After bringing home your new pet guinea pig, and making sure it is well housed, you will need to figure out how best to feed it. Guinea pigs are strict herbivores. There are many commercial guinea pig foods available in the form of pellets: make sure to choose one that provides all the nutrients your pet needs to thrive, including at least 16 per cent crude protein. If in doubt, consult with your veterinarian and read pet food labels carefully to make sure all required nutrients are included.
Make especially sure that the food has sufficient vitamin C since guinea pigs need more vitamin C in their diets than other herbivores. You can increase the vitamin C in your guinea pig’s diet by adding drops to its water. Again, make sure you follow the dosage directions carefully, and replace supplemented water daily, because vitamin C loses its potency quickly.
In addition to commercial food, guinea pigs need hay, especially Timothy hay. They also need fresh fruits and vegetables, such as cabbage, kale, oranges and melons. But be sure to remove the seeds from the oranges and melons and any other fruits, as they are toxic to guinea pigs.
Caring for Your Pet Guinea Pig
Once your guinea pig is well housed and well fed, you have the basics covered. But like many other animals, guinea pigs are social beings. They need time with you, to play and to feel your loving attention, as do dogs and cats.
First, though, you must care for their physical needs. Their cage and bedding need to be cleaned daily. Remove the wood chips or bedding material and replace them with fresh materials every day. Additionally, the cage needs to be thoroughly cleaned once a week. This means removing the old bedding, thoroughly washing the pan, drying it (dampness can cause illness in guinea pigs, so drying is very important) and refilling it with fresh bedding material. Same goes for the water and food feeders: rinse them well every day, and then refill them with fresh food and water.
Now for the fun. Guinea pigs love an indoor playpen, with tunnels to explore and boxes to climb in and on. If you can make the environment safe, your pet would also like to explore outside of its cage or playpen, but only if you are there to supervise and ensure your pets safety.