Congratulations on your new guinea pig! Are you wondering what you need to do to keep your furry friend as healthy and sweet smelling as he is today? If so, read on – we are going to cover the five daily essentials.
Bedding Every day you are going to want to remove wet or soiled bedding and replace it with new clean materials. This is going to prevent unnecessary health problems as well as reduce odor. Make sure that when you go to the pet store to buy bedding that you read all labels carefully. Do not buy any pine or cedar bedding. This is frequently marketed as “small mammal or rodent” bedding but it contains fumes which are actually quite harmful for small animals. Also, be sure to avoid rougher bedding like straw. You don’t want anything that can bother your guinea pig’s feet. A good combination of beddings is something soft and wicking on top, with something more absorbent underneath. Combinations to explore include fleece over newspaper, or hay over careFresh.
Food Your guinea pig will need to be fed twice per day. Try to provide meals at the same time every day. Your furry friend will appreciate the regularity. Make sure that any food that is not consumed is cleaned up right away as older food can harbor bacteria. Look for the healthiest pellets you can find. Check the ingredient label – you want to avoid pellets with added sugar, oil, animal by products, dye, and chemicals. Look for at least 20% protein, 16% fiber, and vitamin C. In addition you will also want to supply fresh fruits and vegetables. Just be sure to avoid whole celery stalks, corn, sunflower seeds, nuts, potatoes, tomato leaves, and dried fruit.
Water Every day you need to provide fresh water and clean out the water bottle. Old water can have bacteria growing in it. Avoid adding vitamin C drops to the water as this is not effective and can make the water taste funny, causing your guinea pig to avoid drinking. On that note, check to make sure your guinea pig is actually drinking water. If not, try adding an additional open water bowl or even feeding with a water dropper during nightly interaction.
Grooming If your guinea pig has long hair, grooming the coat will be a daily task. Otherwise you risk matter hair and embedded materials. Matted hair may sound simply like a cosmetic issue but other than being untidy this can lead to developing skin problems like sores. If your guinea pig has short hair you really don’t need to brush them daily if you don’t want to.
Health Check You may already be putting thirty minutes or so aside every night to play with your guinea pig. If not then start as this is also a great time to do some basic health checks, Does your guinea pig look bright, healthy and alert? Do you see evidence of respiratory problems like a runny nose or cough? Is your guinea pig walking on all feet normally? What about skin problems? Do all the basic checks and don’t be afraid to schedule a visit to the veterinarian. Health issues caught in the early stages are always easier to treat.
Amanda is a lifelong guinea pig lover. For more great guinea pig information, visit http://www.guineapigresource.com/guinea-pig-care/