Is there anything cuter than a guinea pig? For true cavy lovers, the only thing may be a baby guinea pig. Guinea pig puppies (yes, they’re called puppies) require special attention in the beginning to build a trusting relationship with you. Here are some tips and recommendations that covers the first step in buying a baby guinea pig, to the last step in caring for them.
When to Get a Baby Guinea Pig
Let’s be clear, a newborn guinea pig should not leave its mother’s side for at least 3 weeks. In this crucial period after birth, the baby cavy needs to be nursed in a safe environment with the mother. Failure to do so will show how irresponsible the breeder is.
If a breeder tries to sell you a guinea pig under 3 weeks old, then you should find another breeder. There are tons of great breeders for you to find a healthy baby guinea pig for sale. That person is most likely a careless breeder and just wants to make the sale as soon as possible.
The ideal age of the baby guinea pig before you should purchase and start raising them is around 1 to 1.5 months. After 7 weeks, they will be ready to move into their new family’s home. Most commercial pet stores have guinea pigs within this range too. Depending on how the pet stores are selling, they may be a little bit older.
Bringing a Baby Guinea Pig Home
After you bring your new baby cavy back from the store or breeder, it’s time to ease them into your home (and theirs). Most of the time, the guinea pig will be frightened and reserved around people in the beginning. Don’t worry, this is very normal.
Put yourself in their shoes. They were separated from their mothers not too long ago. And now they’ve been separated from possibly a sibling or at least a familiar cage-mate at the store.
If you’re going to get your cavy a single guinea pig toy, I would recommend the igloo. It acts as a hide-out spot for your baby guinea pig. In other words, it’ll be a place for them to feel secure.
Try not to hover above your guinea pig cage like a predator that’s ready to snatch them up. Their natural instincts will kick in and they will try their best to hide from you. Instead, stay low to the grown when examining your guinea pig.
Building Trust With a Baby Guinea Pig
A lot of people have asked me what the best way to build trust with a new guinea pig that you’ve just brought home. There are certainly many ways to go about doing this. But from personal experience, the best way to build trust is by bribing a guinea pig with food and treats. No, i’m not kidding. And, it works.
If you want your guinea pig to come out from hiding, reaching in and grabbing them from the igloo may scare them even more. They may even make a shrieking sound.
It’s time to bring out some of your best treats. If you don’t have any treats, there are a ton of safe fruits and vegetables for guinea pigs.
Start by putting a treat in front of their igloo. Just be patient and observe. It shouldn’t take too long for them to come out of hiding and eat the treat. After they come out, put another treat a little bit closer to you. Continue this process until the guinea pig is close enough for you to pet it. Slowly approach them with your hand and gently start petting them.
Keep repeating this process as you see fit. Eventually they will become more and more familiar with you. In no time, they will want to interact with you and can’t wait for you to pick them up and start petting them.
Baby Guinea Pig Care
Now that you’ve built some trust and your guinea pig is more familiar with you, let’s talk about caring for them. Besides handling them with more care and being extra gentle, there are very few things that differ from adult guinea pig care.
One of the few things is that baby guinea pigs need a little bit more calcium in their diets, especially in their first few weeks. The extra calcium is needed to make sure that they grow up with strong, durable bones. My recommendation is alfalfa hay and alfalfa pellets, which are both high in calcium.
As for food, timothy hay and pellets should make up the majority of a guinea pig’s diet. Fresh fruits and vegetables along with Vitamin C should be included in their diet. Make sure to check if the fruits/veggies are safe for your guinea pig. Some, such as oranges and melons, have a ton of Vitamin C already.
Baby guinea pigs should be fed twice a day. Make sure you start feeding them at a time you will be available. These little creatures like to be on a schedule, especially for food. If you feed them a certain time, they start to expect to be fed around that time. In fact, if the schedule fluctuates too much, it could even cause stress to them.
Bedding for Guinea Pig Puppies
My personal recommendation for bedding in guinea pig cages is Timothy Hay. This multi-purpose hay can be used as bedding and also food. In fact, Timothy Hay should be part of every guinea pig’s diet regimen.
The bedding in the cage should be replaced frequently. As a baby guinea pig, they are more susceptible to certain illness and diseases. This is why it’s important to keep their environment as clean as possible to minimize the chances of contracting something bad.
Although it depends on your guinea pigs and how many you have, you should change the bedding roughly two times a week. This ensures that your baby guinea pig(s) will be living in a clean cage at all times.
Each cage should contain several inches of Timothy Hay (or other bedding of your choosing). Just be careful if you decide to use other types of bedding. Some other commercial bedding can be harmful to a new pup.
Baby Guinea Pig Grooming
You should avoid grooming your baby guinea pig until there are old enough. In some cases, bathing a newborn pup will wash and shed away their sensitive skin. Ideally, you want to wait until they’re adolescent guinea pigs before washing them frequently. This issue is the same with brushing.
However, some guinea pigs live their whole life without ever bathing. And it’s perfectly fine if they don’t get anything sticky on their coat. Bathing in water can often stress out a guinea pig, especially if they’re not used to it. If your plan is to frequently bath them, then it might be a good idea to start early (as a baby guinea pig) so they get used to it.
It also depends on the type of guinea pig that you have. Long-haired guinea pigs like the Peruvian guinea pig or Silkie need to be groomed more often. Whereas short-haired counterparts like the Abyssinian, Texel, Teddy and American Guinea Pig doesn’t require as much grooming.
There are a lot of things to consider when you bring home a new baby guinea pig. This may be the most crucial and time consuming part of raising a cavy. As long as you nail this part, the rest should be smooth sailing with minimal problems. Always consult with your local veterinarian if your experiencing something odd happening with your puppy. Health complications tend to be the most frequent at such as early age.
If you have more questions on baby guinea pig care, feel free to leave a comment in the section below. Our community will do our best in guiding you to raising a healthy cavy! Hopefully, the hardest part about raising a baby cavy is finding the perfect name.