• Katherine Carbonaro

March is Adopt a Rescued Guinea Pig Month!



Every animal deserves a nurturing, loving home. Since March is Adopt a Rescued Guinea Pig Month, we want to give guinea pigs the attention they deserve and provide you with some information on how to make your rescued pal the happiest they can be.


Adoption


No matter what kind of furry (or feathery!) friend you’re looking for, adoption is an amazing option that brings love into the lives of animals and their rescuers. Many people think that animal shelters are only for larger, more "popular" pets such as cats and dogs, but many shelters also house smaller creatures such as rabbits, rats, birds, and yes, guinea pigs.


Unfortunately, since people are often unaware of the variety of animals that shelters have, they think their only option is to purchase a guinea pig. It's time to bring awareness to the diversity of animal shelters, one rescued guinea pig at a time!


Housing and Care


So, you want to rescue a guinea pig, but where should you start? Your new friend will need somewhere nice to live, and it's important to make sure it's the ideal home. First things first, you need to get a properly sized cage for your guinea pig. Some good guidelines to follow are:

  • At least a 7.5 square foot cage for one guinea pig (30" x 36").

  • A 10.5 square foot cage for two guinea pigs (about 30" x 50").

As the number of guinea pigs grows, so should the space they have. Buying a cage with enough ground space will give your guinea pig(s) plenty of room to dig and exercise.


As with most small animals, pine and cedar shavings shouldn't be used as bedding since they can contain chemicals and cause respiratory problems or other health issues. Paper bedding is recommended as it's safer, more comfortable, and better for burrowing and digging.


Top Tip for Shop Local Savings! Carefresh by Healthy Pet often has Astro Offers for their high-quality species-appropriate bedding. Check out their March Offer - only available when you shop local at your Neighborhood Pet Shop.




You can't have a house with no furniture! Adding hideouts where your guinea pig can sleep and feel safe and providing them with toys is essential to the emotional and physical health of your new friend.



Bonding and Play


In order to maintain the health and wellbeing of a guinea pig, they should have time outside of their cage every day. This includes letting them explore (with supervision) so they can work their brain, as well as giving them pets, scratches, and cuddles.


Guinea pigs are social animals that enjoy companionship, so even if you are able to spend lots of time interacting with them throughout the day, you may want to get two of them at once. If you are often out of the house or there are days when you just don't have time to take your guinea pig out, you should definitely think about getting them a roommate.



Diet


Having continuous access to fresh hay is a must, and their food pellets should be made specifically for guinea pigs to ensure proper nutrition. Usually, these pellets are alfalfa-based, so feeding them alfalfa hay or alfalfa-based treats should be kept to a minimum, as ingesting too much calcium can cause health issues. High-fat foods with lots of seeds and nuts should also be avoided.


Just like humans, guinea pigs can’t produce their own vitamin-C, so using a vitamin-C supplement is a good practice if you want to keep track of the exact amount they’re ingesting. Another way of providing your guinea pig with vitamin-C is by giving them fresh fruits and vegetables on occasion. This can also help them get the micronutrients they need in the form of a tasty treat. Some fresh fruits and veggies that are safe for your guinea pig to enjoy every now and then are:

  • Bell peppers

  • Romaine lettuce

  • Carrot tops

  • Spinach

  • Grapes

  • Apples

  • Dried cranberries

Before you give fruits and vegetables to your guinea pig, be sure to wash them thoroughly so they aren't ingesting any pesticides or wax.



Is a Guinea Pig Right for You?


If you want a social, loving, and inquisitive pet then a guinea pig might be right for you. Before making the leap and finding a local shelter, be sure to consider if you have the time and the financial means to care for a guinea pig.


Just like a dog or a cat, a guinea pig depends on you to take care of them. After adopting, it becomes your responsibility to make sure that their needs are met and that they are healthy and happy. If this sounds like something you're up for and you want a curious, cuddly, and cute friend then a guinea pig is a perfect choice!


When you decide to adopt, you change a life. If you're thinking of adopting, check out Sharing the Love, an adoption program that helps new pets and their rescuers get free pet food and supplies. Sharing the Love can help connect you to local pet stores that want to get you and your new friend off to a great start.


Oxbow Animal Health and Carefresh by Healthy Pet both have generous Sharing the Love Adoption Programs on the Astro Loyalty Platform that reward guinea pig adoption. Oxbow rewards a free bag of Timothy Hay and Carefresh rewards a free bag of their bedding. Find a participating Neighborhood Pet Shop near you and be sure to visit after you adopt!