What Is The Best Guinea Pig Bedding?

guinea pig cage photo
Photo by picto:graphic

Guinea pig owners routinely utilize wood or paper types of shavings as the bedding for their pets. While this is perfectly acceptable if the proper sort is chosen, namely those not made of sawdust, cedar or pine, there may be better choices available. Guinea pigs that inhale tiny bits of paper, dust or wood may ultimately develop respiratory issues or have eye sensitivity. Because wood-type shavings or paper-based products can be shuffled around easily within the cage, the end result is not terribly sanitary. The pig will end up rolling around in waste until the cage is thoroughly cleaned. While paper and wood shavings are extremely common, they are not environmentally friendly and can become costly as well.

Fleece bedding is an alternative every guinea pig owner ought to consider. This is a hot trend among guinea pig owners and is a cost-effective, environmentally sound choice. Fleece facilitates spot cleaning of the cage, allowing for waste products to be surgically removed on a frequent basis. Rather than being absorbent like wood and paper bed materials, fleece can filter urine and other waste down to a sub-layer of toweling (which can be washed often), letting the top layer stay totally dry. This type of clean-up is a welcome convenience for busy pet owners who wish to maintain an orderly environment that remains attractive to the eye.

The advice and guidance provided above can help you give the guinea pigs in your life the best care possible. These little creatures are terrific companions which are, sadly, vulnerable to abbreviated life spans. However, by ensuring that they live in a happy, clean and safe place, perhaps we can extend their lifetimes significantly and gain increased enjoyment from everything they have to offer. There really is nothing like having a few guinea pigs around to make a house a home.

Buy The Right Size Cage

guinea pig cage photo
Photo by maskarade

Purchasing a guinea pig cage in a pet shop is unfortunately a good way to ensure that it is in fact too small for your pet’s needs. Buying even the largest one the store offers will likely prove insufficient, despite the high prices routinely charged.

The proper way to make certain that your cage is right-sized is to construct your own cage at home. This is not nearly as hard as it sounds, and the cost savings will be truly impressive. For the money you would spend on a store-bought cage that is probably too small, you could fabricate a cube and coroplast (C&C) cage that is three times as large and much more beneficial to the health and happiness of your pigs.

While some folks might see such a cage and deem it far too large for a guinea pig, this simply is not true, considering how the pigs live and the type of space they actually need. You would not house a hamster in a small shoebox, so why force your guinea pig to feel cramped and confined? Pets need room to move around and exercise their joints, the same way humans do. No compassionate dog owner would keep a large canine in a tiny pen, and there is equally no justification for placing a guinea pig in a box with no room to explore.

A great way to provide an environment in which guinea pigs can thrive is to get some cube and coroplast grids in order to build a customized home for the guinea pigs. This is far better than simply going to the store and purchasing a cage, which is almost certain to be too tiny. Grids of this sort can be easily obtained online, including via eBay, so there really is no reason not to make a personalized, spacious home for your beloved animals.

Recommend Guinea Pig Cage Sizes

2 Guinea Pigs
Min 7.5 Sq Ft
Max 10.5 Sq Ft

3 Guinea Pigs
Min 10.5 Sq Ft
Max 13 Sq F

4 Guinea Pigs
Min 13 Sq Ft
Max 13+ Sq Ft

The best idea is to use C&C grids to build a custom area for the guinea pig, rather than use a cage. These items can be purchased on eBay.

Giving Your Guinea Pig The Companionship It Needs

guinea pig hutch photo
Photo by Jlhopgood

Among the most commonly held beliefs when it comes to guinea pigs is that it is okay to keep just one on its own. Many erroneously think that guinea pigs do not need companionship. While this could be the case if the owner has excess spare time to spend lavishing attention on their pet, this does not represent reality for most people. Generally, folks need to leave the house each day for work or school or other obligations. Just think how you would feel if you spent all day every day in a small caged space? Would you live through it? Likely, but you would be far happier with a friend around.

The fact is that the guinea pig is an incredibly social being. Because they are historically prey for other creatures, they feel far more comfortable with other pigs nearby. Humans can sometimes frighten them, while fellow guinea pigs offer comfort and safety.

Will the Smell Be Too Much to Bear?

In most cases, this will not be true. As long as your cage is the proper size to hold two guinea pigs, the smell will be the same is with one. In the past, I have had multiple pigs and now, with two, I notice no major difference in terms of smell. What has been noticeable is the amount of fun I have with pair of them. Observing their interactions as well as their distinctive personalities and loving attitudes toward each other is a real joy. These are activities I would not be able to engage in if I only had one, sheepish and shy guinea pig in the cage.

If the guinea pigs owned have not been neutered or spayed it is necessary to make certain they share the same gender. While some believe that females get along together easier than males, this is not a universal truth. Of course, if a pair of males is bought at simultaneously, they have probably already established which one is the alpha, making things go much more smoothly. For those who have a male already at home and are thinking of bringing another male into the mix, understand that some fighting may initially occur. This is simply how they figure out which one will rule the roost and it will probably resolve relatively soon.

There can be no doubt that guinea pigs make for terrific pets, though it is generally advisable for owners to keep at least two at a time. Nobody wants to think of a single guinea pig spending its days feeling sad and isolated.

Why You Shouldn’t Purchase A Guinea Pig At A Pet Store

guinea pig photo
Photo by petercooperuk

This is a big mistakes and unfortunately happens far too frequently. You visit a pet store and you instantly fall in love with a certain piggy. Then you see there are four more guinea pigs crammed in with him in a small aquarium. Initially you think if you purchase the special guinea pig that you will be rescuing him, and so it is really a good thing to buy your guinea pig from a pet store. However, the best thing that you can actually do is to not support a pet store so it won’t exist some day and other animal will not be treated the same way, especially when thousands of homeless guinea pigs are in shelters who need homes.

Supporting a pet store where the animals are mistreated is the perfect example of a common but easily avoidable mistake that many new pet owners make. The “cages” that are used tend to be aquariums that aren’t even large enough for one guinea pig, but frequently house three or even more at once. Those practices have been a huge problem for many years and is no secret.

If you are potentially interested in having a guinea pig as a pet, the best thing for you to do is adopt one. It is guaranteed that a rescue that specifically handles small pets such as guinea pigs is familiar with how to care for them properly more than pets stores ever will. Guinea pigs coming from pet stores are not as well cared for, and most likely are in a poorer state of health. You can also ask your local rescue any questions you might have about your new pet, whereas the 17-year-old clerk work at a pet store may not have answers to your concerns.

Another benefit to adopting is that it is easy to find cage mates. That eliminates the problem of having to introduce a new pig to the cage. The guinea pigs that I have are brothers. They have always been cage mates their entire lives, and I got a two-for-one special since the woman who had rescued them understood how important it is to keep cage mates together. Also, her husband is a veterinarian, so I knew these two guinea pigs would be very healthy when I adopted them. Over the past three years, we have stayed in touch and every once in a while she asks me how they are doing. This type of care and concern is something you won’t find in a pet store.

However, what if you would like to have a young guinea pig? That isn’t something you need to worry about, since there are thousands of guinea pigs who are waiting for homes at rescues and shelters of all different ages. Until you actually meet them you shouldn’t rule out a mature guinea pig. But also, you are mistaken if you think you can only yet young guineas from a pet store.

Main Reasons Why You Should Adopt A Guinea Pig

Guinea Pigs photo
Photo by photon_de

Guinea Pigs, like other animals that are adopted as pets, need new homes for all different kinds of reasons, and normally it is not due to any fault of their own. A beloved pet may often need to be rehomed due to an owner’s lifestyle changing, but unfortunately too many are bred irresponsibly, neglected or unwanted.

Unfortunately, all over this country, there are many hundreds of rescue guinea pigs at animal rescue centres who are waiting for a new home. It is always preferable to give a home to a rescued guinea pig instead of buying one.

When you visit a rescue you can also observe the conditions a guinea pig is being kept in. That is the exact opposite of buying a guinea pig at a pet store. Although it is clear they are being kept at a store, prospective buyers need to wonder how these breeding guineas are being kept (usually for supplying a endless supply of new babies to the pet shop)? You might be supporting a guinea pig farm inadvertently.

Also keep in mind that there is always advice and help available from reputable rescue organisations and that welfare of the guinea pigs will always be their top priority.

Consider rescue. Instead of being part of the problem, be part of the solution instead.

Reasons why you should adopt a rescued guinea pig instead of buying one:

– Rescued guinea pigs coming from a reputable organisation will be assessed so that it can be matched to the home that is most suitable. Their previous history might be known, however even when there isn’t any information available, the rescue organisation’s staff will spend time learning what the guinea pig’s preferences and personality is.

– Advice, support and help are always available. Advice is offered by most rescue centres whenever you are experiencing any difficulties. This can be very reassuring when you have concerns, especially if this is the first time that you have owned a guinea pig. Prior to adoption there are also care and preparation sheets that are available.

– Why purchase one when you have the opportunity to donate and adopt an unwanted, neglected, homeless or abandoned guinea pig? There are always many choices available, including different personalities, coat lengths and colours, old or young. You also will be assisting other guinea pigs who are in need, by making space available for another needy one along with your financial contribution.

– Some rescued guinea pigs might be more challenging due to previous bad experiences or lack of handling. However, they can be even more rewarding. If you take the time with your rescued guinea pig to develop a close and trusting relationship, then it will be a very satisfying personal accomplishment.

– If you have a guinea pig already who wants a friend, a majority of reputable rescues will guide you through the entire introduction process. It isn’t always a straightforward procedure to pair up guinea pigs, but this is something that rescue workers understand and will take one back if things don’t end up working out.

– The guinea pig will have had its health check, been bathed and given mite prevention treatment. You will also be informed of any future veterinary needs and health issues. The rescue will also make sure you don’t take the wrong sex of guinea pig or a pregnant sow.