Guinea pig care: what should you do?
Guinea pigs are animals that require little care. You don’t have to do much to keep your pets happy. Every day vegetables, hay, chunks and water and they are already happy. Of course there are a few more things that need to be done sometimes. The cage must be cleaned at least once a week, the nails must be trimmed so that they do not curl and in long-haired guinea pigs the hair must be cared for so that they do not become tangled.
Longhair guinea pigs should be brushed regularly with a soft bristle brush to avoid tangles. This happens quickly, especially in the abdomen. Pieces of hay or bedding that get stuck in the coat cause felting. The back hairs are also more likely to get wet from urine. Felted spots can be carefully cut away with scissors. You should always be very careful because the burdock is often very close to the skin. It’s helpful if you trim your guinea pigs regularly anyway. If they are not show guinea pigs, it does not matter if they are temporarily uglier. Especially in the summer, your guinea pigs will be very grateful when you trim them. It often gets very sweltering under the enormous thick layer of hair.
The guinea pigs may also start biting each other’s hair. Often this happens when they are bored or short of things. However, there are always guinea pigs that do this even though they live in a very nice cage with enough food and drink.
A guinea pig is not necessary in the bath. It is sometimes smart when a guinea pig has diarrhea to put its butt in a lukewarm shallow bath. The dirt on his buttocks can cause infections. Always use baby shampoo when you bathe your guinea pig. Afterwards, it is best for the animal to dry it off in a draft-free room or to gently blow-dry long-haired guinea pigs. Otherwise the guinea pig could catch a cold.
You can buy scissors specially designed for cutting guinea pig nails at the pet store. This one is also the most convenient because it falls exactly around the nail of the guinea pig in terms of thickness. Young guinea pigs often have thin, short nails. These do not need to be cut very often yet. In older guinea pigs, the nails often do not wear well enough. They become crooked or even twist so much that the nail takes on a corkscrew shape. Of course this is not good for your animal. That is why it is very important to keep a close eye on your guinea pig’s nails.
Cutting in guinea pigs with pink / white nails is very easy. With these nails you can see exactly where the blood supply nerves run. The nail transitions from pink to white at that point. It is best to cut the nail 2/3 millimeters above this line. Cutting in guinea pigs with black nails requires a little more experience. You cannot see where the nerve runs. You will have to guess how short you can cut the nail. If you cut too far at the first nail and it starts to bleed, it is not very bad. Often it will stop very soon, if it continues for a long time you can temporarily put the nail in a container with flour. This helps blood clotting. If the 1st nail goes well immediately you have a point of comparison. The other nails should be about the same length.
Sometimes a guinea pig has strange pieces hanging on its foot. This can be calluses. If it sticks out a bit to the left or right, you can normally just cut it off. If in doubt, you can of course always contact a guinea pig expert with a photo of it.
Cleaning the cage
Most cages should be cleaned at least once a week. All bedding should be removed and replaced. Never use abrasive cleaning agents to clean your cage and then sprinkle it in immediately. This can irritate your guinea pig’s respiratory tract. For example, you can use soda dissolved in warm water, this also immediately kills the parasites that are in the early stages of the cage. When there are many brown spots in the cage due to urine deposits, you can clean the cage once with a generous amount of cleaning vinegar. The cage must then stand for a while with the vinegar in it and you will see that the brown spots disappear to a large extent. After that, the cage must be rinsed very well with hot water!
Only clean the bottles with water and a special bottle brush, this will remove any green deposits on the edges. The food bowls can be rinsed or put in the dishwasher.