How to Get a Guinea Pig to Adjust to Its New Home

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Guinea pigs are herd animals by nature, so if you are planning on bringing a single companion home, you are probably concerned about her being able to adapt to her new surroundings. For most little piggies, it will be the first time being separated from her littermates. There will be new smells and sounds to discover, and new human companions to get to know.

Before the Move

Being prepared for the move will make things a lot easier for everyone. For your new companion, it will be less stressful if you aren't scurrying about trying to set her cage up when she gets to her new home. Having the same food and litter that she is used to will make her new habitat feel a lot more like home. You may also cover her home with a light cloth or sheet to give her more privacy when exploring her surroundings. It will probably take a day or two for her to acclimate, so hold off on hugging her for a few days, and try not to overstimulate her with visitors.

Environment

The ASPCA recommends 4 square feet of cage per inhabitant, so a nice, large cage is preferable. Glass aquariums do not make good habitats because they are not ventilated. Avoid cages with mesh or wire floors, as this can lead to lost toes and broken legs. Bedding is another factor that will make a huge difference. A paper-based bedding will provide odor control without sacrificing comfort for your friend. Make sure that your companion has plenty of toys, too. Bricks, rocks, fresh bedding and PVC tubing make excellent toys that are inexpensive and will help your guinea pig feel at home.

Nutrition

Providing a quality, well-balanced diet for your new pig will help him stay healthy and adjust. Guinea pigs are incapable of creating or storing vitamin C, so any fruits or vegetables that you feed your companion should be high in vitamin C, since he won't be eating much at any one time. A quarter of an orange daily, in addition to pellets that are composed mostly of timothy hay, will provide the balanced nutrition that your guinea pig will need. You should always keep fresh timothy hay available, too, as this will provide nourishment, comfort and activity for your friend.

Multi-Pig Household

Guinea pigs are social creatures by nature, so if you are bringing a new companion home to be a new bestie for a current pet, there are a few guidelines. First, make sure that they aren't two males. Due to the herd nature of guinea pigs, two males will fight for supremacy when sharing a space, which is hardly a positive environment for adjustment. Second, be aware of ages. Females are ready to breed when they are as young as 5 to 6 weeks old, and males are ready to go at 8 weeks old. Spaying and neutering will prevent any unplanned additions to your family. Quarantine your new companion for two weeks and slowly introduce your new friend to his roommate.

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  • Michael Blann/Digital Vision/Getty Images

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Low began writing professionally in 2005. She writes primarily about parenting, personal finance, health, beauty and fashion. Low holds a Bachelor of Arts in writing.