Today, we are busting some common guinea pig myths and looking at a few of the reasons that a parent might consider a guinea pig for a pet. While this may be a popular belief, in reality smaller pets often need just as much care and attention as a cat or a dog.
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Unfortunately, many smaller pets across the country are neglected or cared for improperly due to this common belief that small pets are less work. While guinea pigs do typically live in cages for safety amongst other reasons , many of the cages currently sold for guinea pigs are really too small. A guinea pig will thrive best in a larger cage that has enough room for the guinea pig to run around with plenty of areas for hiding, foraging and chewing stations. Guinea pigs also need out of cage time for exercise and enrichment, but unlike a hamster it is NOT safe to put a guinea pig in an exercise ball.
Exercise balls even large ones force a guinea pig to bend at an unnatural angle and can cause pain and even spinal damage. In addition to needing large cages, guinea pigs are social animals requiring lots of care and attention. Guinea pigs also require regular grooming to keep their hair, skin and nails in good condition. Regular dental care is also a must for guinea pigs because their teeth grow continuously.
In reality, the daily time spent with a pet guinea pig should be equal to that of a cat or a dog. What about cleaning? Guinea pigs tend to produce a LOT more poop than dogs or cats and also produce poop much more frequently due to differences in both diet and digestive tract. Unlike a dog or a cat, guinea pig poop is usually pelleted and easy to sweep up. While guinea pig poop may be easier to clean, guinea pig urine can be more challenging. Guinea pig urine contains calcium and when the urine dries these calcium deposits often need to be scraped up during cleaning.
The cost of caring for a pet can vary greatly depending on the type of pet you have. Certainly it is cheaper to feed a guinea pig than it is to feed a great dane!
That being said, guinea pigs have special needs that do cost money to look after. In terms of food, guinea pigs require a diet of hay, guinea pig pellets and fresh vegetables and this food must be changed out regularly. In addition to this, guinea pigs also need a source of vitamin C, so you may need to purchase special drops if the pellets you buy are not enriched with vitamin C.
Hidey huts, chew toys and puzzle toys are all excellent ideas for a guinea pig. Finally, vet care. Unfortunately guinea pigs and other small animals are often neglected when it comes to veterinary care, but these little critters need regular check-ups just like cats and dogs! Guinea pigs are a prey species, so they will typically hide any signs of illness until it is severe.
Regular check-ups will help to monitor the health of your guinea pig, especially as it ages. Unlike a cat or a dog, guinea pigs will usually need to be seen at an exotics veterinarian as most cat and dog practices will not have the specialized equipment or training required to treat your guinea pig. This means that you could have to drive a long distance to bring your guinea pig to the vet. Exotic veterinary pricing can also be different from cat or dog pricing, so prior to committing to a guinea pig we always recommend calling around to find out what your vet costs will be!
This is another myth that sometimes carries tragic consequences. The life span for a guinea pig is around years depending on type… but years is a good average for a well cared for guinea pig. Sadly, one of the reasons for this underestimation of guinea pig life span is often due to a lack of veterinary care and neglect. What does this mean?
A guinea pig is a long-term commitment for a child! A child that receives a guinea pig at age 8 could very well still have the same guinea pig when they start driving! While your child may be devoted to spending hours per day caring for a guinea pig right now, that same child will likely develop different extracurricular and social interests in the future. To ensure proper care for your little cavy it will be important to create a family plan to address these future changes.
Guinea pigs are fragile animals that can be easily injured if handled improperly. Spinal injuries can result from guinea pigs being picked up incorrectly. Though a little old, there is very little information in the book that can be considered out-of-date. The book is available in Kindle and as an Audible audio book. In 70 odd pages, the book provides basic practical advice on how to choose and take good care of guinea pigs as pets.
Having Guinea Pigs as Pets
The book is illustration-rich with color photographs and some newly added pics of cuddly cavies as a bonus and filled with tips and hint sections for quick reference. The current edition of the book was published in June, It is not available in print edition. Picking the best guinea pig care guide is not much different from picking a training guide for other small pets such as hamsters.
The best guinea pig care guide is one which is written in an age-specific manner and filled with to-the-point information and easy-to-follow advice on how to pick the best guinea pig and ensure its proper upkeep throughout the lifetime. Guinea pigs are more social than hamsters and love the company they have!
Things to Know Before Getting a Pet Guinea Pig
Same is true about their care guides! No single book may be sufficient, and you may need a combination of resources — both online and offline to help you take care of your beloved cavies. Still, some of the major factors that you should consider before picking the best guinea pig care guide or book are listed below:. Considering that cavies are such popular starter pets for children and adults alike, the target audience and format of the book are probably the most important criteria to consider.
Some of the options that we have listed are written in an illustration-rich, interactive format that caters well to children and teenagers. Such books are typically less than pages long and have a lot of navigational aids and tip-sections to support their content. We have also listed some have detail-oriented hamster care guides which have a lot of in-depth information on the history and science of keeping guinea pigs as pets.
Such books would find more favor with the adult pet owners. Furthermore, if you prefer digital editions, then check if the book is available in Kindle format for easy access. Kindle editions are generally cheaper and also available with the Kindle Unlimited service. The popularity of the author, publisher, and book is often a great indicator of how the book would turn out to be.
But as one size does not fit all, you should look at the reviews, especially by other experts and authors in the field. Check out the reviews on Amazon and platforms such as GoodReads by other readers to determine its suitability. When it comes to guinea pig care, the publication year of the current edition is probably not as important as in the case of other pet training guides. After all, the basic factors and the underlying basic principles of guinea care have not changed over the years.
Considerations when choosing your child's first pet
Still, considering the evolution of new types of habitats and pet gear over the past decade, you can check the publication year of the books and see that none of them are from the previous century, except for timeless classics such as the Proper Care of Guinea Pigs by Peter Gurney or Guinea Piglopaedia: A Complete Guide. These two traditional masterpieces in the subject are perfect for teenagers and adults who want to dig deep into the history and science of raising a healthy, happy guinea pig.
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- How To Care for Guinea Pigs?
Just like many other small pets such as hamsters and mice, they are also the protagonists of some of the best non-fiction storybooks for children. These books are excellent, fun-filled options to get for a kid who loves these pets:. In addition to the best guinea pig guides for beginners listed above, there are some other excellent online resources that provide the latest information and tips and tricks for training and taking care of these small pets.
Some of our favorites are listed below:. Among small animals, guinea pigs, or cavies as they are commonly called, are popular starter pets to have, especially for kids and teenagers. They are more social, docile and active in many cases than other nocturnal pets such as hamsters.
And they can live longer, up to years with proper care. And the best way to provide them with this proper care is to develop the right understanding and know-how on how to own, teach and take care of these furry pets. In this article, we shared some of the best guinea pig care guides for beginners available in the market. The books that we listed have been written by prominent experts in the field and filled with accurate and to-the-point information, tips and advice on how to take care of these pets throughout their lifetime. We also listed some additional resources and our top picks, based on the quality of all-round information that these resources provide.
It is worthwhile to mention that just like any other pet training materials, no single book is sufficient, and you may need a combination of resources- websites and training guides for proper upkeep of these furry pets. We hope that you found this article useful and it would help you in picking the best guinea pig care guide for yourself or your kids. Do let us know your feedback by commenting below. Until next time, happy pet time!! Other pets. April 13, April 14, Editor.
Also covers tips on social interaction and activities for the cavies.