Easy checks for a healthy guinea pig
Thankfully, guinea pigs are very hardy creatures, and if kept clean and fed well they rarely become sick. There are some daily checks you should make, to ensure that your guinea pig stays well, it also helps you to notice any change very quickly, and visit your vet at the first sign of illness. EyesThe eyes should be clear and bright, with no sign of cloudiness or discharge. An eye that suddenly goes cloudy may mean that the guinea pig has got an ulcer as a result of a piece of hay in its eye. Any eye problems require urgent veterinary attention.
Guinea pigs do normally secrete a milky discharge from their eyes, which precedes grooming, as they use it on their paws to groom themselves, if you see this you do not need to worry about it. NoseThe nose should be clean, and as with the eyes, shouldn’t be runny. Any discharge or sneezing may suggest that your guinea pig has a cold. Any patches of hair loss or areas where the skin is red and sore may suggest that your guinea pig has mites. Sometimes you may see little tiny nits walking on your guinea pigs fur, these are hay mites, which are harmless and a simple shampoo will get rid of them for you.
Guinea pigs have no fur on the bottom of their feet, so check the bottom of their feet regularly for any sign of soreness. If the guinea pig is wet and smelly between its legs it may have a urine infection.
What’s Good and What’s Not
The Basic Guinea Pig DietThe basic foundation of a Guinea Pig’s diet is simple – water, pellets and grass hay. Pellets, although comprised of mostly hay, offer necessary vitamins and minerals that grass hays simply do not contain. Alfalfa Hay Pellets: Alfalfa based pellets are higher in calcium, fat and sugar; therefore are best suited for young cavies 6 months of age and older, adults, and pregnant and nursing mothers. Timothy Hay Pellets: Guinea pigs can have unlimited timothy hay pellets. Grass hays should make up about 70%-80% of your guinea pig’s diet.
Serve up a heaping bowl of grass hay and make your guinea pigs giddy with glee. Hays mimic the natural environment of guinea pigs in the wild. You can purchase timothy hay as 1st cutting, 2nd cutting, and 3rd cutting. First Cutting: Hay is higher in fiber and full of cavy-lovin’ seed heads, but the texture of the hay itself is a bit coarse for even the most discriminating guinea pig. Second Cutting: Ahhhh, perfect, is what your cavy would say if it could express its LOVE for 2nd cutting hay.
Oat hay is to guinea pigs what warm, delicious oatmeal, oatmeal cookies, and rich, oat bread is to us. Clover and alfalfa hays are also higher in fat and sugar, so a good rule of thumb is to offer it to adult guinea pigs as an occasional treat.
Guinea Pig care at Alma Street Veterinary Hospital
Guinea pigs make lively and inquisitive pets, but they are very different from dogs and cats. Here are a few pointers to make sure your guinea pig stays happy and healthy. Guinea pigs are very social creatures, and are best kept in groups of 2 or more. It is important to handle your guinea pig frequently from the day that you adopt it, so that they get used to human contact. When picking up a guinea pig, ensure the whole body is supported or the pig will struggle.
Guinea pigs are most active at dusk and twilight, and tend to enjoy napping through the middle of the day. Don’t be alarmed if you notice your guinea pig eating his or her own poo – this is a normal behavior to ensure a healthy digestive system! If your guinea pig stops eating even for 24 hours this can be quite serious, and you should contact your vet immediately. A good diet for guinea pigs should be largely made up of hay, grass and small amounts of fruit and vegetables. Guinea pigs cannot produce vitamin C themselves, and need it to be supplemented in their diet each day.
Baby guinea pigs are born fully furred with open eyes, and they normally wean at about 3 weeks of age. Many problems with guinea pigs are related to nutrition, digestion, obesity and dental disease.
The Proper Care of Guinea Pigs: Peter Gurney: 9780866221955: Amazon.com: Books
Would recommend this book to anybody who wants Guinea Pig friends. First read this book when I got my Guinea Pigs and as a result I shifted my GP’s into the house with me and gained 3 housemates with incredible personalities. Always thought GP’s were cute, fluffy , dumb little animals who had to live in a cage outside. Have discovered they are cute, fluffy, bossy, interactive, and they live happily inside in a large plastic under-the-bed drawer , about 8 inches high(NOT under the bed!) in the kitchen.