5 Guinea Pig Care Tips
Keeping your pets and their homes clean and hygienic is one of the best ways to prevent illness or distress. It’s obvious when your guinea pig is happy and in good health, as they will be running, playing, chattering and acting as they usually do. However, if your guinea pig seems to be under the weather, but a trip to the vet has identified no underlying problems, this could be a sign that better hygiene is required. Here are 5 guinea pig care tips, so that you can be on your way to helping your cavies!
1. Avoid frequent bath time!
If your guinea pigs’ coats are in need of a good clean, there are some important things to bear in mind. Whilst it might be your first instinct to want to bathe them, this can actually be bad for your guinea pigs’ health. In particular, this can lead to developing dry skin.
Guinea pigs actually maintain a good level of cleanliness through self or group-grooming naturally. If a guinea pig coat becomes matted with dirt, you may need to use a chemical-free wipe to slightly wet the fur, enabling you to clean it thoroughly. If a guinea pig’s coat gets wet in the process of cleaning, make sure they have plenty of blankets and warm toys to surround themselves with afterwards.
However, it’s still a good idea to invest in a grooming kit, especially if your guinea pig lives alone. Therefore, you can take the place of their fellow guinea pigs in maintaining their lovely coats!
2. Keep on top of dental hygiene
If you notice that your guinea pigs’ teeth have grown very long, or they’re having trouble eating, it’s a good idea to check with your vet if any action needs to be taken. You can read more about taking care of guinea pigs’ teeth in this Omlet guide.
3. Trim your guinea pigs’ nails
Similarly, you should keep an eye on your guinea pigs’ toenails. Guinea pig toenails need cutting regularly, to keep up with their care regime. If their nails are white, then it is easier to see the blood vessel, or the quick, running down the centre of their nails. This way, you can trim the tip of the nail and avoid the quick. With darker nails however, it can be more difficult to see this. If in doubt, contact your vet, who will be able to help you out with this procedure.
4. Regularly clean your guinea pigs’ hutch
You may be wondering how to clean a guinea pig’s cage, but it’s pretty simple (especially if you have an Eglu Go Guinea Pig Cage!).
A healthy guinea pig is a relatively clean animal that relies heavily on the nature and safety of their habitat. The cage, hutch and enclosure are the best places to start when looking at ways to improve your pets’ environment. Depending on the material your enclosure is made of, you will need specific products to clean it. Using the right sort of cleaner will ensure you get the most out of every home and piece of play equipment you buy for your guinea pig.
If your guinea pigs live in a cage or caged hutch, a pet-safe liquid spray disinfectant is perfect for cleaning the cage and any plastic base or guinea pig play equipment. It’s a good idea to soak the cage in water and let it dry before disinfecting, as this will loosen any large pieces of dirt and allow the spray to do its job! If regular disinfecting isn’t doing the trick and the hutch retains unpleasant odours, try using hutch cleaning granules, which have been specifically designed to eliminate smells from your pet’s home. When it comes to how often you should clean a guinea pig cage, the rule of thumb is that it should be done on a twice-weekly basis. This involves taking all of their bedding out of their sleeping area, emptying and cleaning their food bowl, cleaning their feeding area, replacing all the bedding and replenishing the food. The more guinea pigs you have the more often this will need to be done, as more excretions will be produced and more mess made.
If your guinea pigs live in a wooden hutch, you need to disinfect it as you would with a regular cage, and it’s also a good idea to clean it every month or so with hot soapy water and scrub the wooden surfaces. Try to minimize soaking the wood by squeezing out most of the water from your sponge before cleaning. If the hutch contains any fleece liners, these are usually machine washable, and it’s good practice to give them a clean more regularly than you would the rest of the hutch. Regardless of which type of hutch you use, always let it dry thoroughly after cleaning before reintroducing the guinea pigs.
5. Replace your guinea pigs’ equipment
Everything you buy for your guinea pigs has a different lifespan, but it is often a good idea to replace items before they deteriorate completely. A typical pet’s water bottle could last many years without breaking, but replacing it every year or so is a good idea. This is because repeated wear and tear of the plastic bottles can result in the animals ingesting plastic, in small pieces or as micro-plastics in the water itself.
Likewise, if you feel that any piece of equipment is no longer possible to fully clean, even after a thorough attempt, it is a good idea to replace it. Your pet would appreciate having something new to play with. Check out Omlet’s range of guinea pig run accessories that are bound to keep your cavies thoroughly entertained!
Although there is no way to ensure your guinea pigs will always stay healthy, paying attention to their hygiene and nutrition will set your pets up for long and healthy lives. Doing plenty of research on your guinea pigs is one of the best things you can do as a pet owner. For example, guinea pigs need lots of vitamin C, and they have been known to lack this essential nutrient in their diets. We’ve even written about why vitamin C is so Important for guinea pigs in a previous blog. They will benefit from the occasional use of supplements.
Keeping up to date with the latest advice on guinea pig health has never been easier than on the Omlet Blog, so be sure to keep checking back in for new articles! You can also visit the Omlet website. Where you’ll find guinea pig run accessories, feeders, and hutches that your pets will love!
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