Guinea pigs can be great to adopt as pets, but there are a lot of things that you’ll need to do in order to care for them properly.
Sometimes all of those things can seem like a lot of work, so does that mean that guinea pigs are high maintenance?
Guinea pigs are high maintenance when you consider all of the attention that you’ll have to give them as well as all of the time it takes to clean up after them while you also regularly check on their health.
So there are definitely some basic things that you’ll need to know about taking care of them if you want to have them as pets.
And although it may seem like simple things to us as owners, it’s still essential for keeping guinea pigs happy and healthy throughout their lives.
You Need To Keep Two Or More Guinea Pigs
One of the things that can make guinea pigs high maintenance is the fact that when you keep them as pets you should always make sure that you have at least two or more of them.
The reason why is that they thrive and are able to live their best lives when they have other guinea pig cage mates.
Guinea pigs are naturally social animals that are born needing and wanting other companions so it’s essential for guinea pigs to have them.
Without a companion by their side, they can easily get lonely which can lead them to have an unhealthy lifestyle.
Keeping two or more guinea pigs will ensure that they:
- Are able to play with each other.
- Establish dominance.
- Can help keep each other calm.
- Live more comfortably.
- Fulfill their need to be social.
These are just some of the basic things that they’ll do on a daily basis, but all of it is important to them so that’s why you’ll need to keep two or more.
You can give a single guinea pig a lot of affection and attention but that will never replace the benefits of having a little friend or friends for them.
So you’ll have to be prepared to have more than one guinea pig that way you can provide the lifestyle that they need.
You’ll Need To Spend Time With Your Guinea Pigs Almost Everyday
Guinea pigs require a decent amount of attention from their owners, so if you’re used to living a fast lifestyle and you’re not home as much then you’ll find that keeping them as pets can be a lot of work.
Even though guinea pigs can be hands-off most of the time and you won’t need to give them attention every single second of the day, you would still have to spend a little bit of time with them almost every day.
Remember, guinea pigs are social animals so social interaction is something that is very important to them.
So besides needing to interact and bond with other guinea pigs they also really thrive when they’re able to bond with their owners too.
That means that you’ll need to fit them into your daily schedule and give them some form of attention.
So you’ll have to spend a lot of time around them and play with them, that way they can get used to you and they won’t be as afraid of you.
But just playing with your guinea pigs while they’re inside of their cage isn’t enough, you’ll also have to spend some time with them outside of their cage too.
Guinea pigs are very curious animals so they love to explore the areas outside of their enclosure and you’ll need to be there so that they can have some actual floor time.
This is just an example of one of the ways that you’ll have to spend time with them though.
You’ll need to generally interact with them and give them some quality time for at least 30 minutes every day.
Although they don’t need constant attention, you still have to think about how much time you have that you can spend with them.
So if you don’t think that you can give them that much attention each day, then you can consider guinea pigs as being too high maintenance for you.
What You’ll Need To Provide For Your Guinea Pigs
Guinea pigs can be thought of as high maintenance if you’re not prepared to constantly get them all of the things that they’ll need.
They will need a lot of different items available to them so that they are able to live a happy and healthy life.
An example of this is an appropriately sized enclosure for the number of guinea pigs that you have.
This is important because they need a decent amount of room so that they can run around and expend some of their pent-up energy.
That’s just one thing that they’ll need and while that might be the most expensive item that you’ll have to get for them, they’ll also need other things like:
- Wood or paper bedding for their cage.
- Food bowls and water bottles.
- Pellets for their main diet.
- Hay for them to eat.
- Fresh vegetables for them to munch on.
- Multiple hideaways that they can go to when they get stressed.
- Chew toys so that they’re able to wear down their teeth.
These are just some of the basic things that they’ll need though. You can always give them some more items so that they are happier and have a better experience.
For example, instead of a regular cage, you can get them a multi-level enclosure with a ramp and train them to go up the ramp so that they have even more space to explore.
You can also get them treats to reinforce good behavior and because guinea pigs are smart you can get them tunnels and mazes for them to figure out.
These can be looked at as luxury items, but some of them are still essential for making them happy and stimulating their mind.
So when it comes to what guinea pigs will need, some things you only have to get them one or two times throughout their lives like their cage.
While other items you will need to get often for them are their bedding, regular food or baby guinea pig food, and chew toys.
Making Sure That Your Guinea Pigs Aren’t Bored
When you have guinea pigs sometimes it can be difficult to tell if they’re bored or not.
Their cage mates can help keep them entertained but you’ll also have to do your part as well when it comes to making sure that they’re not bored.
In this aspect, it can be easy to take care of guinea pigs because keeping them from getting bored is actually really simple and can be considered as low maintenance.
Most of the time if you give them more toys and rotate those toys in and out of their cage then that can help keep them from becoming bored.
But that’s usually only good for when they’re spending time inside of their cage because they’ll also need different safe environments to explore when they’re outside of it.
So to keep them from getting bored you can also put them in a guinea pig proof room so that they can run around and play every now and then.
That way you’re consistently switching up their daily activities so that they’re not doing the same thing every day.
Picking The Right Cage Location So Your Guinea Pigs Aren’t Too Hot Or Cold
One of the things that can be looked at as low maintenance when it comes to keeping guinea pigs is their cage location.
Where you put their cage is very important and it’s easy to find a good place to put it in once you know what to look for.
For example, you shouldn’t put your guinea pigs’ cage in a part of the house that receives a lot of direct sunlight.
Although guinea pigs do need some sunlight, being exposed to too much of it for too long won’t be good for them.
In most cases, you should also place their cage away from any vents that can quickly heat or cool their cage a lot too.
So keeping them from becoming too hot is important but what’s also important is making sure that they’re not too cold as well.
So one thing that you may need especially on colder nights is heat pads so that you can keep them warm.
However, if the room that you decide to put their cage in keeps a regular temperature then that’s something that you won’t really have to worry about.
Time Spent Cleaning Up After Your Guinea Pigs
The most high-maintenance thing about keeping guinea pigs is how much you will have to clean up after them.
Guinea pigs poop a lot so you’ll have to set some time aside every day for how often you’ll have to clean your guinea pig’s poop out of their cage.
So you will mainly be doing this at least a couple of times a day, pretty much every day.
Guinea pigs also pee a lot so you’ll also be spending a good amount of time clean that up as well. They can pee almost every 15 minutes and it can start to smell a lot if not cleaned up regularly.
It can also be bad for their health if the pee is left in their cage for too long as well.
Luckily you can put pee pads in your guinea pigs’ cage that can help soak up their urine and control the odor for a good amount of time.
When guinea pigs start wasting their hay it can get a little messy so you’ll also have to clean that out too.
There will also be some time spent wiping down their cage and toys with pet-friendly disinfectants to help keep their items clean as well.
You’ll basically be cleaning up their cage almost every day and because of that, guinea pigs can be very high-maintenance especially if you don’t have the time to pick up after them.
Paying Attention To Your Guinea Pigs’ Health
Guinea pigs can live around 4 to 8 years as long as they remain healthy without getting diseases.
So because their lifespan is a little longer than other rodents that you can keep as pets, you’ll have to check on their health more often over time to make sure that they’re still healthy.
So when it comes to the health of your guinea pigs you’ll have to check:
- Their fur and skin.
- Poop to see if it’s healthy.
- The color and texture of their pee.
- Their weight over time.
If you find that anything is wrong with your guinea pigs then you should take them to the vet as soon as possible.
That way a professional may be able to figure out what’s wrong and they might be able to tell you what you’ll need to do next for your guinea pigs.
So you will have to consider the time and money that you may need if you ever have to take your guinea pigs to see a veterinarian.
So sometimes it can be hard to take care of guinea pigs especially if you’re someone that’s limited on time.
Guinea pigs can be considered high maintenance when you think about how much time you have to spend with them as well as how long it can take to clean up after them.
But just because it can be a lot of work sometimes, that shouldn’t keep you from adopting them as pets because they’re definitely worth it.
Guinea pigs can be very loving and they can be a whole lot of fun once you’ve bonded with them.
So most of the time you won’t really think about all of the work that it takes to keep them as pets because the time that you spend looking after them will mostly be good experiences for you and your guinea pigs.