FIRST AND FOREMOST: Guinea Pigs are by no means a “starter pet” whose only purpose is to serve as a “practice run” for a child ahead of a puppy. These are not animals you can give a head scratch to once a day along with a handful of lettuce. Guinea pigs require daily care and interaction; ignorance can lead to injury and even death. Cavies are a ton of work, but if you put in the love, attention, and veggies, they will reward you past what you ever thought possible.
Now that we’ve established the ground rules . . .
CONGRATULATIONS ON BRINGING HOME YOUR FIRST GUINEA(S)! Welcome to our world! We are so glad you have made the (very big) decision to adopt or rescue these precious little souls. Because we are dedicated to helping guinea owners provide the highest possible quality of life for their pets, we have taken the time to share some basic guinea pig care guidelines. In addition, GuineaLynx (www.guinealynx.info) is an incredible, up-to-date online resource for guinea care.
Because they are prey animals, guinea pigs are highly aware of their surroundings and any changes which may rapidly occur. For this reason, bringing a piggie home can be stressful as they will be in a totally new environment with new sounds, smells, and faces. Be gentle and understanding with them for the first few days as they adjust. They may cower, hide, or run away when you try to pick them up -- this is all completely normal. They are simply trying to protect themselves in a new setting. Here are some tips and tricks to make their transition easier:
- COMMUNICATE! This is probably the most important tip for bringing your piggy home without stress. Speaking quietly and calmly as you pet and handle them can go a long way in stress-free piggy care.
- Take baby steps. Maybe you are so, SO excited to cuddle with your guinea as soon as you get home, only to find they have seemingly no interest in your plans. Don’t panic! Try petting them while they are in their cage, getting them used to your scent and touch before you actually pick them up and remove them from their habitat.
- Interact from day one. Many people adopt guineas after seeing sociable little piggies on social media, they are dismayed to find their own guinea pig is quiet and timid. Social piggies do not happen overnight -- the more you interact with your guinea pig, the more their personality blossoms.
In no time your best friends will trust you. <3