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Encouragingly, 88% of the 5046 people surveyed said they keep guinea pigs in groups of two or more, as is recommended by experts and, in fact, required by law in Switzerland. 88% also said they provide their guinea pig with additional space to roam outside of their housing.
Although only 3% of guinea pig owners said they insure their pet, 67% said they take their guinea pig to see the vet once a year or more.
When it comes to nutrition, 76% of owners say they believe feeding hay is the most important part of their guinea pig(s) diet and 65% say it is their guinea pigs’ primary food source. Burgess says that in an ideal world 100% of guinea pigs would be fed hay as their primary food source, so 65% shows there is room for improvement.
Peter Lancaster, marketing manager at Burgess Pet Care said: "Guinea pigs make fantastic pets but, as with other small animals, they have very particular needs when it comes to their welfare. Thankfully, according to the findings of our census, we found that the majority of guinea pig owners who provided answers on the five welfare needs – diet, company, health, environment and behaviour, are conscientious with their care, reflecting their dedication to keeping their pets happy.
"It was fantastic to see the number of guinea pig owners entering the census keep rising by the day, and we’re reassured that there are thousands of well-informed owners out there. However, despite these resoundingly positive findings, there is always work to be done when it comes to improving standards of animal welfare. The information we’ve received from this census does identify the gaps of knowledge in certain areas, and we anticipate these gaps to be much larger when it comes to less-informed and engaged guinea pig owners."
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