Guinea pigs are naturally social animals that love living in herds. In the wild, they will live in groups of 10 or more.
This is why it may be considered cruel to keep one guinea pig to the extent of it being illegal in Switzerland. However, if you cannot maintain more than one or you want to keep only one guinea pig it would still be okay.
As long as you cater to their needs and keep in mind how much attention they will require, then you are sure to have a happy and content pet.
So do they require that much attention? Are they not easy to maintain small pets?
Read on to find out.
Do guinea pigs need a lot of attention?
Guinea pigs need attention but not much more than other pets would. They are social animals that thrive in an environment where they can interact with fellow guinea pigs. If that’s not possible, they will rely on their owners for companionship. It’s easy to keep your pet company and giving them an hour a day is enough for them. You can play, exercise, groom, cuddle, feed, and have lap time. This will make your pet happy, healthy, and as active as they should be.
How to give your guinea pigs attention
Guinea pigs living together will not need much of your attention as they can gladly keep each other company. If you are only having one guinea pig though, you will need to take time to spend with them.
You can be with them for the following activities.
Guinea pigs are active little animals and they will play late into the night making you wonder if they are nocturnal animals.
But they are actually crepuscular animals. Their most active times are at dawn and dusk.
You can have a schedule of letting them out to play during either of these times depending on your personal schedules.
Either indoor or outdoor games are great and the exercise is good for their overall health.
You can play games with balls where you will push a tennis ball gently towards them and teach them to push it back. You could also create mazes and have them stimulate their sharp minds by figuring out how to get out. Offer a congratulatory treat when they reach the end.
Guinea pigs can learn tricks too so take this time to teach them a few tricks like standing on their hind legs or jumping through a loop.
You can have a good bonding time with your pet as you sit down to watch a show or read a book.
Take your pet out of their cage and place them on your lap. They will enjoy being around you and may even fall asleep.
Guinea pigs do not require frequent washing and some can even spend their whole life without needing a bath. The long-haired pets though are an exception as their hair gets dirty easily if it gets long enough to sweep the ground as they walk.
Generally, your guinea pig will need grooming regularly and they enjoy it. It prevents hair matting, skin sores, and lice.
Grooming shows them that you care and it provides a good bonding time too.
You should also make sure to clean up their cages often and not just groom them. Their cages should be spot cleaned several times a week and fully cleaned once a week.
Guinea pigs like living in clean environments and a dirty cage will stress them up not to mention make them sick.
Check up on them
Checking up on your pet will make them happy to see you. You can call out their name and talk to them so that they may get used to your voice and be able to recognize it.
You can give them their food as you check up on them and change or refill their water. Guinea pigs need a constant supply of hay so always make sure that their hay rack never goes empty.
The hay helps wear down their teeth which keep growing. Provide a cup of vegetables every day to supplement their meal and offer a balanced diet.
You can divide the vegetables into two parts to offer in the mornings and evenings. Fruits are great treats for them and they will wheek delightedly whenever you offer some.
Remember that fruits are high in sugar and should be offered in small amounts to avoid making your pet sick. They will enjoy them and love you even more for them.
Let your pet trust you
New guinea pigs will be scared of you at first thinking that you are a predator. Do not begin to cuddle them right away as that only makes things worse.
Give them time to get used to the scents and sounds of their new environment. you can teach them to get used to you by putting a hand in the cage and letting them come to sniff it.
You can then move on from there by offering treats and touching their heads slowly with two fingers as they eat them. Take them out in an enclosed area and let them come to you on their own to sniff you and keep learning your scent.
With time they will learn to trust you and you can begin holding them and cuddling them.
How to entertain your guinea pig in your absence
We are all busy people and you cannot have time for your pet every time. Try to spend as much time with them whenever you can but when you are caught up, you can take the following measures.
Toys are a great distraction for your pet. Toys can keep them busy and occupied for hours on end that they will not have time to feel lonely and depressed in your absence.
You can buy toys for them or make some yourself. For instance, you can stuff a clean old sock with hay and herbs then give it to them. They will love chewing on it, pulling it around, and even using it as a pillow.
Build tunnels in the cage
Guinea pigs love a good run. Building tunnels in their cage will give them something to occupy them for the time being. They will enjoy running through the tunnels.
Getting another guinea pig
The perfect substitute for your attention will always be another pet. Guinea pigs love spending time together.
They will play together, groom each other, eat together, chat with each other, and snuggle together when they want to sleep. If you cannot give your pet enough attention, it’s always best to get another pet for them.
Guinea pigs need your attention and you can spend time with them while playing, feeding, and grooming them. Always take time to spend with them because if you don’t they will get lonely and end up being depressed.
If you are not able to be there for them often, provide toys or get another guinea pig to keep them company.