Ideal pets for children, guinea pigs are small rodents that rarely bite, and if handled and cared for correctly, make affectionate indoor or outdoor pets. However, like all pets, they need proper care and maintenance, food, and appropriate living conditions to keep them happy and healthy. Being aware of the essential accessories for a guinea pig allows you to make the appropriate purchases to give your pet a long and happy life.
Guinea pigs need an appropriate place to live, so you need a guinea pig cage or guinea pig hutch, complete with a safe, secure run. The habitat should have plenty of room for running around, ensuring they get plenty of exercise. For outdoor guinea pigs, choose a hutch with raised legs to keep the animals safe from mice and rats, and with an enclosed sleeping area to keep them warmer during cold weather. If you plan to keep your pets indoors, opt for a guinea pig cage with a deep base so you can add plenty of bedding, sawdust, and newspaper.
Guinea-Pig Healthy Living Essentials
A water bottle is an essential must-have for guinea pigs, as for all animals. While you can add a bowl of water to the cage, guinea pigs have a habit of knocking the bowl over or filling it with sawdust, hay, and other debris. Therefore, a guinea pig water bottle is the best choice. These most commonly attach to the exterior of the cage via a wire clip, with the spout sliding through the bars or wire mesh. Guinea pigs thrive on a varied diet. Most people give their pets a base of guinea pig pellets or guinea pig muesli, both of which are dry food mixes that provide all the basics they need. However, the best diets include fresh fruits and vegetables, along with regular access to fresh grass, hay, and weeds. Also provide salt wheels and herb wheels for an extra nutritional boost, and tasty treats in the form of puffed rice or corn sticks that usually have honey and nuts. Guinea pigs need bedding, and many people choose straw as bedding material, but this can scratch the delicate eyes of the guinea pigs. Therefore, the safest bedding is hay, alfalfa, or Timothy hay, which is softer and denser than straw and provides better insulation during cold weather. Additionally, guinea pigs eat Timothy hay and alfalfa, which provides a valuable source of protein and a natural way of wearing down teeth.
Guinea pigs require stimulation. Provide guinea pig toys, such as robust cardboard tubes that also give the guinea pigs somewhere to hide when they feel anxious, as they are shy creatures. Guinea pig toys, including edible hideaway huts, willow balls, seagrass toys, tunnels, and wooden logs make excellent forms of stimulation which also help keep their teeth short.