We’ve seen a lot of rabbits and guinea pigs at the surgery in the last few weeks. They make fantastic, friendly pets for both adults and children and with many of them living in the house, they can be a real part of the family.

It’s best not to mix rabbits and guinea pigs together. They’re both friendly creatures and are best to be kept with company, but rabbits can often bully guinea pigs, so stick to rabbits or guinea pigs in one hunch.

It’s important for both of them that they have plenty of fibre in their diet. Many of the rabbits and guinea pigs we see have dental problems and these are often preventable with the right diet. Their main diet should be good quality, dust free hay, with a small amount of a complete food, such as Burgess Excel rabbit or guinea pig pellets. They should also have fresh vegetable daily, such as cabbage, kale, winter greens, cauliflower leaves. A full list can be found at here. This is a fantastic website for general information on rabbits and their care.

Guinea pigs have a dietary requirement for Vitamin C, so it is especially important that they have fresh fruit and vegetables and in some cases need a vitamin supplement.

Rabbits should be vaccinated annually against myxomatosis and Viral Haemorraghic disease, even if they are indoor rabbits as diseases can be spread by biting insects. There are currently no vaccinations available or necessary for guinea pigs.

Male and female rabbits or guinea pigs can be kept together, but it is necessary to neuter (spay or castrate) them, to prevent unwanted babies. We recommend neutering all pets to prevent health problems.

Veterinary care for both rabbits and guinea pigs is advancing year on year, allowing vast improvements in their treatment. Modern, up to date veterinary care can be lengthy and expensive, so we would advise all rabbit and guinea pig owners to consider insurance. Companies offering suitable policies include Pet Plan and Exotics Direct.