Guinea pigs, also called cavies, are among the unique pets with unique diets. The lifespan of a cavy is about 6 to 8 years, and they need proper care to achieve this. They come in various distinct colors; white, brown, and black. Some are multi-colored. Adult guinea pigs weigh between 0.9-3.6 kgs. As pets, they’re generally friendly, social, and with a good temperament, making them excellent pets for children and grown-ups.
In this article, we’ll review the white guinea pig. We’ll review everything, including appearance, diet, housing, care, and more.
In This Article
What’s a White Guinea Pig?
White guinea pigs are rare. They require more care and a larger space than all other guinea pigs. However, their general behavior is the same as all other cavies. Most people confuse them with albino guinea pigs with no melanin (the substance that produces skin, hair, and eye color). White guinea pigs produce melanin and are black-eyed, contrary to people with albinism.
Once you know what this pet is all about and how to take care of it, you’ll enjoy its company longer than any other rodent that comes to mind. Tag along.
White Guinea Pigs Enjoy Their Own Company
Although white guinea pigs are affectionate to humans, they love and enjoy their company. Therefore, it would help if you keep them in pairs or groups of at least two.
They like chatting and portraying different styles in different situations. For example, when happy and excited, they produce ‘wheek wheek’ sounds; when exploring around, they make low purring sounds. When they are tense and scared, they create a series of ‘putt putt’ sounds.
They Come in Different Breeds
Cavies are mainly classified based on those with hair and those without hair. You can also use size to group them; some are bigger than others. Examples of breeds:
- The Abyssinian
- American guinea pig
- Short-haired cavies
- Long–haired Peruvian
- Hairless skinny pig
- Coronet guinea pig
- Himalayan guinea pig
Tips for Naming Your White Guinea Pig
The golden tip is to give your cavy a name you will be comfortable calling even with friends, children, relatives, and veterinary doctors. It should be an exciting name for as long as the pet lives, an average of 6 to 8 years.
Marching the name with the physique of a pet also works well. Some examples of words that you can give to your white guinea pigs are:
How to Handle White Cavies
Cavies get a bit nervous around people, especially if unfamiliar with them. Caregivers should skillfully handle them with care, so they don’t get stressed. The right way to take them is by carrying them carefully and gently with both hands when moving them from one point to another. Spending time with them creates a bond that will make it easy to handle them.
Another way is to communicate with them until they learn your communication techniques. For example, instead of carrying them in and out of their cages, you can use specific communications skills to guide them without necessarily holding them.
Be very careful when carrying them because of their jumpy and playful nature. They can easily slip and fall and get injured.
Choice of Living Spaces for White Guinea Pigs
Cavies need ample space to live and move around. Like other home dwellers, their room should meet specific requirements for a good and comfortable stay.
White Guinea pigs generally love big cages and spacious outdoor places to run and play around. Spacious and big pens are available online or in any local pet store.
You can also make enclosed outer spaces by fencing to create safe space for cavies to run and play without external interference. In addition, outdoor fenced areas are beneficial because the pets get fresh air and sunshine.
Consider the following five factors when choosing their space:
1. Proof From Predators
Cavies love to play and run freely. But, as a result, they are vulnerable to predators like insects, worms, and rodents.
Fence their outer space well and tuck them safely in their cages to protect them from predators. A nightly routine will keep them safe from night-roaming predators.
2. Ventilation and Temperature Control
Cavies have a given temperature range in which they survive comfortably. It ranges between 18-24 degrees Celsius. Temperatures above 80 degrees Celsius can easily make cavies develop heat stroke. High humid areas of above 75% also affect their health.
Well-ventilated spaces add to the general well-being of the cavies. Avoid aquariums because of their poor ventilation.
White guinea pigs are naturally clean pets. They thrive in clean and dry spaces and bedding. However, it’s essential to be careful while choosing their bedding. Wood shavings used to work well with them, but recent studies show that they harbor harmful insects that may cause diseases and discomfort to pets.
Soft fleece beddings are becoming popular because they are warm and easy to clean. You can purchase them from craft stores. Besides that, unique paper-based animal bedding, absorbent fabrics, and pee pads can also serve as comfortable bedding.
For comfort and health of cavies, change and clean the bedding regularly.
White guinea pigs are always comfortable on solid floors. Avoid wire floors that cause pod dermatitis (bumblefoot) and other foot diseases. Concrete floors should always be kept clean and dry.
Outer space floors should also be comfortable and protective from climbing, digging, and flying predators. Tunnels can act as good hiding spots for cavies; ensure you consider them in outdoor spaces.
Remove any toxic natural growing plants around the spaces to avoid diseases.
Feeding and Diet of White Guinea Pigs
White Guinea pigs need a well-balanced diet, just like humans, to grow well. Vitamin C is a very crucial ingredient in their diet. Cavies do not manufacture Vitamin C on their own. You need to include it in their diet in the form of supplements.
Besides that, special guinea pig pellets serve as another source of food. You can purchase the pellets online or at pet food stores. Remember to include roughage in the cavy’s diet to help them in digestion. Timothy hay is an excellent source of roughage for cavies.
Fresh fruits and vegetables must also be part of the cavy’s diet. Apart from protecting the cavies from diseases, fruits and veggies are natural sources of vitamin c. Ensure you clean them properly before feeding the guinea pigs. Always give cavies fruits and veggies in small quantities.
Avoid sugary foods as they cause gastrointestinal issues. Icebergs don’t add any nutritional value to the food so avoid them. Leftover foods that have stayed for a long time should also be avoided because they might be contaminated.
Los Angeles’s largest Guinea Pig Rescue Organization recommends the following diet for cavies;
- Greenleaf lettuce
- Romaine lettuce
- Parsley Red leaf lettuce
- Bell pepper in all colors
- Fresh untreated grass
- Raw corn
Keep Your Guinea Pig Hydrated
Always provide cavies with clean water. You can use a bowl or a sipper. The water container must be heavy enough to avoid tipping and pouring water. Change the water every day and replace it with clean. Water containers must also be thoroughly cleaned daily to maintain high hygiene standards.
General Grooming of the White Guinea Pigs
Grooming is part of the excellent rearing of cavies. Therefore, you should know the most incredible ways to groom white guinea pigs. For example, when do you bathe them? What are the best shampoos to use on their bodies? Is it healthy to trim their nails?
It is not necessary to check the hygiene of the pets’ teeth; they work well even without cleaning. However, be keen when the teeth grow abnormally big. This will make the cavies uncomfortable and experience pain while eating. Contact a veterinarian to cut them for proper functioning.
Monitoring White Guinea Pigs – Health and General Well-Being
Watch your cavies closely and regularly to notice any change that may cause alarm. Annual check-ups by veterinary doctors can prevent illnesses.
Caregivers should also do daily observations to check on abnormal behaviors and separate those found with questionable traits.
Problematic signs that you should be on the look-out for include;
- Hiding more than normal
- Crying and extreme discomfort when passing urine
- Spots of blood in urine and feces
- Drooling all the time
- Sudden weight loss
- Nasal discharge
- Loss of appetite, difficulties with chewing food
- Difficulties with breathing, wheezing, sneezing, or persistent cough
- Swollen or red foot pads
- Dry or dirty balm
- A general change in behavior.
Conduct a healthy examination once you notice any of the above signs. Physical reviews on the cavies will help you know when to call the veterinarian.
White guinea pigs need special attention, unlike dogs and cats. The choice of veterinarian matters. An experienced doctor will handle the cavies better. It would be wise if you had a veterinary doctor because:
- White guinea pigs are sensitive to many antibiotics. Using the wrong antibiotics or dosage may cause gastrointestinal problems that may lead to death. Therefore, oral, injection, or topical administration of antibiotics should be done strictly under the guidelines of a veterinarian.
- Concealing Signs and Symptoms of Illness: White guinea pigs mask illness a lot. You only discover when the infection has taken a toll on the cavy. Then frequent examinations by the veterinarian will detect the symptoms early enough and save the pet.
- Vulnerability to Surgery and Anesthesia Risks: White guinea pigs have a higher risk level than most animals regarding surgery and anesthesia. Working with an experienced veterinarian in such cases can minimize the risks involved.
Frequently Asked Questions
Not all white guinea pigs are lethals. “Lethal” refers to a genetic trait that causes a guinea pig to be born with severe health problems and die at a very young age. While some white guinea pigs may carry the lethal gene, not all of them do.
White-crested guinea pigs are not necessarily rare. The white coloration is not exclusive to the white-crested breed, and can be found in guinea pigs of other breeds as well.
Not all white guinea pigs have red eyes. In fact, many white guinea pigs have dark eyes, just like guinea pigs of other colors. The color of a guinea pig’s eyes is not determined by its coat color.
White guinea pigs are not necessarily deaf. Deafness in guinea pigs can be caused by a variety of factors, including genetics, age, and exposure to loud noises. The color of a guinea pig’s coat has no bearing on its ability to hear.
White guinea pigs may have red eyes because they lack melanin, the pigment that gives color to the skin, hair, and eyes. In the absence of melanin, the blood vessels in the eyes may be more visible, resulting in the appearance of red eyes.
Additional Sources & Resources
We also have a number of other guides related to guinea pigs, including:
- Our answer to the question “can guinea pigs eat strawberries?”
- Our answer to the question “can guinea pigs eat onions?”
- Our answer to the question “can guinea pigs eat avocados?”
- Our answer to the question “can guinea pigs eat watermelon?”
- Our answer to whether guinea pigs sleep with their eyes open?
- Our answer to whether guinea pigs hibernate
- Our answer to whether guinea pigs are nocturnal
- Our answer to whether guinea pigs sleep at all
- Our breed guide to Himalayan guinea pigs
- Our breed guide to Sheltie guinea pigs
- Our breed guide to Albino guinea pigs
- Our guide to finding the best shampoo for guinea pigs
- Our guide to finding the best bedding for guinea pigs
- Our guide to finding the best toys for guinea pigs
And this list of great academic resources on white guinea pigs:
- The Domestic Guinea Pig: Biology, Medicine, Surgery by J. G. Fox. This book is a comprehensive resource on the biology, medicine, and surgery of domestic guinea pigs. It includes a chapter on the genetics of guinea pig coat color, including information about the genes that control white coloration in guinea pigs.
- The Guinea Pig: Reproduction, Breeding, and Care by R. Curl. This book is a practical guide to the reproduction, breeding, and care of guinea pigs. It includes a chapter on guinea pig coat color genetics, which covers the genes that control white coloration in guinea pigs.
- Genetics of the Domestic Guinea Pig by T. E. Reed. This book is a detailed guide to the genetics of domestic guinea pigs. It includes a chapter on coat color genetics, which covers the genes that control white coloration in guinea pigs.
- The Guinea Pig: Health, Husbandry, and Diseases by Quesenberry and Carpenter. This book is a comprehensive guide to the health, husbandry, and diseases of guinea pigs. It includes a chapter on guinea pig coat color genetics, which covers the genes that control white coloration in guinea pigs.
- Nutrient Requirements of Guinea Pigs by the National Research Council. This book is published by the National Academy Press and provides detailed information about the nutritional requirements of guinea pigs. It includes a chapter on the genetics of guinea pig coat color, including information about the genes that control white coloration in guinea pigs.