No matter what animal you choose, you need to make sure that you can give adequate attention to your animal.
Getting an animal is like getting a baby, you have to take care of the “fur baby”. When an animal is domestic, they rely on the protection, love, and care of their owner.
Guinea pigs are no different than a cat, dog, or other animals when it comes to love and attention.
Do Guinea pigs need a lot of attention?
Guinea pigs do not need more love and attention than any other animal, but they still need it. They do not like to be handled excessively, and there are certain ways your guinea pig likes to be held. They need time out of their cage, they need interaction, and they need space.
Like with most animals, Guinea pigs need a daily routine and an exercise regime. It is recommended that you should take them out approximately an hour a day to make sure they get exercise in a large enclosed space.
It is important to cuddle and handle them appropriately and frequently to ensure that they have the love from their owner that they need, too.
Types of Attention a Guinea Pig Need
It is important that you understand the types of attention that there is needed for a pet, in this case, a guinea pig. It is not healthy for an animal to stay in an encaged environment forever.
They need physical attention, attention to their health, and attention to their cleanliness. If an environment is not healthy for your pet, their health will decline, and you could be facing vet bills or worse.
1. They Need Physical Attention
Guinea pigs do not like being handled physically too much. Therefore, it is important that guinea pigs are held properly. We’ll explain how to do that below.
However, they do get lonely easily, so some owners get two guinea pigs so they can get their snuggles from another guinea pig. There are even some countries where it is illegal to own just one guinea pig, like Switzerland.
They also feel and read anxiety easily. So, make sure when you first get a Guinea pig, that you take the time to help transition them and the both of you bond so that there is no anxiety from either of you when you do hold them.
2. They Need Proper Holding
When you first get the guinea pig, you do not want to rush interactions and the introduction of the surroundings.
Allow the guinea pig to take a couple of days with their kennel under a towel to be able to adjust to sounds and smells of their new environment slowly.
After you can begin sticking your hand to the cage and letting your Guinea pig get used to your scent and your aura (how you feel to others, the type of energy you give off).
Allow your guinea pig to grow to trust you. Remember to keep yourself calm; only come to your guinea pig in calm energy. Petting your Guinea pig is a practice on its own that we cover in this article.
3. They Need Support When Carried
Make sure your guinea feels safe and stable. So, when you grab your guinea pig, slide your hand under their belly and gently lift. Do not be swift or rough when handling your guinea pig.
Make sure to softly wrap a finger around the front of one of the legs. Then pull your guinea pig up and hold him or her with both hands, making sure he or she does not feel like they are falling.
Also, make sure his or her back end is supported as well.
4. They Need to be Close to You When Carried
Place your guinea pig close to you and rest him or her on your chest. This is where your guinea pig will begin learning more about you.
His or her feet should be on your chest so that they can feel secure while getting to know you. He or she will be able to feel you and smell you. Take this time to talk to your guinea pig, this will allow him or hear to get used to the sound of your voice both far and close together.
5. Keep Holding Your Guinea Pig While it Wiggles
Your guinea pig will wiggle. Do not put your guinea pig down just because he or she wiggles.
Keep holding your guinea pig while he or she does this helps them stay calm but also helps them learn how to move in the transition from your hand to wherever he or she needs to be going.
6. Return Your Guinea Pig Safely
When returning your guinea pig, make sure that you are still holding your guinea pig firmly. Remember that this little bit of motion can be stressful for your guinea pig, so make sure to be slow and calm while doing this.
He or she will learn the routine and learn not to squirm when it is time for the transition from your hands to his or her cage or any other area that you may have for him or her to be.
You may find it beneficial to place her in her cage with her rear end going in first.
7. Keep an Eye When Children Handles Guinea Pigs
If you have children, please keep an eye on them when handling your guinea pig. Children are loud and move quickly. Their energy causes the guinea pig to feel stressed, and it can act out.
Make sure to have children sit down when handling your guinea. This way your guinea pig also does not get dropped by accident.
8. They Need Exploration
Guinea pigs need to be let out for supervised exercise. This helps them not only move around physically but also helps them mentally. Some say that they need also to be able to associate with other guinea pigs.
Play dates or owning another guinea pig to have playtime allows them to be able to run, play, and explore with one another allowing them to express themselves and gives them a better mental health standpoint.
Just make sure to keep an eye out and talk to your little friend while they play.
9. They Need to be Kept Busy to Not Get Bored
If your guinea pig is not well taken care of, they may develop bad habits such as biting and aggression. Escaping may be one of their learned bad behaviors.
Keeping them busy with the right materials in their cage and toys will help them from being bored or miserable. This also gives them things to do when you are gone and unable to provide them with attention.
10. They Obviously Need Food
It is important that you feed your guinea pig the right diet. They should have high-quality food that has vitamins, but especially vitamin C. They primarily eat fruits and veggies, and hay.
But they should not eat dairy, eggs, insects or too much grains, nuts, seeds, or anything of that sort.
To learn more about the best diet for your little pals, check out this post next.
11. They Need a Clean Home
Typically, a guinea pig home should be cleaned approximately twice a week with one guinea pig. If you have more than one then every other day should suffice.
Make sure that when you clean, you also disinfect. Guinea pigs can pick up infections and sickness if their cages are not properly sanitized.
Also, be sure that you dry it completely before putting hay and your guinea pig back into his or her home. Wetness can cause mold and bacteria to build up which can make your guinea pig sick.
12. They Need to be Groomed Properly
Make sure to clean and groom your guinea as well. Frequent brushing of your guinea pig can help keep their coat in great condition. This also helps prevent matting, lice, or skin sores on their skin.
The longer the hair is on your guinea pig, the more they need to be brushed.
Do not forget to trim their nails as well. This should be done approximately once a month and typically done in a routine with any other monthly care that may need to take place such as bathing.
Bathing does not need to happen all the time, so typically once a month or once every two months is good enough.
13. They Need to Stay Healthy
Make sure to keep a close eye on your pet always. Make sure that your guinea pig eats and drinks with no problems. Always check stool before cleaning out their home in case of any changes. Also, make sure that they breathe and walk normally.
As long as they are active, alert, sociable, and in general seem normal, then they are fine.
However, if they start losing weight, losing hair, or anything opposite of normal, then contact your veterinarian immediately as there may be something wrong with your guinea pig.
The Benefits of Owning Guinea Pigs
Guinea pigs are pretty easy to care for, and they tend to stay pretty healthy if cared for properly. They need a healthy diet, a clean and stable place to live, and some daily attention.
They provide a beautiful sense of personality that can be shy or bold and outgoing. Sometimes you may even get one that may be energetic but also clingy.
When thinking about adding a guinea pig to your family, spend some time with the available guineas to find a personality that meshes with yours.
If you want to know which guinea pig breed to choose, then you should check out this post next.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can You Hold a Guinea Pig Too Much?
My first instinct was to hold my guinea pig so close and never let go. I was thrilled to have the pocket pet of my dreams, but I realized there is definitely too much of a good thing.
A guinea pig may feel your love after a few weeks of bonding, but holding them too much at first can cause adverse responses. They may squirm, pee or poo on you. They may chatter their teeth as a display of agitation.
You may also notice:
- Nibbling of clothes
The general rule of thumb is to allow your guinea pig to rest or be held for only 10-15 minutes at a time. This fits well with their bathroom schedule as well. You will avoid getting peed or pooed on and your guinea pig will crave more cuddles from you very soon.
2. Do Guinea Pigs Need Exercise?
Absolutely. We look at our pudgy fur ball cavies and think that they are happy-go-lucky animals who have no care for exercise or any activity. They look so comfortable plopping down in their comfy enclosure without a care in the world. This is not true however.
- A guinea pig requires 2-4 hours of exercise per day.
This time should ideally be spent with you outside of the enclosure. You can set up a playpen in the living room or create an obstacle course.
This is a good time to think about minimizing the clutter in your home. An empty room is the perfect place for guinea to freely roam without the threat of getting tangled in electric wiring or clutter falling on them.
You will notice a much happier, better adjusted and healthier guinea pig who will be emotionally free of the negative outcomes that are associated with boredom, stress, lethargy and other symptoms associated with a lack of activity.
3. How to Play With Your Guinea Pig
The possibilities are endless when it comes to playing with your guinea pig. Here a few pointers that will comer in handy:
1. Don’t rush to play right away. The initial feeling of a guinea pig will be to get adjusted first. Play comes with patience and relaxation.
2. During enclosed play time, give them guinea pig, bird or rodent toys that they can chew on. This also helps to reduce their ever growing teeth.
3. Create a hunt for treats in or outside of their enclosure. The better they get at finding their reward, the more intricate the hiding spaces could be.
4. Obstacle courses are fun ideas with pillows, cardboard tubes and any other creative ideas for your guinea to move through with your encouragement.
5. An old fashioned game of chase with their counterparts or preferably with you included provides daily exercise and play. Kids love it and so do guinea pigs. Just chase carefully and give enough time for all of you to catch your breath.
4. How Much Playtime Do Guinea Pigs Need?
Guinea pigs are curious explorers and need to engage in enrichment that involves physical exercise as well. We were told by our friends and vet alike that 3-4 hours of supervised playtime is recommended, but sometimes we get busy with our work-life balance.
We have adjusted the recommendation down to 2-4 hours of play time that includes:
- Free roaming
- Obstacle courses
- Play pen
- Enclosure hunts for hidden food
- Chew toys
Guinea pigs are motivated to exercise when food is offered as a reward. The time your cavies are acting lazy and refusing to work out, entice them with a veggie treat to snap them out of their lethargy. They will thank you for it in the end with a healthier body and happier outlook on their life with you.
5. How Do I Know if My Guinea Pig Wants Attention?
Guinea pigs are able to express themselves in many ways other than vocally. They can vibrate, hum, whine, hiss or chatter their teeth.
None of these sounds may indicate that they want attention. It could go the other way meaning that they wish to be left alone. A guinea pig who wants you to change their surroundings or enjoy some time with them may:
- Bite the cage wires
- Circle or dance around
- Run around your feet
- Come out of hiding
- Approach you voluntarily
See what unique behaviors your guinea pig relies on to get your attention. These quirky animals are not going to behave in a uniform way. This is why we love them so much and we’re happy for you to enjoy the unique characteristics of your own cute cavy.
6. How Much Time Should I Spend With My Guinea Pig?
The more time you can spend with your guinea pig, the better. When I first got my guinea pig, I was much more available to her needs. I was a student and had spare time to be with her. I would also place her enclosure next to my study space to always be nearby and make her feel like part of the household.
If your schedule doesn’t allow for you to spend a large portion of your day with your guinea pig, set aside 1 hour in the morning and 1 hour in the evening for:
- outside the cage playtime
Guinea pigs are more active in these two time periods and it could be best to engage with them before and after your work schedule as well if you are also not able to play with them during the middle of the day.
Thank you for visiting PocketPetCentral.com for the best information to help you enjoy the life of your pocket pet companion in a fun, safe & healthy way.