pigs are among the cutest pets that people own. They are members of the
rodent family and originate in South America. They are also known by
the name "cavy" which derives from the scientific name Cavia aperea.
Guinea pigs are born fully haired, eyes open and ready to run. They
make great pets for adults and children alike and enjoy the
human-animal bond that develops between owners and their pets.
pigs are very active pets so buy the largest cage possible. There are
cages that are specifically made for guinea pigs that do not have wire
on the cage bottom. This is an important feature as guinea pigs can get
their feet caught in the wire and break a leg very easily.
bedding should be used and changed 1-2 times weekly, depending on the
number of pets you keep. Carefresh is an excellent product for this
purpose. It is a newspaper-based bedding that is very soft and
absorbent. Cedar and pine shaving should be avoided because the wood
products can cause eye and feet irritations, as well as upper
Guinea pigs enjoy
playtime and run and jump with obvious joy. They like tossing toilet
paper rolls and even some small dog toys around. Providing tubes to run
through and little houses to hide in help keep your pet content.
pigs prefer using a water bottle rather than a bowl if given the
choice. Water bowls also tend to get full of litter and debris quickly
so keep this in mind when purchasing your equipment.
should be fed in abundance each day. Timothy, alfalfa, oat, sweet
grass, and meadow grass are all very good and depending on the time of
year, some if not all will be available. One important side note to
remember: alfalfa is the "candy bar" of hays. Too much alfalfa can
cause urinary tract problems because of high calcium, so feed this type
of hay sparingly.
Guinea pigs have a
unique dietary need. Because they can’t synthesize vitamin C, their
diet must be supplemented with this vitamin. If they do not get enough
vitamin C, they can develop scurvy. By feeding small amounts of fresh
dark greens and fruits, your pet will have a well balanced diet. The
darker the green vegetable, the higher the vitamin C content. Guinea
pigs also like oranges that are full of this vitamin too. Pelleted foods can also be offered as a treat. ½ cup given daily should be adequate.
The most common problems we are presented with here at our hospital
include hair loss and teeth problems. Hair loss can be caused by
several health problems. If your pet’s fur contains dandruff-like
flakes, he may have fur mites. Lice are another common problem in
guinea pigs so frequent brushing and checking his hair coat is
essential. Your vet will suggest taking a skin scraping and checking
under the microscope for parasites. If these pests are present, your
vet will treat them accordingly.
problems are usually noticed by the owner when the pet stops eating.
Drooling is another sign of dental problems and your pet’s teeth should
be checked by the vet. Because guinea pigs have so much excess skin in
the mouth area, the doctor must use a specialized instrument to look at
the molars in the back of your pet’s mouth. If the teeth are not
wearing evenly, they can grow points that dig into the guinea pig’s
cheeks and gums which make eating very painful.
Please call the Merrick Veterinary Group at 516-379-6200 to schedule your Guinea pig for an examination with Dr. Marder or Dr. May today.