If kept in clean, warm housing, and fed a good diet, we are more likely to remain healthy. We do not need any vaccinations but we do need our nails cut occasionally. The local veterinary nurse or rescue will do it if you prefer. Please ensure we are checked regularly and that includes teeth, skin, eyes, bottoms, nails and hair. Little Brambles Guinea Pig Rescue has a check list of things to look out for as a reminder, it is available on this site to download.
It is important to look at our coats often, as skin problems can occur. Any signs of sores, hair loss, mites, wriggly things, bald patches, constant scratching etc. should be treated sooner rather than later. Long coated piggies need regular grooming and regular bathing (using an appropriate shampoo) in the summer months helps to prevent mites from laying eggs and keeps our coat nice and healthy. We don’t mind having a haircut either as trimming it can keep us cleaner.
Mite prevention products are available from any vet and are an important part of keeping us healthy. They are not too expensive and are simply a spot on that goes onto the back of our necks, these keep the creepy crawlies away. Those of us available for rehoming will already have had a mite prevention from Aunty Louise just to be sure we are bug free. (Xeno 450 – available online or from vets)
Weighing us each week and recording it can be beneficial as if we start to loose weight it is a good indicator that something else is wrong. Any weight loss must be investigated. Piggies do sometimes have problems with teeth so it’s always worth observing how we are eating – if we are struggling to eat correctly please do something about it.
As with all animals, we need exercise to stay fit and healthy. Having a big area to explore and bomb around in daily also keeps us stimulated and entertained, which is equally as important.
Giving us access to a big and varied environment improves our world in an incredible way. Even a large cage or hutch is quite a restrictive space, which is why daily floor time or sessions in a garden run/exercise pen are so important. Floor time brings the obvious increases in opportunities for mental and physical stimulation but let’s not forget there’s plenty in it for you too! Use your imagination when it comes to making tunnels, bridges, hidey holes, caves, platforms, climbing, we’ll give anything a try, just watch us. Just make sure we are safe when we are being environmentally enriched. On the internet there are some wonderful examples of guinea pig enclosures that are just perfect for us.
You will also need to make provision for us to have a run about even in cold weather, perhaps indoors, if we are really spoilt but the patio or decking is ok as long as the floor is dry. This daily handling helps us to bond with our family too.! However, please do not put us out on damp grass, there is a strong possibility that it will make us poorly. We need the exercise but just want it to be dry.
Please be mindful too that we don’t cope well with big temperature variations so a central heated house to outside in winter is not good.
Please note too that it’s normal for us to
……….have a bald patch behind our ear.
……….have a milky white discharge from our eyes – it’s our lense cleaner.
……….make bird like sounds – it’s our national anthem.
……….have a grease gland on our rears that needs help from you to keep clean.(try Swarfega)