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Everything about the guinea pig and its acquisition

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to have a guinea pig as a pet? They are sweet little creatures that will quickly capture a place in your heart. In this article, we will tell you everything about what it's like to have a guinea pig and how to take care of one. All the information you need can be found here, so let's get started and learn all about guinea pigs!

Guinea Pig Facts:

Guinea pigs are believed to originate from the Andes in South America. Initially kept for their meat and fur, they were increasingly kept as pets when they were brought to North America and Europe in the 16th century.

Guinea pigs can weigh between 700g and 1.2kg and grow between 8 and 16 centimeters long. They typically live for at least 4 years, but with proper care, they can live up to 8 years. The fur colors of guinea pigs are highly varied and all fall into the categories of black, brown, or white. Other unique fur colors and lengths include tricolor, tortoiseshell, white tortoiseshell, agouti, Japanese, pied, American crested, long-haired, brindle, dalmatian, Dutch, and completely hairless!

Female guinea pigs come into heat every 14 to 18 days, provided they are not pregnant. If a female is pregnant, it takes 68 days for 2 to 4 young to be born. Guinea pigs differ from other rodents in that they are fully grown at birth. Guinea pigs are larger than rats but smaller than rabbits and also lack a tai

Are Guinea Pigs Good Pets?

If you choose to keep a guinea pig, you'll find that they are social animals. Not only do they enjoy having a housemate, but they also thrive on interaction with their human and will eagerly approach a hand placed in their cage. When socialized at a young age, they are more likely to be easygoing and enjoy playing with humans.

Guinea pigs have peculiar sleep patterns that are difficult to predict. As prey animals, they have the instinct to take short naps intermittently, sometimes not even closing their eyes to sleep. They are most active at dawn and dusk, but you'll likely see your guinea pig active most of the time, day and night.

You might be surprised to learn that guinea pigs require daily attention and feeding, unlike smaller rodents (such as hamsters) that can be left alone for a few days at a time. To keep a guinea pig as healthy as possible, they should spend some time outside of their cage every day. This gives them a chance to bond with you and stretch their legs.

Guinea pigs also need daily fresh food, hay, fruits, and vegetables, as well as water. They will show their appreciation for your feeding efforts with lots of adorable squeaks

Can Guinea Pigs Coexist with Dogs and Cats?

If you already have a dog or a cat, think carefully before getting a guinea pig. Do you have a cage or an outdoor enclosure for guinea pigs where dogs and cats cannot access? Your dog or cat may be the friendliest animal in the world, but guinea pigs are prey animals for many other species, and they are therefore fearful of larger animals. Even the scent and behavior of a small cat can make a guinea pig anxious, even if the animal just wants to play and means no harm.

It's possible that cats, dogs, and guinea pigs may tolerate each other's company. However, any form of contact should be monitored throughout their lives. Guinea pigs move quickly, and it's not the fault of a dog or cat if they instinctively chase after them. Even a paw on the guinea pig to stop it can seriously injure the animal. Therefore, always ensure that you can intervene if necessary.

If you really want to have guinea pigs but already have a dog or a cat, it's challenging to keep these animals separated. For this, you'll need a warm and well-insulated cage or a separate room where your dog or cat cannot access. Larger animals, especially cats, are often very interested in guinea pigs and may spend hours near the guinea pig cage, curiously looking inside. This can cause a lot of stress for guinea pigs, and to keep them healthy and happy, this should be avoided.

Where Can I Buy a Guinea Pig?

Guinea pigs are likely to be found in any major pet store near you. You can also check with your local animal shelter or adoption agency. The internet can also help you find your next guinea pig through platforms like Facebook Marketplace, Marktplaats, Google, or similar websites.

How much does it cost to own a guinea pig?

The costs of acquiring a guinea pig will be higher than the monthly expenses of caring for it. You can expect to spend around 100 to 200 euros on a guinea pig cage, food bowls, food, toys, bedding, and for the animal itself. Afterward, you can expect to spend approximately 20 to 30 euros per month on food and bedding. Of course, these costs will increase each month as you have more guinea pigs. If you need to take your guinea pig to the vet (at least once a year or for an illness), each visit costs about 40 euros.

What kind of housing does my guinea pig need?

Guinea pigs are larger rodents and therefore require a much larger living space than a mouse or rat. The minimum size of a cage with 2 guinea pigs is about 120 cm wide and 55 cm deep, or if absolutely necessary, 100 x 50 cm (but only for a maximum of 2 guinea pigs). For each additional guinea pig, you should add 30 cm. Thus, a cage should be at least 160 x 55 cm (or 140 x 75 cm) for 4 guinea pigs. You can also connect a small cage to a fixed outdoor run, in which case the size of the cage no longer matters.

The cage itself can be made of wire, glass, or sturdy plastic. However, the bottom of the cage should be solid, not wire. The reason for this is that guinea pigs in cages with a wire bottom can develop problems with their feet and even suffer broken legs if their feet get caught between the wires and they attempt to escape hastily.

Place the cage in a location where there is a normal day-night rhythm and keep it away from bedrooms to avoid disturbing your sleep. Also, make sure that your guinea pig's cage is not in a drafty area; the ideal temperature is between 17 and 24 degrees Celsius.

As for the contents of the cage, you will need the following:

  • Bedding made of paper (preferred) or wood (avoid cedar)
  • Food bowl
  • Water bottle or heavy water dish
  • Hideout (such as a small box or plastic house)
  • Toys
  • Wooden and mineral chews

What should I feed my guinea pig?

The digestive system of rabbits and many rodents is very sensitive. Stress and stagnant intestines can cause gas. Therefore, it is important that your pet continues to eat regularly to keep the intestines working. If your pet stops eating, it could have various causes, so it is wise to consult a veterinarian.

Wat moet een cavia eten?

Always monitor your pet's stool. If the droppings are soft and watery (not to be confused with cecal pellets) or if there is even diarrhea present, this could be related to diet or a change in diet. However, the issue could also have another cause. A probiotic such as Zoolac can help restore balance to the gut flora. If this does not have any effect, it is advisable to seek help from a veterinarian.

The following vegetables may be fed to your guinea pig in limited quantities:

  • Alfalfa
  • Endive
  • Beets
  • Celery
  • Cauliflower
  • Kale (give very sparingly)
  • Broccoli florets and leaves (stems sparingly)
  • Chinese cabbage (give very sparingly)
  • Zucchini (give very sparingly)
  • Iceberg lettuce
  • Celery root
  • Cucumber
  • Kohlrabi
  • Lucerne
  • Corn
  • Mustard greens
  • Bok choy
  • Bell pepper
  • Parsley
  • Pumpkin (no seeds)
  • Radish
  • Arugula
  • Celery
  • Lettuce
  • Spinach (give very sparingly)
  • Brussels sprouts (give very sparingly)
  • Bean sprouts
  • Tomato (only ripe fruit)
  • Corn salad
  • Fennel
  • Watercress
  • Chicory
  • Carrot (very sparingly)
  • Sunflower

Below is the list of fruits that your guinea pig can eat in limited quantities:

Note! : Always be careful with seeds found in vegetables and fruits. They are toxic in large quantities. Therefore, always remove as many seeds as possible before feeding anything to your rabbit or rodent!

  • Strawberries
  • Pineapple
  • Apple (only the flesh)
  • Banana
  • Blueberries
  • Blackberries
  • Grapes
  • Raspberries
  • Grapefruit
  • Cherries (only ripe cherries, not the pits)
  • Mandarin
  • Melon
  • Papaya
  • Pear
  • Orange
  • Watermelon

Herbs that your guinea pig can eat:

  • Strawberry leaves
  • Basil
  • Birch leaves
  • Nettle (dried)
  • Blackberry leaves
  • Lemon balm
  • Dill
  • Dead nettle
  • Yarrow
  • Millet
  • Marigold
  • Oats
  • Hazelnut
  • Shepherd's purse
  • Chamomile
  • Cornflower
  • Borage
  • Marjoram
  • Mint
  • Dandelion leaves
  • Parsley
  • Peppermint
  • Roses (pesticide-free)
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Wheat
  • Thyme
  • Valerian
  • Violet
  • Willow leaves
  • Sunflower leaves

Just like humans, guinea pigs cannot produce vitamin C on their own. Because this is vital for guinea pigs, we need to ensure they get enough of it. If we fail to do so, various symptoms may occur, including anorexia, bleeding (internal/subcutaneous/muscular/gum), poor wound healing, joint problems, diarrhea, and hair loss.

Many guinea pigs see a lemon-flavored tablet from Roter as a treat! This makes it easy and enjoyable to give. If your guinea pig doesn't like it, you can also try the Kruidvat own brand, which comes in orange flavor, which your guinea pig might enjoy.

Note: Do not add liquid vitamin C drops to the drinking water. Vitamin C breaks down within a few hours in water. Only provide vitamin C in tablet form.

Your guinea pig also needs clean water, either in a bowl with a heavy base (to prevent tipping) or in a bottle attached to the cage.

How do I take care of my guinea pig?

Guinea pigs love routine. Always approach your guinea pig calmly. Talk to them and approach from the side, not from above. Guinea pigs adjust to care more easily when you maintain a consistent routine. Such a habit provides calmness, clarity, and predictability. For example, when feeding them, do it at the same time every day. Take them out of their cage to play at the same time each day. A disruption in routine can cause stress for your guinea pig.


Provide your guinea pigs with unlimited fresh hay throughout the day. Give them ¼ to ½ cup of vegetables and fruits daily, removing any uneaten portions no more than 24 hours after serving. You can also give them 10-15 grams of guinea pig pellets daily if you think your guinea pig needs more nutrition.

Do not feed your guinea pig grains or anything grain-based (such as bread, cereals, etc.), legumes, sugary, fatty, or salty foods, as these foods can disrupt your guinea pig's gut bacteria, potentially leading to death.


It is recommended to always hold your guinea pigs with two hands, with one hand under the bottom and the other hand around the middle of the guinea pig. This way, the chance of dropping them is much smaller. Your guinea pig may enjoy cuddling with you on your lap, or they may prefer to roam around alone. Either way is fine, but make sure the environment is stable and safe.


Guinea pigs don't need baths, but if necessary, they can be cleaned with a damp cloth or an unscented baby wipe. Guinea pigs with (long) hair can be brushed with a soft brush about 1 to 2 times a week. Hairless guinea pigs can occasionally be rubbed with a non-toxic lotion based on aloe vera.

A guinea pig's teeth are naturally yellow and do not need to be cleaned. Their nails should be clipped at least once a month.

Cage Environment:

The guinea pigs' cage should be placed in a location with at least one window, so the guinea pigs are exposed to normal day and night patterns. However, the cage should not be in direct sunlight, as guinea pigs can quickly overheat. To maintain your normal sleep schedule, the guinea pigs should not be kept in the same room where you sleep, as their nighttime activity could keep you awake.


Exercise is important for your guinea pig for many reasons. Firstly, it keeps them occupied. A bored guinea pig can get into trouble (chewing on things they shouldn't, escaping, etc.). Another reason they need exercise is to socialize them with humans and other guinea pigs. A guinea pig that is left isolated too often can become fearful and hostile. Ideally, they should be given about 3 to 4 hours of free time every day, especially if their cage is relatively small.

Many guinea pig owners set up a large space for their pet on their tiled or hardwood floor, enclosed with some kind of gate to prevent them from escaping. Place items like boxes, paper bags, or tubes in the play area for them to explore. This will keep them entertained for a long time, and they'll have a lot of fun with it!


Guinea pigs are social creatures that need to be with other guinea pigs and/or humans. You will notice that a guinea pig with a partner in the same cage will be much happier than a guinea pig that is alone. Make sure there is only one male per cage, as males tend to fight when together. A neutered male and a spayed female can be excellent cage mates.

As mentioned earlier, if your guinea pig is still young, it's important to establish a play routine. This will ensure that your guinea pig remains playful and happy throughout its life, rather than becoming fearful and hostile.

Cage Cleaning:

The bedding of the guinea pig cage should be changed at least twice a week. Also, remove any wet spots in the bedding as soon as you notice them. This will keep the cage odor-free, both for you and your guinea pig.

It is also advisable to clean the entire cage at least once a week with a 3% bleach solution or VirkonS. It's best to do this during your guinea pig's playtime so the cage can be cleaned and have time to dry before bringing them back inside.


Guinea pigs usually become ill due to poor housing or nutrition, such as inadequate quality hay. If your guinea pig eats less or stops eating, consult a veterinarian. Young guinea pigs are very vulnerable, so if they are weak or sick, take them to the vet immediately.

The most common health problems are:

  • Overgrown nails

Symptoms: the nails grow round and can injure the paws. The nails need to be trimmed. You can do this yourself, but ask your veterinarian or specialist to show you how the first time. Only the tip of the nail is sensitive and can be clipped.

Nagels van een cavia

  • Overgrown teeth

Symptoms: the jaw is crooked or open, the guinea pig does not eat well and/or loses weight. Guinea pigs need to gnaw so that their teeth can wear down. Sometimes the teeth grow crooked, then the veterinarian needs to file or grind them. Provide plenty of gnawing material such as branches, hay, grass, and fibrous herbs.

Tanden van een cavia Normale kiezen van een cavia

  • Diarrhea

Symptoms: the rear end of the guinea pig is dirty, you find sticky or wet feces in the cage. Diarrhea is usually caused by rapidly switching feed and/or excessive greens or by internal parasites. Ensure that the guinea pig can gradually adjust to greens and provide unlimited hay. If your guinea pig still develops diarrhea, you can administer a small amount of Zoolac ProPaste; the diarrhea should then disappear within a short time. Consult a veterinarian if the diarrhea does not improve after one to two days.

  • Cold

Symptoms: dirty nose or front paws (from wiping the nose), dirty eyes, sneezing, heavy breathing, or making noise while breathing. A cold can be caused by a virus, but it worsens if the animal is exposed to drafts. Consult a veterinarian if the cold does not improve after two days or if the animal appears to have difficulty breathing.

  • External parasites, e.g., fungi, lice, mites, mange

Symptoms: itching, bald patches, flakes, small visible insects on the skin, lethargy. External parasites cannot always be prevented; mites are sometimes found in hay. Ensure good hygiene and resistance and consult a veterinarian.

  • Vitamin C Deficiency

Symptoms of vitamin C deficiency are quite diverse: rough coat, diarrhea, pain, weakened immunity, eating problems, signs of pain, bleeding, severe weight loss. Consult a veterinarian to establish the correct diagnosis and rule out other issues.

  • Foot Problems

Symptoms: injuries, swellings, or inflammations on the foot soles. Foot problems arise from a hard surface or bedding that is unsuitable (too hard, moist, with sharp particles). Ensure suitable bedding and attend to the injuries.

  • Tumors

Tumors can occur anywhere in a guinea pig, just like in humans. It's a good idea to regularly check your guinea pig for lumps. Gently feel its belly for this purpose. Take your guinea pig to the veterinarian if you notice sudden lumps. It could be a tumor, a harmless fatty lump, or guinea pig babies.


Owning a guinea pig can enrich your life. They are small and portable enough to travel and handle easily. Guinea pigs are playful and curious, provided they get the right environment to live in. They are not as low-maintenance as hamsters or mice, but they are more interactive.

If you really want to learn everything about guinea pigs, you can click on the link below, where you'll find everything about your new pet.

The Great Guinea Pig Page

Now that you know how to care for a guinea pig and have decided they're right for you, we wish you good luck with your search for your next friend, and many years of enjoyment with him or her!