food around the cage to encourage mental engagement. 

Creating a Suitable Environment

To ensure a comfortable environment for your guinea pig, consider the following: 

  • Choose a suitable location: Place your guinea pig’s enclosure in a busy area of the house where they can feel involved in the daily activities. However, avoid areas with strong smells, drafts, or loud noises, as they can stress your pet. 
  • Use appropriate bedding: Use bedding materials like aspen wood shavings or recycled newspaper to provide a comfortable and absorbent surface. Avoid cedar or pine shavings, as they can be harmful to your guinea pig’s respiratory system. 
  • Remove hazards: Guinea pigs are curious nibblers, so remove any toxic or hazardous objects from their environment. This includes houseplants, cords, wires, loose carpet strands, or rubber bands that they could chew on and potentially ingest. 

Feeding and Hydration

Proper nutrition is vital for your guinea pig’s health. Here’s what you should keep in mind: 

  • Provide unlimited chewing hay: Chewing hay is essential for guinea pigs’ dental health and digestive system. Make sure they have access to fresh, quality hay at all times. 
  • Offer a balanced diet: Provide a mixture of alfalfa-based pellets (for guinea pigs under 6 months) or timothy-based pellets (for adult guinea pigs). Supplement their diet with fresh vegetables, occasional treats, and vitamin C chewable tablets to meet their nutritional needs. 
  • Use an easily accessible water bowl: Guinea pigs require a fresh supply of water at all times. Use a water bowl that is easily accessible for them to drink from. 

Bonding and Interaction

Building trust and fostering a strong bond with your guinea pig takes time and patience. Consider the following tips: 

  • Respect their boundaries: Allow your guinea pig to approach you at their own pace. Avoid forcing physical contact or overwhelming them with excessive handling. 
  • Consider a compatible roommate: Guinea pigs are social animals and can benefit from the companionship of a compatible roommate. Ensure proper introductions and provide adequate space for each guinea pig. 
  • Provide hiding spots: Guinea pigs appreciate hiding spots where they can retreat and feel safe. Provide cozy hideouts or tunnels in their enclosure to meet this natural need. 
  • Feed healthy treats: Offer healthy treats, such as small pieces of fresh vegetables 

Bringing home any new pet is an exciting experience. By preparing your home for your new guinea pig, you are setting both of you up for a long and happy life together.