It’s Guinea Pig Awareness Week from the 26th – 30th October
This is a special week dedicated to the welfare of guinea pigs. They are often considered to be a low maintenance pet, but guinea pigs have specific welfare needs that owners need to be aware of. That’s why we have put together our top tips to help educate owners about their fluffy friends 5 welfare needs: Behaviour, Companionship, Diet, Environment and Health.
Have you noticed your guinea pigs jumping up and down? Or seen your guinea pigs zooming around their housing? When they are excited guinea pigs run and jump straight up and down, turning 90 degrees in a move known as popcorning!
Guinea pigs should not live alone as they love the company of other guinea pigs. Single sex groups or pairs are ideal and littermates make the best companions. You should never keep guinea pigs and rabbits or chinchillas together. They have different food and housing needs and, sadly, could fight.
Guinea pigs are herbivores which means they are entirely vegetarian and need high levels of fibre in their diet. Fibre keeps their digestive systems healthy and their gut moving. Feeding lots of good quality feeding hay is the best way to ensure your guinea pigs are getting enough fibre in their diet.
Your guinea pig’s environment is really important for their welfare. Guinea pigs can happily live indoors or outdoors. The trick to indoor housing is adapting their environment for the great indoors. Get this right, and you’ll have a lovely experience with your fluffy squeaky housemates. You’ll need to find a quiet, calm and safe area. All areas that your piggies have access to should be fully guinea pig-proofed. If you’re housing your guinea pigs outdoors, you’ll need to put lots of thought into making sure they’re safe and protected from predators and extreme weather.
A healthy guinea pig is alert and chatty, with bright eyes and a good coat. As with all healthcare, prevention is better than cure. Understanding the signs of ill health and knowing what to look out for can make all the difference between your pet enjoying a speedy recovery or becoming very poorly. If you are ever in doubt or have any concerns about your guinea pigs’ health, always seek the advice of your vet.