Getting Started - New Owners' Most Helpful Guides

sport_billy

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Overview
1 Guinea pig species needs and human ownership
- Social needs of guinea pigs
- Family and classroom guinea pigs
- Naming considerations and finding out the breed
2 Arrival, settling in and interacting with new guinea pigs; pitfalls and customer rights
- What to check for in newly bought guinea pigs (most common health/mis-sexing issues and customer rights)
- Settling in and interacting with your guinea pigs
- Interactive problems
3 Behaviour and guinea pig bonds
- Understanding guinea pig behaviours
- Pairings and getting more piggies
- Bonds in trouble: problems, fall-outs and bereavement


4 Housing and enrichment
- Starter checklist
- Cages and hutches
- Bedding
- Safe and unsafe enrichment and irritants in the home
5 Weather extremes and the outdoors
- Extreme weather care
- Preparing for safe lawn time
6 Diet: Water, hay, veg, pellets and healthy treats

- Recommended general and special needs diets
- Food groups in detail with further resources and sourcing tips


7 Weekly health checks and regular grooming care
- Life-long weekly health checks
- Regular grooming care
8 Ilness: Preparing for illness, vet care and emergencies
- Preparing for illness
- Early signs of illness, how quickly to see a vet
- Covid-19 information and other cross species transmission concerns
- Vet care provision: The need to save up, insurance and accessing payment support
- Emergency: Accessing resources and practical emergency care advice
9 Resources

- Recommended vets in several countries
- Recommended rescues in several countries


1 Guinea pigs and ownership
Social needs of guinea pigs
Guinea Pig Facts - An Overview
Companionship
Guinea Pigs And Rabbits - Why Not

Family and classroom guinea pigs
Children And Guinea Pigs - A Guide For Parents
Children And Guinea Pigs - Age Appropriate Interaction And Responsibilities.
Human Bereavement: Grieving, Coping and Support Links for Guinea Pig Owners and Their Children
Guinea Pigs as Classroom Pets - Why Not

Naming considerations and finding out the breed
Guinea Pig Names: considerations, solutions, inspiration and resources
What breed is my guinea pig? - Picture guide to common pet breeds (only visible to registered members)
Picture guide to guinea pig coat colours, agouti shadings and roaning (only visible to registered members)


2 Checking, settling in and interacting with new guinea pigs
What to check for in newly bought guinea pigs

Here is a helpful list of the most common problems that buyers of pet shop or for sale breeder piggies come across, including advice on customer rights and how they are handled in the UK and US.
New guinea pigs: Sexing, vet checks&customer rights, URI, ringworm and parasites

We encourage our members to acquire the life skill of being able to sex their guinea pig on their own with a hands-on examination of the areas where the gender differs considerably with the help of our guide, However, you are always welcome to double-check by posting a clear and day-lit picture in our sexing section, which is specially monitored by experienced members.
Illustrated Sexing Guide

Unplanned pregnancies and surprise babies are sadly not all that uncommon due to mis-sexing or not separating from boars soon enough or not at all. Please be aware that sows can be already pregnant but not showing when you buy them from a shop or breeder.
Please start a specially monitored support thread in our Pregnancy and Baby Section (only accessible to registered members who have signed our strict no intentional breeding policy during registration) and carefully read our step-by-step guides, which have been specially written for inexperienced owners.
Pregnancy & Baby Care Guide's (only visible to registered members who have accepted our non-breeding forum policy)

Settling in and interacting with your guinea pigs
Arrival in a home from the perspective of pet shop guinea pigs

How Do I Settle Shy New Guinea Pigs?
Understanding Prey Animal Instincts, Guinea Pig Whispering And Cuddling Tips
How To Pick Up And Weigh Your Guinea Pig

Interactive problems
Who is the boss - Your guinea pig or you?
" Biting" And What You Can Do


3 Behaviour and guinea pig bonds
Understanding guinea pig behaviours and social interaction

Bonding and Interaction: Illustrated social behaviours and bonding dynamics
'Popcorning' and 'zooming' - joy and exuberance (videos)
Chirping

Sows: Behaviour and female health problems (including ovarian cysts)
A Comprehensive Guide to Guinea Pig Boars

Pairings and getting more piggies
Single Guinea Pigs - Challenges and Responsibilities
A Closer Look At Pairs (Boars - Sows - Mixed)
Adding More Guinea Pigs Or Merging Pairs – What Works And What Not?

Bonds in trouble: Problems, fall-outs and bereavement
Moody guinea pigs: Depression, Bullying, Aggression, Stress, Fear and Antisocial Behaviour
Bonds In Trouble
Boars: Teenage, Bullying, Fighting, Fall-outs And What Next?
Looking After a Bereaved Guinea Pig
 
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Wiebke

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4 Housing and enrichment
Starter checklist
Getting Guinea Pigs? Items You'll Need To Buy?

Cages and hutches
Cage Size Guide
All About C & C Grid Cages Around The World
Sourcing Conventional Cages And Hutches
Ramps in Cages

Bedding
Bedding For Guinea Pigs - Overview
A Detailed Guide For Fleece Bedding

Safe enrichment, dangerous toys and irritants in the home
Enrichment Ideas for Guinea Pigs
Potentially Dangerous Cage Accessories And Toys
Irritants to Avoid Around Guinea Pigs

5 Weather extremes and the outdoors
Care during extreme weather

Hot Weather Management and Heat Strokes
Cold Weather Care For Guinea Pigs

Grass and lawn time
Feeding Grass And Preparing Your Piggies For Lawn Time
Keeping Piggies Safe during outdoor time


6 Diet: Water, hay, veg, pellets and treats
One stop comprehensive diet guide (including special diets)
This comprehensive guide looks at all aspects of diet as a whole (including an illustrated sample diet and healthy/bad treats), as well as providing a practical guide to how often and in which amounts foods should be fed:
Long Term Balanced General And Special Needs Guinea Pig Diets

Food groups in detail with further resources and sourcing tips
All About Drinking And Bottles
A Comprehensive Hay Guide for Guinea Pigs (incl. providers in several countries)
Edible And Forbidden Veg And Fruit List With Vitamin C Grading
Nugget Comparison Chart
Pellets Or Muesli / Dry Mix?
 
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Wiebke

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7 Weekly health checks and regular grooming care
Life-long weekly health checks - a life saving habit !

Weight - Monitoring and Management
Guinea pig body quirks - What is normal and what not?

Regular grooming care
Boar Care: Bits, Bums & Baths
Guide to Cutting Guinea Pig Nails
An Illustrated Guide to Hair Cutting
Bathing (including cleaning grease glands)


8 Illness: Preparing for illness, when to see a vet and emergency care resources
Preparing for illness

First Aid Kit: Easily available non-medication support products for an emergency
Syringe Training Before The Need For Medicating

Early signs of illness and when to see a vet
Early Signs Of Illness
How Soon Should My Guinea Pig See A Vet? - A Quick Guide

Vet care provision: The need to save up, insurance and accessing payment support
Please start saving up for vet fund as part of the regular weekly/monthly living cost of your guinea pigs right from day one.
Illness and emergencies never happen at a convenient time! You do not want to fail your pets by leaving them to die in agony or from easily curable diseases.

In the UK, antibiotics and veterinary pain medication are prescription-only via a vet consultation in order to minimise abuse.
There is however a system of round the clock out-of-hours vet care in place. Most clinics do have payment plans and there is vet care for people on benefits in many urban areas. No frills 24 hours clinics will provide basic vet care in may urban areas or towns.

Please be aware that as a UK based forum we are neither qualified to nor are we allowed to replace a hands-on vet visit and a medical diagnosis. But we can help you find a good vet if possible, to get the most of any vet trip by asking the right questions, help to ensure that any medication is safe for guinea pigs if you have doubts, and we can support you during treatment with practical advice on home support care.
Health and Illness - Important Information
A guide to vets fees, insurance and payment support.

Covid-19 and other cross species transmission concerns
Covid-19 information

COVID-19 - Worried about Covid-19 (coronavirus) transmission risk to your cavies and care during illness?
COVID-19 - Vet visits/emergencies during coronavirus/Covid-19 lockdown

Other cross species transmission concerns
Human Colds/flu And Tummy Bug Advice
Human Pregnancy/Immune Deficiency And Guinea Pigs
Dogs, Kennel Cough And Guinea Pigs - An Important Consideration.

Emergency: accessing resources and practical emergency care advice
One stop crisis resources advice and improvisation tips
Emergency, Crisis and Bridging Care until a Vet Appointment

What is a life and death emergency and how to get hold of a vet out of hours?
List Of Life And Death Out-of-hours Emergencies
How to contact a vet out of hours
A Practical and Sensitive Guide to Dying, Terminal Illness and Euthanasia in Guinea Pigs

Potentially life saving support care at home until and during vet treatment
Not Eating, Weight Loss And The Importance Of Syringe Feeding Fibre
Complete Syringe Feeding Guide

9 Resources
Recommended vets
Our forum UK locator aims to help you to find the best vet for your guinea pigs in your area. We do rely however on feedback and nominations from our members, so our list is neither complete or perfect and subject to change.

Recommended UK vets: Guinea Pig Vet Locator
Recommended vets in the US and some other countries: Guinea Lynx :: GL's Vet List

Recommended guinea pig rescues
These good standard rescues are by far the safest place for getting guinea pigs that do not come with nasty surprises.
Please note that in English speaking countries anybody can call themselves a rescue or a breeder without licence or control. We can only vouch for the listed and carefully vetted rescues.
All the listed rescues practise a mandatory quarantine/vet care, a pregnancy watch for incoming sows; sex properly and bond their guinea pigs for character compatibility. Any guinea pigs are only put up for either adoption as a bonded pair or for rescue dating with single guinea pigs or a group of yours once they are fully healthy. You will get support during the settling in period and will have the rescue to turn to if your piggy bond is in serious trouble or you can no longer keep your adoptee for genuine reasons.

Recommended UK rescues: Guinea Pig Rescue Centre Locator
Recommended rescues in the US and some other countries: Guinea Lynx :: Rescue Organizations

We recommend that you bookmark this guide collection as a useful go-to resource. Our guides format allows us to update our guides so they are not quickly outdates, as sadly so many books are.
You are however always welcome to ask any question you have at any time in our various Care sections. We are a friendly place and will answer them all in a helpful way!
You can access our full guide collection on a much wider range of topics via the guides shortcut on the top bar.
 
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