Switch to Main Site
Practice Name

Boyette Animal Hospital

Primary Location
10931 Boyette Road
Riverview, FL 33569
Phone: 813-671-3400

Office Hours

DayOpenClosed
Monday7:00am7:00pm
Tuesday7:00am7:00pm
Wednesday7:00am7:00pm
Thursday7:00am7:00pm
Friday7:00am6:30pm
Saturday8:00am4:00pm
Sunday5pm to 7pmBoarding Only
Main Content

Guinea pigs as pets
By: Michelle Ferrera, DVM

I thought it would be fun to talk about a species other than dogs and cats, as well as share anecdotes from my personal experience with guinea pigs.

Guinea pigs can make great pets for those with only a small living space. My guinea pig “Ratatouille” lives in a cage that is about three feet long by two feet wide. He has a layer of clean newspaper overlaid by recycled paper bedding that is changed weekly. This is probably the most labor intensive aspect of his care. Pine and cedar shavings are extremely irritating to the respiratory system and should not be used. However, aspen bedding is not aromatic and is safe for use. Guinea pigs do not “smell” unless their cage is not being cleaned properly or frequently enough. Cage furniture includes a hide house, a hay rack, a water bottle and bowls for pellets and fresh greens.

Guinea pigs can live for five to seven years, which is much longer than other pet rodent species like mice, rats, hamsters, and gerbils. They also come in a variety of colors and coat textures making them seem less “rodent“-like.

They have a tremendous amount of personality, and will respond when called by name. They can leap for joy (“popcorn”) for a favored person, and whistle for let you know that they are hungry. “Ratatouille” knows the sound of the refrigerator crisper drawer, and will whistle in hope of getting a cluster of fresh parsley or a baby carrot.

A guinea pig’s regular diet should consist of timothy hay, as well as timothy hay based guinea pig pellets, which have vitamin C. Guinea pigs will develop “scurvy” if served stale guinea pig pellets or rabbit pellets. Some pet owners provide Vitamin C supplementation, or a small slice of orange daily to ensure this need is met. Fresh water is also a must. Guinea pigs also enjoy fresh greens as part of their diet. Pellets containing grains, yogurt drops, and excessive amounts of fruit are not recommended.

A pet guinea pig should have an annual exam by a veterinarian, but will need its’ nails trimmed every few months. A properly fed pet in a clean environment will be less likely to need veterinary care, but guinea pigs can still develop health problems. Respiratory, intestinal, dental, and skin issues are the most common health concerns that I see at our animal hospital.

Guinea pigs are certainly not a low maintenance pet due to their special dietary needs, but they pack a tremendous amount of personality in a tiny package. The fact that they can comfortably live in a relatively small amount of space can make them an ideal pet for those with space constraints, or those who aren’t allowed to keep dogs in their apartments.

Exclusive Offer

Feature Articles

Community Vaccine Clinic Learn more about a better alternative to low cost, parking lot vaccine events. Angie's List Award Boyette Animal Hospital has earned the service industry’s coveted Angie’s List Super Service Award ...

Testimonial

I can't express how Thankful I am for the Doctors and staff here. I brought my chihuahua "son" in yesterday for a check up after being attacked by a neighbors large dog earlier in the week. As usual, we both were treated with great care and concern as I also was a bit emotional. This is a place were the staff Truly care about animals/pets. I wouldn't take my fur babies Anywhere else and have referred my friends multiple times.

- Angie W. / Riverview, FL

Office Hours

DayOpenClosed
Monday7:00am7:00pm
Tuesday7:00am7:00pm
Wednesday7:00am7:00pm
Thursday7:00am7:00pm
Friday7:00am6:30pm
Saturday8:00am4:00pm
Sunday5pm to 7pmBoarding Only

Meet the Veterinarians

Meet The Team Dr.Bob Encinosa was born in Valrico, Florida and graduated from Brandon High School in 1980. He received his doctorate from the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine in 1987.Read More

Contact

Newsletter

Newsletter Sign Up









Community Content