Several prospective guinea pig owners or even the current owners wonder how to keep their pets happy. If this is you, then let me help you with it. When it comes to having any pet, the secret to keeping them happy lies in giving them the right environment.
Specific to guinea pigs, there are three things to choose right- toys, food, and petting. There are a million choices out there, so I thought I’d put together this post to help guinea pig owners give their pets everything they deserve. In this post, you can find information on everything relating to the toys, food, and petting that guinea pigs love the most.
Toys That Guinea Pigs Like
Guinea pigs are animals that need to be active. Having them in just a closed cage will probably bore them to death. Giving them the toys they like will make them happy and will help you enjoy their company to the maximum. That is why it is important to know which toys are more likely to entertain your guinea pigs better than the rest of the millions of toys out there.
Another fun activity for you and your guinea pig is to teach them different tricks! Read this post to learn all about it!
Guinea pigs are rodents and hence have a compulsive need to chew on things all the time. Their teeth actually never stop growing. Some people just give a wooden log or something of that kind for their guinea pigs to chew on. But they deserve a lot more than that. The chew toys have a yummy taste, yet hard enough that they do not get cut by the guinea pig’s teeth.
Owners have observed that these chew toys are very entertaining for their guinea pigs. Some of the chew toys are made of crunchy material so that your guinea pig’s teeth could stay in good health. You can hang chew toys in your pet’s cage. I would recommend that you choose to buy chew toys that have attractive colors such as yellow, orange or red so that they can catch the attention of your pet, such as these Combo Chews available on Amazon.com:
Since balls roll around, guinea pigs will have a great time chasing those around their habitat. This will make sure that your guinea pig has something to put its attention into so that they do not get bored.
Another advantage of a ball would be that it plays dual roles- one as a play ball and another as a chew toy. The best choice would be to buy balls made of wooden branches or creeper twigs.
Willow is observed to be the best material when it comes to making balls for guinea pigs to play with. The only thing that guinea pig owners complain about willow balls is that they do not last very long. But still, these aren’t very costly. Also, considering how much your guinea pigs will enjoy chasing and chewing these balls, and how healthy their teeth remain from the chewing, it is totally worth to get these as toys for your guinea pigs. You can buy these balls on Amazon here:
2-in-1 Wooden Bridge and Tunnel
An arch made of wooden sticks that are strung together with wires would make a great toy in the cage of guinea pigs. This would also give a great look to your guinea pig’s home because of how elegant it looks.
The special feature that comes with this toy is that you can change it into multiple toys. It is flexible so that you can bend it in different postures such that it forms a bridge or maybe a footpath, and if you wish you could even store their food on it. My suggestion is that you should form a bridge out of it because your guinea pig will enjoy playing peek-a-boo with its cagemates.
One tip that I would give is that you should triple-check the dimensions of the toy so that it is wide and long enough for the size of your guinea pig. Make sure you do not be a miser when choosing this toy for your guinea pig because cheap options are poorly constructed. They may have wires peeping out of the wood, and those may very well hurt your furry pals.
Here’s a great quality bendable 2-in-1 wooden bridge and tunnel that’s available on Amazon:
Foods That Guinea Pigs Like
Guinea pigs are very picky about their choices when it comes to their food. Just like a teenage kid, guinea pigs do get inclined to foods that are good for their taste but aren’t good for their health. Since you are responsible for their health, you should know the list of foods that are good for them both with their health and for their taste.
Following is the list of 3 such foods which guinea pigs like. The one sign for a healthy guinea pig is the way they enjoy eating. So be sure to read the upcoming list carefully.
Just like how we should have a diverse diet, guinea pigs also need a varied and mixed diet that provides all the nutrition they need. The basic diet should include water, supplements in pellets, hay, fruits, and vegetables.
Supplements in Pellets
Pellets are rich in nutritive supplements which include vitamins and minerals. No amount of grass or hay would give the guinea pigs the nutrients that pellets could give. Vitamins, as well as minerals, are essential for the healthy growth and maturation of guinea pigs. Phosphorous and Selenium are the two minerals which are very important for normal metabolism, and pellets offer them in sufficient amounts.
I would suggest that you first try pellets that do not have artificial sugar or colors. If your guinea pigs avoid such pellets, then you can try mixing the crushed pellets with other foods that they love.
The brands of pellets available in the market are diverse depending on your location. For young guinea pigs, choose the pellets that are rich in carbohydrates and calcium so that they grow healthy. Consult your veterinarian for the number of pellets you should give your guinea pigs.
We recommend Kaytee Forti Diet Pro (Amazon affiliate link) as it’s one of the most highly nutritious pellets on the planet, and it’s also fairly cheap.
Grass hay is one of guinea pig’s most favorite foods because of several reasons. The main reason is that grass hay is the most abundant food for guinea pigs in their natural habitat. Another important reason is that grass hay has to be chewed on for quite some time. Guinea pigs love to chew!
On top of this, grass hay makes great food for guinea pigs because of their nutritive values. They are the richest source of fiber, and also provide great care for the teeth of your guinea pigs.
All this about hay are obviously known to everyone, but what confuses owners is how to choose the best type of grass hay. There are several choices, each of which suits different ages and needs. The following are the types of grass hay, along with information on the age group it is appropriate for.
This is my suggestion for owners who are looking for low-fat grass for their guinea pigs. This is filled with protein so it is a healthy choice, yet it is also of great taste that your furry playmate will enjoy eating. Since this is cheap and easily available everywhere, it is also light on your pockets.
There are differences in the available timothy hay. The variation is based on the cuttings. The first cutting is not very chewable because of its coarse nature. The third cutting is too fine for a guinea pig to chew, it will only be a few seconds before your guinea pigs chew these up. So the second cutting of timothy hay, which is neither too coarse nor too fine, would be the best choice of food for your guinea pigs. Also, the second cutting does not compromise when it comes to nutrition either. So I suggest that you provide the second cutting of timothy hay for your guinea pigs. You can find great Timothy Hay on Amazon here
This type of hay is the most efficient when it comes to bringing your guinea pig running towards it. You wouldn’t have to call them for their mealtime, they will sneak out when alone to eat more of these.
Botanical hay is mixed with several plants whose scent profiles are the most loved among scents for guinea pigs. These include several herbs, chamomile, dried flowers and more! The scent of botanical hay is quite intense, so make sure you store them in the right containers. If you’re looking for high quality Botanical hay you can get some on Amazon here
These are the thickest of hay which is great for your guinea pigs to chew on. Many owners have observed guinea pigs enjoying oat hay without any difficulties in drawing them towards it. If you’re looking for Oay hay you can get some on Amazon here
Orchard Grass Hay
Most people use orchard grass hay for the bedding of the cage in which they have their guinea pigs. These do make great bedding material. But they are also one of the most enjoyed treats for guinea pigs. If you’re looking for Orchard grass you can get it very affordable via Amazon by going here
Clover and Alfalfa Hays
Proceed with caution! The other types of hay listed above are suitable for almost all age groups of guinea pigs. But Clover and Alfalfa hays should not be given to guinea pigs that are over 6 months of age unless they are pregnant or nursing females. These types of hay are heavy on nutrients. They are high in fat and sugar content, and they are also high in calcium.
These are hays that your guinea pigs would enjoy better, but only as long as these are given occasionally. If you know what you’re doing and are in need of Alfalfa hay check out the price on Amazon here
Fruits and Vegetables
Guinea pigs are herbivores and they love fruits and vegetables. Salads with fruits and vegetables that they enjoy are essential parts of their diet. You have to feed them a cup of fresh vegetable salad every day. Fruits, on the other hand, should be given within limits. Maybe twice a week is appropriate when it comes to fruits.
One thing that many owners worry about when it comes to feeding fruits and veggies, is that guinea pigs do not drink water in usual amounts. I would not worry about that. Just think of it this way, would you feel thirsty just after eating a watermelon? No, right? It is the same with guinea pigs, their tummies get filled with water content from the veggies and fruits. That is why they do not see the need to drink more water on top of that.
Vegetables That You Should Give Your Guinea Pigs
- Mint leaves
Although there are other veggies that your pet would enjoy, these are the healthier choices.
Fruits That You Should Give Your Guinea Pigs
These are the fruits that are observed by owners as guinea pigs’ favorite. While feeding all these fruits, make sure to remove unnecessary parts just the way you would want them to be if you are eating them. One exception to this rule is in the case of oranges. You can feed even the orange peels to your guinea pigs.
Tips on How to Feed Fruits and Veggies
I would suggest that you do not stuff them with huge amounts of fruits and veggies right away. Start with a little, and increase gradually as per the need. Guinea pigs generally love all the fruits and veggies listed above, but if your guinea pig doesn’t like it when you feed these fruits and veggies, do not force them to eat those. If they do not enjoy any foods, then maybe it is time that you get them checked by a doctor.
What NOT to Feed Your Guinea Pigs
With any animals, there are foods that you should eat, and there are foods that you should not. Below is a list of all foods that may make your guinea pigs sick, or maybe like junk foods, or maybe even poisonous. Guinea pigs do not know what is healthy for them and what is not. You are in the responsibility to protect them from sickness, and you should be careful that you should not feed any of the below-mentioned foods.
- Bananas (only to be given a small slice once in a week)
- Any type of beans
- Dried grapes
These are the few foods items which are generally mistaken as healthy foods by guinea pig owners and also some of the foods we humans eat regularly. So you must be careful while letting your guinea pigs play because they may reach out to these foods.
You can read more about which types of foods to not feed your guinea pigs here.
Petting That Guinea Pigs Like
Guinea pigs have preferences that differ from individual to individual when it comes to petting. They usually show apparent signs when you pet them in the right spot. This applies to the times when you pet them in the wrong spot too.
Since guinea pigs are very insecure because they are prey animals, it is a tough task to gain their trust. Becoming their friend takes time, and you have to gain their trust with a lot of effort. Guinea pigs hate change. So if you have just brought them home, then you should not hurry in petting them. You will have to wait for a few weeks until they get familiar with you and the place you provide them.
The way to know if your guinea pigs are ready to be petted is to experiment. You can put your hand near them, or maybe inside the cage, to observe their response. If they come towards your hand, if they do not run away from it, then maybe you can approach them with more confidence.
If you want to learn the signs that can tell if your guinea pig likes you, read this post next.
Following is a list of spots that guinea pigs like to be petted. Although, note that it is observed that these do not suit right for all individuals. So you need to go with the trial-and-error method.
Spots to start with: Head and chin are the best spots to start petting your guinea pigs.
Spots to pet them in later: If your guinea pigs enjoy it when you pet them in their chin and head, then you may try to pet them in the region above their nose.
Spots to pet them ONLY if they are very comfortable with you: Petting them in the back is not to be tried until they are very comfortable with you.
What NOT to do?
- Do not move your hands very fast on them.
- Use only one finger or two
- Do not pet them when they do not know that you are coming. Always make sure they see you before you go to pet them.
- Control the pressure. Be gentle.
- Do NOT chase your guinea pig when they run away from you when you try to pet them
- Do NOT pet in the direction against the direction of hair growth. That makes them uncomfortable.
- Do NOT pet them in their feet or underside unless you are their friend for years.
- Petting sessions should not be too long. Keep them brief and sweet until you are sure that they are comfortable with you.
- If your pet walks away from you when you pet it, you may have to stop immediately.
- Do NOT pet them in places they have a wound or medication.