Care Instructions for Himalayan Guinea Pigs

Himalayan guinea pig up close

Pet guinea pigs are particularly well-liked. They are not only the ideal size for youngsters, making them excellent family pets, but they also have a range of lovely fur patterns that appeal to people of all ages. Himalayan is the name of one such fur pattern, and it depicts a guinea pig with a distinctive hue.

Albino cavies, Himalayan guinea pigs have all-white fur and crimson eyes. These guinea pigs are a particular breed rather than a distinct species from other guinea pigs. But what sets them apart is the black or brown fur that covers their cheeks, ears, and paws. Due of their comparable pointy distinctive markings, Himalayan guinea pigs are frequently referred to as the Siamese cats of the guinea pig world.

Species Overview

Common Name(s) Himalayan Guinea Pig

Scientific Name Cavia porcellus

Adult Size 8-10 inches long, 1.5-2.5 lbs.

Lifespan The typical longevity of an animal kept in captivity is 4-5 years, however it is not unusual for one to survive up to 8 years. The oldest known guinea pig survived to be 14 years old, however this is quite unusual.

Himalayan Guinea Pig Behavior and Temperament

Himalayan guinea pigs are sociable pets, much as other guinea pigs. They like interacting with their owners and do best when living with other guinea pigs. When they are accustomed to handling, they like being petted, conversed with, and given their favorite snacks. Although guinea pigs are not violent creatures, they may nip if startled, scared, or injured.

Size Information

Himalayan guinea pigs are a typical size for the species. When fully grown, the majority of guinea pigs measure between 8 and 10 inches in length and weigh between 1.5 and 2.5 pounds. They are little creatures without tails.

Housing

The flooring of their home should get special consideration while keeping your Himalayan guinea pig. If the floor is excessively unclean, guinea pigs risk getting their small feet caught in the metal cage bottoms and developing infections and issues like bumblefoot. Pick a spacious enclosure with a sturdy floor. Since guinea pigs can't leap or climb, the height of the cage is unimportant, but you'll need at least 2 x 5 feet of floor space for two cavies. Additionally, make sure your guinea pig can't escape by getting its head caught in the cage's bars.

Specific Substrate Needs

Avoid cage bedding that is coloured or has newspaper ink on it since Himalayan guinea pigs are mostly white and these materials might stain your pig. Additionally, keep pine and cedar wood shavings away from your cavy since they might irritate their respiratory system. Instead, use paper beddings that will assist absorb urine and are colorless.

What Do Himalayan Guinea Pigs Eat & Drink?

Because they are all herbivores, guinea pigs exclusively consume plants. The mainstay of an adult Himalayan guinea pig's diet should be grass hays like Timothy or Orchard, with guinea pig pellets, fresh produce, and fresh fruits serving as the finishing touch. It is essential that your guinea pig take enough vitamin C, therefore be sure to pay attention to the expiration date of its pellets so that this vitamin doesn't go bad before your cavy can benefit from it. Give vitamin C snacks as well to boost this important nutrient. You may also give veggies like bell peppers that are high in vitamin C! Finally, there should always be access to fresh drinking water. While the fruits and vegetables your pig will eat contain some water, a water bottle and bowl should also be provided.

Common Health Problems

In addition to developing bladder stones, bumblefoot, lice, respiratory illnesses, scurvy, broken legs, ileus, diarrhea, conjunctivitis, uterine cancer, ovarian cysts, pyometra, and other conditions, guinea pigs can also have dental health issues. It is advised to get yearly or regular checkups with a veterinarian who is experienced with handling pocket pets.

Exercise

Spending time outside of the cage is crucial for your guinea pig's physical and emotional wellness. Make sure you regularly offer your guinea pig a secure area to run about in. For guinea pigs, the wheels and balls that hamsters frequently employ are not suitable. To allow them to securely explore outside of their cage, think about using an X-pen.

Grooming 

Due to their short hair, Himalayan guinea pigs only require periodic foot and hind end cleanings in addition to occasional baths. Not only is hair clipping necessary, but certain guinea pigs may also require their nails cut.

Baths

If you must bathe your guinea pig, take care that it doesn't become overheated when drying off or become too chilly when wet. To bathe your cavy, use warm water and a mild shampoo or soap (small mammal vets do not advise using dish detergent since it is hard on the skin). When it's time to dry it off, use a towel. A hairdryer should not be used as it is quite easy to overheat your pig.

Upkeep Costs

Weekly changes of bedding, lots of hay, guinea pig-specific pellets, and some fresh fruits and vegetables are all necessities for guinea pigs. Although costs can vary, you should budget around $10 each week to feed and care for your pig. It is advised to see a veterinarian at least once a year for an examination, which costs on average $50 to $80. Testing and treatment expenses will be added if your veterinarian discovers issues during the appointment.

Pros & Cons of Keeping a Himalayan Guinea Pig as a Pet

While not the type of pet you would take on a stroll, guinea pigs are engaging and social. Additionally, they live longer than the majority of hamsters do, but not as long as a dog or a cat. Although they are very simple to look for, they still need routine cleaning, fresh food preparation, and attention. Although they do produce noise, they are not as loud as a bird or as quiet as a rabbit.

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Purchasing or Adopting Your Himalayan Guinea Pig

You'll probably need to locate a breeder to get your guinea pig because Himalayan guinea pigs are not the most popular breed. You can discover a local breeder of Himalayan guinea pigs through cavy events, county fairs, and organizations.

Reproduction/Breeding

It is advised to keep two female guinea pigs together if you have them, unless you want to have your female cavy spayed. If you have a male and female guinea pig, it is extremely probable that they will try to breed. Guinea pigs typically only have one or two young, but giving birth can be extremely traumatic and even dangerous for the mother. Female guinea pigs must be bred within a few months of birth in order to prevent pubic symphysis fusion, which necessitates a C-section to preserve the mother and the young.

FAQ Block

FAQ
  • Do Himalayan guinea pigs make good pets for kids?

    Yes! Kids love having Himalayan guinea pigs as pets. They are less brittle and less inclined to bite than some other tiny pets.

  • How much does it cost to buy a Himalayan guinea pig?

    Because Himalayan guinea pigs are not as common as other breeds of cavies, they may cost a little more than more common breeds, but you can still expect to pay anywhere from $50-100 for one.

  • Are Himalayan guinea pigs hard to take care of?

    No, all that is needed to care for Himalayan guinea pigs is to keep them clean and secure. They also need fresh food. Ample hay, clean water, and a few leafy green vegetables must be supplied daily, and the bedding should be spot cleaned daily and completely changed once a week. But they are not tough to care for if you can manage that.

CITATION

"Richardson, V.C.G. (2000). Diseases of Domestic Guinea Pigs (2nd ed.). Blackwell. ISBN 978-0-632-05209-7." ;

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