Guinea pigs may be cute and cuddly, but it is possible to make such a creature detest his or her owner.
Ideally, the pet lover is an animal lover and genuinely hopes his or her furry little charge returns the sentiment.
A guinea pig (or cavy) tends to want to be lovable. These gentle creatures, who are not really pigs at all, adore attention. They generally desire to be right where the action is in the home, and they are among the most affectionate of all smaller pets.
This content is copyrighted. Please feel free to share the http/link, but no cut-and-paste copying or republishing without the author's permission.
Unfortunately, not all guinea pigs enjoy ideal living conditions.
Consider these 10 ways improper care can make a guinea pig unhappy and perhaps unfriendly as well. Please don’t try these at home.
1. Closed confinement – A too-small cage, solid (non-see-through) siding, or a solid tarp over the cavy cage prevents the guinea pig from enjoying fresh air and a nice view of the household. Such a pet will soon become miserable.
2. Daily baths - Guinea pigs love to drink water, but they really don’t like being wet. If you baptize your rodent in the bath each day, he will duck and cover every time you draw near!
3. Dirty cage – Although guinea pigs sometimes consume their own droppings, this is not a practice to encourage. A clean cage is a healthier and more pleasant option.
4. Exposure – These curious little creatures love to burrow and nest in their cages. Guinea pigs also enjoy curling up in private hiding places. Even empty paper towel tubes make handy secret spots.
5. Haircuts – Many a cavy sports a cowlick or whorl in his fur. These are natural. No guinea pigs likes being beautified, and it is wholly unnecessary.
6. Manicures – A little nail filing, if needed, goes a long way with a cavy. Too-short trims can hurt him.
7. Manhandling – Guinea pigs often seem to explode with bursts of energy. They dance and jump and spin and twist, especially when they are let out to play freely. They may enjoy playing with humans too, but they tend to bristle, if they are passed around too much. Boundaries matter.
8. Shared quarters – A cavy usually doesn’t enjoy being caged with other species. Ferrets, hamsters, lizards, mice, rabbits, rats, or other animals ought to be kept separately. It’s amazing that some pet owners do not follow such a guideline.
9. Solitude – Sure, guinea pigs like their cozy alone time, but they also thrive on activity and a reasonable amount of stimulation. Even placing the cavy cage in a busier part of the home for a stretch or in the yard for a short supervised session may fit the bill.
10. Wilted produce – A cavy eagerly munches fresh, crunchy cabbage, lettuce, spinach, and other vegetables and fruits. He will probably turn up his nose at soggy, rotten leaves.
Want to win a guinea pig’s favor?
Just provide plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, a steady supply of chewable cardboard, and a safe and comfortable cage.
Here’s a sure way to please a cavy. Bring home a friend. If you have a boar (male), he would welcome a sow (female). Or vice versa. You can be a hero again to your guinea pig. It’s that simple.
Writers: Want to learn how you can join Examiner as a columnist in your choice of cities and topics? Email me for details.