Guinea pig information on safe foods and the benefits, a guinea pig's body, guinea pig health issues/ sickness and guinea pig bonding.
Information on breeding, risks, sexing etc can be found via our Breeding Info tab.
Guinea Pig Safe Fruits
Apple - High in sugar, 1-2 times a week.
Banana - Including leaves and skin. High in sugar, 1-2 times a week.
Blackberries - High in sugar, 1-2 a month.
Blueberries - High In sugar. Too many can cause tummy problem, 1-2 times a month.
Cherries - Make sure pits are removed to avoid choking. - 1-2 times a month.
Apricot - High in sugar, 1-2 times a week.
Fig - 1-2 times a week.
Grapes - High in sugar, 1-2 times a week.
Grapefruit - 1-2 times a week.
Honeydew Melon - 1-2 times a week.
Kiwi Fruit - Remove skin, 1-2 times a week.
Mango - High in sugar, vitamin C, 1-2 times a week.
Orange - Citrus can cause mouth sores, vitamin C, 1-2 times a week.
Pawpaw/ Papaya - Remove seeds, to avoid choking. Vitamin C, 1-2 times a week.
Pear - High in sugar, 1-2 times a week.
Pineapple - Citrus can cause cause mouth sores. Vitamin C, 1-2 times a week.
Rockmelon - High in sugar, Vitamin C. 1-2 times a week.
Strawberries - 1-2 times a week.
Watermelon - Including skin. High in sugar, 1-2 times a week
Guinea Pig Safe Vegetables
Asparagus - May cause bloating. Vitamin C and A, 1-2 times a week.
Spinach - Can cause bladder stones. Vitamin C and other vitamins, 1-2 times a week.
Beetroot - High in sugar, 1-2 times a week.
Bok Choy - Vitamin C, 1-2 times a week.
Broccoli - May cause bloat. Vitamin C,1-2 times a week.
Brussel Sprouts - May cause bloat. Vitamin C, 1-2 times a week.
Cabbage - May cause bloat. Vitamin C, 2-4 times a week.
Capsicum - Vitamin C, 2-4 times a week.
Carrot - High in sugar. Vitamin A, 2-4 times a week.
Cauliflower - May cause bloat, 1-2 times a week.
Celery - High water content, 2-4 times a week.
Choko - High in fibre, can be fed daily.
Corn - High in starch, 1-2 times a week.
Corn Husk & Silk - High in fibre, can be fed daily.
Cucumber - Water content, 2-4 times a week.
Eggplant - Leaves and stems are poisonous, if it is unripened can also be poisonous. 1-2 times a month.
Green Beans - May cause bloat, 1-2 times a week.
Kale - May cause bloat. High in Calcium. Vitamin A, Vitamin K and Vitamin C. 2-4 times a week.
Cos Lettuce - Vitamin C, can be fed daily.
Pak Choy - High in Vitamin C, 1-2 times a week.
Parsnip - May cause bloat, 1-2 times a week.
Silverbeet - Vitamin C, can be fed daily.
Turnip - 1-2 times a week.
Wombok - May cause bloat, 1-2 times a week.
Zucchini - Vitamin C, Can be fed daily.
Although they are technically fruits, they are seen as vegetables.
Tomato - Leaves and stems are poisonous, 1-2 times a week.
Pumpkin - Remove seeds to avoid choking, 1-2 times a week.
Butternut Squash - Vitamin C and Vitamin A, 2-4 times a week.
Guinea Pig Safe Herbs & Plants
Basil - High in calcium, 1-2 times a week.
Chamomile - High in fiber. 2-4 times a week.
Clover - Vitamin C, 1-2 times a week.
Coriander - Can be fed daily.
Dandelion - High in calcium, 2-4 times a week.
Dill - Vitamin C and Vitamin A, 1-2 times a week.
Lavender - 1-2 times a week.
Mint - Feed in small amount, can be fed daily.
Parsley - High in vitamin C, 2-4 times a week.
Raspberry Leaves - Can be fed daily.
Rocket - High in calcium, vitamin C, 2-4 time a week.
Rosemary - High in calcium, 1-2 times a week.
Thyme - High in calcium, Vitamin C. 1-2 times a week.
Watercress - High in calcium, Vitamin C. 1-2 times a week.
Hay is extremely important, as a matter of a fact. This should be the main part of a guinea pig's diet. Guinea pig's should have hay available to them at all times. Why is hay so important? Here's some reasons.
Hay provides fiber that guinea pigs require for there digestion. Hay also helps guinea pig grind there constantly growing teeth.
These are some types of hay that guinea pigs can safely eat and what the benefits of them are.
Alfalfa Hay - High in calcium and protein. Great for guinea pigs younger then six months old or pregnant guinea pigs. Because of its high calcium and protein it should not be fed to adult guinea pigs unless they are pregnant. Can be fed daily to guinea pigs under 6 months old and pregnant guinea pigs.
Lucerne Hay - This is very similar to alfalfa hay, high in calcium. Only to be fed to guinea pigs under 6 months old or pregnant guinea pigs. Should not be fed to adult guinea pigs.
Botanical Hay - Contains dried flower, chamomile, clover, lavender and lemon balm. Can be fed daily to guinea pigs of all ages.
Meadow Hay - This is softer then timothy hay, it contains edible plants other then grass. Can fed daily to guinea pigs of all ages.
Oaten Hay - Tends to be a crunchier and is rich in fiber. Can be fed daily to guinea pigs of all ages.
Orchard Hay - Softer than timothy hay, can be fed daily to guinea pigs of all ages.
Timothy Hay - Rich in fiber, low in fat and the right amount of protein. Can be fed daily to guinea pigs of all ages.
A Guinea Pig's Body
Teeth - Did you know guinea pigs have more then the four teeth at the front of there mouth? They actually have rows of teeth at the back. There front and back teeth are constantly growing. This is why they need things like hay to help grind there teeth down and stop from overgrowth. There are many cases where teeth have curled in and overgrown from the incorrect diet.
Eyes - As long as there is no cloudiness or redness (not pink eyed guinea pigs) redness as in a sign of infection. That can be the cause for a few reasons, one of the common ones being hay poke. As hay is very important to there diet. They must get hay! If anything does seem different with your guinea pig's eye. Get them to a vet! If left untreated it can cause blindness or worst.
Ears - Guinea pig's have a small patch where there is no fur behind there ears. This very normal, this is how all guinea pig's are. There ears should always be clean and free from any driest, crustiness or white splotches. If there are any white splotches on a guinea pigs ear. It could be a sign of fungal infection. They must be seen by a vet!
Fur - As long as a guinea pigs fur is soft and shiny, that means it is healthy. If there sis patches of fur missing. Get to a vet! Could be a sign of many things, fungal, mites etc.
Feet - Guinea pig's have sensitive feet, as long as there feet are not kept a wire floor and there cage is regularly cleaned they won't be at risk of bumblefoot.
Nails - Guinea pig's nails are always growing and need to be trimmed regularly. If not trimmed regularly this can lead to overgrowth and the nails well curl in over time and cause the guinea pig discomfort and make it hard for them to walk. The kwik grows with the nails, by trimming regularly it also stops the kwik overgrowing too.
Guinea Pig Health Issue's
This will cover the information on the type of sicknesses guinea pig's can get.
- URI (Upper Respiratory Infection)
- UTI (Urinal Tract Infection)
Overall a guinea pig's diet should be,
80% hay/ grass 15% vegetables 5% pellet/ dry food mix and fruit as a treat. By feeding them the correct diet, it should help prevent health issues.
Fungal infection often start on the face as areas of patchy, itchy hair loss. There may be multiple areas. Like on the back and limbs, especially in warm weather. In guinea pigs, the tufts of hair may be stuck together by a crust of exudate. The skin that is beneath may exude serum. When this dries up it becomes dry and scaly. These tufts will fall out and hair regrow in about 4 weeks. Fungal infection is contagious! Get to a vet for treatment!
MITES CAN KILL! These microscopic mites burrow under the skin and cause severe pain. You may notice scratching, biting, hair loss, and in serious cases, seizures. Severe infestations can be life threatening. Once you suspect one of your guinea pigs have mange mites, get them to a vet and treat them all as soon as possible. Even if they are not showing the signs. Ivermectin is the treatment of choice. Multiple doses are necessary because ivermectin does not kill the eggs. Death can occur due to severe dehydration from the increasingly larger sores and from failure to eat, because of their extreme pain and discomfort.DO NOT BATH YOUR GUINEA PIG AT FIRST! Mites will burrow deeper and can cause more pain and do more harm then good.
If there are only one or two bald patches, or limited nonspreading spots of skin that appear red and flaky, they can usually be treated by applying an antifungal topical ointment that has been recommended by your veterinarian.
URI (Upper Respiratory Infection)
URI (Upper Respiratory Infection) is a bacterial respiratory infections are a common problem among pet store pigs. New pet owners are often unaware of how quickly guinea pigs can go downhill and how quickly veterinary care is to the health of your new pet. If untreated, URI is almost always fatal. Guinea pigs do not get cold viruses.Allergies/asthma is very rare, though they may produce similar signs.Signs that indicate URI:- Refusal to eat or drink.- No feces. ~ Result of not eating.- Labored breathing/ wheezing.- Sneezing/ coughing.- Crusty eyes or eyes that are almost sealed shut.- Discharge from eyes or nose. - Can show red around nose.- Dull and/or receding eyes.- Rough or puffed-up coat.- Lethargy, hunched posture.Get to a vet immediately if you see any of these signs. Because URIs are so deadly and fast moving!
UTI (Urinal Tract Infection)
UTI (Urinal Tract Infection) is common in guinea pigs. Their short legs put them low to the ground where they are more likely to pick up bacteria from wet bedding and droppings. There's is a difference between UTI and bladder stones. Get to a vet immediately if see any of the signs. UTI can cause death if not treated!The most noticeable signs of a UTI are:
- Blood in urine.
- Making a squeaking/ wheeking sound while peeing.
Bumblefoot, this is a condition where the guinea pig's footpad becomes inflamed and develops sore or becomes overgrown. Bumblefoot is caused by many reasons such as untrimmed nail, poor sanitation or wire flooring. If a guinea pig gets this, get it to a vet!
If a guinea pig gets a lump and it continues to grow big at a quick rate or just the fact it is a lump overall. It should be assessed by a vet asap. It could be a number of things, such as a cyst, abscess etc.Most It is important to get vet advice as most of the time it can be treated and the guinea pig can recover. Lumps can became extremely serious if left untreated.
Dental can happen when they don't get the correct diet. A guinea pig's teeth constantly grow. Without the correct diet to keep teeth grinding and filed down from overgrowth. Not only can there incisors (front teeth) overgrow. Which can effect how they eat food altogether. There molars (back teeth) can also overgrow and this can effect them being about to chew and eat. A clear sign of dental is smell in the mouth and excessive drool. The best way to prevent dental issue's to by being sure your guinea pig has hay available 24/7.
Guinea pig's can over heat very easily. The way to prevent this, especially in summer is to be sure your guinea pig is always cool enough. Move your guinea inside in the cool by a fan or in air condition. If this is not an option, frozen bottles wrapped in a towel or a tile place in the cage for extra cooling works great.
If your guinea pig does get heatstroke, goes limp, hot to the touch, show signs of not wanting to drink or eat. Cool your guinea pig down in water, this must be done correctly or it can result in death. The water must not be too cold. It must be lukewarm, it will cool down on its own. Cold water will shock your guinea pig and cause it to pass away. Offer your guinea pig water through a syringe, take it slow as you do not want to flood the lungs. Continue to do this every few hours until your guinea pig can drink on its own again.
Cheilitis is an inflammation found on the lips. It consists of scabs or sores along the top and bottom of the lips. This can be caused from high acidity foods such as tomato and high sugar content foods such as apple. This can also be caused from sharp or improper hay.
Guinea Pig Bonding
Firstly, when introducing any new guinea pig to another guinea pig/s. They must be introduced on neutral territory. This way they can't be territorial. The cage they will live in together will have to be neutralized as well. Once they have been bonded, i recommend a little bit of lemon juice and water. Removed the current scents and no harsh chemicals. Having food availble when do introductions can also help, all piggies love food and can bond over that.
Male + Male - Male's can be a harder to bond then females. Usually they are best in a pair then they are in trios or more. Male's don't tend to work in groups. In some case they wont get on with another male at all. Due to them being more dominant, introducing a single male to a new friend. Can go either way. Depending on the age of the male. Usually tends to work better bonding a young male with an older male. Younger doesn't always mean it has to be a pup, sometimes males can bond with males under year old. I think this really does narrow down to the personality of the guinea pig. Its not uncommon for there to be vibrating, mounting and teeth chatting when introduced. As long as there is no blood drawn. There is no need for alarm.
Female + Female - Female's are usually a lot easier to bond then males. They are happy to be in pairs, trio or group. They have less dominance and more accepting of newcomers. its very uncommon for a female to show aggression.
Male + Female - Usually theirs never problems with a male and female pair. I only suggest this is if one of them is DESEXED! I can't stress this enough. Breeding is not recommended and i do not encourage it. I used to rescue females in the past and have seen the aftermath of breeding to them. It is extremely sad, when people don't breed responsibly. Please be responsible, there is already many guinea pigs in need of loving homes.
Please note! Unless blood is drawn do not separate. If blood is drawn, this means its very unlikely they will be able to live together! Taking them away and reintroducing is not recommended. As they have to re-establish who's boss. It's like pressing a reset button.
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