Adopting and owning a guinea pig can be rewarding but exhausting. Are you prepared?
Here are some things you should know before you consider adoption.
1. Guinea pigs need to be held several times a day. They crave interaction with other guinea pigs and with humans. An ignored guinea pig can become depressed and may stop eating. Even when there is more than one guinea pig in the area, they may still become solemn if they are not getting enough attention from people.
2. They need a well-rounded diet that includes hay, pellets, fresh greens, and fruit. If a guinea pig is drinking a ton of water, it means they are not getting enough fresh vegetables and fruits - which contain water. A guinea pig's diet is roughly 90% hay so make sure they always have plenty in their cage for a bedding additive and also for food. They will often eat their droppings as it doesn't always digest correctly the first time. By doing this, they are getting the vitamins that went through their system too quickly.
3. A guinea pig needs ample space to wander and run around. A cage should be at least 24 x 24 x 14 at the very minimum for an average sized guinea pig. A larger guinea pig will need at least 47 x 24 x 14. Midwest habitats are what we use to house our guinea pigs. A separator can be used to make two smaller cages out of the larger cage or using the ramp in the middle so they can share space if they are females. During the summer, guinea pigs love to play outside in the grass. Using a baby play yard is easy to set up and gives the piggies time to run around in the grass safely. Remember to never leave them alone outside by themselves though.
4. Males and females should always be separated from three weeks old and up. Females can be housed together but males will often fight and try to dominate each other when put together - this could result in injuries or even death. When bonding males, start off slowly in a large area. Put their cages next to each other so they can talk and always do supervised playtime until you're sure they are getting along. Babies may be easier to bond but sometimes will not stay bonded as they get older. At three weeks old, males are able to impregnate their sisters, mother, and other females so they should be separated as soon as possible when the three week mark has been hit. Then try the boys together (without the girls) to see how they do.
5. In a habitat there should be: a house, bedding, hay, a water bottle, and a food dish. Bedding should never be anything other than a paper form, fleece or towels. Using wood or shavings can cause splinters or make them sick because of the treatment used on the product. A home should be preferably an edible one that they can use to sharpen their teeth. Timothy Ultra Hay includes sweet potatoes and should always be fresh. Moldy or wet hay can make the guinea pig sick. Food pellets should always be guinea pig specific. Using other types of food can make them sick. Treats other than those mentioned are a waste of money. Guinea pigs are happier with something to gnaw on (such as a wooden block) than some yogurt mixed treat. For the best treat, cucumbers are the guinea pig's potato chips. They love them even though there's not really any nutritional value. Giving fresh fruit and vegetable treats is much healthier than a store bought gimmick treat. Water should be changed daily and Vitamin C drops added. Always remember to rinse out the water bottle and clean off the 'ball' because food remnants can build up on them.
6. Be prepared to spend at least $100 a month on your guinea pig. Cages should be fully cleaned at least two times a week. The other days - old food, pellets, and droppings can be picked out of the cage and new bedding can be added. When cleaning the cage, always wear gloves. Make sure the cage is completely scrubbed down so that no bacteria builds up underneath their hay and bedding. Cage debris can be used in the backyard around bushes and trees for outside wildlife to pick through.
Ready to adopt? The process involves spending about 30 minutes with us and the piggies to make sure it’s a good fit. The adoption fee is $30 or two for $50. We do ask for basic information: name, address, and phone number which we keep on file so we know where the guinea pigs are going. We require one picture a week for the first month just so that we know the piggies are happy and healthy. These pictures may be used on our website.
If at any time you feel that you cannot take care of them anymore you can surrender them back to us but we don’t do adoption refunds. If a guinea pig dies within the first 30 days we request to see him to make sure there was no neglect. If it’s natural causes you can pick out another piggy. We do this so that abusers are not able to keep adopting. We do recommend taking the new piggies to a vet for a basic check up. All of these rescues are seemably healthy and extremely happy so we just like to make sure they stay that way.
Still think you're interested in adopting a guinea pig? Send us a message below. In the comments, let us know the following:
1. Why do you want to adopt a guinea pig?
2. How many other animals do you have?
3. Where will the guinea pig live (where the habitat will be)?
4. Any other information you think we should know.
Our guinea pigs are family no matter where they came from.
We do not allow everyone to adopt guinea pigs.
Our adoption process ensures that the piggies are going to a safe, happy, healthy environment.
See who's available for adoption at: https://www.facebook.com/pg/GuineaPigSanctuaryHamptonNH/photos/?tab=album&album_id=121912735204140