Guinea Pig Care

Guinea pig information

Guinea pigs are wonderful pets who start out shy but form a close bond with the humans who look after them once trust is built. They live for 4 - 7 years and love being picked up and stroked.

Some interesting facts

  • They are most active at dawn and dusk.
  • A guinea pig’s teeth never stop growing.
  • They need lots of fresh hay every day because chewing it wears the teeth down. Keeping a wood block or fruit branch in their enclosure also helps.
  • Like humans, they can’t store vitamin C so they need a daily dose from fresh fruit and vegetables.
  • Guinea pigs love to burrow and hide in their sleeping area.
  • They make lots of weird sounds to communicate. Figuring out what they all mean is a lot of fun.
  • When guinea pigs are super happy or excited they jump around their enclosure. This is called ‘popcorning’.


Timothy Hay available from Franklin Vets

What equipment do you need?

  • Hutch and exercise run – roomy and weather-proof with an enclosed part for sleeping and hiding. 120cm x 60cm x 45cm will house two guinea pigs
  • Water bottle
  • Bedding straw
  • Grass hay: timothy or lucerne hay
  • Pellets
  • Heavy ceramic food bowl
  • Treats

Looking after your guinea pig

  • Place hutch away from rain, wind and direct sunlight
  • Layer bedding hay over an absorbent base like shredded ink-free paper, cat litter or wood shavings
  • Feed two large handfuls of timothy or lucerne hay, 1/4 cup of green leafy vegetables, 1/4 cup of guinea pig pellets
  • Occasional guinea pig treats are ok
  • Change water daily to keep fresh
  • Remove droppings, wet spots and uneaten vegetables daily
  • Replace bedding hay weekly
  • Allow free-range exercise but supervise carefully
  • Handle gently and regularly. Use two hands to pick up

Other factors to look out for

  • Clip their claws every few weeks
  • Provide a gnawing block if needed for overgrown teeth.
  • Wood shavings from cedar or other fragrant woods can be poisonous
  • No more than two guinea pigs per hutch. Fights will break out
  • Handling too often or too roughly causes stress
  • Don't give access to things that shouldn’t be chewed, like electrical cables.