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FUN FACTS
  • Typically guinea pigs live for 5-6 years, but some may live longer.
  • Guinea pigs are active up to 20 hours per day, and only sleep for short periods.
  • Guinea pigs are highly social - in the wild they live in close family groups of 5-10 guinea pigs, though several groups may live in close proximity to form a colony.
  • Guinea pigs get lonely and shouldn't be kept alone - they're happiest in pairs.
  • Guinea pigs need a high fibre diet supplemented with vitamin C, as they lack the enzyme needed to synthesise vitamin C and can only store it for short periods.
A GUINEA PIG'S DIET

Hay and grass: Good-quality hay should make up most of your guinea pigs' diet, and they should always have it available to them. They should have fresh grass as often as possible too, ideally every day. Guinea pigs need hay and/or grass for their digestive systems to function properly. Also, their teeth are always growing, and eating hay helps wear them down to keep them at the correct length and shape. The wrong diet can cause serious dental disease.

Lawnmower clippings will make them ill: Never feed your guinea pigs lawnmower clippings, which will upset their digestive systems and make them ill.

Pellets:Guinea pigs have special dietary needs and must get enough Vitamin C, so give them a fresh portion of grass-based guinea-pig pellets each day, if you are unsure of portion sizes ask your vet for advice. Don't just top up the bowl and ensure the pellets are eaten by the best before date.

Vegetables: Your guinea pigs should have fresh, washed leafy greens or weeds each day, such as kale or broccoli, which are excellent sources of Vitamin C. Guinea pigs don't naturally eat fruit or root vegetables, but you can give them in small amounts as treats, such as small pieces of carrot or an apple quarter. Don't give them citrus fruits, and remember that some plants are poisonous to guinea pigs.

HEALTH CHECKS
  • Remember to check their front teeth and nails every week - these grow quickly. Only vets should correct overgrown/misaligned teeth. 
  • In warm weather, it's especially important to check the fur and skin around their rear end twice a day. Urine staining and droppings stuck attract flies and can lead to flystrike (which is often fatal). 
  • Take them for vet check-ups at least once a year.
  • Get them treated for parasites such as mites and worms, as advised by your vet. 
  • Only use prescribed medicine - only give your guinea pigs the medicines recommended for them by a vet. Other animals' medicines are dangerous to them.
  • It's important to remember that although guinea pigs feel pain, they don't show any outward signs of it, so they may suffer before you notice they're sick. If you notice changes in their normal behaviour, these can be an early sign of illness or pain.

They may be unwell if they're:

  • Not eating
  • Quieter than normal
  • Hiding more than usual

Stressed guinea pigs are more likely to become ill. Ask your vet immediately if you suspect they're in pain, ill or injured.