Cavies are very sensitive animals, and they easily fall ill to many diseases. An untreated infection almost always leads to a life-threatening condition for their delicate bodies. Giving a suitable environment for your guinea pig does not stop when you select the proper guinea pig bedding. Not only do they need suitable and safe guinea pig homes, their owner must also interpret their behavior correctly. Understanding how these gentle little animals normally behave is the key to providing them the best care possible.
Cavies come from the grasslands and the lower slopes of the Andes Mountains in South America. They are naturally agile and are very poor climbers. They must be housed away from poorly ventilated areas and damp or windy surroundings. In addition, they are also sensitive to changes in the temperature of their surroundings. Thus, you must keep them away from extreme heat or cold. Temperatures above 26°C can cause cavies to suffer from heat stroke while temperatures below 15°C can cause them to feel chilled.
Cavies are very social and inquisitive animals and they need to interact with other guinea pigs. Moreover, they are active during the day and night. Thus, they need plenty of room to exercise. Provide tunnels, nontoxic toys, and little hiding places inside their cage so that they can play and entertain themselves.
Their sounds vary depending on what they are trying to communicate. The only time that cavies change their behavioral patterns is when they feel distressed, ill, or bored.
Cavies are prey species and get scared easily, so you must keep them away from predatory animals like dogs. Guinea pigs that are continuously frightened or in pain will change their behavior; they will even develop unpleasant habits. For example, they exhibit aggressive behavior or hide all the time. The behavioral signs that indicate a guinea pig which may be suffering from stress or fear include hiding most of the time, chewing on cage bars, over-grooming, change in feeding or toileting patterns, over-drinking or always playing with the water bottle, sitting in a hunched posture, unwillingness to move, and repetitive circling of the enclosure.
Be a responsible pet owner. Don’t make loud noises around your cavies, and ensure that they are kept away from the stressful and noisy areas of your house. Whenever you see any strange behavior, no matter how small, on any of your cavies, then you must seek advice from a clinical animal behaviorist or a vet as soon as possible.