The Top 25 Guinea Pig Care Questions Answered by UK Vets

Apr 09, 2024

The Top 25 Guinea Pig Care Questions Answered by UK Vets

Table of contents:

  1. Diet and Nutrition
  2. Health Care
  3. Housing and Environment
  4. Behaviour and Socialisation
  5. Grooming and Handling
  6. Nutritional Health Issues
  7. Breeding
  8. General Care

Guinea pigs, with their sociable nature and expressive personalities, make fantastic pets for animal lovers. However, their care requires specific knowledge to ensure they lead a healthy and happy life. To help new and seasoned guinea pig owners alike, we’ve compiled a list of the top 25 questions UK vets are frequently asked about guinea pig care, complete with comprehensive answers.

Diet and Nutrition

1. What should I feed my guinea pig? A balanced diet includes unlimited Timothy hay, high-quality guinea pig pellets (vitamin C fortified), and fresh vegetables daily. Always provide fresh, clean water.

2. Can guinea pigs eat fruits? Yes, but in moderation due to high sugar content. Fruits like apples, pears, and berries can be given as occasional treats.

3. How often should I feed my guinea pig? Hay should be available at all times. Offer vegetables and a small amount of pellets daily.

Health Care

4. How often should my guinea pig see a vet? Annual wellness checks are recommended, or immediately if you notice any signs of illness.

5. Do guinea pigs need vaccinations? No, guinea pigs in the UK do not require vaccinations, but regular health checks are important.

6. What are common health issues in guinea pigs? Dental problems, respiratory infections, scurvy (due to vitamin C deficiency), and parasites are common issues.

Housing and Environment

7. What type of cage is best for a guinea pig? A spacious, well-ventilated cage or pen with a solid floor, free from drafts and direct sunlight.

8. Can guinea pigs live outdoors? While they can, guinea pigs are sensitive to extreme temperatures. Outdoor hutches need to be predator-proof, insulated, and weather-protected.

9. How often should I clean the cage? Spot-clean daily and do a thorough clean at least once a week.

Behaviour and Socialisation

10. Are guinea pigs social animals? Yes, they thrive in pairs or small groups, but ensure they are of the same sex or neutered to prevent breeding.

11. How can I tell if my guinea pig is happy? Happy guinea pigs may purr, “popcorn” (jump in the air joyfully), and be interactive with their owners or cage mates.

12. Do guinea pigs bite? Guinea pigs are generally gentle but may nip if scared, stressed, or mishandled.

Grooming and Handling

13. How often should I groom my guinea pig? Weekly brushing is recommended, more often for long-haired breeds. Nails should be trimmed monthly.

14. Can I bathe my guinea pig? It’s best to avoid baths unless absolutely necessary, as it can be stressful. Spot-clean dirty areas instead.

Nutritional Health Issues

15. How can I ensure my guinea pig gets enough vitamin C? Provide a diet with fresh veggies high in vitamin C, like bell peppers, and ensure their pellets are vitamin C fortified.


16. Should I breed my guinea pig? Breeding is not recommended without thorough knowledge of genetics, care, and the risks involved.

General Care

17. How long do guinea pigs live? With proper care, guinea pigs typically live between 4 to 8 years.

18. Can guinea pigs be litter trained? They can learn to use a litter tray in their cage, especially for urination, but training requires patience.

19. What are signs of stress in guinea pigs? Hiding, excessive chewing, aggression, or changes in eating habits can indicate stress.

20. How can I make my home safe for my guinea pig? Guinea pig-proof areas by covering electrical cords, removing toxic plants, and securing small spaces they could get stuck in.

21. How do guinea pigs communicate? Through a variety of sounds like wheeking (excitement), purring (contentment), and chattering (aggression or discomfort).

22. What should I do if my guinea pig stops eating? This is a medical emergency. Contact your vet immediately as it could indicate serious health issues.

23. Can guinea pigs get along with other pets? Careful introductions are necessary, and they should never be left unsupervised with larger pets.

24. How much exercise does my guinea pig need? Provide daily out-of-cage time in a secure, guinea pig-proofed area for exercise and exploration.

25. Can guinea pigs live alone? While they can, it’s not recommended due to their social nature. Companionship prevents loneliness and stress.

Understanding and meeting your guinea pig’s needs can ensure they lead a fulfilling life as a cherished pet. Regular vet visits and informed care are key to addressing any health concerns promptly and keeping your guinea pig healthy and happy.

© Vet Verified 2024