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 email@example.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.
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).
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.
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.
(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.
The boys! I collected them from Nibbles Rodent & Rabbit Rescue on Friday (23rd October 2020). Thank you to Siobhan & her team for looking after them so well for the past year.
They are both just over 2 years old (approximate birthday was August 2018) and are a well-bonded pair.
It is wonderful having some company in my craft room again – definitely not quiet anymore!
Coco is the large dark brindle with a white stripe on his face. He has an interesting hairdo, and is probably part-Abyssinian (with perhaps Peruvian somewhere in his history).
George is the Tri-Colour with the small black wig on his head!
They are slowly getting more confident around me, but definitely like to run to a safe place if I startle them. If I have any food, or rustle a plastic bag, then they will approach. I am taking part in a 5 Day Taming Challenge on Facebook (link on my Home Page), and that is helping already.
It is important to be patient when new piggies join your household, even if they are adults that have been well-handled in their former home. Do not grab them, let them become accustomed to their new home and spend as much time around them as possible.
More tips on settling guinea pigs into your household soon, but please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
I am posting photos and videos on Instagram every day. Go over there and follow me. I would love to see photos of your guinea pigs.
Here are 15 gift ideas for guinea pig lovers – great for Christmas, but suitable any time of the year (birthdays, anniversary of getting a specific guinea pig …). 2020 Holiday Gift Guide. These are all affordable and are definitely for the humans. I will write another blog post with gift ideas for your guinea pigs.
I want all of these!
Please note these are all affiliate links, so you will not pay any more, but I will get a small payment to help support this blog.
Not On The High Street
The Book Depository
I will have my own designs listed on Zazzle by 2021, but for now here are three really gorgeous designs (remember that you will be able to choose many different items for each design).
Firstly, carry a card in your wallet notifying any emergency personnel that you have pets at home, and display a card in your door/window at home to show that there are pets in the home (or garden/yard/fields).
I have designed a printable that has these (plus a keychain tag) on one A4 sheet. Lots of different options for your non-human family, including the most popular dog breeds, and I will be adding many more in the next few weeks. I can also do a custom order, with perhaps photos of your pets. Click HEREto visit my Etsy Shop.
Ensure that at least two separate people you trust have access to your home – sets of keys, knowledge of where keys are hidden, alarm codes …
Try to choose people who live close to your home, are around when you are at work, know your pets and are happy to care for your pets temporarily.
Prepare an emergency kit for your pets (so one per animal).
These could contain, for example, – Any pet insurance details – Vet and vaccination records – Information about any medication your pet needs, and where these are in the home – A carrier for a small pet – A slip lead for a dog – Information about any behaviour problems/habits, feeding routine etc.
Ensure your ‘Emergency Guardians’ know where these emergency kits are (which should be in waterproof containers). Also, always have enough food/medication for at least two weeks.
Put into writing permanent arrangements for your pets.
This could detail the permanent caregiver(s) for your pets, permission for pets to be put to sleep if this is the best thing for them (only you can decide on that), and either a trust or other financial arrangement to ensure they are cared for. This could be in your will or another formal written arrangement.
However, keep in mind that you need to ensure that there are written instructions to ensure your pets are cared for immediately, as a will for instance will take some time to come into effect.
Organisations in the UK that will ensure your pet is cared for if you die or are unable to provide long-term care –
This is a lot to think about, but once done (and updated regularly) will give you some peace of mind knowing that in the case of an emergency your pets will be cared for appropriately.
This is just a very basic guide. Every pet family will be different and your circumstances will vary a lot as well.
Think about the extra arrangements needed for animals kept outside, particularly large animals such as equines/cattle/sheep/alpacas etc. I will be writing a separate blog post with information for owners of such animals. In the meantime, if you need any guidance, please contact me at email@example.com.
One final tip – take lots of photos and videos of your pets. These will be a huge comfort if you are unable to care for your pets anymore.
Take at look at my Pets Page, with some affiliate links for shopping and pet care.
If you need some advice on Moving House with Pets, take a look at this guide from GoCompare.