Guinea pigs

Our Guide to Keeping and Caring for Guinea Pigs

Guinea pigs

The Purrrfect Pets


Most of us tend to choose pets that are cute and cuddly, if this sounds like you then guinea pigs are the purrrfect pet, especially if you don't have the time at home to look after a dog. Whilst guinea pigs love attention, food, cuddles... and more food, they can be left at home for parts of the day given they are left with everything they need.


Guinea pigs are very sociable and loving animals and like to live in groups, they can get lonely if kept on their own so you must buy them in pairs.

The males are called boar's, the females are called sow's and the babies are called pups.



When first buying baby guinea pigs they can be easily scared and move fast. When petting them, remember that your hand is the same size as them, and it can feel heavier on them than you may think so be gentle and slow with your movements.


Picking them up carefully will help them get used to humans, but if they seem very distressed (squeaking loudly and scampering) put them back into their hutch and try again later.

Guinea pigs
Guinea pigs

Treat Them Like Royalty!


Guinea pigs like space to explore and run around in, so choose a large hutch or cage to keep them happy. To welcome your new pets into your house, choose a well-ventilated room with natural light that doesn’t get too hot or cold to set up their enclosure.


To get started, line the bottom with newspaper to soak up any wetness. Use shredded paper and/or a little sawdust for filling and then add a little hay so that they can use it for both bedding and food.

Feeding Time Is All The Time


Place bridges and shelters around their hutch alongside toys. Make sure they have a food bowl and that it is topped up each morning with dry guinea pig food pellets alongside a water bottle also topped up each morning. Choose dry pellets that contain lots of fibre and vitamins A, C, D and E - especially C. 


Cut up cucumber, carrot, and cabbage, pepper, dandelions, and grass to add to their food in moderation. We suggest giving them the wet food at breakfast time and dinner time, even though they'd probably suggest every 5 minutes!


Remember to keep your guinea pigs away from anything they shouldn't eat including monstera plants, rhubarb, potatoes etc. To view all foods that you can safely feed them, take a look at the PDSA list by clicking here

Guinea pigs
Guinea pigs

Keeping Them Safe


It’s a great idea to put your guinea pig's cage outside during the summer but make sure that the cage is fully predator safe. Top tip: place the hutch on top of a large planter stand so that it is off the floor and more out of the way of predators. Make sure any wired parts are secure and that other animals can't get through the bars.


Remember to always check the locks are fully secure every time your guinea pigs are inside. Make sure the locks can't be easily slid across by a fox or cat paw!


During the summer and warmer times of the year, you should put them outside on natural grass in a safe and secure outdoor run. They should be made with sturdy wood and strong wire that cannot be bent easily. Each time they are left outside make sure any lids are closed and there are no large gaps underneath. Use bricks to give the run some weight - make it fully cat and fox foolproof!

Keeping Cool


Remember, they do have a thick fluffy coat and even in the UK, it can get too hot for them. Being outside in direct sunlight can be seriously dangerous. Heat stroke can affect guinea pigs in as little as 15 minutes so if the temperature outside is above 30 degrees, keep them inside away from heat. Otherwise, keep them outside in the shade. Add white throws and sheets on top of their run to give them more shade.


Top tips:

  • Try adding a plate of cool water with cucumber slices so that they eat the cucumber whilst dipping their paws into the water to cool down!
  • When inside during the summer - wrap a cool pack in a tea towel and place it in a spot they usually lie on.


In the winter, make sure they aren't outside and place lots of blanket/cosy type items into their enclosure to keep them warm!

Guinea pigs

We sell baby guinea pigs in our Pets and Aquatics Centre, as well as a great range of equipment and food. Come in store to see them, as well as our other animals!