Advice on Guinea Pigs

Squeak piggy squeak! How to avoid a grumpy guinea pig

Guinea pigs live in groups in the wild so it's a good idea to keep more than one together. Male guinea pigs sometimes fight if kept together and it's best to keep males and females apart so they don't breed. Rabbits can sometimes be aggressive to guinea pigs so try and avoid keeping them together.


Food and Water

Guinea pigs need a balanced diet including cereals and vegetables. You can buy ready mixed guinea pig food and add fresh vegetables, like carrots, for variety. Guinea pigs like to graze, and grass or hay provide roughage. Check that:

  • your guinea pig can always get to water (a drip bottle is good, but make sure it doesn't get blocked)
  • your guinea pig gets enough vitamin C, they can't make this in their bodies so you need to provide foods rich in vitamin C
  • if rabbits and guinea pigs live together they get the right food (rabbit pellets may not contain everything that a guinea pig needs)
  • your guinea pig can graze in the summer (you can put an enclosure out on the lawn)



Your guinea pig's hutch needs to be secure and big enough for it to move around in (the bigger the better). You can line the floor with sawdust or wood shavings, but be careful what you buy as cedar and pine shavings contain oils which might be bad for guinea pigs. Make sure that:

  • your guinea pig is kept away from dogs and cats
  • the hutch is away from drafts and out of direct sunlight
  • if the weather is cold you move the hutch inside
  • your hutch has two compartments, one for sleeping and another where it can eat and run around
  • your guinea pig has soft bedding like hay (avoid nylon and cotton wool as these can be dangerous)
  • your guinea pig has something to gnaw on to help stop its teeth from growing too long



It's important that guinea pigs get exercise every day. They can run around in your garden or inside, but check that it's safe before you let them out. Check that your guinea pig:

  • can't escape (it's better to get a run for your guinea pig if you're not sure)
  • has somewhere to shelter from the sun or rain
  • can always get to water
  • isn't bothered by dogs and cats
  • can't chew furniture, wires or plants



Guinea pigs will groom themselves, but if your guinea pig has long hair you may need to brush it to stop its fur from getting tangled. You need to clean your guinea pig's enclosure at least once a week. Remember to:

  • remove its droppings
  • put clean wood chippings and bedding down
  • clean the water bottle
  • clear away any old food



Guinea pigs can be quite nervous and quick so try to be calm and gentle when handling them. Pick your guinea pig up by either:

  • sliding your hand under its body and lifting, while gently putting your other hand on top of its body to stop it from wriggling
  • sliding one hand behind its back legs and the other in front of the front legs and gently scooping it up



Check that:

  • your guinea pig isn't scratching, as it may have lice or mites
  • your guinea pig's claws are not overgrown (if so they should be trimmed by a vet)
  • your guinea pig's teeth aren't getting too long