Christmas is a great time to celebrate together with your family, friends and your guinea pigs! Your guinea pigs can enjoy presents, family games and you can even a special guinea pigs Christmas dinner! This article tells you everything you for your own Christmas for guinea pigs.
This time of year lots of pet shops bring out Christmas stockings for every pet you can imagine. Unfortunately most of the time these treats are loaded with sugar and potentially harmful chemicals.
Things to watch out for are dyes, paints and harmful food ingredients. These include nuts, seeds and corn kernels.
If in doubt choose items that are as close to nature as possible! These are both good for them but will provide enjoyment as they tap into their wild cavy nature! Forage cube, wooden bridges, and chew balls all make excellent choices.
These items are great fun for your guinea pigs to play with. Plus they are also great for wearing down guinea pigs forever growing teeth. Check out our Christmas guinea pig gift guide for more ideas!
Make a guinea pig Christmas stocking
Christmas wouldn’t be complete without Christmas stockings and there is no reason your guinea pigs should miss out! As mentioned above, store-bought ones can be full of harmful items for your piggie so why not make your own!
Guinea pig gifts don’t have to be expensive! You can either make your own items or buy them. We prefer to mix and match between homemade and bought.
We use a natural, organic paper bag as the stocking. This is perfect as it’s free from paint and dye, plus our guinea pigs love nibbling away at the bag! Then we fill it with a variety of items that can be found really easily this time of the year:
Pinecones might seem really boring to you and me but guinea pigs LOVE them! They are fun to roll, chase and chew. They also help to clean your guinea pigs teeth helping to keep them healthy. We pick ours and give them a good soak in some water with a few drops of white vinegar in.
Then we leave them to dry outside which airs them out and allows any leftover vinegar to evaporate. If your not comfortable or able to find pinecones for free locally then you can always buy them but be sure they are not ones used in crafts as they often contain chemicals.
Just your run of the mill tree branch will provide hours of chewing and hiding fun for your guinea pigs! We are lucky enough to have a tree in our garden and when it is pruning time, we ensure we chop them into guinea pig size pieces and let them dry out. Most tree branches are fine for your guinea pigs but never give them Apricot, Almonds, Cedar, Figs & Citrus woods.
Natural chew sticks can be bought in place of branches if you aren’t able to acquire some and provide the same great benefits to your guinea pigs teeth.
Never underestimate your guinea pigs love of hay! We always put some in the bottom of the bag so they have to forage to find their other Christmas treats! 80% of your guinea pigs diet should be hay so ensure they have access to good quality hay at all times!
Games to play with your guinea pig
Guinea pigs adore companionship and they require lots of social time with both you and their cage mates. Playing games is a great way of bonding with your guinea pigs, plus its good fun and stops them from getting bored.
If you have children then it is also a great way to help them become more involved with their guinea pigs. Here are our three favourite guinea pig games:
Hide and Squeak
Guinea pigs are very inquisitive by nature and so this game can be a great way for you to bond with your guinea pig along with testing out this natural instinct.
Its a fairly simple game to play and doesn’t require anything to be bought. Clear out your guinea pigs playpen and get someone to climb into it and lie down. Cover the person lying downs face either with a blanket or towel and then bring the guinea pigs in carefully. The aim of the game is for the guinea pig to try and find your face.
Our guinea pigs are not usually bothered until the person lying down starts calling their names softly and then they set about investigating! It’s amazing to watch guinea pigs work together to uncover you. Ensure you reward them with a treat even if they don’t find you!
This game promotes trust with your guinea pig along with testing out how familiar with the sound of your voice they are.
Find the food
Another simple but enjoyable game to play with your guinea pig is to find the food. For this game, you hide their favourite treats in various items around their cage and watch them work at finding it and getting it out.
Great hiding places are plastic tubes, treat balls, and other non-edible items (if you would rather buy somewhere to find the food we recommend a forage mat.) Zookeepers actually use this game to help keep their animals entertained!
Guinea pigs are great navigators! Test out their skills by building them a maze made of cardboard boxes and cardboard tubes! We usually turn their playpen into one big maze and stagger tunnels, their favourite treats, tubes and leftover wrapping paper (sellotape removed) and watch them run around!
Guinea pigs Christmas Dinner
Food is a big part of Christmas and guinea pigs love food! In most cases, their no need for your guinea pig to miss out on Christmas dinner plus you can usually just give them some of what you are already making for yourself!
Our guinea pigs always have a fruit salad for starters which includes a few slices of strawberries, melon, pear and some mint leaves to top it off.
The main meal consists of sprouts, a cherry tomato, lettuce mix (endive, escarole, radicchio, mizuna, red Batavia, Lollo rosso) and parsnip peel. All served on a bed or either baby spinach or kale.
For dessert they have a selection of herbs usually mint, parsley, coriander and cilantro.
Ensure your guinea pig has plenty of fresh clean water throughout their day.
A Very Merry Pigmas!
Christmas for guinea pigs is a fun and exciting time to celebrate with your guinea pigs. We hope that you and your guinea pigs have a wonderful Christmas!