5 Top Tips For New Skinny Pig Parents!
Welcoming a new skinny pig into your life is an exciting time. They are such sweet and loving pets and I just know you are researching everything you can to give them the best care possible.
Here are 5 top tips for new skinny pig parents to get you started on your journey.
Skinny pigs, being hairless, are more susceptible to temperature changes. Ensure their living space is consistently warm, ideally between 75-80°F (24-27°C). Provide cozy bedding and consider using heat pads or lamps during colder periods. You can have warm hiding spaces for them in their cage like fleece-lined tunnels and other fun additions for them to burrow into and keep warm.
Diet (What They Can and Cannot Eat)
Offer a balanced diet rich in hay, fresh vegetables, and high-quality guinea pig pellets. Avoid feeding them sugary, salty, or processed foods. Toxic items include chocolate, caffeine, and certain fruits like citrus.
Hay is an essential component of a guinea pig's diet. It provides fiber, promotes dental health, and aids in digestion. Choose high-quality grass hay, such as timothy hay, and make it available at all times.
Offer a variety of fresh vegetables daily to ensure a balanced diet. Leafy greens like kale, romaine lettuce, and spinach are rich in vitamins. Bell peppers and cucumbers are also good options. These provide essential nutrients and hydration.
Guinea Pig Pellets:
Provide high-quality guinea pig pellets to supplement their diet. Look for pellets that contain vitamin C, as skinny pigs cannot produce it on their own. Because of this it is vital to give them a daily vitamin C treat as well to ensure they get enough of this important nutrient. Avoid mixed food with seeds and nuts, as these can be high in fat.
While fruits can be offered in moderation, they should not be the primary part of their diet. Fruits like apples and berries can provide additional vitamins and antioxidants. However, too much sugar can be harmful, so feed fruits sparingly.
Avoid Toxic Foods:
Certain foods are toxic to skinny pigs and should be strictly avoided. This includes chocolate, caffeine, onions, garlic, and foods high in calcium, as that can lead to bladder stones. Always check the safety of any new food before offering it to your skinny pig.
Ensure a constant supply of fresh, clean water. Hydration is crucial for their overall health and helps prevent urinary tract issues. If possible, natural spring water is the healthiest option for them to drink.
Monitor your skinny pig's weight and adjust their diet accordingly. A well-balanced and varied diet contributes to their overall well-being and longevity. If you have any concerns about their diet, consult with an exotic vet for personalized advice.
Living Area (Clean and Spacious)
Keep their habitat clean by spot cleaning daily and doing a thorough cleaning weekly. Provide a spacious cage with hiding spots and toys for mental stimulation. Ensure their living area is warm but with proper ventilation to prevent respiratory issues. Check out this cool guide to all the best guinea pig cages for your new baby. When setting up your skinny pig’s living area, one of the major things to be aware of is the type of bedding you choose - choosing the wrong thing can lead to allergies and painful conditions like bumblefoot.
The Benefits of a Cage Mate
Having a cage mate can provide companionship and mental stimulation for skinny pigs. They are social animals, and having a compatible companion can reduce stress, promote a sense of security, and prevent loneliness. Ensure you introduce skinny pigs to each other slowly and monitor their interactions to ensure that they are getting along. The very best thing you can do to avoid behavioral issues is to adopt a pair of siblings as they are already bonded with each other. Trying to introduce skinny pigs to one another down the line, while not impossible, comes with the risk that they may not accept each other. Please be aware of the potential for breeding and make sure you adopt same sex pairs.
Access to an Exotic Vet
Establish a relationship with an exotic vet experienced in treating guinea pigs, especially hairless breeds. Regular check-ups are crucial for preventive care, and having a vet knowledgeable about skinny pigs can address any health concerns promptly.
Making sure you have done your research and have taken all of this into consideration will ensure that your skinny pig adjusts to their new home well and becomes a happy addition to your family.
Keep giving your pets the best of natural life!
April Arguin A.S., C.P.N., M.P.H