Teddy Bear Teddies

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♥Care Guide♥

Adapted from Guinea Lynx, Sheila Martin, and Myself


Here are some helpful tips on caring for your guinea pig. 
 
 

Dietary Needs of Guinea Pigs: There are 3 essential dietary components to keep your cavy as healthy as possible.

1) Cavies cannot produce their own vitamin C so it is essential that they acquire it from their diet.  This is where DAILY FRESH VEGGIES/FRUIT play a vital role in preventing sickness and death resulting from lack of vitamin C in the diet.  Guinea pig pellets do contain vitamin C but unless you are certain of the mill date of your pellets you cannot rely on the pellets to provide a sufficient quantity of vitamin C (vitamin C starts to breakdown after a couple months so the amount of C that is in the pellets could be much less then was originally put in).  Just as a note, rabbit pellets do not contain any vitamin C and should not be used to feed cavies unless you supply vitamin C as a supplement in the water as well as through daily fruits and veggies.  Fruits should be given sparingly and you can give up to 1 cup of veggies per day to an adult (preferably not all at once to prevent against diarrhea). DO NOT FEED ICEBURG LETTUCE.  It has no nutritional value and can easily give your cavy diarrhea which can be fatal if it lasts more then a couple hours.  Other types of lettuce are fine but I recommend feeding hay at the same time as any very watery fruit or veggie (i.e. lettuce, melon, tomato etc...)  Here is a site that lists tons of fruits and veggies safe for cavies and also lists the amount of vit C in each. http://www.happycavy.com/what-can-guinea-pigs-eat/

 2) Cavies need DAILY HAY preferably Timothy or Orchard grass.  Young piggies that are still growing may be feed Alfalfa hay but it has extra calcium in it so it should not be fed to adults because it will contribute to the formation of kidney and urinary stones. Cavies need lots of hay to help keep their ever growing teeth worn down.  Cavies that are not fed hay daily will develop dental problems in which their teeth can grow over their tongue or even through their cheek in which veterinary intervention will be necessary and death can result if left untreated.  Hay will also keep your cavies from getting too fat as it is low in calories.

3) What type of pellet to feed?  I recommend an alfalfa based pellet for young cavies under 1yr old.  After 1yr old it can be beneficial to switch to a timothy based based pellet (Oxbow, Kaytee, etc...) which will help prevent kidney stones as timothy has less calcium then alfalfa.  Always make sure your cavy has pellets in their bowl but they do go stale so don't feed them more then they can eat in 24hrs.  They seem to like it even better if you feed smaller amounts twice a day.

 

BRUSHING YOUR TEDDY: I would recommend brushing your Teddy guinea pig at least once a week. Brushing with a slicker brush will help to remove some of the loose hair and also help to lessen shedding.  A wire cat brush works well as long as you are careful not to go too deep and scratch their skin.  To keep the Teddy coat in prime showing condition where it stands up nice, always pet and brush them rump to head so they don't get flat.  Pets that aren't going to be shown can be brushed either rump to head or head to rump

BATHING: Use a shampoo made for small pets to avoid drying out their skin too much. Teddies tend to have dryer skin then other breeds so no more then 3 baths per year are recommended.  1-2 per year is sufficient.  Use a shallow bowl of warm water, (a bathroom sink works great) rinse and shampoo using warm water. Avoid getting water in their ears by using a cloth or towel to spot clean their head. Dry thoroughly with towel and then on low heat with a hair dryer to avoid chills before returning them to their warm home.


CLEANING THE GREASE GLAND: The grease gland in a guinea pig is located just above where a tail would be (if guinea pigs had a tail). Some sows and some boars have active grease glands that can be a challenge to clean.  Dawn dish soap helps to remove the grease. 


CLEANING EARS: Since Teddies have dryer skin, they also get dirtier ears.  Exam the ears at least a couple times a month and clean them when you start to see any waxy build up.  You can use a drop of mineral oil in each ear, let sit for a few minutes to loosen the build up and then clean the ear carefully with a soft cloth wrapped around your finger.


 
CLIPPING TOENAILS: Monthly clippings, begun at a young age, will help to accustom your guinea pig to this necessary activity. A finger nail or toenail clipper (for humans) works well, or also a small cat nail trimmer. Pay close attention to the location of the "quick" as to avoid cutting into the living part of the nail, causing it to bleed.  If the nail is accidentally cut too short, cornstarch will help stop bleeding. Removing the tip of the nail is all that is necessary, as long as you trim their nails on a monthly basis.
 
Guinea lynx offers great pictures and diagrams to help show how to properly cut toenails
 
http://www.guinealynx.info/nails.html


CAGE CLEANING: One week should be the maximum between complete bedding changes. How often you need to clean will depends on the type of bedding material used, the age of your guinea pigs, the size of your cage, and how many guinea pigs you have.  If you smell an ammonia smell when you get near the cage, you have waited too long. 

Many guinea pig owners prefer to spot clean on a daily basis. While others prefer to do a complete bedding change every four days.  Towels or fleece should be laundered daily.  A regularly clean cage will make for a healthy, happier pet!  Frequent bedding changes prevents urine from breaking down into ammonia, which can harm your guinea pigs's respiratory system and make them more susceptible to respiratory infections.
 
After every bedding change, the cage should be wiped out with vinegar or a 5% bleach solution.
 
Normal, healthy guinea pigs will pass calcium compounds and other minerals in their urine which can be difficult to remove. 

To clean cages, remove bedding materials, and clean with soapy water and rinse. Pour a tablespoon or two of vinegar on the calcium deposits and allow it to sit for several minutes. This mild acid dissolves the calcium and mineral deposits through a chemical reaction. Repeat if necessary with more vinegar until the deposits are gone. You can scrub lightly with an old toothbrush or grout brush to aid in the removal.  

A general cleaning of the cage with a 10% bleach solution every month will help to keep bacteria in check.
 
 MITE TREATMENT: If you notice your piggie/s scratching more frequently, bald spots or thinning of hair this may be an indication of mange mites.  Don't worry, they don't bother humans, but can eventually cause death in your animal if not treated promptly.  I have found Revolution for cats and dogs to be the best treatment.  You can have your vet administer it or if you have several guinea pigs you might want to just get a few tubes of it to have on hand.  The kitten/puppy size can treat approx 20 adults and Revolution can be ordered without a prescription at www.petshed.com  For adults: they only need one drop placed on the exposed skin behind EACH ear.  Younger pigs who are about half grown or smaller just need one drop behind ONE ear.  If you are using the tube you can just touch the application tip to the area behind the ear for half a second, checking the skin to make sure it looks moist after applying.  Some guinea pigs need to be treated every month for mites and some less often.  They should not be treated more then once a month and you only have to apply once, no need for a follow-up application.
 
 
A great source for identifying and treating all different sorts of cavy ailments is Peter Gurney http://www.oginet.com/pgurney/index.html