Guinea Pig Care

Looking for a pet that's gentle and loveable but doesn't require the run of the house? Then you may want to consider a guinea pig. Guinea pigs are one of several small, domesticated mammal species commonly known as "pocket pets."

While we're not sure how they got their name, guinea pigs have been bred for more than 400 years. They descend from wild porcupine-like rodents of South America and are called "cavies" (a shortened form of their Latin name) by many breeders and owners. A guinea pig's claim to fame is that it is the only domestic rodent with no tail.

With good care, guinea pigs live up to 12 years, with about six or eight years being the average. By learning all you can about your new pet; providing him with a clean home, a nutritious diet, and expert veterinary care; and giving him lots of love and affection, you can help Piggy enjoy a healthy, happy life.

Choosing a guinea pig

Before welcoming Piggy into your home, it's a good idea to read up on guinea pigs and their care. Also, find a veterinarian in your area who is comfortable treating guinea pigs; not all of them are.

Your new guinea pig should be at least six weeks old before bringing him home. Guinea pigs can already breed at this age, so be sure not to keep a male and female in the same cage unless at least one is neutered. (Check with your veterinarian for more information about getting your pet spayed or neutered.)

Health

Guinea pigs should have regular veterinary exams. At your first visit, have your veterinarian show you how to clip Piggy's nails, which will need to be done every two weeks or so. He or she may also suggest having your pet's teeth trimmed regularly, as well.

For more information on habitat, feeding, exercising and handling your guinea pig, please go to: https://www.aaha.org/pet_owner/pet_health_library/other/general_health/guinea_pig_care.aspx

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