What do guinea pigs need?

Guinea pigs are relatively easy to care for, but they do have some basic needs that need to be met.

I have been asked by lots of people about the specifics I have bought for settling in Coco & George (they are my 2 year old rescue boars, who have been with me for just less than one month). I will list them below – and will edit this post with more details in the next few days. Please email me at hello@aliwade.com or contact me via social media if you have any questions.

As I am keeping them in my craft room and wanted to be able to interact with them easily, I decided to try a C&C pen this time (always had either the traditional wood hutches or the cages with plastic bottoms before). I am not able to cut the Correx base myself, so ordered a complete kit from a company – click HERE. They are offering a £10 discount for having seconds Correx, so I went with that option (there are literally a few very minor scratches on it and I couldn’t choose the colour).

If I was extending this pen, or building another, I would go with the DIY option from Amazon (and buy the base material from a DIY store or separate website). This one seems to be highly recommended.

SONGMICS 2-Floor Metal Pet Playpen, 36 Grid Panels, Customisable Cage Enclosure for Small Animals, Guinea Pigs, Rabbit Hutches, Includes Mallet, Indoor Use 143 x 73 x 71 cm, Black LPI02H

There are various different pack sizes from this company, so take a look at them all. You will need a suitable ramp (as shallow an angle as possible; guinea pigs cannot jump like rabbits – nonslip), if you do have a loft area.

More links coming, as I do more research – I will only recommend products that other people are using successfully and safely.

The other essentials are –

Water Bottles (I have always used these and they are excellent – one per guinea pig).

CLASSIC Bottle Guinea Pig Colortone, 320 ml

The metal coil springs to attach the water bottles to your cage/hutch are better than the plastic covered wires that come with the bottles. I get mine from Ebay.

Food Bowls (again, one per guinea pig). These ones are lovely, but slightly more expensive.

HAYPIGS Guinea Pig Toys and Accessories – Circus Themed FOOD CRAVING TAMER Guinea Pig Bowl – Guinea Pig Food Bowl – Hedgehog Bowl – Rabbit Bowl – Small Animal Food Bowl

A cheaper option is –

Trixie Ceramic Bowl with Motif for Guinea Pig, 250 ml

What to use for bedding is partially personal choice. I started with using Megazorb (a wood pulp bedding), as I have always used a form of wood shavings or other wood bedding before (but this was outside or in stables). Megazorb is excellent – very absorbent, feels warm and easy to keep clean – but there is a bit of dust, of course, and that was making me sneeze whilst working in my craft room. Also, George was running around and kicking it into Coco’s eyes.

Megazorb Animal Bedding 85 Litres

Other ‘natural’ options are paper litter, particularly in a litter tray with hay –

Back 2 Nature Small Animal Bedding – 30 L

Soft paper bedding (I am tempted to try this) -this is for the largest pack size to make it more economical, but take a look at the other options.

Kaytee Clean & Cozy Super Absorbent Paper Bedding for Cages, Hamster, Gerbil, Mice, Rabbit, Guinea Pig, 85 Litre, White

I had said that I would try both main methods of bedding anyway, so on Sunday I swapped over to using bath mats over washable bed mats. I was recommended to try the soft bobble microfibre mats from Home Bargains (which are £5 each). They are excellent. Very soft, absorbent, easy to wash and dry. Wilko also do them – and in more colours – but £6 each. I will not put a link to the Amazon ones, as they are £9 each – but if anyone wants any help in sourcing bath mats, then just get in touch.

I bought washable bed mats to go underneath to soak up any extreme liquids! However, so far the bath mats are doing an excellent job and the mats do not seem to get damp at all. I am thinking of getting some soft paper bedding to try on top of the bed mats, so will report back on Instagram how that is going.

The best mats I found are these. I need 3 for my size of C&C, but please measure your guinea pig housing and see how many you will need. I haven’t washed these yet, but they are meant to be easy and quick to dry.

Washable Bed Protector/Pad without Tucks – Pack of 2

(Many people are using cheap disposable puppy pads under fleece etc, but I did not want to contribute to the landfill problem and there are reports that they are dangerous if the guinea pigs nibble on them.)

There is a huge range of fleece liners to use with guinea pigs – and many people just buy fleece or Vet Bed in sections themselves. I am probably going to try out a specific cage liner – Guineadad is a recommended one – which has a waterproof backing, so no need for the bed mats, or just a good quality fleece liner (which are cheaper and available from Amazon and Etsy).

(I will come back and edit this when I have tried out some fleece. In the meantime, any of the excellent groups on Facebook will be able to give recommendations.)

If you are going to use fleece or bath mats in outside housing, then make sure it never gets damp. Lots and lots of hay for them to burrow into, and perhaps consider soft paper bedding or Megazorb.

If you use fleece or bath mats, then you will need a large laundry bag to save the hay etc getting into your washing machine (and I tumble dry afterwards to get all the extra bits off – after shaking it out well outside before washing).

There are cheaper options on Amazon now, but I have used this specific one for over 10 years and it is still working well.

Horsewear Wash Bag, Filters Horse Hair and Protects Washing Machines, Jumbo Size, Orange

I will talk about hay/feed/treats and accessories/extras in other blog posts (again email me if you have any questions).

Sorry for this being a bit of a long list – but I am getting questions on social media every day about what I have bought, so have promised specific links!

Join my email community for the password to my Freebies page – Printable PDF on Winter Care and my first wallpaper design for your phone/tablet/pc.

If you are in Pembrokeshire, then I have started to sell essentials for your small pets. Hay is £2 per black bag.