Hand raising a guinea pig is a massive responsibility, they should only be hand raised/assist fed in the following scenarios:
- Mother has passed away
- Mother has rejected them
- Mother is not producing milk
To see if the pup is not being fed (for rejection and lack of milk production scenarios), assess if the pup is hydrated, warm, active, etc. If the pup is weak, reluctant to feed, dehydrated, etc. we recommend urgently taking the pup to see an exotic vet and commencing hand raising.
To hand raise, you will need:
- A small cage/carrier
- A heat source (snuggle safe, heat packs, or hot water bottle)
- 1ml Syringes
- Formula (Guinea Pig Wombaroo or Divetelact)
- Cotton Ball
How to feed the pup/s
Step 1. Wash hands, mix formula as per instructions, and draw into a 1ml syringe.
Step 2. Place the pup on a safe surface (in your lap, in a cuddle sack, etc) and place the syringe in their mouth.
Step 3. Slowly feed the pup, only give more milk once the pup has swallowed to avoid aspiration. Be gentle and patient, resist the urge to feed more milk than the pup can swallow. If the pup is reluctant to swallow, wet the pup’s lips with milk for them to lick.
Step 4. Use a wet cotton ball to gently wipe the genital area to induce urination and defecation. Pup/s can not toilet on their own, so this is very important.
Step 4. Repeat every 2 hours until 1 week old, 3hrs when two weeks old, etc.
General care advice for looking after pup/s
- Pups get cold quite easily, keeping a heat source such as a snuggle safe, heat pack, or hot water bottle in with the pup/s at all times is recommended.
- Take feeds slowly, aspiration is very common. Consult a rescue, or vet if you would like a demonstration.
- Remember to toilet pup/s after every feed.
- Take the pup/s to see an experienced exotic vet to ensure they are developing well.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help! Hand raising is exhausting, don’t be afraid to ask a friend, family member, piggy parent, or rescue to feed so you can have a night off.