Guinea Pigs

Some notes on caring for your guinea pig

Guinea pigs make good pets for children because they're friendly and easy to handle...

They are very social animals and like to live in a small group, preferably a single-sex group to prevent large numbers of offspring! There's a great variation in colours, markings and coat types. The three main breeds are:

  1. English, which have a short, smooth-haired coat.
  2. Abyssinian, which have a rough, wired coat.
  3. Peruvian, which are longhaired.


Heart rate: 130-190 beats per minute.

Body temperature: 38.6° Celsius.

Life expectancy: 4-8 years.

Sexual maturity: Females: 4 weeks, Males: 3-5 weeks.

Pregnancy: 60-72 days.

Litter size: 3-4 puppies (maximum 8).

Weaning: 4-5 weeks of age.


A hutch with a run is the most commonly used one. The hutch should be dry with a bedding of wood shavings, straw or hay. During summer months, the housing should be placed in partial shadow as temperatures of above 27C° (32 Fahrenheit) can cause deadly heatstroke. In winter months, it is advisable to move them into a garage or outbuilding.


Every guinea pig needs daily:

  1. Vitamin C
  2. Fresh Water - changed daily
  3. Quality Pellets
  4. Unlimited Grass or Hay - beneficial for their teeth and digestion
  5. Fresh Vegetables - green leafy vegetables, small amount of carrots, dandelion leaves

Feed only small amounts of cabbage, broccoli, brussels sprouts as they can cause gas. Do not use mineral/vitamin blocks.



We advise you to castrate your guinea pig if he lives together with a female (to prevent breeding) or if he fights with other guinea pigs. 

Castration is possible from the age of 4 months.


Females are generally only spayed when problems develop, such as ovarian cysts.


Guinea pigs don't need to be vaccinated or wormed. Common problems include:

Mange is a tiny parasite that lives in the skin. It is characterized by dry, scaly skin, open wounds and scratching. It is treated with a spot-on preparation.

Most of the time, diarrhoea is caused by eating spoiled/mouldy hay or vegetables, too much fruit or sudden food changes. Probiotics or antibiotics are used as cure.

Not eating for more than 24 hours can be dangerous. If your guinea pig does this, they must be seen immediately to determine the cause and to start treatment.

Long Nails
Their nails can grow surprisingly fast and are often curved. Some guinea pigs need regular nail clips.