Guinea pigs are tiny cute little rodents that make some fun pets. Many times they are called pocket pets. There is much more to a guinea pig than meets the eye.
There are many things that you should know and understand about these rodents. There really is not much of a challenge when it comes to preparing for and then taking care of your guinea pigs.
Your furry little friend needs to have a decent place to live. The habitat or cage for your guineas should be placed in a location that is not only safe but will protect him or her also. For instance, you cannot place the cage or habitat in front of a window where the sun shines all day. This is going to cause an extreme amount of heat within the habitat.
Placing the habitat in a room where there is sun, is perfectly acceptable, but not directly in the line of the sun. This would be no different if the windows are drafty. In the colder months, this is dangerous for your furry pocket-sized pet.
The furry friend is also going to want to be near the family, but not in the thick of everything. The guinea is a diurnal animal which means that it sleeps for a small portion of the day and also a small portion of the night.
The habitats that can be purchased today can be attached together to make a very large activity centre for your guinea pig. He or she may fully enjoy having so much space to run in.
Your little guinea is going to need a few things within the habitat that can keep him happy. Just like a hamster enjoys having some toys, the guinea is going to want toys to play with also. Toys may include chew sticks or pieces of small vegetables.
Other items that are needed within the habitat are bedding so that your little friend has a soft area to sleep in. Bedding is also used as a method to hide when they feel scared.
Have you ever seen a hamster habitat without an exercise wheel? Well, guinea owners feel the same way. A guinea pig needs to run and play and burn off energy. These wheels can give hours of enjoyment to the guinea pig. Guinea pigs are known to be active creatures, especially during the hours of dawn and dusk. Be sure that the wheel is not a squeaky wheel as this may affect the sleep of the humans in the room.
Preferably find an area of the habitat that is away from toys or items that may brush up against the food dish. It is no different than keeping dirty items away from your food. This is not to say that the whole habitat is not used as a bathroom for these creatures. It is unknown how much a guinea cares, but for posterity, have the food dish in a separate area.
The food a guinea pig eats is a formula specialized for them. They also like small amounts of fruit or vegetables, Timothy hay, pellets and occasional treats.
Most often you will see cages or habitats with water bottles that hang from the side of the cage or from a bar on the top of the cage. These water bottles are operated by pushing the little bearing up which is what allows the guinea pig to be able to get a drink when he or she is ready.
However, it must be stated that a guinea does not need to have one of these hanging water bottles. Most people purchase these bottles because they are easier and the water stays cleaner longer.
Like hamsters, guinea pigs can, however, drink water from a dish or bowl also. This is not something that most people see in most habitats. Actually, to many people, the dish is a great alternative if your baby is having a difficult time mastering the water bottle with the bead.
Reasons to Use a Bowl
There may be one of many different reasons that a person would choose to use a water dish instead of a water bottle. You may not have remembered to purchase the water bottle. Your guinea’s water bottle may not be functioning properly. In other words, there may be an airlock preventing the water from distributing when the bead is pushed.
Some animals will refuse to drink from a water bottle no matter how hard you try to get them to do so. This could be because the nozzle or spout is too big for your rodent’s small mouth, it could also be that your guinea pig refuses to use the water bottle no matter what.
Sometimes, it is the human who has decided to use the water bowl instead of the animal. The bead, when pushed to get water, does make the metal-on-metal noise. Sometimes creatures will make too much noise when they are drinking from the water bottle. This is true especially if the guinea pig and the habitat are kept in the human’s bedroom. This would likely prevent you from getting good quality sleep.
Choosing the Bowl
There are a few things that should be known before setting up the habitat with a water bowl instead. To begin, you do not want to use a deep dish, it is best to find a shallow type of dish to place the water in. There are a couple of reasons for this.
For one, when it is a shallow dish, it is easier for the guinea to get the water without much of a struggle. Using a deep type of bowl could lead to a few different issues. The dish could be spilt constantly because the guinea is constantly running on it and is unable to drink from it, so it tries to climb up and get the water.
When the dish is spilt, this means that the bedding needs to be changed. The bedding cannot be left wet, as it could cause bacterial and other health problems for your guinea pig. Sadly, if a deep dish is used and the guinea falls into the dish, he or she may drown and no longer be. This is a terrible situation that can be avoided simply by using a water bottle or a shallow dish for water.
Another challenge is to find a shallow dish that is on the heavier side. As stated, your guinea pig is likely going to climb on the water dish. This is just what these creatures do, climb on everything. If you can find a shallow type dish that has a sturdy wide base. There is less chance of the dish wobbling and being unsteady.
At the same time, the dish cannot be too shallow. Your loving critter needs an adequate amount of water to stay hydrated. One of the most highly suggested bowls would be a low ceramic bowl. These stone bowls put up with a lot. The hermit crab climbs all over this type of dish, so you know it is sturdy and very stable.
Another suggestion is that the bowl is placed on a slightly raised platform in the habitat. Being set up on a platform will help minimize the amount of debris and foreign material that gets into the water dish. Not that humans are lazy, however, avoiding the fact of debris constantly in the dish may help to avoid the fact of constantly changing the water.
Avoiding all the debris and foreign material, or faeces being kicked into the dish, is a healthier option for your guinea pig. If he is constantly drinking dirty water, this could make him or her sick. The water should be changed at least daily. If, however, you notice foreign material, bedding or faeces in the water, change it right away. There is no reason to take a chance of your guinea pig becoming sick.
Please remember, just changing the water does not make it clean water. The water dish needs to be cleaned daily also. As disgusting as it sounds, backwash or even urine can cause bacteria to build up and the water could become dangerous for your critter to drink.
There is simple logic to using a water bowl rather than a water bottle. Hamsters and guinea pigs like to chew, they will chew plastic. This could lead to a broken water bottle that leaks all over the area of the cage. This is a health hazard. Plus, the rodent will not have water to drink once the bottle breaks. Even glass bottles will cost more than plastic bottles, and they can break almost as easily as plastic.
A water bowl is much easier to clean on a daily basis than a water bottle. However, if you still choose a water bottle, do yourself a favour and pick up a baby bottle washer. These are amazing tools that will make keeping the water bottle clean less of a chore.
Sometimes it is best to have the habitat in a room separate from your bedroom. The guineas tend to be up a good portion of the night making noise and having fun. If it is possible, keep the cage or habitat in his own area.
On a final note, it is still best to try and get your guinea to drink from a cage-mounted water bottle. These are far more hygienic than a water bowl or dish that is walked through, used as a toilet, or just has debris kicked into it constantly. The point is you want to keep your guinea pig hydrated and healthy.