Guinea Pig Quick Care Guide

Huggable handfuls of awesome, guinea pigs are entertaining and easy to care for.

Did you know?

  • Guinea pigs come from South America and are also called ‘cavies’.

  • They live for four to seven years.

  • A guinea pig’s teeth never stop growing.

    They need lots of fresh hay every day because chewing it wears the teeth down. Keeping a wood block or fruit branch in their enclosure also helps.

  • Like humans, they can’t store vitamin C.

    They need a daily dose from fresh fruit and vegetables.

  • Guinea pigs are shy to begin but will form a close bond with the humans who look after them once trust is built.

    Talking softly while offering food is a good way to start.

  • They love being picked up and stroked.

  • Guinea pigs love to burrow and hide in their sleeping area.

  • They make lots of weird sounds to communicate. Figuring out what they all mean is a lot of fun.

  • When guinea pigs are super happy or excited they jump around their enclosure.

    This is called ‘popcorning’.


  • Hutch and exercise run – roomy and weather-proof with an enclosed part for sleeping and hiding. 120cm x 60cm x 45cm will house two guinea pigs

  • Water bottle

  • Bedding straw

  • Grass hay: timothy or lucerne hay

  • Pellets

  • Heavy ceramic food bowl

  • Treats


  • Place hutch away from rain, wind and direct sunlight

  • Layer bedding hay over an absorbent base like shredded ink-free paper, cat litter or wood shavings

  • Feed two large handfuls of timothy or lucerne hay, 1/4 cup of green leafy vegetables, 1/4 cup of guinea pig pellets

  • Occasional guinea pig treats are ok

  • Change water daily to keep fresh

  • Remove droppings, wet spots and uneaten vegetables daily

  • Handle gently and regularly. Use two hands to pick up

  • Allow free range exercise but supervise carefully

  • Replace bedding weekly


  • Long claws. Clip them every few weeks

  • Overgrown teeth. Provide a gnawing block if needed

  • Wood shavings from cedar or other fragrant woods — they can be poisonous

  • More than two guinea pigs per hutch. Fights will break out

  • Handling too often or too roughly. It causes stress

  • Giving access to things that shouldn’t be chewed, like electrical cables

For more detailed information on keeping guinea pigs, see

Check out our other guides: