Guinea pigs are small low maintenance pets that require minimal input to care for. That’s if you consider their feeding, grooming, cleaning of cages, and giving your attention as minimal input.
They get lonely fast and that’s not good for their health as it may bring about depression and withdrawal in your pet. This makes it essential to give them as much attention as you can especially if you are keeping one guinea pig.
It’s recommended to keep two guinea pigs so that they may play together, chat heartily and keep each other company. But if you only have one, be prepared to give your pet a good amount of time as you are the only companion they have.
Sometimes though, life happens and things come up. Maybe you have a school engagement, or work travel, or anything that requires you to leave home for a day or two.
So what happens to these social pets who need to be shown constant care? Let’s find out if you can leave them alone or you should carry them with you in your pocket.
Can you leave guinea pigs alone for the weekend?
You can leave guinea pigs alone for the weekend. However, knowing how fragile they are you should make sure to not only leave enough food and water but to also make sure that everything else is in good condition. For instance the temperatures and their cage environment.
Generally, you should not leave your guinea pig for over 24 hours without checking on them. You can have someone like a friend, family member, neighbor, or a professional check up on them after a few hours if it’s possible.
10 Measures to take when leaving guinea pigs alone
If you have to go, then you have to go. So instead of worrying yourself sick about what will happen to your pet, take these 10 safety measures to make sure that things are well taken care of.
1. Give fresh foods before leaving
A good idea would be to give your pet fresh veggies and fruits right before you go. This is because it’s unhygienic to leave these types of fresh foods with your pet for long.
They go bad fast and in your absence, they will accumulate in the cage and rot. This brings about a dirty living environment for your pet, leads to the growth of bacteria that could bring your pet infections, and will also attract insects like flies or other rodents like rats and mice.
Make sure you clean up all the remaining fresh foods before leaving.
2. Provide a lot of hay
Guinea pigs love hay but you will not be giving them a lot of it due to this reason alone. You should provide hay because that will be their main food in your absence.
Give them more than enough hay that they wouldn’t finish in three days. Sometimes they can overeat because of boredom but lots of food is better than lack of it.
3. Place hay above the ground
You could build a rack that is above the ground in their cages so that they do not have all their hay lying down and risk water leaks or their waste all over it.
Having hay above the ground will ensure that it remains dry and you don’t have the case of your guinea pig spending the weekend peeing, pooing, and eating the same food for a full weekend.
4. Multiple water bottles
You should ensure that there is enough water to prevent dehydration. One water bottle is not enough as it could leak, get clogged or they could finish up the water.
Leaving three water bottles for your guinea pig is good so that in case either of these accidents happens, they still have a second and third option.
5. Clean the cage
It would be quite disastrous to leave your pet in a dirty cage. This mess will be coupled with the mess they’ll make in your absence which would spell diseases to your adorable pet.
Always clean the cage before you go. Take everything out, clean every corner, put a lot of newspapers at the bottom of the cage, bring in new bedding, and place in their food and water.
6. Big cage
Guinea pigs like having space to run around. In your absence, they will not have anyone to take them out of the cage.
Do ensure that their cage is big enough to accommodate them and still have space for their games. Guinea pigs could easily get stressed out because of a little space and being unable to see you take care of them.
You do not want your guinea pig bored sick by the time you are back. Give them a reason to stay entertained by providing them with toys.
Chew toys like Aspen wood or stuffed socks and bells will keep your guinea pig occupied. You could also create a tunnel inside the cage for them to run through.
8. Keep them away from other pets
If you have other pets like dogs and cats, you should always ensure that they cannot come close to your guinea pig. This is because they could get curious and begin sniffing on the little piggy scaring them away.
They could even kill them unintentionally. Keep your guinea pig safely locked in a different room away from your other pets to avoid this.
9. Right temperatures
Guinea pigs cannot regulate their temperatures. Ensure that their environment is neither too cold nor too hot.
Both temperature extremes are dangerous for your pet as they could get a cold or get heatstroke. You can regulate them using a heater and air conditioner. Their temperatures should always be between 65°F-75°F.
If you have two guinea pigs that have bonded and live together in harmony, that’s fine. But if your guinea pigs do not get along well, consider separating them for your weekend away.
Putting them separately in different cages will prevent any fights that could arise in your absence. This is dangerous because if they have no one to separate and stop their fights, they could injure or even kill each other.
Make sure your guinea pig is provided with everything they need in your absence. If you are not comfortable with leaving them alone, you could seek the services of a pet sitter, vet, or a pet hotel to take care of your pet in your absence. They have the professionalism and experience to take good care of your pet.