So you’ve just brought home your first pet guinea pig. Perhaps it’s just now dawning on you that you don’t really know what you’re going to need in terms of guinea pig supplies. Or maybe you’re farther ahead of the game than I’m giving you credit for. Maybe you are in the process of shopping for your first cavy now and are doing your research on guinea pig supplies ahead of time so you will be well prepared when your little piglet (technically they’re called pups) comes home. Either way, this essay will make the acquisition of your newest family member go as smoothly as possible.
Guinea Pig Cage
Your first and largest purchase will be a cage. The cages provided by pet stores are typically too small for a full-grown cavy. Most rescue organizations recommend the following de facto standards for minimum cage sizes:
- One guinea pig: 6-7 sq. ft.
- Two guinea pigs: 7.5 sq. ft.
- Three guinea pigs: 10.5 sq. ft.
- Four guinea pigs: 13 sq. ft.
Cages this large are difficult to find in pets stores. C&C (Cubes and Coroplast) cages have become extremely popular over the past several years because they allow you to purchase a large cage at reasonable prices. These cages are often homemade do-it-yourself cages, but can also be purchased online in kit form.
We recommend paper bedding. Guinea pigs tend to be susceptible to respiratory problems, so bedding materials such as clay litter or pine shavings (bedding materials with high dust levels) are to be strictly avoided. Also, certain woods such as cedar contain relatively large amounts of tree oils. They should also be avoided because tree oils are generally not good for guinea pig health. Paper bedding (often made from recycled newspapers) is highly recommended as it suffers from none of these issues.
You will need a water bottlethat attaches to the sides of your cage. Water bowls are not suitable for guinea pigs because the cavies like to stand on them (or in them) causing frequent spills. 10-16 ounces is a good size. Be sure to change the water daily so it doesn’t get stale.
Feeder or Food Bowl
You will need either a feeder (which also attaches to the side of your cage) or a food bowl. This item will be used to serve guinea pig feed or pellets to your pet. If selecting a food dish, make sure that it is heavy and stable so that it will not tip when your pet guinea pig decides to stand in it.
When it comes to guinea pig supplies, one frequently overlooked item is the hay rack. Your pet guinea pig loves hay and it should be readily available to her at all times. One easy way to do this is to use a hay rack which attaches to the wall of your cage. If using a C&C cage, you may be able to find a model with a built-in hay shelter.
Food and Hay
Almost nothing is better for your pet guinea pig than some form of grass hay. Timothy hay is a great choice—containing both high-quality nutrition and the long strand fibers necessary for good digestion. Timothy hay can be given to your pet directly or as the main ingredient in food pellets.
Guinea pigs are a delight and a great addition to the family. But, like any pet, they also create additional responsibility. To insure that they live a happy, healthy and comfortable life; you must provide safe and comfortable living quarters, plenty of clean drinking water, and quality nutritious food.
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