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Basic Care Guide For Guinea Pigs (Baby's Mom)

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Basic Care Guide For Guinea Pigs (Baby's Mom)

Post  Admin on Fri Mar 13, 2009 2:00 am

There are some basic things that guinea pigs need that are very important. These basic needs are what keeps all guinea pigs happy, & healthy. These basic needs are:

Your guinea pigs' diet--A well balanced diet is made up of 4 parts.

1) Guinea Pig Pellets.
--To feed adult guinea pigs, you should give them a hay based pellet like: "Oxbow's Cavy Cuisine", for example.
--And for young guinea pigs that are under 1 year old, and also for pregnant pigs, they should be eating a pellet that has both alfalfa, and hay. For example, "Oxbow's Cavy Performance".

Guinea Pigs should not eat nuts, or seeds. They can easily choke on them. So your pellet food should not have any nuts, and seeds with it. Also, avoid pellets with colored bits.

Every pig is different, but most eat about 1/8 cup of pellets, per pig/per day.

Buying pellets in small quantities is a good idea. Because after a limited time the strength of the vitamin C is no longer effective. Your pellets are now no longer useful.

2) Hay
--Grass hay is best for adult guinea pigs. Some examples are, "Timothy, Brone, or Orchard".
--Alfalfa hay is better for young, or pregnant guinea pigs. Do not feed to pig older than 1 year old, as it can cause bladder or kidney stones.
--Hay should always be avaliable to your pig 24 hours a day. Hay is a very important part of your pig's diet, and good health.



Thanks to thebusybarn for the hay image!

3) Vegetables

Part of your guinea pigs' diet should also be fruits, vegetables, and other forages.

Canned, frozen, and cooked vegetables are not the best source of vitamins, and nutrients. They contain too much salt, sugar, and preservatives. The best source for proper nutrition is to always give your piggy fresh, raw vegetables.

Some examples of fresh vegetables are: romaine lettuce, tomato, bell peppers, cucumber, carrot, and kale. There are some vegetables that should be eaten less often, and they are: radishes, sweet potato, and beet greens. Dark, leafy greens like: chard, cilantro, romaine lettuce, green leaf lettuce, and red leaf lettuce are best for guinea pigs, and you can give your little one these everyday. Although fine in small quantites every day, too mach kale may cause loose or runny stool, and only feed 1 carrot per day per pig.

Some fruits are high in sugars, and should only be given once or twice a week. Some of these fruits are: apples, apricot, kiwi, mango, and oranges.

Please do not give your guinea pig any treats that were bought from a petstore. They are marketed for guinea pigs, but they are not a good source of healthy foods.

Guinea pigs do not eat milk products such as, milk, or eggs. They also do not eat animal products such as, hamburger, or steak. They eat strictly plants.

To maintain a healthy diet, guinea pigs should eat at least 1 cup of fresh, raw vegetables per day/per pig. It would also be a good idea to divide this amount into 2 or 3 smaller meals, instead of one large meal.

For a complete list of fruits, vegetables, and other forages, go to guineapigcages.com and look under the diet, and nutrition section.



4) Water

Some guinea pigs use a water bottle to drink from, while others use a water bowl, depending on what you and your pigs like best.

All guinea pigs need fresh water day & night. Changing their water every day means that your pig will always have fresh water to drink.

Never put vitamin C supplements, or medicine in your guinea pig's water. Your guinea pig may not get the correct dosage. It may also distaste the water and in turn cause your pig to not drink the water. Always give medicine, & vitamin C supplements through a small syringe.



There are 2 parts to making your guinea pig's cage a comfortable home!

1) C&C Cages

Cubes and Coroplast cages offer your guinea pig lots of space to run around. It is always best to have their cage inside where they are safe. Having their cage outside poses many dangers to your guinea pig such as:
---Guinea pigs need a consistant temperature between 70-80F because they cannot handle extreme weather conditions.
---Other animals such as dogs, cats, or foxes could find a way to get into your pig's cage outside. This would be very harmful for your pig.
---Guinea pigs get sick very fast. If you have them with you inside your house, you will notice a sick guinea pig faster. Your pig will then have proper treatment quicker, which could probably save it's life.
-- Never house a guinea pig with any animal other than guinea pigs. Rabbits can and will harm a guinea pig.
-- Do not house a guinea pig outside.

2) Bedding

There are different kinds of bedding that you can use depending on what works best for you.

---Carefresh or Critter care---
They offer softness. If you use EITHER one of these, be sure to put 1-2 inches on the bottom of your cage.

---Aspen shavings, or Kiln dried pine shavings-----
These are easily avaliable, and are low in cost. If using EITHER one of these, be sure to put 1-2 inches on bottom of cage.

---Towels, and Fleece----
With a layer of towels, and a layer of fleece over top, this makes a soft, re-usable bedding that guinea pigs love.

DO NOT USE!
-sawdust, or
-cat litter---Guinea pigs could eat these, and they could become a choking hazard.
-cedar, or raw pine shavings--These give a strong odor that can cause guinea pigs to have respiratory problems.

To maintain a clean cage, you may want to:
1) Daily spot clean--vacum, or sweep the poop
-change heavily soiled areas.
2) Weekly Clean--A complete clean should be done once, or twice a week. Strip everything in the cage. Wash bottom of cage and bowls with a solution of vinegar and water.

For more information, go to Guinealynx.com

Fleece comes in a variety of patters as you see here:



Now that your guinea pig's new home is set up, let's take a look at what makes guinea pigs healthy & happy. There are 4 important steps to maintain a healthy pig.

1) Quarantine

It is best to quarantine any new guinea pig that is brought to your home as well as any guinea pig that becomes sick. Illnesses and parasites like to transfer themselves from one pig to another. By keeping your guinea pig seperate from any other, means that you are protecting all of your guinea pigs. This is not required when rescued from a reputable shelter that already quarantines it's guinea pigs.

--How to Quarantine--
--Keep the new or sick pig in it's own cage (by itself) in it's own room, with the door closed.
--Wash hands and possibly arms well between handling any other guinea pigs.
--You may want to change your shirt, also.
--This process takes about 3 weeks to properly quarantine your guinea pig.
--In the meantime you should have your new or sick pig checked out by a qualified vet.

For more information, see Guinealynx.com

2) Vet check ups!

(I need to write this yet)

3) Weekly Weighing

It is a good idea to weigh your guinea pig once a week. Becoming sick can affect a guinea pig's weight. So by weighing your guinea pig once a week, you will notice fluctuations in their weight right away, which could be early signs of illnesses.

When your guinea pig does get sick, it's also a good idea to weigh DAILY, just to make sure that they are still eating.



4) Grooming

Keeping your guinea pigs well groomed will help keep him happy, & healthy.

Nails---need to be clipped about once a month. You can either do this yourself, or find a local groomer. Use pet or human nail clippers.

Hair---Daily brushing will help reduce the amount of loose hair, so your pig may not shed as much. Long haired guinea pigs may need more brushing.

Baths---Guinea pigs hardly ever need baths. But when the time comes to give him/her a bath, the best shampoo to use is either Bunny Bath shampoo, kittten shampoo, or small animal shampoo.
WARNING: Only wash a guinea pig when absolutely needed. Overwashing results in dry, flakey skin.

To make sure that your pig is happy, it is best to keep 2 things in mind:

1) Proper Handling

Guinea pigs get easily scared. Being picked up and put down can be very stressful for them. They will squirm, kick, scratch, or maybe bite. There are 2 ways that are less stressful for moving guinea pigs around.

Cuddle Saks---(If you don't have one, you can use a small pillowcase.)
-----Put your cuddle sak in the cage, and encourage your guinea pig to go inside the cuddle sak.
-----Gently lift cuddle sak, (with pig inside) out of the cage.

Gently handling---this helps to keep your pig from being dropped as well.
---Using 2 hands gently lift him/her out of the cage.
---Making sure that one hand is around it's body, his front paw is between your first two fingers. Your other hand supports his bottom.
---Hold him/her against your body, and holding firm, but not too tight.



2) Floortime

Every guinea pig needs daily exercise. Even if you have your pig in a huge cage, he/she still needs to get out of his cage, and explore new surroundings. If you are using a smooth floor, it is reccomended that you put a towel or fleece down as guinea pigs slip on smooth surfaces,



If you section off part of your room and let him/her run around, she/he will be a happy guinea pig.
--------------------------

If our guinea pig's basic needs are being met then they will feel happy, healthy, safe, and secure, and most of all loved!



WRITTEN BY - Baby's Mom (ME)
SOURCE - Cavy Galore Forums
http://www.cavygalore.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=information&action=display&thread=38

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