Handling and Restraint
Guinea pigs rarely bite when being handled or restrained, they rarely struggle when they are being picked up but often make a “squeal of protest.” Nevertheless, great care should be taken not to injure them when picking them up. The guinea pig should be approached with 2 hands, one is placed under the guinea pig's chest and abdomen, and the other supports its hindquarters. Keep them close to your chest. Adults and those that are pregnant should receive gentle, but firm, and total support.
Proper housing is a major factor in the maintenance of healthy guinea pigs. The well-being of the animals must be a primary consideration. Guinea pigs can be housed within enclosures made of wire, or durable plastic. The construction and design of the enclosure must keep them in and any other sort of animal such as, dogs, cats, birds, snakes or rodents out. The enclosure also must be free of sharp edges and other potential hazards. The enclosure must be roomy enough to allow normal activities. The enclosure can be open at the top, Provided that its sides are at least 7-8 inches high. Male guinea pigs require enclosures with sides at least 10 inches high. Guinea pigs should not be housed on wire mesh as a leg may be broken if it becomes entangled, this can also cause bumblefoot. Enclosures that provide solid flooring and an adequate supply of a preferred bedding are best for pet guinea pigs. They should be easy to clean, well lighted, and adequately ventilated. Bedding must be clean, nontoxic, absorbent, relatively dust-free and easy to replace. Wood shavings and fleece are preferred bedding materials. Guinea pigs seem most comfortable when they are spared exposure to excessive noise, needless excitement and confusion, and other stresses. Sudden environmental changes should also be prevented. Visual security (a place into which they can retreat when frightened) should always be provided.
The frequency with which the enclosure is cleaned depends on the materials out of which it is made, and the number of guinea pigs that reside within. As a general rule, the enclosure and all cage "furniture" should be cleaned and disinfected once weekly. Food and water containers should be cleaned and disinfected once daily. Vinegar is often required to remove the scale deposited by the crystalline urine of guinea pigs. Guinea pigs require worming once every 3 months with Ivermectin. If your guinea pig gets dirty or smelly you can wash them with a small animal shampoo, but as with most pets no more than once a fortnight. Nails need to be trimmed on a regular basis as they can grow into their foot pads and cause a lot of pain.
Food and Water
Good-quality food and fresh, clean water must be readily available at all times. Grass should form a major part of their diet as well as a fresh and steady supply of guinea pig mix (foods to feed and not to feed ~ below.) Guinea pigs cannot manufacture their own vitamin C and must, therefore, receive it from an outside source. Owners should avoid making radical changes in the food and water containers. Any changes in the food itself should be made gradually. Failure to do so usually results in the guinea pigs' refusing food and water, which can lead to disease. Feeding should take place twice a day once in the morning and once at night.
Please remember to keep you guinea pigs cool during warmer months, place a frozen water bottle or something simular in their cage. Fans are also good but do not point directly at your pets as this can result in URI. (Upper Respitory Infection) Just place the fan in the room so it circulates the air. Please do not use plastic igloo's in outdoor cages during these months.
During winter make sure your piggies are warm and free from any drafts.
THE FOLLOWING FOODS CAN BE FED TO YOUR GUINEA PIG
Apples*% Corn & husks Marrow Spinach
Banana & leaves Coriander Mint Sunflower leaves and stalks
Beans Cos lettuce Nectarine Strawberries%
Beetroot Couch grass Orange Sweet potato
Bok choy Cucumber Parsley Thistles (not spiky ones)
Broccoli Dandelion% Parsnip* Tomatoes%
Cabbage Dock (young plants) Pear Turnip*
Capsicum Endive Plum Watermelon^
Carrots & Tops*% Grapefruit Processed Bran Wombok
Cauliflower Grapes Pumpkin Zucchini
Celery Kikuya Rocket
Cherries Kohlrabi Rockmelon^
Choko & leaves Lucerne (fresh or dried) Rolled Oats
*Good for teeth. ^Good for hot weather. %High in Vitmin C.
THE FOLLOWING FOODS SHOULD NOT BE FED TO YOUR GUINEA PIG
Avocado Foxglove Fig Onion weed
Azalea Garden Shrubs Iceberg lettuce Onion Bird of Paradise Grass cut with mower Ivy Oxalis (looks like clover)
Bulb plants of any kind Hemlock Lily Rhubarb Leaves
Butter Cup Holly Morning Glory St Johns Wort