Daily Guinea Pig Care Must-Dos (Free Chore Chart!)

Your guinea pigs rely on a regular routine involving their food, water, clean habitat, and especially handling.

A guinea pig’s daily and weekly needs can be hard to remember. This is where a guinea pig chore chart comes in handy. It’s sort of a checklist of daily and weekly tasks that must be completed for your furry, little friends.

So, in this post I included a pretty, practical, and FREE guinea pig chore chart for you to download, print out, and use to make sure you don’t overlook anything for your pet guinea pigs!

guinea pig with an orange and a chore chart

You’ll also find more detailed information on what needs to be done on daily and weekly basis to care for your piggies, so they can stay happy and healthy – and so can stay sane.

Read through it carefully because there might be something you didn’t expect to find.

Ready?

Let’s get started.

Daily Care Checklist

Your guinea pigs will rely on a regular routine involving their food, water, clean habitat, and especially handling.

Below are the essential day-to-day, routine tasks to do for your piggies.

If it’s hard for you to keep a consistent routine, it may be helpful for you to set up alarms while you get adjusted to the routine.

1. Give Fresh Vegetables

The average guinea pig should have 1/2 to a full cup of veggies each day. Most of their veggies should be full of Vitamin C.

Scurvy, or vitamin C deficiency, is a common disease in guinea pigs as they can’t create vitamin C in their bodies.  So, they have to get it from their fresh food.

Bell peppers are stuffed full of Vitamin C – and a slice can be given to your piggies daily. But, you should also give your piggies leafy greens (because they’re filled with other nutrients your little friends need) like:

  • Radicchio
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Endive
  • Turnip greens
  • Boston lettuce

Other safe vegetables for guinea pigs to enjoy (in moderation) include:

  • Broccoli
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Cucumbers

And good fruits to give a guinea pig (as an occasional treat) are:

But, don’t go crazy here, friend. Excess fruit (even if its a safe fruit) can cause guinea pigs to get diarrhea.

For more veggies your guinea pig may enjoy, check out this guinea pig veggie list that’s super helpful!

2. Give Fresh Water Every Morning

Guinea pigs will drink between 50ml – 300ml of water every day.  A water bottle for guinea pig cages will typically hold about 16 oz on average, so one guinea pig will drink anywhere from 2oz to 10oz of water daily.

A research study stated bacteria begin to grow in warm and moist environments (water bottles) after 3-4 hours.

So, it’s important to dump out the old water each morning to prevent too much bacteria growth.

The amount of water that a guinea pig drinks will depend on 4 factors:

  • Indoor temperatures – the warmer it is, the more they’ll want to drink
  • Outdoor weather
  • Whether their diet is dry – If you give your pigs a lot of fresh veggies, they won’t need to drink as much water. They’ll get hydrated from the vegetables
  • Their amount of exercise – if they ‘re getting a lot of exercise, they’ll need to drink more water

3. Spot Clean Their Cage

Spot cleaning the cage is something you need to do every morning. If you find that you have to do it in the evening, just add that task to the chore chart. No big deal.

Spot cleaning involves: 

  • Clearing out the old and soiled bedding and hay
  • Throwing out leftover food
  • Cleaning up the cavy droppings

Doing these tasks every day will prevent mold growing in hay soiled by water and waste or urine scalding to your cavies if the hay is soiled by their waste. 

4. Replenish the Hay Supply

Out of everything that needs to be done to care for your piggies, adding hay to their cage daily is probably the most important.

It’s so important to have unlimited amounts of hay throughout the day. No matter what give your guinea pig plenty of hay

Hay is NECESSARY for guinea pigs. They literally NEED it to survive.

It’s helpful for guinea pigs because it:

  1. Improves digestive health: the fiber in hay keeps everything inside a guinea pig running *ahem* smoothly
  2. Curtails selective feeding: Hay is a pig’s primary food. Serve your fur babies plenty of it (instead of junk food like seeds and yogurt drops), so they’ll be less likely to pick out the junk and leave behind everything else.
  3. Prevent overgrown teeth: Guinea pig teeth NEVER stop growing, so having to chew tough, fibrous hay keeps those teeth worn down properly
  4. Helps eliminate boredom: It’s a great go-to enrichment toy. Piggies love playing AND munching in it
  5. Prevents obesity: It’s an awesome, low calorie, low fat food.

Each morning, restock the hay to twice the size of each guinea pig you have in the cage.

That way, you’ll make sure they won’t run out of hay throughout the day.

Remember, guinea pigs SHOULD NOT go without food or water for more than 12 hours at a time (that is their absolute max).

5. Add Fresh Pellets

You need to add a new, limited supply of pellets each day to give your guinea pigs the nutrients they need and can’t get through the hay such as calcium and vitamin C. They’re like supplements. 

According to the veterinary resource Lafeber Vet, a guinea pig shouldn’t have more than ¼ cup (or about 1 tablespoon) of pellets added to their cage each day in order to prevent obesity and to keep the pellets fresh.

Pellets will begin to lose their nutritional value when exposed to too much:

  • heat
  • light
  • dampness

Actually, it’s best if you replace pellets about 90 days after opening the bag. That way , guinea pigs will always have fresh pellets.

Keeping them in resealable bags will also slow down how fast the Vitamin C deteriorates.

6. Give Them Floor Time and Play Time Daily

Also, on the chore chart is a reminder that your little friends need floortime, or playtime every day.

It’s important for your little fuzz spuds for a few reasons:

  • Have a single piggie? Floor time is extra critical. Without a cage mate to enjoy, it’s up to you to make sure they have plenty of play time. Otherwise, they’ll get lonely and depressed.
  • Cavies are also highly intelligent and require mental stimulation through exploration and training outside their cage to keep them happy and excited. This playtime will keep them from being upset and restless, resulting in them becoming destructive in their cages. 
  • The best part is, the more consistently you play with your guinea pig(s) every day, the more they will warm up to you and actually look forward to coming out to play.

The recommended amount of playtime with your cavy is 2-4 hours.

But, this’ll depend on their age, whether or not you have only one pig or more, and if their cage is small, requiring the need for a larger space for exercise.

Weekly Guinea Pig Care List

In addition to the day-to-day guinea pig care, there comes a time each week you must give deeper care. This includes thoroughly cleaning the cage, the necessary grooming maintenance, and a few general health checks to make sure your piggies stay healthy.

7. Fully Deep Clean the Guinea Pig Cage

A clean space will keep the enclosure from stinking up the place and prevent dangerous respiratory issues like an upper respiratory infection.

However, a full clean of the cage shouldn’t be done too often to prevent unnecessary stress

Before you get started, gently put your guinea pigs somewhere else that is safe and quiet. When you’ve done that, it’s time to clean.

Deep cleaning the cage includes:

  • Getting rid of, shaking off, washing, the old cage lining, depending on what kind of bedding you use
  • Using a pet-friendly detergent and water to wipe down the cage
  • Cleaning out the litter box or kitchen area (if you use
  • Replacing the bedding
  • Washing or wiping down all enclosures and hideouts in the cage
  • Wash the food and water dishes and dry them well
  • Clean out the water bottle with a half vinegar – half water solution and rinse thoroughly

8. Weigh Your Guinea Pigs

You might be surprised to see this on the care checklist, but it’s vitally important for your guinea pig’s health.

Guinea pigs – the little stinkers – typically hide the fact they’re not feeling well. Weight loss is often the only sign that we get that our furry friends aren’t feeling well.

This behavior is instinctive and comes from when they used to live in the wild. Predators would always pick off any guinea pigs that were the first to show any signs of being sick or weak.

There’s no standard healthy weight for all guinea pigs.

But, the Pet Food Manufacturers Association (PFMA) from the UK has a helpful chart (called the Size-O-Meter) that states a healthy weight for your pet is wherever you can’t see or feel the individual ribs, but can feel the hip bone and spine.

Some piggies are naturally chonky or skinny.

But, you won’t know what’s normal for YOUR fur babies unless you weigh them every week.

Keeping track of their weight will help you catch any problems before they become too serious.  

So, weigh your guinea pigs every week, and make note on a chart or in a journal to look for patterns in loss or gain.

Thinking about adding a piggie to your family or want to brush up on the essentials? Gotcha covered. What you need is a reliable, “all-in-one” resource to refer to when you’re struggling. A Beginner’s Ultimate Guide To Guinea Pig Care is a starting point with all the basics and more to get you on your way!

9. Do A Health Check

Regular health checks of the eyes, ears, mouth, feet, and body will give early signs of health troubles. 

Here’s a few things you need to check out

  • Eyes. If you see eyes that aren’t fully open, have a crust around them, find discolored liquid, or are very “weepy,” you should call the veterinarian. 
  • Ears. Gently clean the ears and look for excess wax build-up or inexplicable marks and black dots. Call your vet if you find these.
  • Mouth. Make sure there isn’t any crust or sores within the mouth and that the teeth are still being healthily worn down. If they’re too long or angled, go to the vet to see if there are underlying problems. 
  • Feet. The feet should be free of sores and swelling and shouldn’t pull away from you in pain if you touch them.
  • Skin. Finally, the skin should be pink and supple. Gently touch your pet all over their body to make sure they aren’t sore in any places and make sure the bum and genital areas are nice and clean. 

Regular guinea pig care is an easy way to keep your guinea pig happy! When you use daily and weekly charts for guinea pig chores, it will make taking care of guinea pigs easier, too. Just follow the checklist

10. Groom Your Piggies

Treat your little fuzzy butts to a spa day weekly. This is an opportunity for you to make sure they’re clean and tidy – and to do an impromptu health check, if you want.

Do the following:

  • Brush or comb hair. Guinea pigs need their hair trimmed, brushed, and combed once a week so that it doesn’t drag on the floor, collect dirt, or cause tangles. One of the reason that I say a short-haired piggie is best as a starter pet is because it cuts down on grooming time. If you have a guinea pig with especially long hair, make sure to brush their hair several times a week too!
  • Trim nails. ¼ of an inch is a safe estimate when taking off the nail tips, especially if your pig has dark nails. Just make sure you don’t snip the quick. The quick of a nail is the nerve of the nail. If you snip it, your piggie is going to be in pain…and there will be blood.
  • Give a butt bath. This isn’t always necessary. But, if your fur baby is a little stinky, you can always give them a quick butt bath. Use a drop of piggie-friendly shampoo and a damp wash cloth to clean their feet and undercarriage, so they smell fresh. Dry your little friends off well before putting them back in their cage.

Things To Remember For A Guinea Pig Chore Chart As Well As Daily And Weekly Tasks

Now that you know a little bit more about how to take care of guinea pigs, you can use the chart chart for guinea pig chores as an easy way to keep your furry friends healthy.

Your guinea pig will be transformed, too!

If you follow these tips for care for guinea pigs , they’ll stay healthy and happy – and you will, too.

Instead of guinea pig chores being a chore, they’ll be fun time spent with your guinea pigs!

That’s why I created a chart for Guinea Pig Chores that can help make these tasks easier, more efficient, and less tedious.

Click on the image below to download your free guinea pig chore chart now.

  • Download it.
  • Print it out.
  • Then check off each task as you do it.
  • Easy peasy.

Don’t forget to share this post with all of your friends who have guinea pigs, too! Happy cleaning and caring for those little cavy cuties 🙂

Basic information sheet: Guinea pig. (2019, February 6). LafeberVet. https://lafeber.com/vet/basic-information-for-guinea-pigs/

Guinea pig feeding. (n.d.). The Humane Society of the United States. https://www.humanesociety.org/resources/guinea-pig-feeding

How much playtime do Guinea pigs need? Roaming time! (2020, 5). Clever Pet Owners. https://cleverpetowners.com/how-much-playtime-do-guinea-pigs-need-can-they-roam-around-the-house/

How much water does a Guinea pig need? All about water for Guinea pigs! (n.d.). Guinea Pig 101. https://guineapig101.com/guinea-pig-water/

(n.d.). Pet Food Manufacturers Association. https://www.pfma.org.uk/_assets/docs/weigh-in-wednesday/pet-size-o-meter-guinea-pig.pdf

Rapid Microbial Growth in Reusable Drinking Water Bottles. (2017, October 6). International Open Access Journals | HSPI. https://www.heighpubs.org/hjcee/pdf/acee-aid1007.pdf

Vitamin C recommendations for Guinea pigs | Arizona exotics | -Guinea pigs resources. (n.d.). Arizona Exotic Animal Hospital | Veterinary care for exotic pets in Phoenix, Mesa, Tempe, Chandler, Gilbert AZ. https://azeah.com/guinea-pigs/vitamin-c-recommendations-guinea-pigs

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