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Making the most of your Guinea Pig before returning to work

Adopt a Pet Animal Welfare Pet Care Pets Pet Health Animals Posted May 29, 2020
Here in Queensland we are flattening the COVID-19 (coronavirus) curve and on our way to eased restrictions. With this in mind, the RSPCA asked its brain trust for all things guinea pig: what does the COVID-19 situation in Queensland mean for guinea pig owners?
1. Keep-up the good hygiene

Information available currently suggests guinea pigs cannot infect you with COVID-19. But good hygiene should continue to be practised as you commence going out more and is always recommended when handling your guinea pig. This includes washing your hands before and after handling, when tending to their feeding, refreshing their water and cleaning their living conditions.

2. Make the most of more time with your guinea pig now and as COVID-19 restrictions ease
Like many of us, you may be at home more and that brings an excellent opportunity for bonding with your guinea pig, including using enrichment activities and even some home improvements to their living conditions. You can access ideas on how to care for your guinea pig from the RSPCA knowledge base and ideas for enrichment. As activities outside the home become more common place again, try and continue bonding and enrichment with your guinea pig, perhaps there is a special time each day or week you set aside for this. But keep in mind your guinea pig may not be used to or want the same level of handling as you might want to give them. Don’t force interaction on them when they show signs of feeling insecure or unsafe. Even when they appear to be enjoying the interactions, be sure to give them a break. We all like a break, especially guinea pigs who enjoy retreating and hiding from people. 
3. In case you need to self-isolate, be prepared

There still may be a situation in which you are required to self-isolate. This could be for 14 days or longer if it involves multiple household members. Consider your stocks of food and bedding supplies. Perhaps you need to keep more bedding, hay and pellets on hand, especially pellets fortified with Vitamin C or have Vitamin C tablets, in case you cannot access fresh vegetables. You may want to have someone organised ahead of time to take care of your guinea pig in the unlikely situation you become unwell.

4. Missing your friends that also adore guinea pigs? Connect online

Are you missing connecting with your community of guinea pig fans, following the cancellation of events like open days and shows? Reach out online, through Facebook, Instagram and private messages. Remember to use online communication channels wisely.

5. Unsure? Reach out

If you are unsure about something during what is an unprecedented time for many of us, start the conversation with someone you can trust to help you find the answer; this may be your local vet or another guinea pig owner. You are not alone.

The South East Queensland Guinea Pig (Cavy) Welfare Work Group is a working group of representatives from the RSCPA, rescues, breeders, owners and vets that convenes regularly with the RSPCA QLD Principal Scientist Dr Mandy Paterson, to further guinea pig welfare.

Dr Mandy Paterson
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