Keep your guinea pigs happy and healthy
A healthy guinea pig is alert and chatty, with bright eyes and a good coat. As with all healthcare, prevention is better than cure. Understanding the signs of ill health and knowing what to look out can make all the difference between your pet enjoying a speedy recovery or becoming very poorly.
The average lifespan of a guinea pig is between 4 – 8 years. You can help your piggies into their golden years by looking after their health. Make sure to find a guinea pig vet near you and take them for yearly check ups. By taking out guinea pig insurance you can help cover against future illnesses or injuries. If you are ever in doubt or have any concerns about your guinea pigs’ health, always seek the advice of your vet.
Common guinea pig health problems
Vitamin C deficiency
Flies and mites
Neutering your guinea pigs
Neutering female guinea pigs can result in lots of complications. Most vets will only neuter a female guinea pig if it’s to help with another health condition.
Different to other small animals, neutering male guinea pigs doesn’t change their behaviour. This means neutering won’t stop two males from fighting. If your male guinea pig needs to live with female guinea pigs, or won’t pair with their male housemate, you should neuter them.
Make sure you choose a vet that is specialised in small animals if you do choose to neuter your guinea pigs.
Grooming your guinea pigs
While long-haired guinea pigs require a daily brush to keep their coats tangle and matt-free, shorthaired varieties only need a weekly once over as part of their regular grooming routine. Guinea pigs tend to clean themselves. Bathing them causes unnecessary stress so it’s not recommended to give your guineas a bath unless it is absolutely necessary. If you do need to bathe your guinea pigs, use a specially formulated guinea pig shampoo and keep them warm and cosy after their bath.
Your guinea pigs’ nails grow quickly so will need trimming every couple of weeks or so. Ask your vet to show you the correct and safe way to cut your guinea pigs’ nails. You can then pick up some guinea pig nail clippers from most pet shops.
Guinea pig health check
Guinea pigs often hide any signs that they’re feeling unwell because they are naturally prey animals. It’s important you regularly check your guinea pigs, and take them to the vet at least once a year for a check-up. You know your guinea pigs best, if anything seems unusual or you feel worried, take your guinea pig to the vet as soon as you can.
While you’re grooming your guinea pigs, you can do a quick health check at home. Check their whole body and look for any lumps or bumps, especially around their chin, back and armpits, or any open wounds. Make sure their eyes are bright and that there’s no discharge coming from their eyes or nose. Check their teeth when you can for any signs that they are misaligned or overgrown.
Always keep an eye on your guinea pigs’ weight and how they are eating. If you notice your guinea pig is not eating normally or if your guinea pig has diarrhoea, seek the advice of your vet.