Guinea Pig Grooming and Hygiene

It is necessary to do few things regularly and the piglet will be always clean and smell nice.

Cleaning The Cage 

– Once a month you should do a thorough cleaning – clean the entire cage and accessories;
– Change the entire bedding once a week and wipe the bottom of the cage with a wet handkerchief;
 
– It is necessary to change dirty bedding and throw out excrements and leftovers of food every day.

It is often said, that guinea pigs stink – it isn’t true. If you do the cleaning regularly you will avoid an unpleasant smell.

Cutting Claws

You should buy a claws clipper. 

Your guinea pig’s claws should be cut every month. It requires a little bit of skills and sometimes it is necessaryto ask somebody for help, because piggies don’t like this treatment, and they may struggle a lot. In such case someone should hold the pig while you are cutting its claws
Below it is presented, how to cut the claws. You can see a proper cutting line – green dashed line. Be careful not to cut the quick!

Bathing

It isn’t necessary to bath your guinea pig. Some people recommend to wash it once a month. In my opinion you should bath the piggy only when it is really needed, especially that guinea pigs don’t like it. 
Sometimes it happens that the piggy stinks. It may be caused by different reasons. 
If the pig gets terribly dirty …. a bath is necessary.

You should wash the pig in slightly warm water. You may use a shampoo for babies or special one for animals. I use a shampoo for babies.

Sometimes pigs are scare of a hair drier, but it’s a splendid solution in the winter. If you don’t use the drier, you should hold the wet pig in a dry towel for a while. You can put slightly wet pig into the cage and move the cage closer to a heater.

STEPS OF WASHING A GUINEA PIG

Cutting and combing fur

Only long-haired piggies require cutting and combing fur. You should use a special brush or a comb. You should not allow for tangling up and overgrowth the fur.

Guinea Pig Diet

Proper diet is very important for guinea pigs, because these animals give a lot of attention and devote a lot of time to eating 🙂 
Creating a menu for a piglet is quite easy and cheap, although you have to remember a few simple rules:

Guinea pigs should have unlimited access to fresh water.

Give your piggy large amounts of fresh hay every day. 
It is non-absorbent and isn’t suitable for bedding, but it is a basic component of the diet.
An adult piggy should eat about one kilogram of hay a month. The hay is available with herbs and other plants, but it isn’t necessary.

Grains and pellets are important part of guinea pigs diet. 
Choose pellets intended for guinea pigs, which are enriched with vitamin C. Pellets for other rodents may not contain it. Pay attention, whether pellets you choose contains vitamin C, because your pet must absorb it (guinea pigs are unable to manufacture their own). If you fulfil thisconditionit isn’t necessary to buy the diet supplement with vitamin C. Pellets are more economical than grains, because the piggy won’t be picking its favourite grains. At beginning it’s better to buy a smaller package – if the piggy doesn’t like it; she won’t eat it. No arguments will help. Your piggy may scatter pellets all over the cage, and eventually pee on it. 

Grain sticks are a splendid solution.
They aren’t exposed to be scattered all over the cage or polluted. The sticks contain not only food, but also a wooden centre, so it can be used as a teething toy. However, a spoiled piggy won’t start to eat a grain stick,until you’ll remove it and put it on the bottom of the cage.
The biggest disadvantage is an artificial honey, which is often an ingredient of grain sticks. Pigs don’t like it.

Vegetables and fruits should be only an addition to guinea pig’s diet.

Guinea pigs should be fed witch vegetables and fruits once a day. Pigs like: 

– dill,
– parsley leaves,
– cucumbers,
– lettuce (in reasonable amounts),
– carrot,
– celery,
– root of a parsley,
– apples,
– bananas.
 

Pigs adore grass, dandelions and clovers.

However, if they come from lawns, meadows or parks; they might be polluted with excrement of animals and exhaust fumes, so your pig can be poisoned. If you decide to give your piggy some grass, wash it carefully. Leaves of certain trees are also recommendedfor example: leaves of willows and maples. As teething toy, the best choice is a branch of fruit tree. These branches are rich in tanning agents, that are good for your pig’s health. However if we don’t have any fruit tree’s branches, it isn’t a problem. 

Guinea pigs produce two kinds of excrements: inedible and edible (contain vitamin K and vitamins from the B-group) which are willingly eaten.

At the end, you should remember that every pig is different, and has its own preferences. Some piggies eat everything; other ones are more fussy and may be resentful, if they don’t get food, which they prefer. If you are a new guinea pig owner, remember – don’t overfeed it. Having a new piglet is often a big event at home. Everyone is excited seeing its eating…..and gives it a lot of treats. After some time, owners start to realize, that their piggy is to fat and it’s wrong to give it so much food. Howeverthe pig won’t understand it and will be demanding food in very “aggressive” manner: loud wheek with open snout….for very long period of time. Explanations or shouts will make no impression on the piggy. The pig might wheek even when it hears a rustle of a plastic bag – the pig will connect that sound with vegetables, which are often wrapped in foil.

A properly fed guinea pig has soft and shining fur. It is curious, likes exploring and playing. 

Taming a Guinea Pig

After bringing home a new guinea pig, you should give it a few days to get used to new surroundings.

It happens that on the first days the pig doesn’t want to eat, but you should not worry, it finally starts to eat. It won’t take long, and the pig won’t be afraid anymore, especially when it will associate your smell with food. 

On the first days don’t take it out from the cage too often, but after few days (about one week) start to do it – pigs love being held. They are gregarious animals and if you have one piggy, you should provide it a lot of companionship. 

It would be better, if you decide to get two piggies. It would be great, if they already knew each other and were accustomed to one another. Even females, if they are strangers, may be aggressive to each other… and fight. Females have a reputation of being very friendly. I also thought so, but recently I’ve changed my mind. A fight of two females might be extremely brutal, even plucking fur is possible. 

Guinea pigs are quite intelligent. They are attached to their owners and like to be taken out of the cage.

At the beginning young piggies may bite and try to break free. They need at least few weeks to calm down. Aggressive and whiny pigs are rare, and if you get such one, there’s nothing you can do about it. 

You Should Know, How to Hold a Guinea Pig Correctly

Put one hand under its chest and front paws, and then put your other hand under its rear paws.

Never let a piggy jump from your hands into the cage. It can hurt itself very badly, or even break a paw. 

Equipment

Before you decide to buy a guinea pig, you must already have a cage at home. One pig should have at least a one square meter of space. The pig’s cage should not be painted (choose a galvanized cage) or made of wood, because wood absorbs humidity.

1. A Wooden House – It Provides Shelter and is Used as A Teether. 

Although wood absorbs urine, a house can be made of this material. It should have a flat roof, so that pigs can sit on itSome pigs spend a lot of time sitting on the roof. It may happen, that your pig piss in the corners of the house. When it happens the house smells bad and it doesn’t look nice. You should wash it or, in an extreme case, exchange it. We recommend a stone flower pot as a house for the piggy. It has a flat roof and doesn’t absorb humidity.

2. A water bottle 

We don’t advise to give pigs water in a bowl. They will turn it over quickly, and you will be forced to do an extra cleaning. The water bottle eliminates this problem, although it might happen that you buy a defective one. You should check whether water is leaking from it. The leaky water bottle will wet bedding. You may mistakenly think your piggy started to pee more. The water bottle should be the first thing you check, when the bedding in the cage is too wet.

3. A Hay Rack 

It is necessary in the cage. Don’t put hay for the piggy directly on the bedding. Your pig may pee on it, and wetted hayis not only wasted but smells quitebad. Additionally, climbing and searching for treats is a great entertainment for a piglet.

4. A Feeding Bowl 

Choose bowls with a broad base, so that pigs can’t knock them over (some pigs do it on purpose, so that they can look for the best bits easier). Bowls made of plastic are better of course than wooden ones, because a pig might pee in a bowl.

5. Wood Shavings, Wood Pellets or Fleecebedding. 

Wood shavings are the most popular type of bedding, but they are not very absorbent, so you have to clean quite often. Wood pellets are better in this matter, but they are less comfortable for your pet. A combinations of these two kinds of bedding is a good solution. You can put some pellets in the spots in which your guinea pig pees the most, and shavings in the other parts of the cage.
The fleece is very comfortable – soft and absorbent. It’s less expensive than wood shavings and pellets, because it’s reusable.

Additionally Buy a Guinea Pig Carrier.

Don’t buy a litter tray. Piglets are usually peeing in corners of the cage, but it’s not a rule. They are even able to move their house, when they want to organize the toilet for themselves behind it. 

 

When You Should Go to a Vet?

Visits to a vet are not frequent. Guinea pigs don’t need any vaccinations. If it catches a cold, it’s not a big problem. The pig will have a runny nose and will sneeze for a few days. When your pig has a cold, keep windows closed and take care of proper heating.

Guinea pigs are quite healthy animals, but if you notice any worrying changes, it is necessary to go to a vet.

Things that Should Worry You

Changes in the pet’s behaviour, for example: it’s apathetic and stays in its house most of the time;
– Diarrhoea or no feces;
– Skin changes:
rashes, growths, spots; 
– Nodules;
– Poor appetite –
too long teeth might be the reason. Rodents’ teeth grow continuously throughout their lives – guinea pigs should have teething toys in order to systematically wipe the teeth off. Sometimes vet’s intervention is neededonly the doctor can trim teeth;
– Green or/and stinking water in the water bottle. Fungi or algae may be the reason. You may exchange equipment and wash the cage. If it doesn’t help, you should go to the a vet with the pig and contaminated water. The vet may want to do water analysis;
– Scratching. Pigs don’t scratch themselves very often. If the piglet scratches much more than it used to, it can be caused by parasites. 

You shouldn’t give your pet any medications on your own initiative, it may cause more harm than good. 

Guinea pigs don’t get sick too often, and when you take your pet to the vet quickly, it will get better soon. It’s good to know where a 24 hour vet is – in your town, although I’ve never need it, and I’ve had lots of guinea pigs in my life (including two unexpected births).