Guinea pigs generally have few health problems. If they are well fed and properly cared for, they rarely get sick. Therefore, to ensure good health, you need to take care of your guinea pig’s basic needs, such as a proper diet, a clean environment and regular exercise.
Get to know your guinea pig and observe it closely. A healthy guinea pig has clear, bright eyes, a shiny coat, and a lively and playful demeanour. A sick guinea pig will have a dull look in the eyes, and be listless and withdrawn. In addition to behavioural changes, you should also look out for the following signs of illness:
• difficulty in breathing
• loss of appetite
• drastic weight loss
• constipation or diarrhoea
• discharge from the eyes or nose
Regular grooming is an important part of observation, as it gives you an opportunity to take a close look at your pet. Grooming involves tasks such as brushing and nail trimming.
Examine your guinea pig’s teeth regularly. Like all rodents, your guinea pig’s teeth grow continuously. Provide something hard for your guinea pig to chew on, such as a block of untreated wood, to keep the teeth worn down. When a guinea pig’s teeth are too long, it can no longer chew properly. As a result, it will lose weight and eventually starve to death. If you notice that your guinea pig’s teeth are too long or misaligned, consult your vet. Treatment may involve regular trimming of the teeth or their removal.