Guinea pigs are great pets for kids. Before we got our sweet little guys Butterscotch and Twix, I had no idea how much personality guinea pigs really possess. They give kisses and snuggle, and even recognize us. They love to interact with us and be held. They respond happily with squeaks when held. Our guinea pigs are very social because we held them a lot from a very young age so they are very tame. My boys have constantly taken them out of their cages to interact with them. This frequeent interaction worked out so well because now they are such great companions and pets for my boys. When we are home, the pigs are usually out of their cages with us.
Guinea Pig Food Overview
They love to eat vegetables and fruit. Every morning I prepare them a morning salad which is basically a bunch of washed veggies, herbs, and a bit of fruit on a plate. Guinea pigs also constantly eat hay which is a part of their diet they need daily for a healthy digestive system. They also need food pellets made for guinea pigs. We give them about a cup and of fresh vegetables and fruit a day. Treats can be bought at the store, but they love fresh vegetables and fruit more.
Vegetables, Hay, & Fresh Herbs
Some of the vegetables and herbs we give them include: NOTE* this is not a full list as there are other vegetables and herbs they can have but we haven’t fed ours those foods so I’m not including them here. Consult a veterinarian or guinea pig care book for a full list of safe to feed foods. There are some foods they should never eat.
- carrots (not every day as you don’t want them to have too much Vitamin A)
- green leaf lettuce
- romaine lettuce
- peas from pea pods
- celery (Cutup as it is a choking hazard if not cut up) and celery leaves
- green pepper
- red pepper
- corn, corn husks, silks
- Swiss chard
- arugula lettuce
- green cabbage
- Brussels sprouts
- cucumber with peel
- green beans
- mint leaves
- cooked sweet potato and sweet potato plant leaves
- turnip greens
- timothy hay every day in the cage
- alfalfa hay when under 1 year of age
- dandelion greens
- fresh grass from your lawn (not chemically treated grass though)
- butterhead lettuce
- red leaf lettuce
- cooked winter squash
These are the fruit we have fed our guinea pigs: NOTE* feed less fruits then vegetables and herbs
- apple (NOT seeds as they are poisonous)
- sweet cherries without the pit
- grapes or raisins
- oranges with peel
- bartlett pears
- raspberry plant leaves
- tomatoes and red cherry tomatoes
Kids Learn Care-taking Skills
My kids have been taking care of these little furry guys for over a year now. It’s great for them to care for another living being. They are learning responsibility in feeding them daily, cleaning their cages weekly, and and caring for their well-being by giving them attention everyday. We also give them from floor time so they get to run around in free time.
Guinea pigs cat nap and will even sleep with their eyes open. We call it lounging when they lay slightly on their side and stick their foot out. lf their head is up while they lounge, they are probably awake however if their head is down they could be asleep. The pigs will do this lounging position when they are relaxed and comfortable. They also like to have a cover over them or hang out under something like a blanket or a little tent.
Guinea Pig Sounds
They make a squeaking sound when they are happy and being held and around people. The high pitch scream sound they make means either they are scared or they are hungry. When Butterscotch smells vegetables or fruit he does the high pitch sound begging for the food. They make a purring sound too. Sometimes this means they are happy, but sometimes it means they are feeling threatened or territorial. Clicking their teeth together means they feel threatened. Other sounds we’ve heard include soft clicks or squeaks.
We keep them separate at all times because they fight. I’ve seen other guinea pigs get along though.
They are not potty trained. I use old water proof mattress pads and towels so the guinea pigs can hang out on the couch with us. They will pee and poop when they need to so this allows them to hang out on the couch with us and protects the couch. The foods they eat are all plant foods so they poop a lot! On occasion we have been peed on while holding them.
I’ve read they drink a lot of water but ours don’t seem to drink much from their water bottles. To compensate when I wash the vegetables and fruit I don’t dry them very much. I leave them pretty wet to give the pigs some water. They will drink from a small syringe filled with water too.
Buy a little washable guinea pig bed for them to hang out in and lounge. We leave the beds on the couch and set them on the towels for a hang out spot. They also like it when we flip the beds over and they hang out in it like it’s a little cave.
Take Them Outside
Guinea pigs love spending time outdoors and exploring. They are curious little guys. Ensure someone is right next to them at all times because if they become scared they may scurry off to hide and become lost. They love to eat the grass but make sure it has not been chemically treated. Pay attention to the temperature too so make sure it isn’t too cold for them. We’ve only taken ours outside if the temperature is 65 degrees or above.
Guinea Pig Talent
Butterscotch and Twix have both learned to go up the stairs and nudge open the slightly ajar bedroom door with their noses. They go quite fast up the stairs. My son taught them how to go up the stairs by lifting up the front feet which would prompt them to hop up onto the next step. Eventually they learned to go up all on their own. They are so fast it’s hard to keep up with them.
Here is a video of Butterscotch going up the stairs:
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