Guinea pigs are very social animals. Image: Sandos, by way of Wikimedia Commons.
I bear in mind my son had nice enjoyable along with his two beautiful guinea pigs – Norma and Flo, writes Alison Laurie-Chalmers.
Guinea pigs are splendidly sociable animals, they usually could make excellent pets for kids. As guinea pigs are naturally social, they will get lonely.
They’re happiest stored in pairs and can then be content material and extra entertaining pets, although keep away from pairing female and male guinea pigs collectively. Nevertheless, interactions with different pets ought to at all times be rigorously supervised. By no means go away a guinea pig unattended within the presence of one other animal which might doubtlessly be predatory to them.
When offering housing for guinea pigs, hold the housing space dry and free from drafts and home guinea pigs in a clear, roomy hutch with loads of deep, clear, mud free wooden shavings, and contemporary clear hay. Loads of tender, deep, clear bedding is vital to keep away from foot issues.
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Guinea pigs want a high- fibre food plan to maintain their tooth wholesome, supplemented with vitamin C, as they lack the enzyme to synthesise this vitamin and might solely retailer it for brief durations.
Guinea pigs are susceptible to dental issues as they’ve constantly rising tooth, so that they do require a food plan excessive in fibre. The bulk, 85 to 90 per cent, of their food plan ought to be a top-quality, feeding hay. They will need to have each day entry to hay as a excessive fibrous meals to ensure that their digestive methods work correctly, and to assist put on down their rising tooth.
They can’t make their very own vitamin C, and they also should receive this vitamin from their food plan. This ought to be supplemented within the type of each day contemporary greens, akin to kale, broccoli, and parsley, at all times fed although carefully. One of the best ways to make sure they get sufficient vitamin C, with out inflicting a tummy upset, is to supply them with a each day teacup stuffed with contemporary greens. Feed not more than a teacup-sized quantity a day although, alongside their guinea pig hay and nuggets every single day.
Vitamin C may also be added to ingesting water in a rigorously dosed, supplemented liquid type, however this water ought to at all times be modified each day, as vitamin C degrades rapidly. Indicators of a vitamin C deficiency embrace lameness, swelling of joints, tooth issues, lethargy, pores and skin sores and poor wound therapeutic. Some full pelleted diets do have added vitamin C, however usually not sufficient. Guinea pigs don’t naturally eat fruit or root greens, however you may embrace them in small quantities as treats. This could possibly be small items of carrot or celery, a cherry tomato, a bit little bit of banana or an apple quarter. Recent fruit is a pleasant deal with; nonetheless, it’s excessive in sugar and might trigger weight acquire.
There may be the potential danger that when guinea pigs are fed a “muesli” type food plan that they might then “selectively” feed. That is when animals solely eat sure parts of their food plan, such because the excessive sugar elements, and this may then result in dietary imbalances, akin to vitamin C deficiency. Feeding a single element, good high quality, pelleted, “nugget”-type food plan will forestall selective feeding. Round 5 per cent of your guinea pigs’ each day food plan ought to comprise of a tablespoon-sized portion of high-fibre, guinea pig nuggets, containing important rigorously balanced nutritional vitamins and minerals.
For feeding use a heavy meals bowl that can’t be tipped, and contemporary clear water ought to at all times be obtainable in an easy-to-reach water bottle and heavy ceramic bowl. Meals bowls and water bottles ought to be cleaned out and refilled with contemporary meals and water each day.
For recommendation on guinea pig care and well being, name your vet for ideas and to rearrange a normal well being check-up in case you are involved about your pet’s well being.
n Alison Laurie-Chalmers is a senior guide at Crown Vets.
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