|When you bring a new guinea pig home for the first time, or if you own an adult guinea pig there are certain items of equipment that you should have.|
Guinea Pig Housing
You will need a hutch or cage to keep your guinea pig in. There are various different types of hutches and cages on the market today but it is very important that you purchase one that is large enough for your guinea pig. The hutch should be around 4 - 5 times the length of the guinea pig when it is stretched out and a minimum length of 92 cms (36 inches). A hutch can never be too big, so get the largest one you can and remember if you are keeping more than one guinea pig, the hutch will need to be much larger.
These are the most popular type of hutch. If you are intending to keep your guinea pig outdoors, you will need to insure that the hutch has a sloping, waterproof roof. Those intended for indoor use have a flat roof and are not suitable to be situated outside.
Wooden hutches are made up of two areas; they have an enclosed, wood paneled area at one end which your guinea pig will need in order to sleep, seek privacy and shelter, and the rest of the hutch will have a wire mesh front where your guinea pig can feed, look outside and get some fresh air.
Wooden hutches are also available that have multi levels and/or a guinea pig run extension. The extension is made up of a wooden frame with wire mesh sides and no floor. These are designed to be situated on grass so your guinea pig has an outside area to play, exercise and eat grass.
The disadvantage of wooden hutches is that that the wooden floor soaks up urine so a deep floor covering is required that will regularly need to be changed. They may also need to be repaired if your guinea pig gnaws on the wood.
Plastic and Wire Cages;
Plastic and wire cages are designed for guinea pigs that are to be kept indoors. They are constructed of either a metal or plastic base with a wire top. Most of them do not provide a sleeping area so you will have to provide your guinea pig with a sleeping box.
Plastic and metal cages are more easily cleaned than wooden hutches, but cages with wire floors should be avoided as they can hurt your guinea pig's feet. In general, most plastic and wire cages are too small so they should not be used to house your guinea pig.
In addition to a hutch, your guinea pig will also need an exercise area. Some hutches already have a built in run where your guinea pig can access the outside, but if your hutch doesn't have this you can purchase exercise pens that you can put up and place your guinea pig in so they can run around and play on the grass.
Guinea pigs like to have a nesting area where they feel safe and secure. Wood shavings or wood pulp bedding and large amounts of hay are ideal nesting materials. Hay that is used should be clean and dust free as your guinea pig will also eat it. Because of this reason you will need to regularly check the amount hay and you may have to top it up daily.
You will need to provide a covering for the floor of your guinea pig's hutch so that your guinea pig has a nice, comfortable surface to run around on and it will also soak up any urine.
Wood shavings are a popular type of floor covering as is litter made from wood pulp. You should avoid using sawdust, cedar wood shavings, scented shavings or corn cob bedding as these can all cause irritation in guinea pigs.
You will need to put guinea pig food in a bowl to prevent it from becoming soiled. Ceramic bowls are the most suitable for this as they cannot be chewed or knocked over by your guinea pig, unlike plastic or lightweight metal dishes.
You could also provide your guinea pig with a hay/salad rack to eat their hay and vegetables from.
Guinea Pigs need a constant supply of water and the best way to provide this is with a water bottle that can be attached to the side of your guinea pig's hutch.
The best type of water bottles to buy are those with ball bearings in the end as they are less prone to leaks. However, as a precaution it is best to supply your guinea pig with two water bottles, just in case one leaks and becomes empty, then your guinea pig will still have access to water from the other bottle.
If you keep your guinea pig outdoors it may be necessary to insulate the water bottle during the winter months to prevent the water from freezing. Also, when water freezes it expands, so never fill a water bottle to the top as if it does happen to freeze it will split the water bottle.
Short haired guinea pigs only require weekly grooming, but long haired guinea pigs should be groomed every day.
A variety of grooming brushes and implements are available to suit a variety of coat lengths. Extra grooming during times when your guinea pig is shedding his coat, helps to reduce the risk of hair balls.
Your guinea pig's nails may need occasional trimming and this should be done with a pet nail clipper. These as well as a variety of grooming equipment can be purchased from our online store or a pet shop.
Travel Equipment & Accessories
There will be occasions when you may need to take your guinea pig out in the car and there are many items available to ensure both he and you have a safe, comfortable journey.
A travel box or carrier is the most suitable way to transport your guinea pig. They should be large enough for your guinea pig to stand and turn around in, but not so big they can be tossed around inside when travelling.