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November 2014

My First Guinea Pig


Shelter & Housing

These pets generally need a very hardy structure called a hutch, with two sections:

A fully enclosed area for protection from the elements and for sleeping. An activities section.

Ensure your pet’s hutch has good ventilation and allows them to avoid direct sunlight, as they are much more sensitive to heat than cold and are susceptible to heat stroke. It is best to position the hutch off the ground, with adequate shelter.

The guinea pig’s hutch should be a minimum of 70sq cm per guinea pig. If your hutch has a wire floor, ensure it is well covered with hay, so as not to risk your guinea pig catching and breaking its leg. Bedding material should be soft straw or hay, also provide material for your guinea pig to burrow under in the activities section.

Hot Tip

Care must be taken if mixing rabbits and guinea pigs together. Bullying can occur and each species has different dietary requirements.

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We like to chew

Guinea pigs will chew anything including carpet, furniture, shoes and more. Serious hazards include electrical wires and poisonous plants. Their teeth grow continuously and they need to chew to wear them down so the mouth closes properly. Always provide gnawing toys, available at Petstock.


Let guinea pigs get used to your hands without picking them up for a few days.

Approach your guinea pig calmly talking to and petting them. Carefully place your hand under your guinea pig’s mid-section, just behind the front feet, and use your other hand to support their hindquarters. It may help to restrain the front legs between your fingers.

Bring your pet close to your chest, supporting their entire body with two hands. Always keep a firm yet gentle hold.

If your pet begins to struggle, lower yourself to the floor to reduce the chance of fall injuries. When placing your pet back in its cage, release at ground level.

Feeding Requirements

Your guinea pig must have a constant supply of fresh water, good quality hay as well as a daily supply of high quality guinea pig pellets. Fresh vegetables should also be fed daily. It is recommended you offer three types from the following list: broccoli, carrots, cucumber, brussel sprouts, capsicum, dandelion greens and parsley. You can also feed your guinea pig fresh grass.

Hot Tip

Guinea pigs should not be fed celery, spinach, raw beans, rhubarb and beetroot. Do not feed your pet lettuce. It is non-toxic but often causes diarrhoea.

Fruit such as bananas, apples, oranges, strawberries and raspberries make good treats.

Vitamin C is very important for guinea pigs, as they cannot produce their own (like us, they are susceptible to scurvy). It is vital they get daily fruit and vegetables as mentioned above. Vitamin drops for small animals should also be administered in their water on a daily basis.

Hot Tip

Ensure fresh water is available in special, non-drip bottles with stainless steel nozzles, as wet bedding may cause moist dermatitis and coccidiosis.


The flooring should consist of hay or soft straw (please be mindful that hay bedding may be eaten away and will need replenishing). Sawdust should be avoided as it is too fine and can irritate the eyes, nose and ears. Create a sleeping area with something like a bird nesting box, filled with hay or soft straw.


Play pens and exercise pens are available from PETstock, which are ideal for guinea pigs to run around on grass on a daily basis.

Hot Tip

Ensure you keep your guinea pig under constant supervision if bringing them inside to run around.



Guinea pigs should be wormed every three months with a small animal wormer.


Regular examination for fur and ear mites is required. Lice and mites are quite common in guinea pigs, which can be easily picked up from new bedding (e.g. hay and straw). Mite and lice sprays can be used in minor outbreaks; however veterinary treatment must be sought if the condition worsens.

Nail trimming

Guinea pigs nails can grow very long and sharp, they need to be checked on a regular basis and trimmed as necessary.

Heat stroke

Guinea pigs do not tolerate heat well and can die from overheating. On very hot days provide relief through frozen plastic bottles of water, a fan and frozen fruit and vegetables.


✓ Hutch

✓ Hay (bedding an food)

✓ Shredded newspaper

✓ Treats

✓ Food pellets or mixes

✓ Mineral stones

✓ Water bottle

✓ Food bowl

✓ Vitamin Supplement

Guinea Pig Checklist

My First Guinea Pig Checklist

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