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We have decided to get a guinea pig

Moms View Message Board: General Discussion: Archive November 2006: We have decided to get a guinea pig
By Debbie on Saturday, November 25, 2006 - 06:06 pm:

So, does anyone have any suggestions, tips, advice? I would really like suggestions on cages if anyone has one they really like. We have been talking about getting a pet for awhile. My boys decided they didn't want a dog, dh wasn't real happy about it either. So, we started checking into hamsters and guinea pigs. I think a guinea pig would be a better fit for us then a hamster. I have read that they are more social and loving then a hamster. Is this true? Any help you can give me would be appreciated since I don't know a whole lot about them, just what I have read.

By Luvn29 on Saturday, November 25, 2006 - 06:48 pm:

They are very social animals, and it is because of this I would suggest getting two females at one time. They seem to be much happier when there is more than one. I had guinea pigs for years. It has just been in the last several months that we haven't had any because the last one died, and we aren't getting any more pets at this time because we will be moving within a year or two...

My favorite thing to use for them was a long clear plastic container that is meant to slide under the bed. It was only maybe 7 or 8 inches tall, so the piggies could come to you and could easily be reached to give food to. Of course, we don't have cats in the house, so it was possible not to have a cage with a top. This actually came with a top that was hinged in the middle, and we bent the one side up and placed something on it because they love to hide in boxes and such, and this provided cover without taking up running room. We got them at Wal-mart.

They shouldn't be placed in the exercise balls, and they shouldn't use wheels, and probably wouldn't anyway, because they will break their feet and legs. They do need more space than a small cage or aquarium to move around in. We also blocked off a room, made it safe, and let them run around there.

We used to buy them lettuce and such from the grocery store and they became so spoiled that everytime they heard a grocery bag rattle, they started wheeking for a treat. I fed them something fresh every single evening. It keeps them healthy. They also love timothy hay, which is very good for their health. And in the summer, pick them fresh grass, and they love dandelions and the weedy greens that grow with dandelions. They also love clover.

Make sure to keep them fresh water, and as long as you keep their home clean, their feet and nails will stay healthy.

Good luck! We had so much fun with ours! I do miss having them, and my mom has just now stopped calling to tell me she had vegetable scraps for our piggies! She kept everything from green peppers to peelings from carrots and the leaves from cauliflower. They just can't have potatoes.

If you have any other specific questions, please let me know.

By the way, some say they are very noisy creatures at night, but I have found this to be mostly when they are lonely. That's one reason it's best for them to have a pal.

By Bobbie~moderatr on Saturday, November 25, 2006 - 07:02 pm:

We have Guinea pigs. Last year for Christmas the girls got two females pigs. We were assured that they were too young to breed and that they couldn't be pregnant, seeings that they had them all in the same cage I had concerns. Guess someone should have informed Angel that she was to young to get pregnant. In January we were blessed with a little girl and two little boys...

I raised hamsters as a kid and I prefer pigs. Pigs are much smarter.. And yes they are much more loving. Our pigs love to snuggle. They also do little tricks the girls have taught them. They understand simple commands. They say the more you work with them, the more you play with them, the better pets they are. BUT they get to be huge..... Our biggest pig (male) is 14 inches long, not stretched out.. and they grow quickly... But they are so cute... Oh and they chatter, talk... They hear you getting in the fridge and they start talking up a storm wanting a treat...

Our pigs are served a bowl of food that they eat on all day and then at night they are given fresh veggies and fruit.. We also give them a supplement of C because they don't produce it on their own and can get sick with out it.

We just bought X large cages (the ones they use for ferrets) and we hung shelves at different levels for them to explore around/lounge around on.

I could go on and on... What else would you like to know?

By Bobbie~moderatr on Saturday, November 25, 2006 - 07:13 pm:

Adena, There is no way we could put our pigs in a cage with out a lid, let alone something 7 or 8 inches deep LOL The girls have things they have collected that they put out on the floor for the pigs to play with at night, they get a minimum of an hour of floor time a day, and they have a a box that is every bit of 12 inches tall that they all are able to climb in and out of. We also have to lock the doors of their cages because they boys figured out how to open theirs up..

By Marcia on Saturday, November 25, 2006 - 10:29 pm:

We loved ours, too. You'll find all kinds of things they will want to sell you for them, but you can make stuff on your own. They love to be inside things. We bought a couple of fat pieces of PVC tubing for them to go in and out of, and they loved it. Sometimes we cut doors in cardboard boxes.
We never found them to be noisy at night. They would call us when we walked into the room, but were otherwise quiet.

By Dawnk777 on Sunday, November 26, 2006 - 07:48 am:

Someone on my dog board has piggies, and she loves them. She has been doing piggie rescue. She had a message board she liked, for piggies.

Cavy Cages

It might be helpful. I think guinea pigs are cute!

By Hol on Sunday, November 26, 2006 - 12:15 pm:

We have one, a male named "Patch". He came with that name. We adopted him from the shelter three years ago. That was the only thing that DS Mike wanted for his birthday. The shelter was very nice to us in that they gave us the cage, too. Someone had turned "Patch" and his sister into the shelter because, supposedly, their kids were allergic to them. Patch is pretty. He is smooth haired, and is tri-colour- black, white and tan. He has that little divit in his hairdo that most piggies have. His sister wasn't as pretty. She was white and had long hair. I was prepared to take both of them but our vet volunteers at the shelter and said that the shelter people had put them both in the same cage for a while and she thought that the female was pregnant. They ARE very prolific and their gestation period is very short.

Patch has proved to be a wonderful pet and very little trouble. His cage is nice. It has a solid bottom and a wire top that detatches. Twice a week, we put the wire part on the floor, which serves as a cage, put newspapers on the floor, and put him in it. Then we dispose of his bedding, scrub the box with hot water and a little Dawn dishwashing detergent, and dry it out well. We then add three layers of paper towel in the bottom, followed by a thick layer of newspaper, and then add the shavings. They create a nice soft bed for him. DON'T use cedar shavings, as the aromatic oils in them will cause respiratory failure. We used to get these wood shavings at Walmart that had chlorophyll pellets in them. It kept the smell away, and it was okay if he ate them. For some reason, Walmart here has stopped carrying them, so I buy a big bag of Aspen shavings online from I buy my pet food from them, too. They are very clean shavings, absorbent, and dustless. It is only $7.99 for a HUGE bag. My sister has a piggy named "Lily" and she uses this stuff that looks like "curls" of corregated cardboard. It comes in a bag, also available from Walmart and it is very cheap.

After we get his cage put back together, we give him a handful of Timothy hay everyday. Again, available by the bag. We give him two scoops of Guinea pig food every day. I use the little scoop that comes in a can of iced tea mix. I have two dishes for him so that I always have a clean one while the other one goes through the dishwasher. Make sure you get a flat bottom bowl with some weight to it or they will tip them over. I also bought ceramic ones so that he couldn't chew it. He has a rodent bottle hanging o the side of his cage that we change his drinking water everyday. That is very important because if piggies can't drink, they can't eat. He also gets fresh veggies or fruit every night. He loves cut up apple, grapes, baby carrots, oranges (peeled), strawberries, green or red peppers. It is true that they need daily vitamin C or they will get sick and die. A good guinea pig food has it in it, too. We bought a plastic tunnel in Petco that hags on the side of the cage and he likes to run through it or sit in it. They are cave dwellers in their native Peru and love tight spaces. That's why the British call them "cavys". They should be kept out of drafts or extreme cold.

Males are bigger than females and messier and smellier (like their human counterparts. :)) Patch is VERY sociable and talkative, but he is quiet at night. We also give him "run time" everyday on the floor, or in hot weather, out on the grass (just keep a constant eye on him and don't put him on grass that has been chemically treated). He loves to cuddle with Mike in bed while he is watching TV or reading. Just put a towel under him.

Their teeth constantly grow like rabbits, so they need to chew to wear them down. DH cuts saplings off of our fruit trees for him. He especially loves apple wood. He chews all the bark off. Their nails do need to be trimmed occasionally. We do it ourselves, but you can also have a vet or dog groomer do it.

I did not know that about potatoes or about the exercise ball. They DO have delicate little legs and feet for their chubby little bodies. You also have to pick them up by putting your hand underneath and supporting their tummy or you can break their back.

We love "Patch". He is a fun pet. I didn't know anything about them until we got him, but I'd get another one. They are great comapny and wonderful pets for apartment dwellers.

When Patch is angry, he makes this noise where he clacks his teeth together. He very seldom GETS angry, and loves everybody. However, this past summer when Mike was at Boy Scout camp for a week, I took care of Patch. I thought he'd be lonely because his cage is in Mike's room. I would pet him and he would make that clacky noise. However, as soon as Mike came home and walked in the room, Patch started squealing and squeaking!! He was so glad to see him! :) Shawn tells Mike that Patch MUST love him because he can stand to sleep in there with Mike's stinky feet! LOL! Gotta love brotherly love! LOL! :)

By Dawnk777 on Sunday, November 26, 2006 - 04:08 pm:

DH has been shredding a lot of paper, recently. It looks like it would be good bedding for something. Does paper work?

By Hol on Sunday, November 26, 2006 - 04:27 pm:

No not really. We have used that a couple times when we ran out of wood shavings. It isn't very absorbent and mashes down really quickly. You'd have to change it everyday, and then only newspaper. Shiny paper like magazines can be toxic. You have to remember, too, that anything you put near a rodent will get chewed and eaten. My boys found that out once, the hard way. They had a USB cable running accross the top of the cage to their Playstation2. It got chewed. They had to buy a new one. It is really important to keep the shavings clean and dry or they can get foot infections that can be lethal.

By Hol on Sunday, November 26, 2006 - 04:40 pm:

I would urge you to try your local animal shelter or There are a LOT of them available and you would not only save yourself some money from buying one, but you ease the burden of the shelters who have to care for them. Many times they will even GIVE you the cage. The cage that we got was worth $60.00 in Petco. All we had to buy were the dishes, water bottle, plastic tunnel, and the food and bedding. Even with the adoption fee (which was optional at our shelter) it didn't cost us very much at all.

People can be so cruel. Our shelter had one piggie that was found abandoned in his cage in a ditch on the side of the road. Thank goodness someone found him in time and turned him in to the shelter. He got a good home.

By Hol on Sunday, November 26, 2006 - 04:46 pm:

Dawn - That's a great website! Thanks for the info.

By Luvn29 on Sunday, November 26, 2006 - 05:13 pm:

Hol, that is so funny, because we had a piggy named Patches, and one named Lily, too!

A reason other than the foot issue with the balls is the respiratory thing. They can overheat very easily in the plastic balls....

We found Aspen bedding to work the best. It didn't have that deadly odor, and it stayed nice and fresh!

By Dawnk777 on Sunday, November 26, 2006 - 05:34 pm:

Okay, thanks Hol. I was just wondering, about the shredded paper. It looks fluffy enough when shredded, but it is no good if it doesn't stay fluffy.

By Crystal915 on Sunday, November 26, 2006 - 07:04 pm:

Like Hol said, be VERY careful with wood shavings. We lost a chinchilla because Petsmart did not warn us that wood shavings can cause upper resp. infections. Cedar is the biggest culprit, but many rodent and marsupial experts warn against any wood, and prefer the recycled paper bedding, like CareFresh.

By Debbie on Sunday, November 26, 2006 - 09:19 pm:

Thank you so much for all the information. I am going to be checking around this week. I am sure I will have more questions as I go, I will definitely ask them here. It is nice to know that several of you have them, and really enjoy them as pets. This is actually a Christmas present for my ds, but I want to get one in the next week or so.

Thank you again.

By Debbie on Sunday, November 26, 2006 - 09:41 pm:

Thank you so much for all the information. I am going to be checking around this week. I am sure I will have more questions as I go, I will definitely ask them here. It is nice to know that several of you have them, and really enjoy them as pets. This is actually a Christmas present for my ds, but I want to get one in the next week or so.

Thank you again.

By Debbie on Sunday, November 26, 2006 - 09:41 pm:

Oops, sorry for the double post.

By Hol on Sunday, November 26, 2006 - 10:13 pm:

Deb - Go to and click on "small animals". Type in 'guinea pig' and your zip code and see if there are any in a shelter near to where you are. Just for the heck of it, I did my zipcode. There is a shelter real close to me that has a pair of them at this time, and then there is another shelter near me that has two in a foster home, looking for adoption. However, I am in Rhode Island. There is a shelter in Durham, CT that also came up for my zipcode. They are a shelter JUST for guinea pigs and they have so many to choose from. It's sad in a way. They show the pictures and they are all so cute.

Adena - I saw one on petfinder today named Lily, too. :)

By Debbie on Monday, November 27, 2006 - 08:59 am:

Hol, I checked out the website and there is a shelter near us. However, ds woke up this morning and said he feels more comfortable with a hamster. He said if he enjoys the hamster, then he would like a guinea pig later. When we were first talking about getting a pet, we talked about how hamsters only live 2-3 yrs. So, I guess now I will be checking out hamsters. I think the guinea pigs are adorable, so I am a little disappointed. But, I am very happy he is putting a lot of thought into this. I also think 2 guinea pigs would be better then one, and they are a very big responsibility, much more then a hamster. So, I think he has a good idea to start out with a hamster and go from there.

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