Cavy Health Matters

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Cavy Health Matters

Post by cena robson on Thu Oct 16, 2008 11:31 pm

A well-cared-for guinea pig may live four to seven years. Male guinea pigs can weigh between two to four pounds, females slightly less. Guinea pigs are sexually mature between five and eight weeks of age. Guinea pigs groom themselves with their front teeth, tongue and back claws, but they still require frequent brushing and combing to stay clean and tangle free, particularly the long-haired breeds. Use a soft baby brush or toothbrush. Because your guinea pig's teeth grow continuously, it's essential that you provide it with hard things to gnaw on to prevent its teeth from growing too long. Hard wood, untreated wicker and hard bread crusts are some suggested items. It's also possible for your guinea pig's nails to overgrow, causing discomfort and increasing your risk of being scratched. Ask your veterinarian to show you how to trim your guinea pig's nails.

Clipping nails
Guinea pig nails should be trimmed as often as necessary and may not ever need to be trimmed depending on what type of surface your pet is accustomed to. Guinea pigs that spend a lot of time on hard, semi-rough surfaces will naturally wear down their claws to an acceptable length. If your guinea pig mostly lives on soft surfaces, the claws will grow longer into a sharp tip. Using commercially available cat clippers, clip the end of the claws – do not cut the claws too short to avoid injury.

Clipping nails video

Inspecting Teeth
Just like other members of the rodent family, the guinea pig’s front two teeth – the incisors – will grow throughout its entire life. Because these teeth are always growing, if they are not worn down naturally or clipped occasionally they will curve into the mouth preventing proper eating resulting in starvation.
To care for your guinea pig’s teeth, make sure to provide your pet safe toys to gnaw on such as commercially available chew sticks, tree branches or wood blocks. The natural chewing action will wear down the front teeth to a healthy, acceptable length.
If the teeth become too long and are in need of clipping, take your pet into the local veterinarian to have the clipping done. Additionally, if you notice that the teeth are chipped, consult with your veterinarian.

Guinea pigs are fastidious groomers and generally will keep their fur clean by themselves. If you choose to brush your pet’s fur, use a stiff pet brush by applying moderate pressure to remove loose hair and to remove any mats. As you brush, inspect the ears and skin for any signs of mites, fleas or any other kind of skin irritation or abrasion.

Most guinea pigs do not like the water – in fact, the panic induced by a bath can result in unhealthy stress and potential injury. Guinea pigs should not be bathed unless they absolutely need it – for medical reasons, such as fleas, or if they happen to get extremely dirty, mud or sewage.
As an alternative to a bath, consider some of the following options:
* Powder baths – apply the powder to the fur and brush out with a stiff brush
* Spot clean dirty bottoms with hydrogen peroxide – gently rub to remove feces and urine stains
* Spot clean fur with a washcloth and warm soapy water
cena robson

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