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Guinea Pigs as Pets

By Cathy Doggins

Cavies or Guinea Pigs as they are better known is originally from South America and believe it or not has been a popular pet for hundreds of years. They can be discovered in natural settings in 1 or 2 South American countries including Argentina and Brazil. While there are more than 60 breeds, most domestic pet Guinea Pigs are either English, Abyssinian and Peruvian. Each breed has unique traits based mostly on hair length (short or long), The animals may also be differentiated by coloring or rosettes, which are round swirls of hair. Many Cavies are cross-bred creating for even more color variations. They eat easy to prepare vegetable and pellet diets and are an easy to care for pet.

Your Pet Guinea Pig

The pet lives a median of 5 years and make fantastic pets. They're gentle non-aggressive creatures that seldom bite. The animals are very social with other Guinea Pigs. They're going to make some noise, although not so loud as to be an issue. Cavies don’t jump, so no cage lids or tops are necessary.

Cages and Bedding

Any cage must be about 200 square inches. The animals can be messy since they like to shred any bedding material. Bedding can be shredded newspaper or recycled paper. Cage walls should be at least 10 inches in height. The cage should be cleaned everyday since the animals often urinate and defecate.

Supplements and Feeding

Guinea pigs are easy to care for and need an easy to prepare and maintain diet. The most basic requirement is a sipper type water bottle. Fresh water should be supplied each day and the bottle should be thoroughly cleaned each week. Vitamin C enriched Timothy Food pellets formulated for Guinea Pigs should be provided. Also provide green Timothy, grass or oat hay. Avoid Alfalfa since it contains too much calcium. Also provide your Cavy a small portion of green vegetables.

As soon as you bring a Cavy home, get her used to eating a many types of foods. The patterns you set while they’re young will stay tfamiliar for the life of your pet. It is hard to introduce new foods later in life. Recommended vegetables that are full of needed vitamin c incude:

– Turnip greens
– ,Mustard greens
– Dandelion greens
– Kale
– Brussell sprouts

Fruits are only to be used as treats. Fruits such as grapes, apples and orange slices (one per day for vitamin c is ok) can be provided. Fruit must not comprise more than 5% of a Cavies diet. Cavies require 10-30 mg of vitamin C daily. There are tablets available for purchase that can be crushed into fresh veggies. Don't add a vitamin c supplement to water since the potency of the supplement diminishes after adding it to water.

Veterinary Care

Like cats and dogs, Guinea Pigs should be examined by a Vet every year. Catching conditions and diseases early is key to helping your pet live a long and active life.

Cathy Doggins is the author of tons of Cavy articles like this one. In addition to her work with Cavies, Cathy is a frequent speaker on small animal health. When not talking about pets, Cathy can be found at home caring for her dogs, cats and of course, Guinea Pigs.

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Article Citation
MLA Style Citation:
Doggins, Cathy "Guinea Pigs as Pets." Guinea Pigs as Pets. 16 Oct. 2012. 3 Jul 2015 <>.

APA Style Citation:
Doggins, C (2012, October 16). Guinea Pigs as Pets. Retrieved July 3, 2015, from

Chicago Style Citation:
Doggins, Cathy "Guinea Pigs as Pets"

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