Give your guinea pig a good hair day.
Sure, guinea pigs may be a bit slobbish (just a bit!) around their house – but when it comes to keeping themselves well-groomed, there’s rarely a hair out of place. They’re happy to doll up on any given day. However, brushing your piggy pal on a regular basis will help keep his coat in good condition AND give you the chance to check for problems such as lice, or sores on his skin.
Just how much you’ll need to brush will depend on how long your twitchy sidekick’s fur is.
Long-haired guinea pigs will need to be brushed – and any matts, combed out – each day. If it helps, matts and loose hair are best teased out, by hand. And if you asked a breeder, they would recommend trimming your longhaired guinea pig so his hair isn’t dragging on the ground. Using a wide-tooth comb on this little dude is also best, as a stiff brush will pull the hair right out – YEOW!
Short-haired guinea pigs will need a good brushing at least once a week – thankfully, matts aren’t usually a problem for these mop-pets.
Nail down a regular clipping routine.
Much like our rabbit friends, guinea pigs’ nails grow pet-ticularly quickly, and can get a bit out of hand sooner than you think. Clipping Gunther’s toenails regularly is another step in the right direction, as this will prevent the nails from curling and growing back into the pad, which can cause pain and infection.
Rub-a-dub-dub, your pig in a tub.
Guinea pigs don’t usually bubble over with joy during bathtime. Thankfully, you’ll only need to give Porky a good splish-splash in the bath a couple times a year. And when you do, it’s best to use an animal shampoo for guinea pigs, small pets, or cats – but not dogs. (Sorry, Fido, no reflection on you.) Using the wrong cleanser on your friendly fluffball is no good, since he’s prone to skin problems. For example, sometimes parasites hitch a ride on the hay you put into Little Pig’s cage, which means he’ll need a special shampoo to boot them. That goes for fungal infections, too.
When you bathe your bitty buddy, just make sure you rinse him well. Then, towel-dry him as best you can, and keep him in a warm place until he’s completely dry. You can also wrap Piggy Sue in a towel and try a gentle blow-dry on her. Heck, give her a blow-wave, if she asks – she usually won’t mind it. More than likely, you’ll see your pet snuggling into the towel as she’s being dried.
Check for health problems, for pet’s sake.
As with any pet, grooming your English Merino gives you the chance to check for potential health troubles. What to watch for? For starters, cloudy fluid around the lower eyelid, and discharge or dried mucus around the nose.
You’ll also want to examine your guinea pig’s ears for any excessive wax build-up, and his rear-end for urine scalding.
Chipped or broken teeth are another thing to keep a beady eye on, as they can affect Alfie’s eating. Listen for any clicking or grinding sounds, which may indicate his back teeth have overgrown. If you’re unsure about anything you spot, scurry on over to the vet, as treatment may be necessary.
Give him more bark to bite.
Much like his cuteness, your Teddy’s two front teeth, known as the incisors, will grow continuously. So, if they’re not naturally worn-down or clipped, his teeth will curve into his mouth, which could make eating really tough and result in starvation. But if you can give your precious piggy hay he can nibble on, or safe toys, tree branches and wood blocks to chew on, you can safely erode his teeth to a healthy length.
So you see, keeping your guinea piggy well-groomed is the healthy way to grow.