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Guinea Pig Essentials

guinea pig essentialsMany of you know I am a guinea pig owner, or as Georgina put it on her caption in my interview with her, “lover of guinea pigs” which she puts in a nice way (and also really lightly, I do not think anyone truly understands the extent of my love for these fuzzy creatures). I think my obsession just gets worse and worse the more I fall in love with Valentino . So I thought for those new guinea pig owners, or those people who are want to adopt or purchase a piggy.

One thing I suggest to anyone before they read this list, and I regret it is you should buy guinea pigs in twos. They need a companion. You should by two of the same gender, preferably from the same litter, however if you adopt and they are housed together you should bring them home together. In my case Valentino was housed by himself, and with his personality it doesn’t seem fair to him to give him a buddy. He is the type of piggy who likes his space. However most do not, so please considered the fact that you should definitely get two.

One Time Purchases

Cage. It should be large enough for two guinea pigs to run around. Those guinea pig starter kits are not large enough. Personally I suggest getting a rabbit cage, with a solid bottom, no wire as wire can cause problems for their feet. The cage below is the one I have, and I love it. If your guinea pig cannot get a lot of free floor time then you should consider an even bigger cage. They need run room, so maybe a C&C Cage would be the best for you.

CareFresh Bedding. Some people like fleece. If you want you can read the article on Cali Cavy Collective about that. Personally I do not want to wash fleece in my washing machine, so I choose to do a newspaper and CareFresh lining. I put 5 sections of news paper on the bottom layered, then a layer of CareFresh, and lastly newspaper shredding. In the summer I do not use the shredding as it makes the cage stink quicker, but in the winter it adds some more absorption. I buy the large bag once every three weeks, and often you can buy it in bulk for cheap. The baking soda hides the odor, and it has very low dust compared to other brands.

Water Bottle. I have gone through two, because the one that came with the cage leaked a lot, and every so often you will have to buy a new one. I bought the one below and I will continue to buy this brand. They do not leak and there is barely any noise when he drinks so at 3 am, I can sleep in peace while Valentino will drink water.

Pellet Container. Pellets are apart of a healthy guinea pig diet, so you are definitely going to need a dish. I personally use the one that was provided with the cage, but if you want something different there are plenty different designs and types available.

Wood Hut. This is a hiddy place, though Valentino never uses it for that, he actually uses it has a ramp to get in and out of his cage during free time. I prefer the wood hut over a pigloo because it is more natural, not plastic like the pigloo. Plus he lives of naw on the wood to shorten his teeth, so it is a win, win situation.

Hay Bin. I had a hay rack from the cage I got, but the hay went everywhere, and cleaning up was a nightmare. So I went out and found this snazzy guy at PetSmart. It is easy to use for the guinea pigs, and keeps the cage and surrounding area a lot cleaner. There must be hay in the cage 24/7.

Veggie Ball. I love this, and so does Valentino. When he hears the bell he knows that his supper is ready. I place lettuce in the ball and it gives him some exercise while he eats and also gets his brain working to try to get the veggies out of the ball. It hangs from the roof, so you have to watch not to place it to high. I have used it for 8 months now and no wear or tear to it yet.

Food

Vitamin C Drops. Every piggy needs Vitamin C drops for their diet. They do not make it themselves so we need to provide it to prevent disease and scurvy. The instructions are really simple on the back, just be sure to keep it in your fridge. I prefer to give it on food, I used to do water but I was not sure if Valentino was getting the amount he needed each day that way.

Kaytee Hay. I used to use another brand, but since I have switched I can see the difference in the way Valentino loves hay. He goes crazy when he hears the bag and when he smells it in his cage he goes nuts eating. The quality is amazing and the price is really good for the quality. Never going back on this one.

Oxbow Adult Pellets. I had used All Living Things brand before this one because they had discontinued it for a while. The oxbow ones are personally better for Valentino because he never ate the dried fruit in the other ones anyway. He was originally eating these when I bought him, and I think he likes them better than the other ones he was eating before. The price is amazing and you can usually find a coupon. Takes me a few months to get through the bag.

Toys. I tend to choose toys he can chew the crap out of, because he will chew everything else in my house if I do not. He also doesn’t like certain textures, and really loves others so I try to make available a variety. Try out several toys and get a feel for that your guinea pig likes to shorten his teeth, and then buy various types of toys with that material. Valentino loves the lava rocks that hang and anything with a wooden ball inside for a challenge. Here are the ones I currently have in his home.

Final Thoughts

One thing to note, and this is important, if you are going to let your guinea pig walk outside of your cage, you need to “guinea pig proof” the room. Remove any cords from reach, close closets, if there is a garbage bin where the bag is exposed and low to the ground move it else where. I also suggest if you have carpet to put some puppy liners around. This way you can save your carpet from accidental washroom breaks. Basically anything you would not think is healthy for them to chew on, or you do not want them to ruin forever needs to be moved out of reach.

Well I hope this post was useful and informative! Of course these are simply the guinea pig essentials, and everyone will have different products they love. Test different products out, but make sure not to change too many things at once because it will cause your guinea pig stress. Thanks for reading and feel free to comments with your own guinea pig essentials!

COMMENTS: 6
  1. August 07, 2015 by Tara

    Awww! I love guinea pigs, too, but I haven’t raised any yet. But if I ever do decide to get them as pet, I’ll definitely come back to this entry! It’s very helpful 😀

    Valentino looks so cute!

    • August 12, 2015 by Domenica

      Thanks Tara! I instantly fell in love when my aunt got two, and a few months later Christopher got me Valentino for Christmas. I picked him out so it was not really a surprise. It is so cute because you would think they would not have much personality, but boy do they ever. It’s almost like humans, they all have different attitude, and like and dislikes. Valentino is an extremely picky eater, and hates to get picked up, but loves to get his cheeks rubbed. He is so unique it’s funny

  2. August 08, 2015 by Nancy

    These are some great tips on raising guinea pigs! It would make sense to get pets in pairs (who can get along with each other). When the owner is gone, they need to be able to entertain themselves! I would feel the same about fleece lining. If I could use a public laundry place to wash it, I would but that’ll be too much of a hassle XD. I think it’s cute whenever animals know the call for food! My cats are the same way when I shake the canned cat food :).

    • August 12, 2015 by Domenica

      My aunt has a pair that are brothers, its hilarious when they rumble strut. I love cats! My dad is allergic, so I cannot have one in the home, but as soon as I move out I am going to get one. My aunt had a cat when I was younger, and I love her so much. She was super chill when she was older, but as a kitten she was so adventurous. Yea even taking the fleece to a public laundromat I would feel guilty. 😛

  3. August 09, 2015 by Michelle

    Very informative. I feel like this is list can be used interchangeably with any kind of animal especially a dog. I have a dog, aka Marley, and I definitely know about proofing the room and making sure nothing food like or paper like is on the floor, etc; To be honest, every pet is a commitment.

    • August 12, 2015 by Domenica

      I agree! Any basic needs can really be interchangeable, however I think the one thing that is really unique to guinea pigs is that they require vitamin c added to their diets, as they naturally have a hard time producing it. I have seen pictures of Marley, she is adorable! I am sure she has teared up her fair share of slippers and shoes! I really do not like when people give up pets like is is nothing, I feel like people really need to understand it is like having a child, but at least children can tell you what they need.

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