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Guinea Pigs | General Health Care

General health care | Guinea pigs | Caring for your pet guinea pig

Despite their common name, these animals are not pigs, nor do they come from Guinea. They originated in the Andes in South America. Guinea pigs are large rodents, weighing between 700 and 1200g, and measuring between 20 and 25 cm in length. They typically live an average of four to five years, but may live as long as eight years. According to the 2006 Guinness Book of Records the longest living guinea pig survived 14 years, 10.5 months. 

Sterilising your Guinea Pig 

Sterilising or de-sexing is recommended for both males and females at 3-6 months of age.

The guinea pig is able to breed all year-round, with birth peaks usually coming in the spring; as many as five litters can be produced per year. The gestation period lasts from 59–72 days, with an average of 63–68 days. Males reach sexual maturity at 3–5 weeks; females can be fertile as early as four weeks and can carry litters before they are adults. Females that have never given birth commonly develop irreversible fusing of the pubic symphysis, a joint in the pelvis, after six months of age. If they become pregnant after this has happened, the birth canal will not widen sufficiently; this may lead to dystocia and death as they attempt to give birth. Females can become pregnant 6–48 hours after giving birth, but it is not healthy for a female to be thus constantly pregnant. 

Guinea Pig Sterilisation

 Do NOT fast your Guinea Pig before you bring her to the hospital. Please bring a small lunch pack with when you drop her off at Hilton Vet. We need to get her to eat as soon as she wakes up from anaesthesia.

Your Guinea Pig will get an intramuscular sedation that will make her fall asleep in 5 to 10 minutes. Once she is asleep we then clip the fur on and around the ventral abdomen and prepare the area for surgery. She will then be placed on isoflurane gas anaesthesia for the duration of the surgery. A small incision in made just behind the belly button and the uterus and ovaries are removed.  The abdominal muscle and skin is closed with absorbable sutures. The sutures are hidden underneath the skin so your Guinea Pig won’t be able to pull them out. There is no need to remove any stitches later on. Once she wakes up we give her the lunch pack that you left with her in the morning. As soon as she eats her food we know she is fine to go home. You will then get a phone call from us to organise a discharge time


Guinea Pig Castration

Do NOT fast your Guinea Pig before you bring him to the hospital. Please bring a small lunch pack with when you drop him off at Hilton Vet. We need to get him to eat as soon as he wakes up from anaesthesia.

Your Guinea Pig will get an intramuscular sedation that will make him fall asleep in 5 to 10 minutes. Once he is asleep we then clip the fur on and around the testicles and prepare the area for surgery. He will then be placed on isoflurane gas anaesthesia for the duration of the surgery. A small incision in made over each testicle and they are removed. There will be absorbable sutures to tie off the blood vessels but no skin sutures are used. A small amount of medical tissue glue is used to close the skin. There is no need to remove any stitches later.  Once he wakes up we give him the lunch pack that you left with him in the morning. As soon as he eats his food we know he is fine to go home. You will then get a phone call from us to organise a discharge time.


Guinea Pigs | Diet

Grass is the guinea pig’s natural diet. Their molars are particularly suited for grinding plant matter, and grow continuously throughout the animal’s life. Most grass-eating mammals are quite large and have a long digestive tract; while guinea pigs have much longer colons than most rodents, they must also supplement their diet by coprophagy, the eating of their own faces. However, they do not consume all their faces indiscriminately, but produce special soft pellets, called cecotropes, which recycle B vitamins, fibre, and bacteria required for proper digestion. The cecotropes (or caecal pellets) are eaten directly from the anus, unless the guinea pig is pregnant or obese. They share this behaviour with rabbits. 

Guinea pigs can be fed Alfalfa, parsley, peppers, corn on the cob, cucumber, carrots, celery, apples and melon without the seeds, cauliflower leaves, broccoli and lettuce. Make sure the food is always fresh and not left in the cage for more than three hours. The fresh food can be supplemented with 50% commercial pellets. Never feed cake, biscuits, potatoes, chocolate or dairy to your piggies. 


Flea Control

We recommend Advantage top spot for rabbits. The Kitten or Puppy advantage is the correct size for a fully grown Guinea Pig and is safe to use. It can be used once a month.