It's really upsetting if one of your guinea pigs becomes ill. There are some simple steps you can take to help keep your guinea pigs happy and healthy.
A daily health check
By watching your guinea pigs' behaviour each day, you'll quickly learn what's normal for them. It'll be easier for you to spot any signs that they're under the weather.
Visit your vet straight away if you see any of these signs:
- Big weight loss or weight gain over a short time
- Not eating
- Drinking much more or less than normal
- Lack of energy/sleeping more than usual
- Unusual swellings or lumps and bumps
- Skin conditions
- Unusual bleeding
- Signs of pain, like not wanting to be touched
- Runny eyes or nose
- Overgrown teeth
- A change in their usual behaviour, as this could be because they’re feeling poorly.
Looking after your guinea pigs’ teeth
Your guinea pigs’ teeth will keep growing throughout their life. They need plenty of things to chew as this helps wear down their teeth and stops them getting overgrown. You can help keep their teeth in good shape by:
- Giving them a constant supply of hay. It’s a really important part of their diet and helps keep their teeth in good condition.
- Give them gnawing blocks and plenty of things to chew on.
- Avoid sugary treats like ‘honey sticks’.
If your guinea pig’s teeth do get overgrown, your vet will be able to help.
Stopping your guinea pigs from getting bored
Boredom can cause health problems for guinea pigs. If they don’t have enough to do they might overeat and put on weight.
You can keep them occupied with the right enclosure and lots of things to explore and play with:
- Cardboard boxes and untreated logs give your guinea pigs things to explore and hide in.
- You can also buy toys for small pets from pet shops.
- Guinea pigs can get scared easily so give them large tubs, pots and tunnels where they can hide.
- Keep some toys stored away and swap them around regularly – this will stop your guinea pigs getting fed up of the same old toys and gives you a chance to clean them.
- Let them search out their food. Scatter food around their enclosure and hide it in boxes and tubs. They’ll have loads of fun sniffing it out.