Guinea Pigs

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Guinea pigs are large rodents, weighing between 700 and 1200g. They typically live an average of four to five years, but may live as long as eight years. Due to their docile nature, their responsiveness to handling and feeding, and the relative ease of caring for them, Guinea pigs make great family pets.

Guinea-pigs have some specific dietary requirement similar to that of rabbits. They also require large amounts of fibre in their diet so hay and grass should make up at least 50% of their diet, preferably more. This will ensure their gut and teeth stay healthy. Guinea-pigs, like humans and primates cannot produce their own Vitamin C and require a daily intake to keep them in good condition. For the biological machinery of the body to function properly, vitamin C is required. If guinea-pigs do not receive a minimum of 10mg/kg/day they can start to show signs of illness known as scurvy.  Signs of this include: rough hair coat, lack of appetite, dental pain, delayed wound healing, lameness and an inability to fend off infections. Guinea-pigs with a milder form of the disease may not show visible signs but their immune system may be compromised leading to decreased ability to fight off other infection. To ensure your guinea-pig receives enough vitamin C, feed a specially formulated all in one pellet. Vitamin C drops or crushing tablets and adding them to the water can be another way to increase their intake. The water requires changing daily however as the vitamin C is degraded by light. Guinea-pigs, like rabbits can suffer from obesity if overfed and under exercised. Due to the lack of hair on Guinea-pigs feet they can suffer from a condition called Pododermatitis (Bumble foot) which is similar to pressure sores. These can be painful and the infection can even spread to the bone if left untreated. Keeping your guinea-pig a healthy weight and keeping the hutch/cage clean with a non-abrasive substrate will help prevent this condition becoming a problem. Guinea-pigs do not require vaccinations.

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