Almost all of us are certain that, like every small pet, Guinea Pig is also easy to take care of and maintain at home. Well, it is recommended that you throw away such inappropriate thoughts in the trash. Yes, it is crucial since Guinea Pig needs proper care and at least weekly health checklist for a happier and healthier life despite being a small pet.
In fact, every day, our mailbox is full of inquiries on guinea pig care and maintenance. We believe that it starts with the regular checkups of the pet. Here we have prepared a complete guide on the guinea pig health checklist to perform in less than 10 minutes.
So, are you ready?
Table of Contents
Tips on How to Check Guinea Pig Health
Many people, while paying a periodical visit in the vet’s place with the guinea pig, to their utmost surprise, find that their favorite pet has caught a flea or lump. So, they keep mailing us, “How the lump happened in my guinea pig? Or will they make it through?”
To be honest, such complications happen because we often neglect the guinea pig’s health checkup at home.
So, here are a few must include health checklists that you need to perform at least once a week to keep your guinea pig healthy and happy.
Things You Need to Remember Before Starting the Check List:
Guinea pigs are nervy, skittish, and sometimes wary about humans rubbing their furry bodies. So, when you work with the guinea pigs, be gentle. If possible, take them into a place where they feel comfortable and are void of any other human.
Lastly, wrap them in a soft towel and hold them in your lap gently. It will help you perform the checklist closely in each inch of your body. You may give the guinea pig a treat after each weekly health checkup. It will calm them, and they will be happy to let you check them once they are habituated with the entire process.
Finally, keep a small notebook while performing the checklist. Note down the health conditions such as eye color, weight, etc. so that you can record each health checkup for the pet. It will help you quickly notice any problems.
Now, let’s jump into the step by step guinea pig health checklist-
The guinea pigs’ eyes are generally clear, bright, and discharge free. Sometimes you might notice a slight milky substance in the eyes, and it is normal. The milky substance is a regular part of the guinea pig grooming and nothing to worry about indeed.
However, if you see their eyes blinking repetitively and have a red or inflamed appearance, it is a sign of discomfort and eye problems. Also, squinting and discolored liquid signals problem in the guinea pig eyes.
Finally, cloudy, hue or bulging eyes are also a sign of underlying health issues. You need to consult the vet immediately if these problems of eyes are visible during the checkup.
Skins and Hair:
The guinea pig skin should be healthy-looking, supple, and, most importantly, slightly pink colored. If you notice redness in the skin or completely turn into red, it is not a sign of healthiness for the pet. A red skin, in fact, indicated bacterial, fungal, or parasite attack on the skin.
The fur should contain no patches and need to be dense and clean. Carefully look for any swelling, sores, lump, flaking skin inside the coat to ensure proper health for the guinea pig. Also, check if the skin feels dry or not.
Focus primarily on the three spots- under the legs, chins, and belly. It is essential because most guinea pig owners will miss these spots while performing health checkups.
Since guinea pigs are known for their touch sensitivity, carefully palpate them. If the guinea pig shows any sign of discomfort, winces, or squeaks during the palpating time, it might indicate skin sores, mite inflation, or parasite attacks.
If you have a long-haired guinea pig, check their hair condition. It shouldn’t be knotted or matted. You need to trim their hair timely to prevent matting and to get dirty. Also, longer hair means a better place for fleas and mites to live happily, so keep an eye on it.
The rule for checking guinea pigs ears I simple. Just like we human, normal ears of guinea pigs should be clean and free of odor. Also, it needs to be smooth and no additional wax buildup.
If you see unusual markings or black dots inside the ear, it might indicate parasite attacks. Hence, you should clean the guinea pigs’ ears timely and consult a vet if you see such abnormal spots on the ears.
Guinea pigs with rounded and smaller ears might seem problematic to visualize the ears inside. Also, if they have long ears, you will find it hard to sneak inside the ears. In such cases, operate the ears with patience and mildness. You shouldn’t irritate the guinea pig.
You may not emphasize the cute companion’s stuffy nose, but it can be a big deal if the guinea pig is facing congestion. So, closely look at the sniffer of your cute friend and make sure the nose is free of any discharge. It must be clean.
If you notice any crust or liquid inside the nose, it indicates congestion or respiratory infection. In both cases, medical attention is necessary.
Likewise, the nose the mouth also must be free of any crust buildup and sores. Check the incisors teeth. If you notice the incisors teeth’ overgrowth, it is a clear indication that the guinea pig has stopped eating for a reasonable period now.
And when guinea pigs stop eating, there is every reason to feel worrisome since it means the fury companion is facing underlying health issues for some time now. Additionally, angled incisors wear indicates that the pet is chewing foods with one side of the mouth.
These indicate two possible health conditions. One is an abscess, and the other is the scurvy mouth. You must consult the vet if it happens.
Guinea pigs’ feet are particularly susceptible to injuries, cuts, and other health issues. To check the feet condition, gentle touch the pad underneath the feet. The guinea pig should act naturally. If it screams or reacts, it is a sign that the guinea pig is feeling pain. It mostly happens if the bedding is wet and caught with fungal attacks.
Clean the bed, and if possible, change the cover for a cleaner and dried ground. Also, if you suspect sores on the guinea pig feet, using ointments is tempting. But we strongly discourage you from applying lotions in the sores since it can soften the feet, causing other health implications.
Always consult the vet and get a proper oral medicine for the soring feet. Also, note that the common reasons for guinea pig feet sores are the following-
- An aged guinea pig with arthritis that often sits on its legs.
- Overweight guinea pigs
- Lack of proper Vitamin C as it causes scurvy
An adult guinea pig needs to be anywhere between 1.5 pounds to 2.5 pounds on average. Use a weight machine to check the guinea pigs’ weight at least once a week. Also, record the weight reading weekly in the chart and preserve the record.
Weekly tracking of the guinea pig weight will help you monitor its health better. If you see an abnormal rise or reduction in the guinea pigs’ weight in a couple of weeks, consult the vet immediately.
Make sure the genital areas of the guinea pig for both sexes are free of discoloration and sores. It also must be clean and void of any calcium buildup. It is crucial if you wish to get newborn babies from your furry companion.
Place your hand in a slight distance from the guinea pigs’ mouth and nose to check its breathing. The breathing needs to be smooth and consistent. If you feel that the guinea pig is putting too much labor into breathing, you need to be concerned.
Erratic and labored breathing indicates respiratory syndrome. It asks for immediate medical attention.
Jaw and Chin:
Sometimes you might notice abscess, sores, or lumps around the guinea pigs’ jawline and chin. You should check these spots and make sure the guinea pig hasn’t developed such sores or abscess. We recommend you to get familiar with the regular jawline of the guinea pigs.
When you are familiar with the standard guinea pigs’ jawline, you will quickly notice any abnormal growth around it.
Urine and Droppings:
The last health inspection for your loving guinea pig is its urination and droppings. The urine might seem cloudy or clean and generally speaking, both conditions are acceptable. However, the urine must not be gritty. If you see that the guinea pigs’ dried urine feels like powdered calcium, it might be gritty in texture.
Also, guinea pigs droppings need to be pliable and firm. It must not be runny. If your guinea pig suddenly stops pooping or you notice watery droppings, take the favorite pet to a vet immediately for medication.
Some Other Checkups That Are not elated With The Guinea Pigs Directly
Until now, we have described eleven health checkups directly related to the guinea pigs. But when you run a weekly health checkup, you must also focus on checking some facts related to the guinea pigs’ health.
You must change the drinking water for the guinea pigs daily. Also, don’t forget to clean the water container timely. If not cleaned properly, a water container can be the perfect breeding ground for bacteria.
Also, many guinea pigs have a habit of backwashing the drinking water. It will make the water cloudy and dirty. If it happens, you need to change the water more frequently.
When you provide hey to the guinea pig, check for long and hard stems inside it. If you find any hard stem, remove it since it can hurt the guinea pigs’ nose, eyes, and mouth. Also, replace the hey daily for a healthy diet.
Also, purchase the guinea pigs’ commercial food from a reputed pet store.
Guinea Pigs Disposition:
The disposition of the guinea pigs mostly refers to its movement and activeness. If you see that the pet friend has become lethargic or hyperactive, suddenly, it is a sign of sickness or anxiety. Also, sometimes the eyes might seem curious or alert?
If such things happen, the guinea pig might be worried about something. So, try to keep their home clean and make sure the pet feels calm and comfortable.
When you bring a guinea pig as a pet, it is a commitment you are making to the guinea pig that you will take care of it. Hence, every week, take some time for these guinea pigs health checklist to ensure that the pet is happy, healthy, and growing.
These checklists don’t need any specialization. However, it asks you to be attentive and careful while performing health checkups. Last but not least, when you are done with the health testing, never forget to provide the favorite treat to your furry friend.