Sure, Guinea Pigs are easier to take care of as compared to bigger pets. But this doesn’t mean that they are completely self-sufficient animals! In fact, I believe that Guinea Pigs should come with a tag that say ‘Don’t buy me if you won’t take good care of me’. Guinea Pigs aren’t toys. Neither are they playthings for young children.
Their health and appearance must be nourish to regularly in order that they will have long and happy lives. Moreover, they must be groomed the right way. Making mistakes in this aspect is crucial to their quality of life, as you will see in this article.
Easy Guide on How to Correctly Groom your Guinea Pig
Most owners of Cavies or Guinea Pigs just let them freely run around their enclosures. They take care of them by providing food, water and cleaning their Guinea Pig cage. But while this may work for other animals. This is not ideal for a Cavy.
Without proper grooming, a Cavy could hurt itself. A good owner realizes that and takes steps to make sure that their pet is pretty and healthy.
Guinea Pig Nails
First, always make sure that you give your little friends manicures and pedicures. Even if they are “ladies”, trust me, they will not benefit from having long nails. It will only give them a lot of discomfort. That is why you will commonly see cages filled with objects having rough surfaces on which they can scratch their nails with. They act like nail files, keeping the size of their nails at a manageable length.
The quick is a blood vessel in Guinea Pig-speak. They are very vulnerable to injury and bleeding because they are located near the nail bed. Carefully trim your Guinea Pigs nails above these vessels, especially if they have opaque nails.
Even if you are extremely careful, you might be unable to avoid the bloodbath if your pet has black nails. So keep iodine handy. Get someone to assist you as well. You can take turns with someone holding your pet still while the other cuts the nails. You can also place your pet on top of a tennis racket so that his movements will be suppressed by the strings.
Nails are another problem area. Like the teeth, they grow constantly. They need to be cut or trimmed as well. Animals usually scratch objects to trim their nails but, depending on the construction, your Guinea Pig hutch may not have anything to scratch.
If the nails are too long, it could cause injury and cuts to both you and your pet. Learn how to clip your pets nails. You can have your veterinarian show you how it is done.
Guinea Pig Teeth
Guinea Pigs don’t need toothbrushes or toothpaste. But their teeth have to be controlled in size, or else they will not be able to shut their mouths properly. Look out for cracks, chips and missing teeth in his mouth as well, and send him to the vet right away should you see anything wrong.
One of the more problematic areas is their teeth. For one thing, it grows constantly. A human’s teeth will grow only to a certain extent. This is not the same with the Cavy. Their teeth will continue growing until the day they die. If their teeth aren’t properly groomed, they will find it increasingly hard to eat. It could become so bad that they stop eating altogether.
Guinea Pig Gnawing
Thankfully, nature has given the Cavy a behavior to keep their teeth under control: gnawing. Gnawing will whittle down the ever growing teeth. Don’t just feed your guinea pig pellets.
Give him some hard vegetables. Carrots are nice and hard. Non-vegetables can be used too, like twigs or brushwood.
If your Cavy’s teeth are already too long, bring him to the vet. He will trim its teeth for you. Doing that yourself is possible, but not recommended.
Guinea Pig Hair
Another problematic part of a Cavy’s body is their hair. Whenever two Guinea Pigs meet, they will engage in social hair grooming. It’s a practice that many other animals have. This is necessary for their health.
A single Cavy will try to groom his own hair but there are simply some places, which he can’t reach. It is a good idea to buy a small brush for your pet in order to groom him yourself.
Brush his hair once a week, if your Guinea Pig has short hair. Long-haired Cavies should be groomed everyday. This will bond the two of you even more.
It will also relieve your Cavy. Their hair won’t turn into a tangled, greasy mess. If your pet’s hair becomes too long then you will have to cut it. You don’t need to cut very short, just short enough so it won’t disturb the Guinea Pig’s movement.
While brushing your Cavy’s hair, this is also a good time to check for pests, which is another reason for social grooming. Lice and bedbugs are very troublesome for humans. Imagine how troublesome they are to a small creature like your pet.
These parasites can be transmitted through several ways, for instance other pets or a dirty Guinea Pig hutch. If your pet has these vermin, you can buy a shampoo that kills the pests.
Brush your Guinea Pig’s mane gently with a natural-bristled brush. Only use metal brushes for long-haired Guinea Pigs.
Guinea Pig Bathing
Guinea pigs don’t like to be bathed. They become highly stressed when you do decide to dunk them in water, and this can lower their immune system. Many guinea pigs go their entire lives without bathing, and that’s just fine for them.
Unless you’ve been instructed by the vet, or your guinea pig got into something dirty and smelly, you do not have to bathe your guinea pig. If you do have to bathe him, choose a shampoo that’s gentle on his skin – either something made for kittens (not cats) or a baby shampoo. Only use a medicated shampoo if it’s recommended by a vet.
Keep your Guinea Pig groomed and he will be happy and healthy.