Guinea Pig Checklist – Tick It Off!

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There are a certain set of basic items you need to get before you bring home guinea pigs. I will be adding in some additional items that you may want to get, but it is not crucial to get these. Having good preparation will make it easier for you and your new friends will thank you for it, as they settle into their new home. Other items are more expensive than others and will be with start up as well as be concurring costs. I am including items that you want to completely avoid, at the bottom of this page. So please check out this guinea pig checklist.

Mush have items

1. The home

Buy a home that will be big enough for all the guinea pigs you are going to be bringing back. A minimum space recommended by the RSPCA for two guinea pigs is 4 by 2 foot. There are various options that you can purchase like a wooden hutch, making up a canc cage, plastic cages, make your own out of wood for example and even a shed. Hopefully the new home can last there entire lifes, make sure it is of good quality and will suit their needs.

2. Bedding

Fleece, hay, vetbed and paper based are some examples of bedding you can find on the market. Just make up the bedding of three layers. It needs to be a solid base that will soak up urine.

3. Food

Bags of hay, fresh vegetables and nuggets are what you need to purchase before getting them and are concurring costs.

4. Carrier

A small cat carrier is something you need to get to transport your guinea pigs around. It can fit two guinea pigs in quite comfortably and purchase one that has a soft pad included or place a bit of fleece inside. Ferplast are a good brand and produce sturdy carriers.

5. Food bowl and water bottles

Ceramic food bowls that can’t be tipped over and water bottles that are ideally 320ml, which will provide plenty of water throughout the day.

6. Hideys

Photo by Eden Kaye

It is vitally important that you buy different types of hideys as guinea pigs love and need hiding places to feel secure. I would say for two, buy at least three to four. Examples of hideys are tunnels, plastic igloos, fleece cosies are also good for transporting them from one place to another, fleece and wooden houses provide good space for even two to fit inside and plastic tents are ideal for outside.

7. Brushes

They will need weekly grooming, to get rid of any loose hairs. There are either soft or hard bristled brushes.

8. Cleaning Supplies

Items like j cloths, baby wipes and disinfectant like the Johnsons brand will be needed to clean out the home and playpen. Distilled vinegar will help to clean calcium deposits from urine, on surfaces like wood and plastic. If you have fleece or vetbed bedding, purchase non bio washing liquid as powder will cause them irritation, again vinegar to help clear stains as well as vanish stain remover will just make sure that heavy-duty marks will die down. A portable hoover to clean away poos and hay if using that bedding with the home and playpen, will keep everything in tip top shape. A rubber dog hair brush will remove hairs and hay of the fleece, before going into the washing machine. This is a life saver and really does clean it well.

9. Playpen

Can be a metal fenced, maybe a little play sandpit or made from wooden walls. For inside place the appropriate flooring down like a plastic covering and three layers of absorbable bedding like fleece and two layers of toweling is just one example. Remember the outside playpen will need to have a roof cover.

10. Vitamin C supplements

Makes sure they are having enough vitamin c on top of the veg you will be feeding. But buy the solid tablets as dissolvable ones will decrease in vitamin c quickly in the water bottles.

11. Toys

Wooden and wicker toys are a favourite like balls and chews and they need to be animal friendly. Guinea pigs are not big on playing with loads of toys like some other pets are. So there is no need to get too many, just a few for more than two piggies. Some will like playing more than others. I think at a young age, they will be more fascinated by toys and as they get older, they will not be as interested.

Optional extras

1. Nail clippers

If you are able to straight away or in the future, then purchase nail clippers. But it is not a must purchase item like the others, as you may have to go to the vets for clippings. It is good to have them anyway though, just in case.

2. Herb mixture bags

Can be added with hay for extra variety and texture. They are great to get as it helps with them getting some more nutrients and for mental stimulation. Only feed once or twice a month depending on what is in the bag, as they could have too much of something that they can only have occasionally.

3. Medical supplies

For peace of mind and just in case you can buy some medical supplies like the special food mixture by Oxbow for guinea pigs that are not well enough to eat all their food. To be honest, there may be many situations where a trip to the vet will be the only solution to the problem.

Completely avoid these

1. Wheels

Hamsters love running in their wheel, but it is bad for guinea pigs as they can hurt their spine. They are just not designed to run in a wheel, so please avoid.

2. Leashes

You may walk a dog with a leash, but its cruel to do this with a guinea pig. They are animals that like to roam free and of course placed in a fixed area anyway. They will hurt the fragile spine and be squeezing their bodies too much. Plus you would probably get wierd looks from members of the public as you walk your guinea pig in the local park.

3. Junk Food

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Don’t start giving your pets mcdonalds to eat or human snacks like crisps, as this will kill them. There digestive systems are used to eating hay and vegetables. Also do not purchase foods like yoghurt drops in pet shops. They might say alright to feed small animals, but they are packed with a tonne of sugar and additives.

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10 comments found

  1. This is a great post! Excellent for those contemplating getting a guinea pig. I have thought about getting one but have yet to do it. I have heard people say that they can be mean and bite. Do you find this to be true? Is that just a matter of taming them by holding them frequently? Also, how often do you clean your guinea pig’s cage?

    1. Guinea pigs are very friendly and will rarely bite, only if you don’t wash your hands and think they are food. If they are for example wanting to be let go of, they may give a slight touch of the teeth, but you won’t feel anything. It is good to hold and stroke them, they are skittish and in time will be a lot more relaxed and trusting. I clean the hutches out every day and do full clean outs twice a week, washing the bedding and using disinfectant. Hope this helps.

  2. Hi Eden, Solid list of must haves for a guinea pig! I didn’t know about the vitamin C though. Are guinea pig foods generally deficient in vitamin C? Thanks for the info!

    1. Guinea pigs will get the majority of the vitamin c from the vegetables. Then its choosing supplements and nuggets that have a good amount of vitamin c in. There are some brands that will not be right for them, for example a muesli mix will not have the right nutrients and they will be picking out all the bad bits, whereas nuggets are all equally the same. Great brands for nuggets and supplements are Oxbow and Burgess. Many thanks for your comment Lynne.

  3. I really enjoyed your site. It was very easy to navigate and read. I also really love the main image you created. I will be sending people your way that have or are considering getting these wonderful animals.

  4. We used to have a guinea pig years ago that someone gave us. The person who gave it to us did not know its gender and neither did we so we named it Chewy. A gender neutral not too creative name. According to what I have read here about the only thing we did do right was feeding this poor animal. It did jump up and make high pitched noises when it knew it was dinner time. It also did that if it wanted some fresh veggies as a treat.
    I never knew there was so much to know about caring for a guinea pig, its too late for ours but, hopefully anyone who is getting ready to get one as a pet will read this and your guinea pig will have a happy, healthy life.

    1. I hope that I can help any people thinking of getting guinea pigs and existing owners. I have learnt so much over the past couple of years and want to make it a easy and simple learning experience on this website. They are wonderful creatures that deserve to have a happy and healthy life. By the way I like the name you gave your guinea pig, chewy.

  5. Hey Eden, thanks for creating this wonderful and informative place to learn all about guinea pigs. I’ve never had one of my own but have had friends and neighbors who have owned them and enjoyed them very much. They are definitely very cute!

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