Guinea pigs are very cute and animated pets for many of our households. Although they are often considered a children’s pet, guinea pigs make excellent adult pets as well. They require good attention to hygiene and have specific dietary requirements to maintain health. The more time an owner is willing to invest in a guinea pig, the more its true personality will shine through. Guinea pigs are unique in our exotic pets as they, like humans, are unable to make their own Vitamin C and must get this vitamin in their diet to stay healthy. Like rabbits, they need to eat a predominantly grass hay based diet with supplementation of fruits and veggies along with limited pellets.
Husbandry issues such as poor diet, poor socialization, poor hygiene, lack of sleep, inappropriate toys, toxins and many other factors can cause illness in guinea pigs. Food and water should be changed daily, and special attention to daily stool production is important. This is not only for the obvious reasons of hygiene, but because one of the first signs of illness is often a subtle change in appetite and stool production. Without changing food and water daily it would be almost impossible to pick up these subtle changes. Food should be measured out daily and the animal not overfed so that appropriate food consumption can be monitored, and changes rapidly noticed. Changing water daily ensures fresh clean water and allows you to monitor how much water the pet drank during the day. Evaluating and changing the cage or litter box substrate daily allows you to notice any change in stool size, shape, consistency and odor. Because guinea pigs hide signs of illness, these daily habits will make a difference in the health of your pet.
Common signs of illness in guinea pigs include:
lack of appetite
If any of these signs develop, please bring your pet in to be treated as guinea pigs can get very sick very quickly.
Common guinea pig diseases include:
upper respiratory infections
Vitamin C deficiency (scurvy)
bacterial GI infections
Enjoy these links to learn more about your guinea pig:
GENERAL CARE AND DISEASES
WEE COMPANION CARE GUIDE TO GUINEA PIGS
WEE COMPANION GUINEA PIG FOOD CHART
CALCIUM CONTENT OF FOODS
To find out more about your guinea pig visit
If you would like to adopt a guinea pig in need please contact the San Diego non profit organization WEE COMPANIONS.