Proper nursing is vital in establishing a young guinea pig’s health. If the mother guinea pig is unavailable, pellets can be mashed and enhanced with a nutritional supplemental powder mixed with canned pumpkin. Newborn guinea pigs can be fed this mixture every few hours for the first few weeks of life. Dwarf guinea pigs are not recognized as a breed by the American Cavy Breeders Association or any other guinea pig association.
Baby guinea pigs nurse for about two weeks or longer but are born with a fully formed set of teeth, so they can be fed solid food early on. Specially formulated pellets provide calcium for bone development and can be combined with alfalfa. Young guinea pigs may not recognize vegetables and fruit as a food source without imitating an adult, but as they grow, they eventually come to enjoy them.
Guinea pigs require time out of their cages every day. They are friendly, social and recognize and bond with their owners. Time spent exploring, cuddling and interacting is essential to their well-being. They also require regular grooming. Short-haired varieties can be brushed weekly, but those with longer hair need daily brushing.
A guinea pig’s cage should to be cleaned thoroughly at least once a week and spot-cleaned every couple of days. The cage should be large with adequate space and include a water bottle, material for bedding, a food dish, toys and a hidey box.
Guinea pigs live an average of five to seven years, and some have lived into their teens. Their longer life span needs to be considered when making them part of a household.