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San Diego Humane Society

Guinea Pig Care



WEIGHT: Up to 2 pounds

LIFESPAN: 5-7 years

FUN FACT: A happy guinea pig will jump straight up in the air—this is called popcorning!



  • Grass hay and fresh, clean water should be available to your pet at all times.
  • 1/8 cup of timothy hay-based pellets daily. Avoid pellets made with nuts, seeds, dried fruits and corn products.
  • Alfalfa hay and pellets may be given to young guinea pigs.
  • Offer a handful of fresh leafy vegetables daily and limited fruit/treats.
  • Avoid: Iceberg lettuce, potatoes, cabbage and broccoli.
  • Guinea pigs cannot manufacture vitamin C, so make sure you provide this nutrient daily in foods, such as a slice of orange or bell peppers.


  • A living space of 7 square feet for a single guinea pig and 1-2 square feet for each additional guinea pig. Most cages sold for guinea pigs in pet stores do not meet the recommended size. “C&C Cages” has a variety of appropriate cages for sale online:
  • Line the bottom of the cage with paper-based bedding or fleece.
  • Spot clean the cage daily and deep clean at least once a week using vinegar and water or mild soap and water. • Keep the cage indoors, away from drafts and extreme temperatures.
  • Provide a cave or “igloo” for sleeping and hiding.
  • Some guinea pigs will do well with a friend, especially if they were raised together.
  • Provide safe toys to help wear down teeth, which are continuously growing, including cardboard tubes and untreated wood blocks.


  • Guinea pigs are known for their expressive vocalizations.
  • Guinea pigs rarely bite but they can nip if mishandled or fear a threatening animal. Pet your guinea pig gently to get them used to handling before picking them up.
  • Pick up carefully, bringing the guinea pig close to your body and using both hands for support.


  • Bring your guinea pig to a small pet/exotics veterinarian annually for check-ups. Seek help immediately if you notice signs of illness, including sneezing, crusty eyes, dirty ears, diarrhea, dental issues, hair loss, weight loss, change in behavior and bloody or gritty urine.


  • Spacious cage
  • Grass hay (timothy, orchard grass, bluegrass)
  • Timothy- based pellets
  • Paper-based bedding
  • Water bottle
  • Small, heavy food dish
  • Nail clippers (trim their nails 1-2 times per month)
  • Untreated wood or cardboard toys
  • Fresh leafy vegetables (romaine lettuce, radicchio, cilantro, parsley), bell peppers and oranges


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