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Caring for your new Guinea Pig

To help get your guinea pig off to a healthy start, Brimbank Veterinary Clinic is open six days a week to assist you with your pet.

  • A Guinea pig cage should be at least 1m x 0.5m x 0.3m high, the larger the better.
  • A cage with a wire top and a plastic bottom is ideal as it provides good ventilation and an easy base to clean.
  • Guinea pigs should be allowed out of their cage to exercise for at least 2-3 hours daily.
  • Suitable bedding materials include shredded paper, hay or straw.
  • Guinea pigs do not tolerate heat well and are vulnerable to heat stress. It is important the area they are housed in is not in direct sun light
Good food, good health

To ensure optimal gastrointestinal function and dental health the following diet is recommended

  • 70% hay, grass or oaten or timothy hay (lucerne hay is not recommended)
  • 20% fresh leafy greens, vegetables and some fruit- e.g. bok choy, spinach, broccoli, tomatoes, parsley, oranges and fresh grass.
  • 10% Oxbow cavy cuisine (great source of vitamin C)- Guinea Pigs only require a small amount- less then 1/4 cup daily of this mix.
  • Fresh water should be available at all times from dripper water bottles- ideal to supply two of these in case one becomes blocked.


Guinea pigs require a daily source of vitamin C as they are unable to synthesise this vitamin. Oxbow’s cavy cuisine is a great source of vitamin C as well as spinach, capsicum, broccoli, tomatoes, oranges and parsley. Carrots and apple are treats only and should not be fed on a daily basis. It is normal for Guinea pigs to eat some of their droppings.

Dental Care

Guinea pigs teeth grow continuously and require constant grinding to prevent overgrowth. Insufficient wearing of teeth results in elongated cheek and/or incisor teeth. This interferes with chewing and can cause significant discomfort. Once established the problem tends to self-perpetuate and develop into life threatening infections of the jaw and mouth.

Feeding a diet of 70% hay/grass and 20% fresh leafy greens and 10% oxbow cavy cuisine helps avoid many dental problems.

Some Guinea pigs require regular trimming of teeth. This is best done with a high-speed dental drill which we have available at our clinic. A dental examination is an important part of the annual health check and vaccination.



A microchip ensures permanent identification of your Guinea pig. The microchip is implanted under the skin in the shoulder area and can be done at any age.


Regular worming of guinea pigs is generally not needed.

The most common parasite seen is lice and mites. These can be easily treated once diagnosed by your veterinarian.

Bacterial Pododermatitis

Severe infections of the footpads is common in Guinea pigs housed in cages with wire flooring. Faecal soiling of the wire compounds the problem.

Symptoms include swelling or ulceration of the affected feet, lameness and reluctance to move. It is advised to seek immediate veterinary attention if any of the above symptoms are noted.

Good hygiene and appropriate housing can prevent this problem from occurring.

Give us a call to discuss caring for your guinea pig.

03 9449 1100