The guinea pig ? This is one of the best pets, especially for those who start a pet for the first time. The animals are unpretentious, affectionate, ideal for families with children, they can be picked up, stroked. But still there are certain nuances in the care and maintenance of guinea pigs at home, which should be taken into account before buying a pet.
First, you should make sure that all family members approve of the appearance of a new “tenant” in the house.
Secondly, soberly assess your strength and time for caring for a guinea pig. Are you ready for regular cleaning of the cage and daily feeding of the animal? Who will take care of the pet during a long absence?
Where is better to buy
There are three options for acquiring a pet:
- at the pet store
- at the breeders
- through the Internet.
Shopping in stores is simple and convenient: along with the pet, they immediately get a cage, a bowl, a drinking bowl and other accessories. The disadvantages include the inability to verify the health of the pet. The genealogy also remains unknown, because of which it is impossible to find out whether there were cases of hereditary diseases in the animal's family. Once in the store, it is worth paying attention to the conditions in which the animals are kept - whether they have clean litter, what is the smell, etc.
Breeders have higher prices than in pet stores, but the necessary certificates of health and vaccinations, details of the pedigree, and the history of illnesses of relatives are attached to the animal. It is possible to choose a guinea pig from several individuals of different colors. In addition, the breeder will share useful information regarding keeping and feeding the pet. Do not trust the seller in absentia. Before contacting him, it is useful to read reviews of former customers.
The most budget option is to find an ad on the Internet about the free distribution of guinea pigs. The reason for such generosity is the need to distribute the cubs, the inability to take care of the pet or an unexpected allergy. In this case, all the risks remain, as with a purchase at a pet store.
Pros and Cons of Guinea Pigs
The advantages of pigs include:
- friendly character
- unpretentiousness in the content,
- strong immunity.
A guinea pig is better for a child than a rabbit or a hamster. Rabbits are less adapted to living in an apartment. They need a lot of space. And hamsters are smaller than pigs, and therefore more fragile. Small children still inaccurately coordinate their movements and poorly calculate the strength with which they take pets in their hands.
Cons of guinea pigs:
- Noise: pigs make a variety of sounds, from squeaking to purring. Sometimes they do it at night.
- Allergy: in some cases, the owner or members of his family develop an allergy to the hair of the pet.
- Need for communication. The animals should be given at least half an hour a day: to talk with them, play, let them run.
Often the animals sharpen their teeth on the bars of the cage, creating a loud rattle. To prevent this, the pet is bought mineral stones or wooden toys for grinding teeth.
To get a guinea pig, you need to decide for what purpose it is purchased. Depending on this decision, choose a breed. There are three varieties:
Short-haired pigs are unpretentious in maintenance and are relatively cheap. Most of the time it will take to care for a long-haired breed. The hair will have to be combed daily and constantly monitor its cleanliness. But this variety is best suited for participation in exhibitions and competitions. It is better to buy a show pet from professional breeders, because the purebredness of the animal is important for victory.
Naked varieties are mainly represented by skinny and baldwin breeds. They require maintaining a stable warm temperature in the room. Due to the lack of hair, the likelihood of contracting a cold or pneumonia increases.
Cubs of different breeds are alike. Distinctive features appear at a late age, after juvenile molting, which occurs at 5 months of age.
Who is better - boy or girl
The character is practically independent of gender. This option depends on the taste of the owner. It is better to get a couple of animals at once. Mumps are social animals, in nature they live in packs. Owners who do not plan on breeding acquire a same-sex couple. It is allowed and heterosexual, but in this case it is necessary to take care of sterilization, otherwise the female will often become pregnant.
It is difficult to determine the sex of the animal on its own, especially if the individual is young. The genitals resemble the letter Y in shape, but the males have a slight swelling on top. As they grow older, testicles stand out on the sides of the anus. In representatives of both sexes, a pair of nipples is located on the abdomen.
You should know at what age it is better to buy a guinea pig: 5-10 weeks. Until the age of three weeks, the cubs feed on breast milk. It forms the bulk of their diet and strengthens the immune system. The older the individual, the longer it adapts to the new house.
Determining the exact age of the animal is possible only before reaching the age of one year. During this period, the animal is constantly growing and gaining weight. The body length at 5 weeks is about 19 cm. The average length of an adult is 25-30 cm, weight - 1 kg. In addition, young teeth are white and even (in the absence of dental problems). After reaching 1 year, the appearance of the animal remains virtually unchanged. It remains to take a word to the seller or find out the age of the veterinarian.
If you want to have a female guinea pig, you should be especially careful. Animals reach puberty by the age of two months, and cases of acquisition of pregnant females are not uncommon.
Before buying, special attention is paid to the appearance of the pet in order to exclude diseases. Signs of a healthy animal:
- A strong body without signs of exhaustion or obesity,
- lack of bad smell
- even deep breathing
- clean and thick hair (the presence of bare patches of skin behind the ears is allowed),
- body temperature 39-39.5 degrees,
- smooth skin without redness, traces of combing or wounds,
- nostrils and eyes clean, no discharge,
- the fur around the anus is not stained with feces. This will mean that the pet has diarrhea caused by poor nutrition or an infectious disease.
Getting a guinea pig is worth it if it is active and curious. Sometimes animals become lethargic in the daytime. It is worth watching the animal again after a few hours. Constant lethargy, heavy breathing and dirty hair indicate the poor condition of the pet.
The presence of parasites like fleas or lice eaters is unpleasant, but not considered a serious illness. They are quickly removed by special means. However, this suggests that the pets were kept in unsuitable conditions.
The cost of guinea pigs
The cost of animals varies, depending on the breed, from 1,000 rubles to 5,000 or more. Pricing is affected by:
The most expensive will be exhibition animals. Not only an animal costs a lot of money, but further maintenance and care will cost a considerable amount.
Tribal individuals, as a rule, have a good pedigree, therefore their price tag is also higher than the standard. They are purchased for breeding for profit.
If the animal is bought for home maintenance, it is worth getting a normal purebred pig. As a pet, they are no worse than thoroughbred individuals.
Features of behavior and maintenance of guinea pigs
It will take time for the pig to get used to the new house. The cage is placed in a calm place, away from drafts and objects that the animal can tighten to itself and gnaw on (for example, wires, curtains). A spacious cage is needed so that the pet can run freely. In addition, you need to buy a bowl for food (heavy so that the pet does not tip it over), a drinking bowl (preferably a ball), a house, a tray. Additionally buy a carrier - just in case.
Guinea pigs and children get along well with each other. It is better to get a pet for a child of primary or secondary school age. Preschoolers do not calculate strength and can harm a pet or drop it. With other animals, mumps tend to get along well, even with cats and dogs.
Mumps feed on special food and hay. It is also necessary to add juicy feed to the diet: greens, vegetables. Together with the feed, the pet gets a wood filler or sawdust - for bedding.
Before buying a pig, you should decide on the purpose of the acquisition, depending on which the suitable breed is determined. When choosing a beast, first pay attention to appearance in order to exclude the presence of diseases. With good maintenance, the pet will live about 8 years and will be a loving and affectionate friend.