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How to Care for and Choose Your Guinea-Pig (Cavy)

Updated on October 1, 2016

The Perfect Pet

" Aren't I Cute!"
" Aren't I Cute!"

History of the Guinea-Pig (Cavy)

The Guinea-Pig, Latin name Cavia Porcellus (usually abbreviated to Cavy ), was first domesticated by the Inca tribes as an additional food source around 4000 BC. In Peru Guinea-Pigs are still used as a food source and are considered a delicacy. This is a fact we may find hard to understand having only ever known them as popular pets or for their use in laboratory experiments.

Early traders brought Guinea-Pigs back to Europe where they soon became popular as exotic and unusual pets. Somewhere along the way they picked up the name Guinea-Pig, although it certainly isn't a pig or any relation to pigs. The proper term used by most professional breeders is Cavy, but the average pet owner often doesn't realise this and continues to call them by the commonly used name of Guinea-Pig.

A Texel Guinea-Pig

Why a Guinea-Pig?

Guinea-Pigs (Cavies), make perfect pets for both children and adults alike. They are sociable little creatures that enjoy being handled and seldom ever bite. Their enthusiasm for knowing it is feeding time or time for them to have a cuddle is usually very vocal, with a range of squeaks, whistles, purrs and grunting. Owners soon learn to recognise what the different sounds represent and find it highly amusing to hear their pet talking to them.

The average life span of a Guinea-Pig is between 5 to 7 years, although they have been known to live a lot longer, and indeed one of my own Cavies lived to be 13 years old, another one lived to 11 years, so it is not uncommon for them to surprise you by outliving your expectations.

A Guinea-Pig is inexpensive to feed, and so long as you are willing to provide it with a nice warm outdoor hutch (ideally with a run attached), or an indoor cage of a suitable size, there are few other expenses to worry about. If you are considering taking on a Guinea-Pig as a pet you may want to think about adopting two of them, preferably of the same sex to avoid unwanted babies. They do like to have company of their own kind, and I do not recommend keeping them in a hutch with a rabbit, as the Guinea-Pig will tend to be bullied by the larger rabbit and often end up with torn ears or other injuries.

A Few Breeds to Consider

Abyssinian
Abyssinian
Himalayan
Himalayan

Feeding Your Guinea-Pig

Feeding your Guinea-Pig the correct diet is very important. There are specific dry foods available for Guinea-Pigs, but even though these state they contain vitamin C, they don't tend to explain that this will not remain in the dry food mix for long and quickly degrades. As Guinea-Pigs are unable to synthesise Vitamin C in their bodies, (the same way humans can't), it is essential to ensure they frequently have fresh vegetables, fruit and grass. In the winter months it is worth putting a normal human vitamin C tablet into their water bottles each time you refill them, as these will dissolve into the water and ensure your pet is getting enough Vitamin C in it's diet. Do not worry that you may overdose your pet by using a human Vitamin C tablet, as vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin and the body will expel any it doesn't need.

Safe fruits and vegetables to feed your Guinea-Pig include carrots, parsnips, cabbages, sprout leaves, lettuce (not too much though as it can act as a laxative), celery, apples, oranges, pears etc. Do not feed them potatoes under any circumstances. They will also enjoy dandelions (both leaves and flowers) from your garden, (again, not too many due to the laxative effect, no more than 2 or 3 a day), and fresh grass. Always make sure that any grass or leaves you take from your garden have not been growing in an area where they may have been urinated on by other pets, or an area which may have come into contact with pesticides or car exhaust fumes.

A Guinea-Pig should always have fresh water available, ideally from a bottle rather than a dish. Dishes tend to get knocked over and wet your pet's bedding, the other obvious problem is the dish is harder for a Guinea-Pig to access due to the fact they have very short necks.

Hay is another must, as this provides important roughage in their diet and aids digestion. Fresh hay also contains a certain amount of vitamin C, so always try to buy the best quality hay you can find.

Routine Care

The general care of a Guinea-Pig (Cavy) is fairly easy. They will need a suitable pet bedding that you can buy from most pet stores. If kept outdoors hay or straw tend to make the best bedding's. In the house a wood shaving floor covering with a sleeping box full of hay or a pet store bedding will be ideal. Shredded paper is also good because it provides a lot of warmth. It is important to clean your pet out at least once a week and give him fresh bedding. You may need to do this more often depending on the size of cage/hutch he is in and how many Guinea-Pigs are housed together.

Guinea-Pigs nails need cutting every couple of months or so. This is not difficult to do yourself if you use small animal nail clippers, but can be harder in darker coloured Cavies as the nails will also be dark and you will not be able to see where the nerve ends. With light nailed varieties of Guinea-Pig check for where the pink nerve can be seen within the nail and clip just in front of it to avoid bleeding or hurting your pet. With the darker varieties only cut off the very tips of the nail. The easiest way to clip their nails is to gently cradle the Guinea-pig on it's back in the crook of your left arm whilst clipping the claw with your right hand, (reverse this if you are left handed). If you are not comfortable doing this yourself most vets will perform the clip very cheaply for you. Usually you will find the front feet nails do not grow too long, and mainly it will be the back feet nails that need to be clipped.

Keep an eye on your Guinea-Pigs teeth and always make sure they have a nice piece of untreated wood to gnaw on, as well as plenty of fresh crispy veg such as carrots. Their teeth can easily overgrow making it hard for them to eat, so if your pet goes off it's food check it's mouth carefully or take him to your vet so he can do so.

If your Guinea-Pig is seen to losing hair or scratching a lot he may have picked up mites from his hay or other pets. Your vet will be able to provide you with either a special medicated shampoo to kill these mites, or injections of a drug called Ivermectin . After treatment your pet should soon return to normal. Scratching and hair loss can also be a sign of Scurvy, which would indicate your pet is not getting enough Vitamin C in his diet.

In later life your male Guinea-Pig may develop a condition that results in an Impacted Rectum. This results in him no longer being able to expel faeces easily, so you may need to get into a daily routine of turning your Guinea-Pig gently on to his back and parting the entrance to the rectal sack with your fingers. Introducing an oil such as mineral oil will help to soften the build up so you can carefully removed it with cotton wool, cotton buds or tissue. Your vet can demonstrate the technique if you are concerned about performing it the first time.

Breeding Your Guinea-Pig (cavy)

If you do decide to go ahead and breed your own Guinea-Pigs it is important to make sure you do have good homes available for the babies. You may have decided you want to begin showing your Guinea-Pigs and intend to only keep the likely champions, or you may simply want the experience of seeing your very own baby cavies, either way the ones you don't wish to keep will need to be re-homed somewhere where they will be well looked after.

Whatever the reason you decide to breed your pets there are certain useful facts you should know.

1) Guinea-Pigs can be quite reluctant to breed, so don't be surprised if it takes a while before your female (Sow) gets pregnant.

2) The male Guinea-Pig (Boar), should be unrelated to the Sow to avoid problems with inbred stock.

3) The Boar will show great enthusiasm when you put him in with a Sow and will follow her round the hutch making purring and chattering noises, this is nothing to be concerned about.

4) A Sow will come into season approximately every 14 days with each cycle lasting 24-48 hours. The best way to ensure she gets pregnant is to leave the boar in with her until you see signs of her getting a fat and firm belly, a sure sign she is pregnant. If in doubt you can gently palpate her sides, and you will probably be able to feel small marble sized babies within her. Once you know she is pregnant the boar should be separated as he may trample and kill the babies if he is left in with the sow when she has given birth.

5) It is vitally important that your sow is not mated too young or too old. Around 6 -8 months old is ideal, as any older there is a risk that her pelvic bones may have already fused together and she will most likely have great difficulty, or will die giving birth.

6) The gestation period of a Guinea-Pig is 68- 72 days which is a long time for small mammals. As a result of this the babies are born fully formed, with hair and their eyes open. They will drink milk from the sow, but are also capable of eating solid food at birth.

7) The babies should be sexed as soon as possible after birth, although it can be tricky for a novice breeder to determine the sex until the babies are a few weeks old. Once they reach around four weeks of age any male babies should be weaned and removed from the sow's hutch to avoid them impregnating her. The female babies can either be left with the sow or separated into hutches of their own. They will be ready to go to new homes around the age of 6 weeks.

8) A sow will usually give birth to an average of three babies, although she may give birth to as few as one or even as many as four.

9) If your sow seems to be struggling to give birth you can try lubricating your little finger with some mineral oil and gently inserting it into her birth canal. If you can feel a baby stuck in the canal attempt to hook your little fingernail under it's top teeth and very gently ease it out. If you cannot achieve this take your pet to a vet as soon as possible.

Sexing Males and Females

Sow (Female)
Sow (Female)
Boar (Male)
Boar (Male)

Long Haired Breeds

Coronet, notice the rosette on the top of the head.
Coronet, notice the rosette on the top of the head.
Peruvian, notice the hair grows over the face also.
Peruvian, notice the hair grows over the face also.
Sheltie or Silkie, notice hair only grows backwards
Sheltie or Silkie, notice hair only grows backwards
Peruvian wrapped, soon requiring a fringe wrapper
Peruvian wrapped, soon requiring a fringe wrapper
Sheltie
Sheltie

Breeds

There are many breeds of Guinea-Pigs (Cavies) to choose from, especially if you are choosing a specific breed to concentrate on for showing purposes. I shall try to cover the main ones in this section, but there are other varieties out there, some more work than others. If you only require a normal pet Guinea-Pig then your local rescue centre is always a good place to start, or ask around to see if any local breeders have a surplus of non champion Cavies that they need homes for. As a last resort you can buy them in pet shops, but this is a route I discourage as it only ensures the pet shop buy in more Guinea-Pigs to sell, often with no thought as to whether they are going to a good home or not.

The Long Haired Varieties

There is no doubt that these varieties are beautiful, but unless you are willing to groom them every single day with a soft brush you will quickly find you have a matted mess as a pet, often with skin problems caused by the mats pulling at the skin and moisture building up underneath. The easiest way to keep their hair clean and tidy is to make a wrapper either out of cloth, or out of brown paper folded over itself to make a three sectioned single strip. The top of the central section should then have a small piece of cardboard about 0.5" long by 1.5" wide taped to it as a support. Once the wrapper is then folded into a single strip again the resulting strip should be folded up in alternative directions, (much like a concertina), to form a small package. The idea is that when you have groomed your Guinea-Pig you lay the hair down the middle section of the opened wrapper with the cardboard strip nearest to the guinea-pig's body. You then fold the side sections over the hair, and using the concertina of folds, package the hair back into the small parcel shape. The resulting parcel can then be secured with an elastic band. Depending on how long your cavies hair is determines the size of the wrapper required. Bear in mind the long haired varieties can easily end up with hair over eighteen inches long and may require several wrappers to secure all of it. Be very careful not to put the wrappers in so tightly that the Guinea-Pig finds it is pulling at the roots of his hair. If this happens they will quickly begin chewing the wrapper off and will ultimately permanently ruin their showing chances as the hair never grows back the same once chewed. Judges will notice chewed hair and mark you down for it. If your cavy does develop any small mats do not cut them out with scissors as this too will ruin them for showing. It is far better to grasp the small mat firmly between your fingers and pluck it out quickly, as this will leave no blunt ends and will grow back from the roots.

Long-haired cavies should be kept alone, or in adjacent hutches to each other, as if you put them together in the same hutch they will tend to chew each other's coats and ruin themselves for the purpose of showing. This will not be an issue for a pet Guinea-Pig though as you can keep their hair short.

If you are showing your long haired Guinea-Pig you will need a small stand to display them on. I used to use ones around 12" square made of wood and covered in hessian cloth for grip, but anything similar will do, and size may need to be varied according to how long your cavies coat has grown. Two small strips of wood screwed underneath the board will act as legs to raise it up an inch or so. Most people make these themselves at home, and I have never seen them for sale ready made.

It is important to teach your long haired Guinea-Pig to stand still at an early age if you intend to show him.The best way to do this is to introduce him to the show board as young as possible and begin to groom his hair. Every time he goes to move off the board keep gently picking him up and returning him to the centre of the board. By the time he reaches showing age he should happily allow you to groom his full coat out for judging and will hold his position until you wrap his hair up again and return him to the show pen.

It will also be essential to bathe your pet a couple of weeks before the show, (no later or the natural oils will not have returned to the coat and you will lose marks). Only use a shampoo designed for small animals, or if absolutely necessary use a mild baby shampoo. Gently wrap your Guinea-Pig in a towel for 15 minutes after his bath, and then blow dry him on a low heat using a conventional hairdryer and following the direction of the coat to ensure the cuticles of the hair lay flat and his coat maintains a healthy glossy sheen. Do not return him to any outdoor pen until he is thoroughly dried off or you will risk him catching a chill.

If you do intend to make showing and breeding a hobby then you will be faced with a difficult decision when it comes to breeding your longhairs. The problem is they will need to have their hair cut short to facilitate breeding, which means you will be unable to show them again and can only keep them as breeding stock. This is a hard choice to make when you know you have a potentially prize winning Guinea-Pig, but you also know that you need to mate her before she reaches a year old to avoid any complications of the pelvic bones having set. The boar is also a problem, as to facilitate mating you will need to clip him and keep him purely as breeding stock. Ultimately you will need to decide either to hold out for one show winning cavy, or to hope they reproduce their good characteristics in multiple babies so you get more chances to produce further champions.

Finally, if you are determined you want a long-haired Guinea-Pig as a pet then it is probably best to keep the hair clipped short as a matter of course. This will still mean they look cute and long-haired, but they won't be trailing it around after themselves, urinating on it and getting it matted. They will still need regular grooming, but without the need for wrappers.

Further Breeds of Guinea-Pigs (Cavies)

Self Red
Self Red
Self Black
Self Black
Self Golden
Self Golden

Self Breeds

Self breeds are essentially Guinea-Pigs of all one colour. There are a range of colours such as Self Blacks, Self Whites, Self Reds, Self Golden's etc. These are smooth coated Guinea-Pigs, the most popular of which is the Self Black. In preparation for showing they will need the longer guard hairs grooming out of their coats to ensure a glossy appearance. This is easily done by dampening your finger and thumb and gently working your way through the Guinea-Pig's coat using the ball of your thumb to rub the body hair against the ball of your forefinger. This will leave the short glossy hairs behind and take out the dull guard hairs, try to do this every few days to avoid a build up.

A good bath two weeks before the show will also benefit shine, and a polish with a piece of real silk adds to the reflective quality of the coat.

The judges will be looking for a blunt nose on your Cavy and therefore it is a good idea to make a habit of training your Self Cavy to not only stand still, but also keep gently pressing his nose back towards his body until he learns to sit like this naturally when being judged. They will also be checking for tears in the ears, evidence of mites, bright eyes and general health being good.

Abyssinian

Abyssinians

Abyssinians come in a variety of colours which don't seem to matter for the purposes of showing. What is important is the layout of the various rosettes of hair on the body, which should be evenly matched, with a rosette on each shoulder, four around the middle, one on each hip and two on the rump. The rosettes should be well formed and have a small pinpoint centre. The coat of an Abyssinian should be harsh, and not silky as in most other breeds.

Himalayans

Himalayan
Himalayan

Himalayans

Himalayans are much like a Siamese Cat. They are born totally white, and then over the next few weeks their full dark coloured points come through around their ears, nose and feet. It is said that hot weather or shocks can fade their points which is not a good thing if you intend to show them. The Himalayan has bright pink eyes. If you are breeding them for showing you will have to be patient and wait for their points to appear before you will be able to tell you have any potential prize winners.

Agouti's

Golden Agouti
Golden Agouti
Silver Agouti
Silver Agouti

Agouti's

Agouti's come in a number of number of colours, mainly gold and silver, although they can be found in chocolate, cinnamon, cream and lemon. The markings of the coat closely resemble the wild cavies of South America and have what is described as a ticked appearance. Each individual hair is made up of two colours which depend on which type of Agouti you choose. Like the Self coloured Guinea-Pigs they have a smooth coat that also need the guard hairs grooming out.

Dutch

Dutch
Dutch

Dutch

Dutch Cavies are a notoriously difficult to breed to a show standard. They look much like a Dutch rabbit and come in a wide variety of colours. Their markings need to be symmetrical with a good white saddle on them and evenly matching cheek patches and foot stops as well as a decent sized central blaze of white on the face.

American Crested

American Crested
American Crested

Tortoiseshell and Tortoiseshell and White

Tortie and White
Tortie and White

American Crested

American Crested come in a variety of colours. Each is a smooth coated Guinea-Pig with a solid body colour and a contrasting white rosette situated in the middle of the forehead. It is important when breeding these for showing that the crest is well rounded with a central pinpoint and the colour of the crest fills the rosette perfectly without bleeding into the areas outside the rosette.

Tortoiseshell or Tortoiseshell and White

Tortoiseshell or Tortoiseshell and White are again a hard to breed to a show standard. The patches of colour on the body need to be as equal and symmetrical as possible without the colours bleeding into each other. Many of these end up simply being pets due to bad markings. Ideally they should have around six to ten alternate coloured patches throughout the body.

Rex and Teddies

Rex
Rex
Teddy
Teddy

Rex and Teddies

Rex and Teddies are not dissimilar so I have categorised them together. The main feature of these unusual breeds are the fact their hair grows upright rather than backwards or in rosettes as in other breeds. The hair on a Teddy is straight and thick, but on Rex it is more coarse and slightly wavy. These breeds are both very cute and cuddly to look at. They come in a number of different colours.

Dalmatians

Dalmatian
Dalmatian

Dalmatians

Dalmatians as their name implies look much like a Dalmatian dog, white with black spots, (although they can come with a variety of different coloured spots). The spots for showing should be very distinctive and evenly spread throughout the body. The feet should be totally the same colour as the spots and not white. Dalmatians have red eyes.

Dalmatians should never be bred together due a gene they possess that can cause the resulting babies to be stillborn or without eyes. If you do intend to breed them you should try to breed a Dalmatian with a Self coloured Cavy that has been bred from a Dalmatian parent. Ensure the Self coloured Cavy is the same colour as the spots on the Dalmatian you are using as the mate.

Conclusion

I hope this article has been helpful in advising you of caring for your Guinea-Pig / Cavy, and that if you do decide to take up breeding and showing one of the above types of Cavy you will have years of enjoyment and pleasure. Even if you only keep them as pets most shows do have a pet section that can be fun to enter. Obviously I am unable to cover the vast range of breeds here, but there others you might want to consider if none of the above appeal to you.

One thing is for sure, whatever the reason you decide on these cute little pets you won't regret it. They will give you hours of entertainment and love, and once you have one you will want more.

You might also enjoy my article called Can I keep my guinea pig outdoors?

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    • starrkissed profile image

      starrkissed 8 years ago from Arizona

      awesome hub! i'm glad you showed me this. i'm trying to find out as much as possible about pigs. i know quite a bit more than i did when i first got him back in february, but i made sure to get a book when we bought him so that i didn't neglect him or anything. this is a neat hub, so i'll be back from time to time :)

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image
      Author

      Cindy Lawson 8 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Glad it helped Starrkissed, let me know if you have any questions or problems. :)

    • profile image

      freeeest 8 years ago

      i have two guinea pigs and they are brothers called Choc'n'Chip!!!

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image
      Author

      Cindy Lawson 8 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Great names freeeest, and aren't they just truly cute pets ? :)

    • profile image

      Aleixs 8 years ago

      I have two male guinea pigs, and I was wondering if I put a divider in a huge cage, can I have a female on the other side without problems?

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image
      Author

      Cindy Lawson 8 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Definitely not advisable, as they will smell the female next door and fight anyway, even with a divider. You could get one or both of your boars castrated though which would prevent the problem.

    • profile image

      cara 8 years ago

      omg i love piggies please write an article about wat they can eat!!

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image
      Author

      Cindy Lawson 8 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Hi Cara, gosh, did I not cover it here. I am sorry, I meant to, but just to give you some more ideas.

      Probably not enough info to write a whole hub about it, but the main thing is plenty of fresh vegetables and leaves, grass etc.

      Cabbage,

      Carrots,

      Brussel Sprouts,

      Lettuce (small amounts only, a leaf or two  per day),

      Bread, (as a treat)

      Dried Guinea-Pig/Cavy mix or pellets.

      Celery,

      Cauliflower leaves,

      Cucumber,

      Treat sticks from pet shop,

      Alfalfa type good quality hay,

      Apple,

      Pear,

      Peach,

      etc.

      etc.

      Do not feed them:

      Potato,

      Mouldy bread,

      Tomatoes,

      Meat,

      Cheese,

    • profile image

      cara 8 years ago

      holy piggy bottom alot alot alot i liked this place so much i made a short cut on my computer for it! thanx so much misty i really appreciate it!!

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image
      Author

      Cindy Lawson 8 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Thanks Cara, so glad it was a help to you, and hope it will be useful to you in the future also. :)

    • profile image

      cara 8 years ago

      misty!!! do u have any piggies

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image
      Author

      Cindy Lawson 8 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Hi Cara, not thesedays, but I used to have 15+ at a time, a few of which were genuine pets, and the rest were for showing. The ones that didn't win prizes were always found good homes though.

    • profile image

      cara 8 years ago

      u can show piggies!! hey misty i think u should get another piggie! they make great pets... i know i love my piggie, COOKIE!!

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image
      Author

      Cindy Lawson 8 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Hi Cara, yes, showing them is fun, and I still have a bag full of trophies and rosettes to prove it. I would love another piggie, but guess I will wait until we have our own house and then I might take on another long haired one such a Peruvian, Sheltie or a Coronet. A load of work, but they truly do look beautiful in full coat.

    • maestrowhit profile image

      maestrowhit 8 years ago from Virginia

      I just got a guinea pig. He is the coolest. My wife named him Guss. I also have a bunny, but he is a dwarf bunny, so he is about the same size as Guss is. Cool hub. Guss is a lot of fun.

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image
      Author

      Cindy Lawson 8 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Thanks maestrowhit, yes they are so much fun and have real little characters of their own. :)

    • profile image

      cara 8 years ago

      oh misty u have to go on youtube and type in the real bing cavy and listin to it!! it is soooooooo cute

    • profile image

      cara 8 years ago

      misty its me cara, i know that people in some countries can eat guinea pigs and i don't want this to happen anymore. i mean how u feel if u got cooked!! i just want to save these animals! :(

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image
      Author

      Cindy Lawson 8 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Cara, I know, it is sad that they get eaten, but you would have a job convincing those countries not to eat them in much the same way as other countries would have a problem convincing us not to eat chicken or beef. You know in some countries such as the Philippines they even eat dogs, and I find that truly abhorrent. In Japan they are known to eat cats. It all seems so horrible to me, but I am not sure how you can get people from other cultures to change their diet simply because we feel it is so cruel and wrong according to our culture. I only hope the Guinea-Pigs are killed quickly and painlessly until such time as these cultures move on to other diets that they prefer.

      I will take a look at the Youtube clip you suggested, but probably won't have time tonight. Leave it with me and I will let you know here when I have watched it :)

    • profile image

      cara  8 years ago

      ya k misty im only 12 i don't know wat abhorrent means!! heehheheheeh. well im gonna go work out at the gym whooohooo!! i only hope piggies will be out of the diet and used as pets instead of food that goes for dogs and cats to. u do have a point tho about us eating chickens and cows. u know misty, ur pretty cool!! :)

    • profile image

      cara  8 years ago

      ya k misty im only 12 i don't know wat abhorrent means!! heehheheheeh. well im gonna go work out at the gym whooohooo!! i only hope piggies will be out of the diet and used as pets instead of food that goes for dogs and cats to. u do have a point tho about us eating chickens and cows. u know misty, ur pretty cool!! :)

    • profile image

      cara 8 years ago

      nvm no gym for me

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image
      Author

      Cindy Lawson 8 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      LOL Cara, Abhorrent means something most of us absolutely hate or disapprove of. I hope this helps, and thanks for saying I am 'cool'. :)

    • profile image

      cara 8 years ago

      ohhhhhhh ok sorry i had no clue lol!! abhorrent.... wat a weird word. well anyway thanx misty talk to u later! :)))))))))))))

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image
      Author

      Cindy Lawson 8 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Any time Cara, you are always welcome :)

    • profile image

      Steve 8 years ago

      A quick Question:

      We are looking after 2 cavies from my sons school and they both love to cuddle up in an old blanket we have. I am a bit concerned about them over heating, but they fight to stay in there even when on a warm day 25-28 degrees C. They still moan if you try to move them and as soon as you take them out they will look for the blanket. They will settle down happily on your chest / stomach / coach happily until they see the blanket then off they go and both cuddle happily. Do I let Them?

      Thank you

      Steve

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image
      Author

      Cindy Lawson 8 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      I would let them carry on as they have been doing Steve, mainly because they will know if they are overheating and will make an effort to cool down. So long as they have fresh water available at all times they should be fine so don't worry about their love of snuggling up together on the old blanket.

    • profile image

      Steve 8 years ago

      Thank you,

      Misty

      Will ensure they have plenty of water

      All the best, Steve

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image
      Author

      Cindy Lawson 8 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      You are welcome Steve. You can also ensure they stay healthy by making sure they get plenty of vitamin C, in the form of apples, carrots, cabbage leaves, etc. This will avoid them getting 'Scurvy', which they are prone to as they cannot produce Vit C in their own bodies. Alternatively place a vitamin C tablet (human ones are fine) in their water bottle. They cannot overdose on this as their bodies will dispose of the excess. Don't rely on dry food saying it contains Vit C, as often by the time you buy it the Vit content has gone. Fresh veg is always best.

    • profile image

      kitkat 8 years ago

      i love this web sit

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image
      Author

      Cindy Lawson 8 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Thanks Kitkat, glad you enjoyed it :)

    • profile image

      cara 8 years ago

      hey its me cara haven't talked in a lonnnnnnnnnnngggg time how are u misty

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image
      Author

      Cindy Lawson 8 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Hi Cara,

      Doing very well thanks. Just got back from holiday, so sorry it took me so long to reply, but I was cruising around Cape Horn and Internet access was too expensive to spend much, (if any), time online. Hope you are well, and your Cavies. You know where I am if you want to ask anything :)

    • profile image

      njfdsknvkl 8 years ago

      Aww i love guinea pigs

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image
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      Cindy Lawson 8 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Thanks, me too :)

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      mikka 7 years ago

      where can i find a dalmation guinea pig?

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      Cindy Lawson 7 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Hi Mikka, well as someone who lives in the Channel Islands I cannot really answer that. You would probably need to do a search on the Internet, or contact you local Cavy club for advice.

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      becky 7 years ago

      aww i really want a guinea pig there soo cute expesialy the long hair ones:)x

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      Cindy Lawson 7 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      They are lovely Becky, but if you do ever get one, remember the long haired ones are a lot of work, and have to be brushed every single day without fail unless you but their hair to more manageable levels. The short coated ones are much easier and just as cute :)

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      Me 7 years ago

      Hello I have a long haired piggy and near her bottom her fur is mattered so i decided to cut some off but i cant do any more of it since she bites me so i thought it would be best to see the vet...would it be expensive to do so or should i do it or should i leave it? mattered fur is hard.. misty how can i treat it :(

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image
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      Cindy Lawson 7 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Hi "Me", I would advise you take her to a vet (or book an appointment with the nurse at the vets which will be cheaper) in order that they can clip the hair away. Matted fur left unclipped will soon result in skin infections, possibly leading to maggot infestation and death for your Cavy. Once it is removed ensure daily grooming to make sure the problem doesn't return. You will probably want to keep the hair clipped afterwards anyway, and now it is not painful for your pet you will probably find she will stop biting you.

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      Me  7 years ago

      Thanks...what would the average price be to get it cut and should i ask the vet to cut it so its bald? Thanks :D

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image
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      Cindy Lawson 7 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Hi "Me". The vet or nurse will clip the hair short enough to remove the mat. You won't need to ask them how short to clip it, they will determine that according to what is necessary to completely remove the matted area. I don't know what this will cost in the States, as I live in the Channel Island of Guernsey (near France). Over here it might cost about £15 to £20 approx.

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      Me 7 years ago

      Hello Misty thanks for everything and if i ever have a question ill always ask u thanks :)

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      Cindy Lawson 7 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      No worries "Me", let me know how you get on :)

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      charlotte 7 years ago

      i have guinea pigs to they are mint they do tricks, i have 2 sheltie and 2 common one

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      Cindy Lawson 7 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      How sweet Charlotte, thanks for sharing :)

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      Me 7 years ago

      Hello its Me again (lol). Sorry i haven't spoken to you in a long time. Anyway I'd like to ask you a few questionsif that's ok? Ok..

      *Why does my piggy ,Cotton, lick me?

      *Why does she eat my hair? Is this normal?

      *When I pick grass for her she bite the cage, should I stop her?

      *I leave her a bowl of mixed dry food stuff, I leave her a bowl and bottle of water.A handful of grass or some carrots or dandelions or cut apple every morning,after i get home from school which is about 4ish and night. Is this ok?

      Sorry I asked you alot but you're too helpful and your kind :)

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image
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      Cindy Lawson 7 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Hi Me,

      Don't worry at all about your cavy licking you, nibbling on your hair or her biting the cage, no worries at all on this behaviour, (just make sure he/she does have access to untreated wood to gnaw on to keep her teeth from overgrowing).

      Water, carrots, apple and grass are no problem, but don't give her too many dandelions as they can cause her to have an upset tummy and diarrohea. A maximum of about 2-3 a day is okay.

      Hope this helps.

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      justmesuzanne 7 years ago from Texas

      This is a very nice, thorough article. You know, this is the article I joined your fan club to remember to read many, many months ago, and I am just now getting around to it! We raised guinea pigs when I was a child. It seems there are a lot more varieties now. Back then we just had smooth or American shorthairs, Abyssinian, and Peruvian guinea pigs. There are certainly a lot of pretty ones to choose from now!

      :)

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image
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      Cindy Lawson 7 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Hi justmesuzanne, thanks for dropping in. Yes I agree, there are so many pretty varieties nowadays, it is hard to choose a favourite.

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      You oriingally me 7 years ago

      Thanks you are amazing!

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image
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      Cindy Lawson 7 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      LOL, Thanks, anytime :)

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      me 7 years ago

      How do you know what mood your guinea pigs in? Thanks, you're a star.

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image
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      Cindy Lawson 7 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      I used to listen to the sounds they made, e.g. a series of excited squeals would usually mean they were hungry when you approached their hutches, or a trilling/purring noise might mean they were feeling affectionate towards either another guinea-pig or their owner.You should quickly learn to interprate these noises once you know your pets well.

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      Me 7 years ago

      Thanks a million! :) :D

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      Cindy Lawson 7 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      No worries "Me" :)

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      dcora 7 years ago

      is it hard on guinea pig nails to walk on hard wood floors? My guinea pigs nail came off and I didn't know it did cause she didn't squeek or makew any noise letting me know she was hurt? I felt so bad for her..

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image
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      Cindy Lawson 7 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      It shouldn't be hard for Guinea-Pigs to walk on hard wood floors Dcora, assuming the guinea-pig also got time on softer surfaces too, such as grass, straw, hay, carpets etc. It could be a health issue though, such as a vitamin deficiency etc. Was your pet getting plenty of Vitamin C in the form of fresh vegetables etc?

    • JaShinYa profile image

      Josh Musser 7 years ago from Harrisburg, PA

      This is great! I just recently got a guinea pig. An Abyssinian. We named him Mohawk (Mo for short). They are so sociable!

      Keep up the good work!

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image
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      Cindy Lawson 7 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Hi JaShinYa, Thanks for reading and commenting. Guinea-Pigs truly are wonderful pets and so so cute. I love the name Mohawk too, great name:)

    • GuineaPiggie profile image

      GuineaPiggie 7 years ago from Chicago

      Excellent hub! Thanks for the pertinent information. We can all learn something from each other in the community and I am grateful that you have provided such a great hub.

      As for my piggies, they have been nothing short of amazing. When they are let out of the cage to roam they find my office and sit at my feet. When I get up to leave the room they squeak harmoniously! When I come back they start 'popcorning', which I interpret to mean they are excited to see me. Crazy good times with them!

      Best of luck to you all.

      http://guinea-pig-supplies.com

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image
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      Cindy Lawson 7 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Hi GuineaPiggie, thanks for the lovely comment and the insight into your own piggies. I still miss keeping them to this day as they are so cute, but I simply no longer have the time, plus I have cats, as well as a large veg allotment and a fishing lake, and therefore a lack of hours available in the day. Your babies soubd adorabl though, and it brings back many memories. :)

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      I DONT KNOW 7 years ago

      Hi...im going to be getting a guinea pig on Saturday. I have been reading so much on how to care gor them! But it seems everyone has their own oppinion! (Sorry about the spelling) When you first get your guinea pig, can you pick it up and stuff? Or do you have to wait a day or two? Oh and when i get it on Saturday I will tell you about it!

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image
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      Cindy Lawson 7 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Hi "I Don't Know", I can't see any reason not to pick your Guinea-Pig up when you first get it other than maybe giving it 24 hours or so in its new home to settle in. Perhaps keep cuddling brief on the first day, but after that it should be fine.

      What I would say is try to get two (same sex) Guinea-Pigs rather than one, as they really do need company of their own kind to be truly happy, and when you aren't around your pet will be pretty lonely otherwise. Naturally they would live in groups, so it is always best to try to replicate their natural lifestyle as much as possible.

      Let me know how you get on and good luck :)

    • profile image

      Me Me Me 7 years ago

      Tank you so much for helping me out, im trying to find out as much as I can about picking out the right cavy with a reasonable price, thank you sooooooo much for showing me the ropes.

    • profile image

      Me Me Me 7 years ago

      oops, i meant thank instead of tank, once again thank you soooooo much

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image
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      Cindy Lawson 7 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      LOL Me Me Me, you are very welcome, and I wish you all the luck in the word with your new pet/pets. If you need to ask any other questions or have any problems feel free to contact me here again and I shall do my level best to answer them for you :)

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      Justwondering 7 years ago

      Hey,

      How do you pick a show quality cavy that you can breed? I want to breed cavies but I would also like to show them.

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image
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      Cindy Lawson 7 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Hi "Justwondering", well the answer to your question is a hard one as it all depends on the breed you want to show. For instance, a "self black" should have drooped ears (undamaged), a blunt nose it holds in well and a good glossy coat free of guard (long) hairs, and without grey hairs. However, a breed such as a long haired Peruvian, should have a thick glossy coat, no evidence of having been trimmed with scissors, no signs of chewing on the coat from other cavies, the ability to stand still to be judged and a good fringe of hair covering the face. The other specifications vary hugely from breed to breed, a tortie and white needs even colouring and sharp lines between patches, an Abyssinian needs a specific amount of rosettes of hair in certain places on the body. You would have to specify a breed before I could advise you, and my specialist area would be be long hairs and Self Blacks, otherwise a breeder would be your best bet, and you should choose the breed you want to concentrate on first.

      Hope this helps.

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      Katiebearo 6 years ago

      I have a short haired guinea pig, his name is Prince Jasper (PJ). I was thinking about getting a girl and letting them have 1 or 2 litters but my problem is i don't know if i could leave them in a cage together and not have to worry about little babies. Should i get another cage or can they live in the same cage together?

      Thank You,

      Katie Owens

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image
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      Cindy Lawson 6 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Hi Katie,

      I would definitely remove the boar from the cage once the sow is obviously pregnant. The risk is that otherwise he will try to mate with her the moment she has delivered her babies. This can not only result in injuries to the babies as he chases her around the cage, but also she could attack him whilst trying to defend her young. Additionally it is not healthy for the sow to be constantly pregnant, so she should be rested between litters.

      Another thought to consider (if you haven't already), is what you are going to do with the babies when they are weaned. Do you have good homes lined up already or are you simply planning to sell them to a pet shop where anyone could buy them with no clue about their needs etc? All babies are cute at first, but they will grow up fast, and unless you plan to keep anything from 3 to 8 guinea-pigs yourself (plus providing housing etc for them), then you seriously need to consider what you will do with the babies when they hit six weeks old and need to be separated in order to avoid further babies and inbreeding.

      If you do decide to go ahead remember to ensure the female is under one year old or trying to deliver a litter could very well kill her because her pelvic bones will have set in place (unless she has given birth previously). Also check she is about 6 months old or more before breeding her as otherwise she may be too immature to successfully give birth and rear a litter.

      I hope this helps.

    • profile image

      Katiebearo 6 years ago

      Well we planned to keep 2 of them at the most. We were hoping the most babies she would have in a litter would be 3, if she did have more than 3 we had a few people willing to take them that have had guinea pigs in the past. After reading what you wrote im kinda holding off on gettinga female. Is there a way we could get one fixed or are they to small to be fixed? Thanks for replying to my message earlier.

      Katie Owens

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image
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      Cindy Lawson 6 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Hi Katie, well getting the sow spayed (fixed) is a bit of a non-starter on such a small animal I am afraid, (far too risky if you could even find a vet to attempt it at any age). You might be able to get the boar castrated, but I have to say the last boar I knew that had this done died shortly after the operation due to post operation complications.

      On the plus side there is no reason why you can't put another boar in with your existing male for companionship, (as so long as they cannot smell any sows nearby they should get along just fine). I would recommend putting them in a neutral territory for a couple of days first, i.e. a box in the house or a new larger hutch or cage to avoid terratorial fighting form your current boar defending his territory, but after that they should be fine. I know this means no babies for you to pet, but it really is the kindest option when you consider that you have a strong responsibility to the babies too, and you absolutely have to ensure the new owners really really want them and know what they are doing in terms of Guinea-pig / cavy care. The last thing you want on your conscience is knowing that one of the babies ended up living a very lonely life on its own, stuck at the end of someone's garden in a tiny hutch, rarely fed or cleaned out and essentially forgotten.

      BTW, when I referred to 3-8 babies I meant over the two litters you suggested in total. most cavies only have 3 in a litter, although 4 is not unusual, but nor is 2. as an average you could expect to get between 3 to 8 babies in total over 2 litters.

    • profile image

      Katiebearo 6 years ago

      Thanks for your help. My dad was getting ready to build me a bigger cage, so i guess he could make me another. I don't think i will risk getting him castrated and him dieing. I will try getting him a boar and letting them learn to like each other. I might get a sow and let her have one litter for i trust the people that have signed up for the challenge. Thanks for all your help.Ypur a life saver.

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image
      Author

      Cindy Lawson 6 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Any time Katie, glad to be of help. Let me know how you get on :)

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      Eternal Evolution 6 years ago from kentucky

      wonderful hub, very informitive with great pic. i've been thinking about getting a guinea pig for a while now. this info was very helpful and if i get on i will refer back to it. :D

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image
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      Cindy Lawson 6 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      So pleased this helped you Eternal. Any questions give me a shout :)

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      Misskitty 6 years ago

      Hello, thanks for the article, it was great help! I am thinking about getting a guinea pig but I was woried that it may not be snuggly or interactive enough. Also, my mom probably won't let me get two, is that okay?

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image
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      Cindy Lawson 6 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Hi Misskitty, Guinea-pigs are definitely very snuggly and interactive, but I would seriously try everything you can to persuade your Mum to let you have two of the same sex. They are incredibly social group animals, and as you can't be with your pet 24 hours a day it seems rather unfair to leave it on its own for large amounts of time with no other guinea-pig to cuddle up with, play with etc. To be honest having two is not much different to having one, so I can't see why your Mum would mind too much if you show her this article so she can see why. They certainly aren't expensive to feed and the cage would only need to be marginally larger.

    • profile image

      Misskitty 6 years ago

      Thank you so much! I really love this info. And I am really counting on getting my piggies. I think my mom will understand :) Also, I am wanting to build a C&C cage for my piggies and use fleece. I have done lots of research, but I need opinions. Also, were should I get my piggies and how old?

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image
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      Cindy Lawson 6 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Sorry Misskitty, not sure what a C&C cage is as I haven't heard that term before.

      Bedding I personally prefer hay every time, not least of which because they also eat hay which is good for their digestion and adds roughage to their diet as well as vitamin C. If you are keeping them in the house you can still use hay, but I recommend the small plastic bags of it that you buy from pet shops as they are more inclined to be dust free.

      I would advise you to get your piggies from a reputable breeder as opposed to a pet shop, or even a rescue centre if you have one nearby S.P.S.A. or similar. Where possible try to get youngsters of about 6 weeks old, although if it is a rescue case you might consider accepting any guinea-pig, in which case try to get ones under a year old, (remember they can live five to seven years or more, so you will still have many years with your pets if you take good care of them).

    • profile image

      Misskitty 6 years ago

      Well, I don't really want a baby, as they have been known to possibly slip through the C&C cages. I was going to get them at my local pet store, but I will look in to a rescue group or breeder. Is there anything else I should know about piggies?

    • profile image

      Misskitty 6 years ago

      Sorry to bother you so much with questions, but I did some research and i will NOT be buying from a pet store. I have looked into local rescue groups and some breeders and am figuring out costs and such. I was just wondering if you could give me a list of some of the most important things, e.g, foods, toys, and warnings. I'd SO much appreciate it!!!!

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image
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      Cindy Lawson 6 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Most important things are included in this article Misskitty, and the most important things are the foods, i.e. must have Vitamin C or they will die, toys, well, not really necessary as guinea-pigs don't really use them, (far more important they have the right foods, a companion and are kept well cleaned out and have fresh water etc). A 'perch' in their cage is usually popular as they like to rest their front feet at a level they can see higher from. Mesh bottomed cages a big no no, as they can get legs trapped and break them, plus not comfortable for their feet. Warnings mostly involve ensuring they get Vitamin C in their diet, are given lots of attention and/or companionship of their own kind, their nails are clipped to the right length and they are kept free of lice by monthly bathing in a suitable pet shampoo as recommended by your vet, (this may be less frequent if your cavy is kept indoors).

      Afterthought, never ever feed them potato as this is really dangerous. Mouldy bread is another no-no, as penicillin is deadly to cavies.

    • profile image

      Misskitty 6 years ago

      Thank you!! I have checked out LOADS of books and read A LOT of articles about these little guys and I am so excited for when I get one! My sister and I are going to get two of them from a local breeder and we are saving our money for the supplies right now! Thank you so much, your article was probably the most helpful, and I have it book marked for future reference, and am probably going to take some parts and hang them over their cage to remind me of important things. Thank you!!

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image
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      Cindy Lawson 6 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Good luck Misskitty, you sound like the ideal owner of a pet such as a guinea-pig, as you actually went to the trouble of researching what care they need, rather than simply rushing out and adopting one with no idea of what they actually require in terms of food, bedding, company etc. Well done!

      If ever you need any more help or advice please feel free to contact me here again.

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      Katiebearo 6 years ago

      Ok, so my guinea pig's nails are growing like a centimeter a day. How often should we have his nails trimmed? So far we have them trimmed at least once a month. Also, can you bath a guinea pig and if so how often?

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image
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      Cindy Lawson 6 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Hi Katie, well first I would say to trim your own Guinea-pig's nails as it is pretty easy if you are careful. Use small pet nail clippers, or even human nail clippers, just avoid the pink nerve in the nail, or if the Cavy has black nails only trim the very ends off each time. Trim them when they are obviously too long and trapping dirt and possibly curling around. The back claws will need more frequent trimming than the front ones.

      Secondly, yes, you can bathe a Guinea-Pig, but it all depends on if you are showing them as to how often you choose to do this. As a person who exhibited their Cavies I used to bathe mine once a month, using a pet shampoo or a mild human shampoo such as baby shampoo. Always make sure you only bathe them in a shallow sink of warm water, and ideally provide one of your own wrists as a support for them to rest their front feet on to avoid any panic. If you don't show your pets I would say not to bathe them unless they really need it. The natural grease in their coats will keep them warm in the colder months if they are NOT bathed, plus if you keep their living conditions clean they shouldn't really need bathing to be honest. Only bathe them if you are showing them or they have a problem such as lice which require medicated shampoo to remove. Otherwise keep them clean and they will stay clean and shiny naturally.

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      Katiebearo 6 years ago

      Ok, so now I like really need your help. My guinea has taken ill, he quit eating his food and drinking water. We have contacted the vet but they say its just the brand of food offered to him. Do you have any thoughts of what we could do to make him feel better?

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image
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      Cindy Lawson 6 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      It might be the food he is eating, in which case try him on lots of fresh washed vegetables such as carrots, cabbage, broccoli, apple etc. You can also try fresh grass cut from an area where dogs won't have fouled, and if you have them where you are dandelion leaves and flowers (latter in moderation as it can act as a laxative). The problem with Cavies is they don't cope well with being ill, and quite often simply 'give up' and die, so it is vitally important to try and get him eating if you can. If you really can't you need to take him to a vet asap in case he has something more serious that needs treatment. I have to say I am surprised the vets simply said it must be the brand of food and didn't suggest they should see your pet to check him over. This seems very unprofessional unless they simply don't like dealing with small creatures or have little knowledge of them. I would call a different vets and ask them the same question regarding your guinea-pigs lack of appetite.

      You don't say if he lives indoors or outdoors, if he is either outdoors or in a draughty spot indoors, he may have a cold and possible breathing problems as a result. This would need rapid treatment from a vet in the form of antibiotics.

      Also, is he only fed on dry food, or does he have fresh veg in his diet? I ask this because often dry foods claim to have vitamin C in them (which is essential for Guinea-pigs), but it is a mistake to rely on this as if the food has been on the shelves a month or so most of the vitamin C will have degraded, so fresh fruit and veg would be essential to ensure your Cavy is getting enough Vit C in his diet.

      Also, always make sure he has roughage available in the form of good quality hay to eat (hay NOT straw which is not the same). They need this to help them digest their food and to keep their teeth ground down.

      Other possibilities include your pet having overgrown teeth that should be checked out by a vet, a possible problem in the mouth making it painful for him to eat or even an abscess on a tooth.

      I guess you can see now why I think your vet was unprofessional not suggesting that he would really need to see your pet before simply assuming it is the type of food he is on causing the problem.

      Let me know how you get on and good luck.

      Oh another thought. It is essential he carries on drinking, so try a small dropper, teat pipette or syringe (your vet can give you a syringe I am sure) minus the needle and drop very small amounts of water into his mouth from the sides. Be very careful to only give him a few drops at a time to avoid him choking.

    • profile image

      Katiebearo 6 years ago

      We have tried all of this but our only problem is our vet does not specialize in small animals. He said we should give him fresh water with Vit C drops, Guinea-Pig food with Vit C, his eyes, mouth, and nose are clean of drainage, and to come back if nothing helps. We do think that his teeth are a bit of a problem for they are very long so we have made an oppointment to have them filed down. Now that we think about it his food intake declined after we took him to get his nails cut. Could he have caught something from the groomers?

      Me and my mother are very concerned for his health, for we are very attached to this little guy. Here are a few things that he ate before and after having his nails cut; some card-board (don't know how but it was in his cage), his bedding, and some rabbit food.

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image
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      Cindy Lawson 6 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      A small possibility he might have caught something from the groomers, but I do kind of doubt it really. You don't say what his bedding was, but if it is that horrible synthetic fluffy stuff then it wouldn't be very good for him if he ate it and could jam up his gut.

      Rabbit pellet mixes can contain anti-coccidiosis medication (ACS) and is toxic for cavies. A small amount would not harm him but rabbit food should not be his regular food, especially as rabbits can synthesise their own vitamin C in their bodies, so the amount included in commercial rabbit foods is unlikely to be sufficient for a cavy that CAN'T produce its own vitamin C. A small amount of cardboard is unlikely to have caused the problem assuming it was plain brown cardboard and not covered in print like for example a cereal packet would be.

      Ask your vet to look at the possibility your cavy has coccidiosis. This is a disease that can kill cavies very quickly and exhibits symptoms that include loss of appetite and lethargy. I took the following info from a website and it might help you decide if your pet has this:

      "Symptoms of Coccidiosis:

      - Sudden onset of very runny diarrhea. The diarrhea will usually have a strong foul smell and often will have blood in it.

      - Rapid weight loss and noticable protrusion of the guinea pigs hip bones.

      - Rapid Dehydration / Sunken eyes as a result of dehydration

      - Your guinea pig may sit hunched in one corner and not want to eat or pick at food and appear very depressed with a ruffled coat in severe cases.

      - Death if left untreated. Death can result within as little as 48hrs if your guinea pig is in a poor condition to begin with. Healthier guinea pigs may live for longer although immediate treatment is essential for your guinea pigs survival.

      Treatment:

      Treatment of Coccidiosis in guinea pigs is by use of a product called BAYCOX. The Piglet form of Baycox is what is used in guinea pigs. The dosage rate is .4ml per kilo once a day for three days then repeat with another single dose in 10 days time.

      In order to confirm Coccidiosis you will need to take your guinea pig to a vet. The vet will do a fecal float, culture or sample under a microscope to confirm the disease. The oocyts are microscopic and cannot be seen with the naket eye. The vet will confirm the diagnosis using one of the above methods. You will need to take a fresh stool sample with you to the vet in order for the vet to confirm the diagnosis. From here if the diagnosis is confirmed the vet will prescribe BAYCOX for treatment of the disease.

      If your guinea pig is confirmed as infected with Coccidiosis you will need to also be administering rehydration fluids, probiotics and food supplements orally in order to help build your guinea pigs immune system to fight the disease.

      While in treatment make sure that all food and hay in your guinea pigs enclosure is kept off the ground as much as possible to prevent your guinea pig from re-ingesting any oocyts. Make sure your guinea pigs bedding is kept very clean. If your guinea pig is housed with other guinea pigs you will need to treat all other guinea pigs aswell.

      Sterilization: The Coccidia Spores/Ooccyts can remain in the environment for many years and are difficult to eradicate as they are resistant to most forms of sterilisation and can remain in the environment for many years. If you have a guinea pig that has carried coccidiosis the only confirmed method of killing off coccidia spores is by thoroughly sterilising your guinea pigs enclosures and any other items in contact with it with 'Ammonia'. You can purchase Ammonia or Cloudy Ammonia from most chain supermarkets. Wash and soak everything the guinea pig has come in contact with the diluted Ammonia as per instructions on the bottle. Leave to dry for a couple of days and then rinse off with water. Wear gloves and do not get the product on your skin or near your eyes. If you do wash off thoroughly.

      If you have other guinea pigs in separate housing to infected guinea pigs and their enclosure/accessories you will need to sterilise your hands and clothing when handling your other guinea pigs to prevent them from becoming infected. It is highly recommend to treat all your guinea pigs with BAYCOX as a preventative measure and to do a similar clean of other guinea pigs enclosures etc if they are close-by or have come in contact with your infected guinea pig/s.

      Home First Aid:

      If your guinea pig comes down with diarrhea no matter what the cause is the following products will be of use and are recommended to purchase and administer.

      HYDRALYTE (Rehydration/Electrolyte Replacement). Can be purchased over the counter from your local chemist. If your guinea pig is losing fluids it can quickly become dehydrated. Symptoms of dehydration include sunken eyes and lethargy and death if diarrhea is severe. Mix 1 satchel of Hydralite in a glass of water and administer 5-6mls or more if your guinea pig will take it, every 2 hours. If you are unable to purchase Hydralite your local Vet should have LECTADE or VITRATE re-hydration fluids available upon consult.

      Vitamin C and Critical Care/Pellet Mash: If your guinea pig has lost interest in food you will need to administer a nutritional 'mush' every 2hrs or so to your guinea pig to prevent their digestive system from failing which in turn will lead to death. Crush 1 Vitamin C Tablet and mix with Critical Care (can purchase from Albany Creek Vet, Brisbane Birds and Exotics Macgregor, Camp hill Vet or Brighton Vet Surgery in Brisbane) or if you are unable to purchase Critical Care make a pellet mush by soaking your guinea pigs pellets from their guinea pig mix and crushing them with a spoon then mixing with water. Alternatively purchase some apple, pumpkin or banana baby food. Once a nutritional high fiber mush is made Administer 8-10ml of the mix orally to your guinea pig via a 1ml syringe every 3-4hrs. Tip! - Chop the tip of the syringe off with a pair of scissors if you are unable to get the mush up the syringe.

      Probiotics: To help boost your guinea pigs immune system you can also supplement with a probiotic to help promote good bacteria/flora and to help fight infection and improve digestion of nutrients. Inner Health Plus Capsules can be purchased from your local chemist. Mix a quarter of a powdered capsule with a quarter of a glass of water and administer via syringe twice daily. You can also purchase PROTEXIN antibiotics from your local vet upon consult. As a last resort the human/supermarket probiotic YAKULT can be administered.

      Remedies to help ease symptoms of Diarrhea:

      - Mylanta (The human brand of Mylanta has safely been tried and tested in guinea pigs. 1ml three times a day for 24hrs should help. Do not use this product for more than 24hrs if symptoms continue as it may cause constipation if overused.

      - Activated Charcoal. Charcoal Tablets crushed and mixed with water and administered orally have been proven to help remove toxins from the body and help treat diarrhea. Crush 1 quarter of a tablet and mix with a small amount of water. Administer over the course of the day. Charcoal can be used for several days it will not harm the body but can affect how the good nutrients from some foods are absorbed so it is best to only use for a couple of days.

      - Natural Herbs can be mixed mixed with boiling water like a tea and then left to cool. Natural herbs that are safe for guinea pigs include Ginger, Raspberry leaf and Marshmallow root, Peppermint and Chamomile."

      *****

      You don't say if he has diarrhoea, but you should examine his stools in case, and make sure he is still passing stools as he may be constipated or his gut blocked with something he shouldn't have eaten.

      I would look up Coccidiosis on the Internet if I were you as there are loads of websites on the subject that may be useful to you or your vet.

      I would get his teeth filed or clipped ASAP, and I would try to take him to a vet who does specialise in small animals.

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image
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      Cindy Lawson 6 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

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      Katiebearo 6 years ago

      He hasn't had diarrhea that we know of, actually he hasn't been going to the bathroom at all. Which made us start feeding him by dropper. Other than diarrhea, he has all the other symptoms. We plan to take him in tomorrow to get his teeth filed and nails trimmed. Thanks for your help, maybe the vet can do something

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image
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      Cindy Lawson 6 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Keep him eating if you possibly can as if they stop eating completely and the gut stops moving then death can follow quickly. Try the "mushy" pulped food method they mention above.

      "make a pellet mush by soaking your guinea pigs pellets from their guinea pig mix and crushing them with a spoon then mixing with water. Alternatively purchase some apple, pumpkin or banana baby food. Once a nutritional high fibre mush is made Administer 8-10ml of the mix orally to your guinea pig via a 1ml syringe every 3-4hrs. Tip! - Chop the tip of the syringe off with a pair of scissors if you are unable to get the mush up the syringe."

      It is worrying that his gut may be blocked if he isn't passing motions, but if he hasn't been eating this could also be a reason. A little gentle force feeding is probably going to be essential to establish if the gut is blocked or simply empty.

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      Katiebearo 6 years ago

      We tried the method and forced some in his mouth. It was nice a mushy, which i think he enjoyed.

      Thanks for your help

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      Cindy Lawson 6 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Well done Katie. This will be very helpful to him if he has got a sore mouth or cannot chew. I am sure he will feel better once he has had some food in his system, plus this will keep his 'guts' moving' and active.

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      Kaitebearo 6 years ago

      Thank you so much for the information about coocidiosis, cause after taking him to the vet this morning that was what he was diagnosed with. His stool sample came back positive, and now they have him on a 10 day treatment. What could have cause him to get coccidiosis? We never let him out-side, he stays in his cage most of the time. His cage is cleaned every 4-5 days.

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      Kaitebearo 6 years ago

      Thank you so much for the information about coocidiosis, cause after taking him to the vet this morning that was what he was diagnosed with. His stool sample came back positive, and now they have him on a 10 day treatment. What could have cause him to get coccidiosis? We never let him out-side, he stays in his cage most of the time. His cage is cleaned every 4-5 days.

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image
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      Cindy Lawson 6 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      I am so glad the information helped Katie as I have lost cavies to this before. Cavies are often born with this already, so it is not your fault, they pick it up in the womb and it mainly effects young cavies. Alternatively he could have been kept with other infected youngsters depending on where you got him from. Most usually pet shops and breeders are the most guilty parties. It is very contagious, therefore dirty and overcrowded surroundings spread the disease rapidly. The main thing is that he has been diagnosed early and therefore has a good chance of recovery with the correct treatment. All you have to make sure of now is that his cage is currently kept scrupulously clean and his food kept off the ground until he is well again.

      The following info will be very important to you if you want to prevent him picking it up again after he is better:

      Sterilization: The Coccidia Spores/Ooccyts can remain in the environment for many years and are difficult to eradicate as they are resistant to most forms of sterilisation and can remain in the environment for many years. If you have a guinea pig that has carried coccidiosis the only confirmed method of killing off coccidia spores is by thoroughly sterilising your guinea pigs enclosures and any other items in contact with it with 'Ammonia'. You can purchase Ammonia or Cloudy Ammonia from most chain supermarkets. Wash and soak everything the guinea pig has come in contact with the diluted Ammonia as per instructions on the bottle. Leave to dry for a couple of days and then rinse off with water. Wear gloves and do not get the product on your skin or near your eyes. If you do wash off thoroughly.

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      Katiebearo 6 years ago

      If he spills his food, which he does often, is it best to pick it up and put it in the garbage or put it back in the bowl? Cause right now he spills his food all the time

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image
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      Cindy Lawson 6 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      I would be inclined to not take chances and to discard it. If possible put a house brick or similar object into the cage and place his food on top of it. That way if he spills it on the brick the food can be put back in the bowl as it won't have been in contact with any faeces on the floor of the cage. Any small shelf or raised area would be good for his food, so long as he can reach it but not pass motions on it. This might be a bit tricky, but it is only for a short while until he is well and his cage has been thoroughly sterilised. Try jamming carrot chunks or cabbage stalks in the bars of the cage if you can, so he can gnaw on them whilst they are raised above ground level.

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      Katiebearo 6 years ago

      Thanks, I hope he stops spilling his food. He seems better today than yesterday, he is trying to eat a little more. Thanks for all your help. Hope you don't mind but i'm sure in the future i will need more help.

      Thanks

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image
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      Cindy Lawson 6 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      I am pleased he is getting better Katie. Any time you want advice feel free to get in touch.

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      Katiebearo 6 years ago

      Can humans catch the disease?

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image
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      Cindy Lawson 6 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Hi Katie, not so far as I know, although you could pass it via your skin on to other animals that can, e.g. other Guinea-Pigs, rabbits etc.

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      Linda Rogers 6 years ago from Minnesota

      I use to have a guniea pig and we loved him but the kids didn't do well keeping the cage clean and we gave him back to the humane society. He was really cute and black and had a cowlick at the same place our black lab did. They looked like twins and we use to tell people that Joey the dog thought it was his baby. It was darling.

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image
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      Cindy Lawson 6 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Hi Minnetonka, I am very pleased to hear you say that you did give him back to the Humane Society because the kids failed to look after him properly. Too many parents simply trust their children to look after their small pets, and as a result fail to notice if the child has not fed, cleaned or petted their pet for days on end. Thankfully I was a child who looked after my pets avidly from day one, starting with, dogs, goldfish and progressing on to rabbits, guinea-pigs, chickens etc.

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      Katiebearo 6 years ago

      Well now here's my new question: Can they get worms? He has been passing 1 or 2 a day, and its been going on for three days. I was hoping maybe it was his medicine getting the bad stuff out of him, but he quit eating, he lays on his side a lot, and he likes to stay some-where with not a lot of light

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image
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      Cindy Lawson 6 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Hi Katie, yes they can get worms and they can be treated by your vet. Here are some symptoms to look out for:

      Types of Parasites: tapeworms, roundworms, pinworms

      Symptoms: diarrhea, anemia, weight loss, worms or worm-like parasites in your guinea pig's feaces

      * What to do: take your guinea pig to a veterinarian.

      * Note: parasites like these are found more in guinea pigs that are kept outdoors than those that are kept indoors.

      I also found the following advice on a website:

      "Rabbits and Guinea Pigs get intestinal worms just like any other animal. Aristopet small animal worming syrup should be added to their drinking water every 3 months. During worming time, this must be their only source of water to ensure they get the benefit of the Syrup."

      I hope this helps as none of mine ever got worms, but it could just be because of their diet, location in the world etc. I would simply call your vet and ask him what he can suggest, and if necessary keep a sample of the worms in a small tub to show him. Do this asap if he is still not eating for the same reasons I told you previously.

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      Zoyia 6 years ago

      Dear anyone who can help:

      A little over a year ago, my fiancé and I adopted two male guinea pigs. They lived together just fine until we picked up a third member: Molly (a young female guinea pig). I had the boys fixed in hopes that they could all live together, but after the boys were healed they wouldn't stop fighting each other and it got to the point where I had to separate them. Now, it is nearly six months later and the one boy is living happily with Molly while the other one is stuck by himself. I picked up, what I hoped, would be a friend for him since I know they're such social critters (a young female guinea) and have been letting them get to know each other slowly (via a neutral play space) and the boy clicks at her constantly and won't let her get near him! I have their cages side by side in hopes that he'll gradually get used to her, but it doesn't seem to be working. Any suggestions as to how I can help them learn to get along or any reasons you might know of that my once super friendly, cuddly guinea doesn't get along with ANY guinea pigs anymore?

      Sincerely,

      A perplexed owner.

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image
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      Cindy Lawson 6 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Gosh, that will be a tricky one to solve as you have tried many of the suggestions I would have made.

      Have you considered putting him into her cage, as he will then be in her territory and will probably not be so aggressive.

      Another idea might be to swap them all around and place him back with Molly and put the other male in with your new female.

      You don't say how soon after you had them fixed you put them with Molly and they fought each other. The reason I ask is because the boars will still carry the male hormones for several months after castration, and you may have put them with a female too soon. By now you could try putting all four together in neutral territory, because the hormones leftover from before they were 'fixed' will have gone.

      There isn't much else I can suggest apart from getting an uncastrated boar to keep him company (as he should be submissive to the 'entire' male boar) and putting the young sow in with your other boar and Molly.

      Let me know how you get on and good luck,

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      Katiebearo 6 years ago

      Misty your advice helped me a lot, but i guess worms and coccidiosis was too much. He started dying last night and passed away sometime today while i was at school. I'm not taking it very well, but would i feel any better if i got a new one? Also i plan to get one in the next week or so, but what are some of the things i could do to make sure my new guinea is healthy. Thanks

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image
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      Cindy Lawson 6 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      I am so sorry you lost your little one Katie. As I said before, cavies do tend to 'give up' when they are ill and don't cope well with recovering. My thoughts are with you as it can be heartbreaking to lose your first real pet.

      It probably will make you feel better if you do get another one, but to be on the safe side take my previous advice on thoroughly sterilising the old cage before you re-use it just in case your new pet picks up the coccidiosis from it.

      To make sure your new pet is healthy do NOT buy it from a pet store if you can possibly avoid it, (these are usually kept in large groups and diseases quickly spread). Buy from a reputable breeder or adopt from a rescue centre such as the S.P.C.A. Choose a cavy that has bright eyes and appears active rather than lethargic. Even after you have adopted or purchased your new pet I would take him or her to a vet for a routine health check so that if there are any problems like worms, lice or scurvy they can quickly be identified and treated, or you will still have the option to return the animal to the place you obtained it from before you get too attached to it.

      I hope you have better luck this time, and again, if I can be of any help please let me know.

      If you can, please please adopt or buy two of the same sex (boars or sows)rather than one. This is because they are such sociable creatures that it is important they are not kept alone, (you cannot be there with them all day every day after all). A happy pet will thrive and live longer than a lonely unhappy one.

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      Cavibaby 6 years ago

      We have had a male guinea piggy (Donovan) for about 8 months. He is a solo piggy, but luckily my boyfriend works from home and is a close companion. If we were to get him a buddy, is it too late?- I don't want to disrupt his world by introducing a second guinea pig, but if it's better for him I will get him a friend. I'd love to know your thoughts- thanks so much!

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image
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      Cindy Lawson 6 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Hi Cavibaby, it can work well if you introduce them on neutral ground, i.e. not in the cage/hutch your Cavy has been living in. I used to do this a lot, and mine were always fine. Cavies love/need companions, so I strongly advise you give this a try. A male/boar should be fine if you introduce them carefully as I have described here, (and in earlier posts). Avoid a female/sow, unless you have a long list of good homes lined up, as cavies can give birth every 68 days, so leaving many babies needing new homes, plus the sow will be exhausted from being pregnant constantly.

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      TheRawr 6 years ago

      I have a piggie, Bear, i got him about last year (in December)(2009) and im not sure if i shold get him a companion. because even when i bought it they put him by himself because he didn't get along with the other piggies (but they were all like babies) he is a boar and weighs about 2 pounds.

      Also i wanted to know what kind he is. because he is a beautiful piggie and i was considering putting him in a contest this year. he is like short haired (like a Agouti) but his hair is different colours. its a mix of black, dark brown and light brown.

      please help!~

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image
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      Cindy Lawson 6 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Hi there TheRawr, you could try him with a boar, but in a new cage until they get used to each other. Alternatively you could get him 'castrated' and get him a sow for companionship. The operation carries some risks, but he should be okay and it will stop the ongoing baby problem.

      Regarding his breed it sounds like he IS an Agouti. A 'Self' Guinea-pig is all one colour and short haired, but an Agouti has different colours such as you describe, and is short coated. The colour you describe would be a Golden Agouti, (if the colours were silver, black and grey it would be a 'Silver Agouti').

      Hope this helps, but if not you can always email me using the envelope link below my profile pic and I will reply so you can send me a picture of him.

    • profile image

      TheRawr 6 years ago

      Thanks! and i wanted to know like how to keep his fur good because i want to enter him in a guinea pig showing/contest thing. So like what do the judges look for?

      Either way i just want to know how to keep him SUPER happy

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image
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      Cindy Lawson 6 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Hi Again, I think I cover bathing in the article above from what I recall without reading it all through again. Essentially use a pet shampoo or a VERY mild shampoo such as baby shampoo only. Stand your pet in shallow warm water making sure they can rest their front feet on your wrist. Wet them all over and then lather up with a small amount of shampoo, avoiding the eyes. Rinse thoroughly after with warm water, towel dry your pet and then gently blow dry them with a hair dryer on a warm setting. Do not return them outside until they are fully dried off. Try to bathe no later than 2 weeks before the show so that the natural oils have time to return to the coat.

      If you are entering him in a pet class the judges will be looking for general good condition, no parasites, glossy coat, no injuries, clear eyes, clean ears and nice nails that are not overgrown. Good temperament will also be important.

      If it is a professional show and the class is a breed class there will be other factors involved to do with markings etc.

      Hope this helps.

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      Lenore 6 years ago

      My guinea pig starts bleeding a day after she gets a bath. This has happened three times in the last three years. Baths were unavoidable as she was very soiled.

      What should I do? I have taken her to the vet twice before and it's always very costly and they put her on antibiotics? Do you know WHY she bleeds?

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image
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      Cindy Lawson 6 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      That is rather a strange one Lenore. Have you tried a medicated shampoo on her? Also, are you including plenty of fresh veggies in her diet, as bleeding skin could be caused by Scurvy, which cavies are very prone to if not fed fresh fruit and veg, (they cannot produce Vitamin C themselves).

      Another option is that she is allergic to the shampoo you are using, so after her bath she is scratching like mad and drawing blood. The shampoo could also be too strong if you are using a normal human shampoo.

      Lastly she could have mites or similar, and is scratching, so drawing blood, although this seems less likely if the bleeding only happens after she is bathed.

      It could be that your vet is not a small animal expert, and you should look into one who specialises in this field.

    • profile image

      TheRawr 6 years ago

      Thanks again! i will send a picture of my piggy to you so you can be sure. because i don't want to be wrong in the showing.

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image
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      Cindy Lawson 6 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      You will need to contact me first via the envelope icon, then I can email you back at which point you will have my private email address and can attach the picture to your reply. If you are planning on entering a professional class prepare to be up against stiff competition. The breed standard for each type of guinea-pig / cavy can be quite strict, and if you purchased your pet from a store it may not be up to show standard as anything other than a pet.

      I shall look forward to hearing from you :)

    • profile image

      TheRawr 6 years ago

      oh i bought him from a store :/

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image
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      Cindy Lawson 6 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      In that case I would recommend you initially enter him in the Pet section, and then whilst you are at the show, try to locate a friendly judge or someone who clearly shows the same breed as your cavy, (but in the professional classes), and then ask them if they feel your cavy has potential in the professional classes, or if he is better in the pet section. They will normally be very helpful and want to encourage you, so don't be afraid to ask.

    • john.jackson profile image

      john.jackson 6 years ago from London, England

      Hey great article, quite a read but very comprehensive, up for you. I like the look of those Agouti's, as they remind me of my old guinea pigs, although I am not sure what type of breed they were. I've also got an article geared more towards teeth problems than anything else, feel free to check it out http://hubpages.com/hub/how-to-look-after-your-gui... . Thanks again for the great hub!

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image
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      Cindy Lawson 6 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Thanks John, glad you enjoyed the article. Perhaps your guinea-pigs were Agouti's, or at least had Agouti in them. It often depends where you buy them, as many of the ones sold in pet stores may well be cross breeds as opposed to purebreds.

    • profile image

      Sue Ford 6 years ago

      You have a picture of one of my guinea pigs down as a Self Golden, just to let you know that it is not, it is actually a golden/lilac argente, a pink eyed version of a golden agouti.

      Ta

      Sue

      www.kingatecavies.com

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image
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      Cindy Lawson 6 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Hi Sue, Thanks for the info, I have honestly never heard of a 'golden/lilac argente', perhaps we don't have them here in the UK. I think when I found the photo it was labelled as a Self Golden, and it probably wasn't on your site by the sound of things. I have deleted the picture until I find a suitable one of a Self Golden.

      Thanks again :)

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      Helen Llewellin 5 years ago

      hi - my female guinea pig - she is about 4 years old has lost alot of wieght and is a little hunched, although she eats and drinks loads and is very churpy. i took her to the vet she checked her teeth, eyes etc but was not sure what was wrong - advised me to return her in three weeeks for injections - for what she was not sure, she appears happy and goes out in the garden - is this an age thing - should i be concerned?

      many thanks

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image
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      Cindy Lawson 5 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Hi Helen,

      Four years old is a little young for your guinea-pig to be showing signs of lost weight due to age. You might want to suggest your vet looks at the possibility of Coccidiosis as this is the most common reason for cavies going very skinny and hunched suddenly. Other possibilities are Cancer or tumours. Let me know how she gets on.

    • profile image

      Frenchie 5 years ago

      Hi, I clean out 28 guinea pigs and 4 rabbits for my weekly job. I wondered how many guinea pigs they could have in a triple cage and a large run.

      Also my own guinea pig has a lump on it's tummy and wondered if you would have any idea what it would be?

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image
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      Cindy Lawson 5 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Hi Frenchie, I can't really answer your first question without knowing the size of the cage, but if you work it out at roughly 3 feet square per guinea-pig you won't go far wrong.

      You second question I would suggest requires an examination by a vet. It could be a mammary tumour (breast Cancer), or just a tumour, or a cyst. It may be operable if you catch it early enough, but don't ignore it and hope it goes away.

      Good Luck.

    • profile image

      Frenchie 5 years ago

      thank you very much, I'll take it as soon as possible. Thank you for your advice! :)

    • ajlion1114 profile image

      ajlion1114 5 years ago

      I have a new guinea pig (Rory). I'm not sure exactly what breed he is and the people I got him from weren't too sure either. I know he's a short hair and has three different colors: orange/red, brown, and white. Could he be a Tortoiseshell?

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image
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      Cindy Lawson 5 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Sounds like a Tortoiseshell and White Ajlion1114, usually nicknamed 'a tortie and white'. A Tortoiseshell would only have the black and ginger. (I should add the markings would be in patches, not all a mixture of hairs of the three colours.)

    • ajlion1114 profile image

      ajlion1114 5 years ago

      Ok thanks!

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image
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      Cindy Lawson 5 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      You are welcome ajlion1114, hope it helped :)

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      Inker 5 years ago

      Hi ajlion,

      he would be a tri colour. Like misty said, a tortie would be black & ginger, a tortie and white would be a ginger, black and white. Since Rory has brown instead of black on him this makes him a tri colour. The 3 colours should still be in a patchwork quilt for him to be an ideal specimen.

      Inker x

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image
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      Cindy Lawson 5 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Good point Inker, I missed the fact black was not mentioned by ajlion. Over here in the UK we would not really have a name for that combination as it doesn't fall into a breed name as far as I am aware.

    • profile image

      Tony roddy 5 years ago

      Put a normal vitamin tablet in the facets water it works great,I have 18caveys all fine not a single death in 4 years, 180babeys in that time not 1death

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image
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      Cindy Lawson 5 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      That is a good tip to a point, but you should remember that some Vitamins are not 'water soluble' and are 'fat soluble'. This means even to a human you can overdose on them. Bear in mind that as a 'normal' Vitamin tablet is aimed at a human dosage, there is a risk that you could overdose your cavy accidentally. Also the fat soluble vitamins will not dissolve in the water properly in the same way an oil slick floats on the surface of the sea.

      Just be careful and check this out with your vet, you may just have been lucky so far and they are all only drinking roughly equal amounts of the water so none are overdosing on any one Vitamin that is fat soluble.

    • profile image

      Person 5 years ago

      Hi

      The weather is starting to get hot, so I was wondering if I cut my abyssinians hair a bit shorter or do I just leave it?

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image
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      Cindy Lawson 5 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      If he/she is an Abyssinian Guinea-Pig then the coat is already short, so definitely no need to clip it. Leave it as it is or you risk having a very strange looking pet, and if you do get a cold night he or she could suffer.

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      jade 5 years ago

      i found a cage for only 24.00 or 25.00 on a web site

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image
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      Cindy Lawson 5 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Well Jade, without knowing the size of that cage, whether it is indoor or outdoor and what it is made of, it is hard to say it you should buy it or not. Cheaper is not always better!

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      -Casandra- 5 years ago

      i have a guinea pig. she is soo soo soo cute. i love her. she use to have a mate. he died. i am not sure how he died. she was oregnant had her baby early is morning. but i was asleep. i looked in her cage at 10:00 and the baby was dead. it is sad but i mean i did try t revive it. didn't work. but anyways when you have a guinea pig they ned to be in a warm place right?

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image
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      Cindy Lawson 5 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      I am sorry you lost your baby guinea-pig Casandra. You might want to get the Mum checked out by a Vet in case she has anything wrong with her that may also have caused the death of her mate, and then her baby.

      Guinea-pigs do need to be in a draft proof location with plenty of warm bedding, although it isn't necessary to keep them in the house as many do. Mine were kept in a stable in hutches, but ultimately lived outside. In the winter I would cover the fronts of the hutches with blankets at night to help contain the warmth. A lot depends on the weather conditions where you live.

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      mulattoprincess1 5 years ago

      I have a 7 1/2 hour old guinea pig and she seems to be having a little trouble breathing and i don't know what to do. Also she is cold and her eyes aren't open unlike her sibling that was born a minute before her. Honestly it doesn't look like her eyes are fully developed. The mother is ignoring her and won't let her nurse, so i'm trying to supplement with kitten formula. Please Help!

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      Cindy Lawson 5 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Sadly it sounds like the Mother knows something is wrong with her and has rejected her. Guinea-pigs have a poor survival rate when unwell at the best of times, and honestly this baby sounds as if she would be better off being put to sleep as soon as possible. Do her a favour and take her to a vet or a rescue centre so the little mite can die peacefully. Apart from anything else I would probably not recommend kitten formula without having first checked with a vet. Kittens are mothered by carnivores, Guinea-pigs are mothered by Herbivores. There is a good chance the two types of milk would have different nutritional content, and that kitten formula may not be at all suitable for a guinea-pig.

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      Lilly 5 years ago

      Hey i just got a guinea pig nd i wanted to know how many time a day should i let her out to run around?? And i also hear that u can train a guinea how can i do that?

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      Cindy Lawson 5 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Hi Lilly, well I have never tried to train a Guinea-Pig I have to say. Did you mean toilet train or train to do tricks? Toilet training may be possible by putting her droppings into a litter tray in her cage or in the house, and if you see her going to the toilet immediately put her into the litter tray to get her used to using it, but I don't know about training to do tricks.

      As for letting her out to run around, well there isn't a fixed amount of times, and it would largely depend on the size of her cage. Generally I would take her out for a 'run around' when you want to, but ideally at least once a day so she gets to explore and experience different stimulation. Just make sure you don't leave her unattended in case she has an accident or is trodden on by someone who doesn't see her.

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      Lilly 5 years ago

      Thank u

      Sorry i mean toilet train:)

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      Cindy Lawson 5 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      No worries Lilly, try what I suggested then and you might well find it will work if you persevere. I know it works with rabbits, so I guess it should work for cavies too.

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      Heidi 5 years ago

      Hi one of my guineas that I got from a rescue centre 18 months ago has drastically lost weight over the last few weeks. I have no idea on his age so I am guessing it's old age. He seems very happy all the same. Should I separate him and/or visit the vets. Thanks. H x

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      HeidiB1 5 years ago

      Hi one of my guineas that I got from a rescue centre 18 months ago has drastically lost weight over the last few weeks. I have no idea on his age so I am guessing it's old age. He seems very happy all the same. Should I separate him and/or visit the vets. Thanks. H x

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      Cindy Lawson 5 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Hi Heidi, I don't know how old your guinea-pig is but unless he is over 5 years old I doubt age is the problem. Have you asked your vet to look into Coccidiosis, as this sounds like a likely cause for the problem based on the information you have given me? Ask you vet to check for this and/or other problems.

      Good Luck (make sure your pet is also getting lots of vitamin C too, e.g. green fresh veggies etc as scurvy could be an issue if the Vit C levels have been too low).

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      HeidiB1 5 years ago

      Hi thanks I phoned the vet this morning and they said I must bring him in. She said it could be the teeth by I told her is still eating. She told me if he's old it isn't nice to wait as other organs can close down. I am going this afternoon so I will see what they say. He has plenty of vit c so I don't think it's that. I have had him 18 months but I do think he was an age when I got him so I am preparing myself all the same, can't stop crying tho he is such a loving pig :( thanks for u help I will let u know what they say x

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      Cindy Lawson 5 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Good Luck Heidi, let me know how you get on. Don't forget to ask about Coccidiosis as some vets don't even think of this unless it is suggested to them. I hope he does get well again as they are very easy to get attached to and I used to get very upset if I lost one of my pet ones.

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      HeidiB1 5 years ago

      Thank u. Well I mentioned coccidiosis n the vet said he seemed too well for that, she said its def down to old age. The vet also suggested we put him in a cage alone buy yet so he can still see the other guineas so he doesn't feel alone but so he has peace n can rest if he chooses, n to just keep an eye on his weight n behaviour for now x

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      Cindy Lawson 5 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Well good luck, let's hope he has a little while longer with a good quality of life. You could try giving him some soaked sugar beet pulp as this is high in nutrient and energy and might help him put a bit of weight back on. We used to give it to both the Guinea-Pigs and my horse and goat. They all loved it. Just make sure you do soak the pellets in plenty of water for 24 hours before feeding them to your pets, as if you feed them dry they swell up in the stomach of the animal and can kill them. Any good animal feed store should stock these.

      It is a shame you can't find another elderly guinea-pig as a friend for him to share with though. Cavies are such social creatures that even if he can see the other cavies I feel he would miss the ability to snuggle up with a companion.

      Let me know how he gets on.

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      HeidiB1 5 years ago

      Yes I'm very concerned of him getting lonely. Will let u know n try that food ur saying. Thanks again for ur advice x

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      Cindy Lawson 5 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Any time Heidi :)

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      earlcortz 5 years ago from Cuneo

      Hi Misty I am Earl I'm From Philippines and I don't know if the Carabao Grass is ok for my guinea pig?please reply....thanks.....and merry x-mas....

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      Cindy Lawson 5 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      I can't help you on this one earlcortz, you would need to ask someone local to you who keeps guinea-pigs. We don't have Carabao Grass in the British Isles to the best of my knowledge, so it is not something listed in books on the subject of cavy care etc. You should ask a local vet or similar, but until you do avoid feeding anything you are in doubt over the safety of. You might find the following link helpful:

      http://pcfionline.org/content/replacement-timothy-...

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      Vicky 5 years ago

      What do you do when you have a guinea pig that has a bit of skin that is missing and you can see its bone..... should i clean it or bandige it or what......Please HELP

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      Cindy Lawson 5 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Vicky, you need to get your guinea pig to a vet as soon as possible. Right now he is an open invitation to infection and bacteria. I wouldn't attempt to treat him yourself, he will no doubt need stitching and antibiotics urgently. If you can't afford a vet get him to a rescue shelter as soon as you can, and that really does mean 'right NOW'. Guinea-pigs give up and die very easily. If you don't do this quickly you will very likely lose your pet.

      Good Luck.

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      earlcortz 5 years ago from Cuneo

      oohhh ok ahhmm......can i feed my guinea pig a banana leaves?????....please reply......

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      Cindy Lawson 5 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      I have never heard of anyone doing that earlcortz, but we don't have banana leaves here, only skins at best. To be on the safe side I would call you local vets and ask them, but this is a new one on me! Sorry I can't be more helpful, but we haven't got the climate to grow bananas!

      Can't you get normal vegetables and fruits where you are? These will be safe options at least :)

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      Kate 5 years ago

      Hello! First, just want to say that you have a great page and I think it's awesome how you've helped answer so many questions on a continual basis! It's hard to find people/resources to turn to when you have questions about guinea pigs. So, this is all very much appreciated!

      And now, I guess it's my turn to ask a couple of questions :) I've had my two guinea pigs (1 female and 1 neutered male) for exactly one year. Kind of weird that it's to the date! They're just over a year old.

      They generally get along very well, but my male still displays 'dominant' behavior where he rumbles and shakes his body. This doesn't bother her. But sometimes it gets very bad, and he just won't stop chasing her and mounting her. When this has happened I had to separate the two for a day. Is this normal for a neutered guinea pig? I thought the hormones would have died down, but I would say this aggressive behavior has happened at least twice in the year he's been neutered (where I've had to separate them). He then appears to calm down after a day or so. Have you ever heard of anything like this?

      Secondly, my female is obviously agitated when this happens. She is an extremely friendly guinea pig, but doesn't like me to touch her or go near her when he's being 'aggressive' shall I say (which I understand). However, he's stopped being 'aggressive' for a couple of days now, but she still doesn't want me to touch her or go near her. If I do, her eyes get wide and she looks very nervous and dashes away. This has me worried as this has never happened before with her. Any experience with this or thoughts on what I can do? I just want my loving and friendly guinea pig back!!

      Thanks so much for your help/feedback.

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      Cindy Lawson 5 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Hi Kate, my main advice would be to speak to your vet on this one. I have never had any of my Cavies neutered (castrated) as I simply paired up the same sexes or put opposite sexes together with a view to breeding them. I would have expected the hormones to have gone if he was neutered a few months ago, but if it was more recent you should expect some hormones to still be floating around in his system, (like with male cats), and these take a while to dissipate. You didn't say exactly how recently he had been 'done' so it is hard to call, but as they are only a year old I would give it a month or two longer before you worry about this. Hopefully by then he will be calming down and your female will be more relaxed. You could always temporarily separate them into cages that you locate next to each other so they can see and smell each other, but he can't pester her. This will mean she is more relaxed whilst he is getting rid of those annoying hormones :)

      You might also want to check that if he was sold to you as 'neutered' he actually was neutered!!

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      Kate 5 years ago

      Thanks so much for the advice! They actually sold me two "females" at the pet store and I promptly realized my "she" was a "he"...I had him neutered in mid-February 2011 (about a month after I had him), so it's been quite awhile. They generally get along perfectly, he's only acted aggressive twice in the entire year I've had him, and it usually passes after 24 hours....very odd I know. I'll ask my vet and I'll keep you posted if I hear anything!

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      Cindy Lawson 5 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Hi Kate, his behaviour sounds typical of a male, and should not really distress her as she will come into season just the same because she is obviously not neutered. I am not sure it is possible, but maybe some of the testicle tissue was left in place during the castrate, and if this is still giving off hormones he may still be exhibiting the typical male behaviour, (otherwise it should really have stopped by now). It sounds as if he is only acting this way when she is in season, and the rumbling noises and chasing her around trying to mount her would be normal behaviour for a male driven by hormones (this isn't aggression).

      Speak to your vet about the possibility there could be male reproductive tissue still in place that is causing the typical male behaviour when she is in season.

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      Sonia 5 years ago

      Hi, I bought two females for my daughter back in November. Anyway one was pregnant and gave birth to 3 lovely babies 2 weeks ago. They have been doing really well - until my daughter found one dead. Looking at it it seems that it has been crushed. Is this common? This particular baby was the placid one and was slightly different to the others in that it was squarer and really fluffy. My daghter is really upset and I am unable to give her an explanation. Can you help? Many thanks for your continued time. Take care.

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      Cindy Lawson 5 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      I am afraid I can't Sonia, cavies have a habit of just 'giving up' when they are ill, and if there was a problem the mother may have killed the baby. It is just nature. If this baby was the 'placid' one, then maybe all was not well, and it was not 100% healthy. All you can tell your daughter is that it happened 'as nature intended'.

      I wish I could be of more help. The only other thing I can say is to make sure you get the other 2 babies sexed, and re-home any males before any inbreeding accidentally happens. Really, this would be your worst nightmare!

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      jemima hankin 5 years ago

      hi

      i live in australia(not in the middle,on the coast near sydny)i am 12 and if i get into this special school for the gifted and talented dad will get me a guinea pig i am pretty shure ill get in(tho as you can see not for my spelling).any way i,v been looking up different types of these adoreble creatures .i am not a first time owner i so far have grow,en up with animals.my dad was for ever bring animals home;sheep,gouts,quails,chickens,ducks,geese,turkeys,baby chicks,rabbits,dog,and guinea pigs!! and who normely ended up cleaning ,brushing,colecting eggs and picking up poop! not my two sisters me and dad . we,ve moved houses last year so most of are animals had to go as we were moving to a smaller block a land but i did get to take my faithful guinea pig! love-in-the-mist has had some very bad exberances her mate lupin who was the most loving father no matter what some peaple say about male guinea pigs well any way we had a bad problem with RATZ they used to break in to the cage some how and they killed lupin!! we tryed to find how they got in but...we had no idea so a few days after lupin funral the littlest of the litter lavnder was found out side the cage whith tiny bite marks all over her, then just snowy the last of her litter and her self were left.my little sister one day invited a friend round and she was playing with the guinea pigs on the lown than....my dog a jack russel terrier escaped and my sister with out a back wards glance walked camly towards the house when she gets to the front door she says ahh jemima just so you know jojo escaped what i say did but the guinea pigs away!? no she said and then goes into her bedroom i did what any pet lover would have done i ran down to where the guinea pigs were playing but to late jojo snached up snowy and ran ill save you the awful details so than it was just love in the mist and she died of old age this year iam not shure if it would be dishonering her memary if i got anew one what do you think?

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      twilla23 5 years ago

      hi

      i am thinking of getting a guinea pig.

      i an not a first time owner i have had many guinea pigs in the past but not for a while would give me some advice pretty please about Silkie and Sheltie guinea pigs and do they make good cage parters and if i did show them what do jugdes look for i am 12 and think i could look after their beautiful long hair but if you have any tips could you tell me!?

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      Cindy Lawson 5 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Hi Jemima/Twilla, (not sure which as you posted twice under different names),

      First of all, please please don't get another guinea-pig if the types of cage you have kept your last ones in are not top quality. If your pets can be got to by rats, or your pets can escape, clearly these are not good quality cages. Expect to pay a good price for a proper cage.

      If you do go down the long haired cavy route, be aware you cannot go on holiday's etc, as these pets need daily grooming, and the hair wrapping in special wrappers. They also need regular bathing. You can clip them to a degree, but they still get dirty easily. It would be HUGE mistake to think they look cute so you want one, without being aware what a huge commitment they are if you are to take proper care of them. If you did get them you cannot keep two show ones together because they will chew each other's coats, making them useless for showing, and only good for breeding. For showing judges look for a glossy, dense/thick coat, free of parasites, and with no signs of scissors having been used on it.

      To comment on another point you mentioned, there is nothing wrong with male guinea-pigs, they make fabulous pets, and both of our first 2 guinea-pigs were males, so no idea what you were told.

      A Guinea-Pig should live between 5 - 7 years, (I don't know how old the one you lost from old age was). I had two that lived to an extraordinary age, one was 13, and the other was 11, so with good care they can surprise you.

      Consider keeping them as indoor pets as opposed to outdoor ones if your cage is allowing them to be killed or for them to escape. The indoor plastic (large) cages are great, and if you clean them out every few days they will not smell.

      I hope this information helps. Remember you are the same as their parent, and as an owner you have to ensure their safety and well-being, even if it is costly to do so, (both in time and money). If you can't in all conscience promise this level of care, then better not to have one (or more) as pets. Also if you get more than one for the same cage, get two of the same sex to avoid unwanted babies that need good homes, or will inbreed amongst themselves if not re-homed before they are mature.

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      jemima/twilla 5 years ago

      it wasent the qulity of the cage rats( who can chew throught concret) we later found a size abale hole throught the bottom of the cage and lavender was not escaping she was killed than dragged out .my guinea pig was arouned 6-7 the normal life span tho one of my guinea pigs lived to 11yrs old so yes they surprise you. we are bying a new cage and nothing from the old one will be in rats carry supper bad dises there are no rats at are new house i don't think i will show them in australia its very hot so ill have to trim them in summer unless you know how to keep them cool? do you know same offer guinea pig breeds that arent hight matence but arent a self?

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      Cindy Lawson 5 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Hi Twilla, you are right that rats can chew through concrete, although they rarely bother, (I have also had pet rats, and at one point worked in a breeding unit where I was in charge of over 2000 rats). Personally I never had a problem with rats infiltrating my blocks of hutches, but maybe you were just unlucky. I would suggest you get a hutch or cage that is on legs, as this will not only make it very hard for a rat to chew it's way in from underneath, but will also improve the airflow around the hutch in the hot climate you live in.

      Remember they always say you are never more than 6 feet from a rat wherever you are, so don't assume there will be no more where you are moving to. Rats can carry diseases, but less so in in the countryside. It tends to be rats living in sewers and on rubbish dumps etc that are most likely to pick up and transmit other diseases. Pet rats for instance have none, and the cute little wild ones you see in the fields will have no more diseases than any other rodent, (lecture over, I just hate to see rats given an unfair bad press as they are another of the best pets to have, and are not the disease ridden horrible creatures they are often believed to be).

      If you wanted to still have a long haired guinea-pig you could keep the coat trimmed short, in which case you can show it as a pet in the pet classes, as opposed to the professional classes. To keep it really cool you would probably have to keep it indoors where you can utilise air conditioning in the hot months.

      If you want to consider other breeds that are not Self's I would recommend Abyssinians (that was my Sister's first guinea-pig and he was super cute). They have the rosettes of hair all over their bodies and are very tufty to look at. You could also think about a Rex or a Teddy, because they have hair that grows outwards and result in them looking like little fuzzballs. Tortoiseshell and whites are pretty and so are American Crested. All of these breeds are low maintenance so long as you bathe them every now and again in a suitable formula from your vets to kill off any mites or parasites they may have picked up from their hay or the garden, and make sure you keep their nails clipped. I am sure you are already familiar with these things based on your last cavies and how longed they lived for. All the breeds I have suggested are pictured in this article if you want to see what they can look like.

      I hope this info has helped, but if you need to ask any more questions feel free to post here again :)

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      jemima/twilla 5 years ago

      i am soooo sorry if i offeneded you in any way .my friend has the cutest rat ever its so shiny and sleek their also very intengent and thanks i had no idea that its mostly city rats and most of its not its foult is it we put all that rubbish there and anthere big sorry to any rat lover whos reading this i am sincer but rats took lots of are animals thats why we moved it was to distressind when some new baby chicks were found dead with tiny theeth marks anther sorry !

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      Guinea pig lover! 5 years ago

      Hi Misty, I'm a first time buyer and I'm worried that because I'm only aloud one it will be lonely due to the fact I leave at 8:20 and come home at 3:15. Also I get hay fever. I have rubbed some hay on my arm and sniffed it and I was fine but will I be able to live with it? Thanks.

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      Cindy Lawson 5 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Don't worry Jemima, you did not offend me in any way, and in fact it is good that this was mentioned so I could correct a few common misconceptions about rats. We have lost baby chicks to wild rats in the past too, and this is very sad, but they are only following their instincts. Actually we also lost baby chicks to hedgehogs, polecats and gulls. Sadly chicks are vulnerable to lots of predators.

      Anyway I am glad your friend is keeping a rat and that you like it, and you are welcome to post questions here any time you need to :)

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      Cindy Lawson 5 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Hi Guinea-Pig lover. Firstly I would not suggest only getting one guinea-pig, two is really the minimum you should get, and honestly they need their own kind to snuggle up with at night and all the times you can't be with them. I really can't see any argument a parent can give you that says why you can only have one as opposed to two, mainly because they only cost a tiny amount to feed anyway, and the cage would not need to be a huge amount larger for two as opposed to one. It really would be unfair to only have one alone, and you might be better off with a hamster instead as they have to be kept singly, although they are not as much fun as guinea-pigs.

      If you get past this problem and persuade your parents to let you have two, then ideally get two females to avoid problems with unwanted pregnancies.

      The hay fever problem is a tricky one, and rubbing it on your arm will not determine if you can 'live with it' as most of the problems happen when you inhale it and the spores irritate your mucous membranes in the nose, eyes etc. You may get used to it (I did), but there are no guarantees. In this case I would suggest using an alternative bedding such as wood shavings on the floor and shredded paper in the nest box. Keep the hay content purely to being a daily feed amount as opposed to full bedding, and that way you will only be exposed to it minimally.

      I hope this helps and good luck persuading your parents to let you have two instead of one.

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      Guinea pig lover! 5 years ago

      I'm not aloud a hamster. :( its either guinea pigs or gerbil. I did inhale the hay and I was fine. What would be the average cost to keep one for say a year compared to keeping two for a year?

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      Cindy Lawson 5 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Well gerbils are a pain, they keep you awake all night running round on their wheels, and when you want them awake (in the day), they are asleep. Again you would need to have two gerbils not one as they are group creatures.

      A guinea-pig costs so little to feed I can't even give you a figure, especially as you are probably not in the same part of the world as I am so food prices vary. If you were going to feed one on the correct food and include fresh veggies too, I can't see it costing you more than a couple of dollars a week. If you had a second one it might cost you another dollar, as only the food required would increase, and most likely the level of bedding, shavings etc would stay much the same because they would be sharing it. Out of interest why are you being told you can only have one, not two? Perhaps you should get your parents to read this article so they can see why it would be unfair to only keep one on its own.

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      Guinea pig lover! 5 years ago

      I think my mum thinks that it would be too expensive. I will get her to read this. Thanks. One last thing I'm only aloud a short haired breed ( :( ) have you got an idea what breed would be best to have as a pet, not to show and any names?

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      Cindy Lawson 5 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      In that case she should know they cost next to nothing to feed and two will be virtually the same to keep price-wise as one. If you want to choose a nice easy breed I would recommend Abyssinians (that was my Sister's first guinea-pig and he was super cute). They have the rosettes of hair all over their bodies and are very tufty to look at. You could also think about a Rex or a Teddy, because they have hair that grows outwards and result in them looking like little fuzzballs. Tortoiseshell and whites are pretty and so are American Crested.

      I would wait until you have your cavies before you decide on names as you might find the name becomes obvious based in their personalities.

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      Guinea pig lover! 5 years ago

      I have just spoken to my mums friend, she's a vet nurse, and she says it will be fine on its own. Thanks for the advice on the breeds . Do you think it will be alright if I play with it all of my spare time?

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      Cindy Lawson 5 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      I am afraid I disagree with your friend, and I was a veterinary assistant and my best friend is a fully qualified head Vet's Nurse who has appeared on many episodes of Rolf Harris's Animal Hospital when she worked at RSPCA Putney in England. I have also worked in two vet's surgeries over a number of years. Much though I hate to say it, being a Vets nurse does not mean you automatically know about every animal and its requirements. I have met fully qualified vets who don't even know that a Guinea-Pig can eat the flowers, as well as the stalks of a dandelion. Living alone won't kill your pet, but it will give it a poorer quality of life which I am sure is not what you want. You have to trust me on this I bred and successfully showed many guinea-pigs (cavies) for a good few years, and they are creatures that naturally live in groups and feel more safe and secure when they have company of their own kind to play with, sleep with, eat with etc.

      With regards to how long you play with it for, you have to remember that as a small creature it will get tired easily, so playing with it constantly would stress it out. I would recommend periods of twenty minutes to half an hour at a time, and then give it a break back in its own cage for at least another half an hour it can relax, have a drink, some food and a snooze.

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      Guinea pig lover! 5 years ago

      Thank you sooooo much for your advice. I have one more thing what size cage should it be?

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      Cindy Lawson 5 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Well it all depends on how much time they will spend in the cage, and also if you intend to keep them indoors or outdoors. Personally I would allow about 3 feet x 2 feet for one guinea-pig, but as I always recommend keeping two together, I would suggest a cage about 4 feet x 2 feet. The more room you can give them the better of course. I hope this helps.

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      Guinea pig lover. 5 years ago

      You have been AMAZINGLY helpful. Thank you so much for all your advice. I will probably be back again.

      P.s. I'm keeping the cage indoor but have a huge hutch and run outdoor.

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      Cindy Lawson 5 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Come back any time you have more questions and I am always happy to offer any advice I can. Sounds great that you will have the option of letting your pet(s) have time in the outdoors and the run as well as coming indoors. It is nice for them to be able to munch on natural grass on the bottom of a pen and enjoy a bit of fresh air.

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      Guinea pig lover! 5 years ago

      :) thanks.

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      Cindy Lawson 5 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      You're welcome :)

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      Guinea pig lover! 5 years ago

      :) :)

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      HeidiB1 5 years ago

      Hi Misty been meaning to get back on here for a while. Well Lou did perk up for a bit n put on weight with that special food u suggested, after a few days I was able to put him back in with his friends, but in Jan he deteriorated quickly n passed with old age :(

      Now I have a new question please. My long furred pigs appeared to of gotten hair cuts. We were so upset called the police n questioned our families all of whom denied this. Have y heard of anyone doing this before? I more recently been told they can do this themselves? But all three long furred ones have had this. But we never found the hair so surely they do not swallow it too? I have felt so distressed about this :( x

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      Cindy Lawson 5 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Hi HeidiB1, Sorry you lost your Lou, but old age is one of those things we can't avoid our pets dying from ultimately, sad though it is.

      On to your long haired Guinea-Pigs. Do they share a hutch/cage? Often if they share they will chew each others coats which is why they should be clipped or kept alone ideally (latter I only condone if they are show pigs.) They will chew their own coats too, especially if they are wearing coat wrappers that are pulling on their fur due to poor wrapping up of the fur, or if they have mats that are irritating the skin. Also check them for mites to make sure they are not chewing off their coats due to irritation.

      It is possible someone cut off their coats to spite you, (unless they thought it was too hot for them where you are, and that they were doing them a favour.) I have never heard of this happening before though.

      When they do chew their coats you don't usually find the hair in my experience, so they probably do swallow it or chew it up so finely that it gets lost in their bedding. Make sure they are still getting a fully balanced diet too, in case they are trying to make up for something that is lacking by eating their own coats. If in doubt get your vet to check them over.

      I hope this has helped :)

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      HeidiB1 5 years ago

      Thanks Misty, yes the long furred ones do share a hutch I keep them as pets so I don't show them just been rescuing them from unwanted homes mainly. Don't really want to separate them as they may be lonely. Well I they swallow the hair that's my explanation I guess, don't like the idea of someone giving them hair cuts, it was cold when that happened too. Many thanks again for ur help x

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      Cindy Lawson 5 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      You might be able to solve the problem to a degree by using a nasty tasting spray like 'bitter apple' on their coats. Just check with your vet that it is okay to apply it directly on to the animal, as I have only ever used it on wiring etc to stop pets chewing it and electrocuting themselves. All that said, I wouldn't worry too much unless they start looking bald, in which case the hair chewing has got way out of hand and something needs to be done. Keep the hair clipped tidily at all times, and make sure you still groom them daily to avoid matted fur as this will reduce the likelihood of them chewing.

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      Gapeachy 5 years ago

      We just recently got a male guinea pig named Lenny. He is 2 1/2 months old. He tends to nip just a little and won't let us pet his back. Is it normal? He also hasn't made any kind of wheeking

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      Gapeachy 5 years ago

      When we hold Lenny he tends to be okay for a few minutes before biting at our cloths. He always greets us for treats by poking his head up from the gate of his cage, but I would love to know how to help him stop the nipping and allow us to hold him more and pet him. When we do get him out of his cage he likes to place his nose under my chin an bump it. He is so cute and very energetic since he runs around and popcorns in his cage. I just don't know what to make of his certain moods. Thanks

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      Cindy Lawson 5 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Hi Gapeachy, if he isn't keen on you touching his back he may have pain there caused by an injury. The injury could be something caused by his mother treading on him when he was a baby or by him being dropped at some point in time. I would get him checked over by a vet to be sure.

      It is very unusual for guinea-pigs to bite. Are you sure he isn't just nibbling gently, as they will do this, but not enough to hurt and it seems more of an affectionate gesture generally? If he is definitely biting this may be resolved by you persisting in regular handling until he truly gets to know you, but if it is down to fear of pain due to his back, then the only solution is again to take him to the vet and find out why he is showing a pain type response when you touch his back.

      Can't explain the lack of squeaking, but if he is young that may come in time once he has a routine and knows that when you turn up it is feeding time etc. You might want to consider getting him a companion as really Guinea-pigs should not be kept singly because they are very sociable creatures who like constant companionship. You cannot be another guinea-pig, nor can you communicate with him the same way as another guinea-pig. Apart from that you can't possibly be with him all day every day. You might find his behaviour improves and he becomes more 'talkative' when he has a companion. I would try to introduce him to another young male if you can, as this will avoid problems with babies being produced litter after litter all needing good homes to go to.

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      Gapeachy 5 years ago

      Thank you. We got him from a pet store not to long ago. He was the third one we tried. The first one was way to young and we had to take him back. The second who I loved so much and was such a cuddle bug got really sick with ringworm as well as a bacterial infection which we treated by taking him to the vet ourselves. Even with all the medication he wasn't improving and we had to make a choice simply because my daughter is 4 and I didn't want her to get the ringworm. So we ended up with tho little guy. When I hold him and rub his back he is just fine. It's only in the cage does he jump away at the idea of us touching him. He is a great eater and loves everything we give him food wise. He runs and jumps and een greets us when we come to the cage but with no noise lol. The nibbling is fine we just remind him softly that he can't. I'm a stay at home mom so he is always around someone but I wonder does he need to be held more so he can get use to the idea? He is very sweet I just can't seem to understand some of his behavior. The other piggys in the pet store I'm afraid aren't as semi calm as he is. I honestly worry about the fighting later on when they get older. The nibbling isn't a big concern but I do notice when we try to get him out o the cage he almost sounds like his teeth are chattering. Is this something to be concerned about as well or is this normal? How long does it usually take for them to warm up to you in a sense. He really has the potential to be such a sweet boy. Thanks again.

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      Cindy Lawson 5 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      The chattering noises are usually noises associated with mating or introduction of a new guinea-pig to the existing one. These sounds are often referred to as 'trilling'.

      Even as a 'stay at home Mom' you cannot possibly devote your entire day to socialising with your pet guinea-pig, so still best to get a second one in order to ensure the mental well-being of your pet. My other major concern (although it is too late now), is that you are buying your pets from pet shops, who sadly do not always vet the sources they buy from, nor do they always give their animals the best care. It is always best to go to either a rescue centre or a reputable breeder as opposed to a pet shop.

      Don't discourage the nibbling, as if this is all it is you are discouraging natural behaviour, (which of course should not be discouraged). Mine used to work their way up and down the length of my index finger nibbling, and it was really cute and a sign of affection.

      If you handle him regularly he should get used to you in a matter of weeks, just allow him to be a normal guinea-pig, and if all he wants to do is relax on your lap then allow him to do so as opposed to expecting him to be active or play with you or your children.

      I totally stick with the fact you will be better off getting him a companion if you want him to be a happy pet, and I also stick by the fact buying pets from a shop is a really bad bad move when rescue centres are full of guinea-pigs (including babies) that will have been medically checked out and need good homes.

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      Gapeachy 5 years ago

      Thanks again. Im not sure if we have anything like that around where I live but I will definitely look into it. My only concern Is that introducing another guinea pig (male) will cause fighting. I don't want that but I also remember years ago we had 2 and they were pretty good together. Will they fight being that it will be 2 males together. What can I expect from the two of them and will we need a much larger cage? The cage we have now is big. How do I introduce them and if Lenny is like he is will another copy his actions or will vice-versa? I regret getting him from the pet store but I'm glad he is healthy. With two what an expect as far as mites and lice etc. don't they pass these things between them?

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      Cindy Lawson 5 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      If you introduce them on neutral ground first they should be fine. Guinea-Pigs only tend to fight when they can smell a female nearby, and to be honest I kept mine in 'block hutches' where they could still smell females nearby, but I never had a problem with fighting between males. You could also get one of the males castrated if you experience a problem. The cage should not need to be much larger at all, and from what you say the cage you have may well already be large enough for two. As for the behaviour copying, it is difficult to tell who might copy who until you try them together, but hopefully it will work the right way around, or Lenny will start to relax and change his own behaviour anyway once he has a few weeks of handling and a companion to influence his behaviour.

      If you are keeping two the risk of mites and lice is no different to keeping one. In other words if one gets them the odds are both will, but if you treat both for mites etc regularly you should not have any issues. Just bathe them every month or two in a veterinary approved and medicated shampoo and this will avoid any problems. If kept indoors you may not even need to do this at all.

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      Gapeachy 5 years ago

      Thank you again for all the help. I did find a rescue place locally after some searching on the web. However they have specifics should you adopt on such as needing a much large cage aprox. 30-50. Also they had adults and not as many young ones and the young ones they did have already have Cage mates and need to be adopted together. I will keep a look out in hopes I can find a single male close to Lenny's age. I will continue to work with him on the handling. Hopefully he will come around. He is still young an I'm hoping with sometime and attention until we find a cage mate he will start to come around. Thank you so much I really appreciate all the help.

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      Cindy Lawson 5 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      I recommend a cage of at least 36" x 24" for one guinea-pig Gapeachy, so although I think 50" is a lot to expect of a new owner in terms of the length of their cage, it would probably be not far off what would be required for two guinea-pigs kept together. They can grow quite large, especially the males so you might need to upgrade your existing cage when you do find him a friend.

      With regards to getting a second guinea-pig, did you consider maybe having Lenny castrated and getting a female as a companion, as she will be smaller and he will also readily accept a female even if she is older than him?

      With regards to the rescue centres, naturally I don't know where you are in the world exactly, but do you have an SPCA nearby, as although they specialise in dogs and cats etc, they also rescue smaller creatures and need homes for them too. Online of course they are unlikely to be as easily found if you are simply searching for 'Guinea-Pig Rescue Centres' as this is not specifically what they do.

      Good Luck and I hope all goes well for you. Feel free to contact me again if you have any further questions.

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      Gapeachy 5 years ago

      I've never considered getting him castrated. Is this dangerous for him? What can I expect from something like that? Will he be in any pain at all? Does it change their personality at all? I've heard that a way to make your guinea pig more domesticated and use to the humans they suggest not giving them a hutch until they are more comfortable with you. Is this true?

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      Cindy Lawson 5 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Getting him castrated does carry an element of risk, mainly due to the anesthetic, but usually it goes fine, and it may even help him to calm down a bit. The pain relief they are given at the time of the operation will last several days, so he is unlikely to feel any pain and should quickly be behaving normally again. The only real personality change would be the calming down one.

      I don't like the idea of 'not giving them a hutch until they are more comfortable with you' because this is likely to push their stress levels too high. It is important they know they have a safe haven to escape to if they want a break. Forcing them to interact with you on a constant basis is not fair on them, they need a rest too, and a hutch is the best place to have one. Stick with the plan of petting him regularly for about half an hour at a time, then put him back in his cage for a rest of at least the same duration.

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      Shelby 5 years ago

      I love Guinea Pigs. I Have had 2 hamsters. and now that they have pasted it am going for a guinea pig. I am getting one for free. And its a baby, great with kids, and i am gald because I am a kid i am 12 years old going to be 13 and i woold love one. I am geting him tomorrow

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      Cindy Lawson 5 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Hi Shelby, you will definitely find guinea-pigs more fun than hamsters so I am sure you will be delighted with your new pet. I strongly recommend you get a companion for him as soon as possible though because guinea-pigs are creatures that are very sociable, and as you can't be with him 24 hours a day it is important he has a full time companion. I hope you will spend plenty of time reading up on guinea-pig care (as you already are doing by being here). I emphasise this because things like the importance of them having Vitamin C in their diet can be missed by new owners otherwise, and tragedy can be avoided by providing plenty of veggies as well as their dry food.

      Good Luck, and you know where to find me if you have any problems or questions :)

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      Gapeachy 5 years ago

      Thanks, I'll try that. Last night Lenny decided he was going to chew on the bars so I opened his cage an he stuck his he's out and was just acting really sweet. The next thing I knew he was jumping into my arms. I carried him over to the floor and sat with him in my lap and he was just very curious as to sitting there and chewing on my cloths. He seemed content to have it his way. Is it normal for them to want to jump into your arms to be held? What about the nibbling on the cloths. He seemed really comfortable and was so curious as to everything. He was even squeeking a little. He wantedto climb up my arms and sniff at my neck as well. Is this normal?

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      Cindy Lawson 5 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Nibbling on the bars could be a sign he is looking for something to keep his teeth worn down, and actually it is also one possibility for why he is nibbling stuff in general. Try providing him with some of those wooden chew sticks sold in pet shops or the ones covered in appropriate seeds and grains for guinea-pigs, and make sure he has plenty of hard crunchy veg like carrots to gnaw on. If it continues you might want to get a vet to look in his mouth and make sure he has not got any obvious problems with his teeth.

      Guinea-pigs are not really known for 'jumping' anywhere, as their legs are so short and their bodies so squat that they aren't really the right build to jump. They are good at falling though, and because they are top heavy they tend to land on their heads which can kill them.

      A guinea-pig will happily settle on your lap for a long time once it is used to you (I recommend putting an old newspaper on your lap first though as when you get a sudden 'warm' feeling' on your legs it is usually a sign they have urinated on you). When they relax completely you will notice they kind of 'ooze' outwards because they are no longer standing on your lap, but lying on it.

      The nibbling on clothes could be so many things. 1) it could relate to teeth problems and he is looking for something to gnaw on. 2) It could be a sign of affection and 3) It may stem back to when he was a baby suckling on his mother.

      Right now any signs of wanting to sniff you or his surroundings is a healthy sign of him being curious and getting used to his environment. The squeeking is also perfectly normal and you will quickly identify the various squeaks and what they mean, e.g. I'm hungry, I'm scared etc.

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      Gapeachy 5 years ago

      That's good to hear in a sense. I seem to notice him doing the bar chewing when he wants out or wants me to give him a treat. We just moved his cage from our room to the Livingroom so he could be around us more. He seems to be happy when he is around u more. He popcorns and runs as well as stands on his legs to see what we are doing. I did notice a bald spot on his front paw on the inside. He doesn't bother it or even itch it at all. Is that something that is normal? I have seen it before on healthy piggies. He also loves when my daughter brushes his hair. He is a different breed then what I see. He has short hair but patches of long hair expcially around his ears and bottom. What kind of breed could he be? He is a Carmel brown white and black. He has the black around his eyes and part of his ear as well. Thanks again for all the information. He really seems to be coming around and is very playful. Is this just a young thing or will it continue?

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      Cindy Lawson 5 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      It is a good idea to move him into the living room as he will feel more part of what is going on. I am not sure of the meaning of the term 'popcorns' as it is not one we use in the UK so you might have to explain that one to me. I don't really know what you mean about a 'bald spot' on his paw either, as I never noticed it on any of my cavies (guinea-pigs), but it is hard to say for sure I understand what you are referring to without seeing it. If it isn't bothering him I wouldn't worry about it unless it spreads.

      Regarding his breed I can only assume he is a bit of a mixture of breeds as none I am aware of have both long and short hair. The colouring sounds like a Tortoiseshell and White breed, but the longish hair could fall into any of the long haired breeds e.g. Peruvians, Shelties etc. If I could see a photo I would be more sure, but the only way you could show me a photo would be to use the 'contact' icon (looks like an envelope under my profile picture at the top of the article) to email me. I can then email you back, at which point you will then have my actual email address and can use it to send me a photo to look at.

      The affectionate nature will continue, but as for being playful, well that will probably calm down, but this is normal in most young animals. He will still be loving and fun to be with. Glad he is getting used to you now.

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      Gapeachy 5 years ago

      Popcorning is when they jump into the air. The only thing I do know it means is that they are happy. He will not let me pick him up out of the cage he prefers to climb out into my waiting shirt :). If we need to get him out he we usually flip his hutch and he will climb in to be lifted up so we can pull him out, I think he's just playing the lazy card at times. I will try and send you a picture of him. He is fascinated by climbing into the sleeve of my shirt and upto my shoulder. It hurts with his claws but he seems to love it... It a little strange but I guess whatever makes him a happy camper.

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      Cindy Lawson 5 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      LOL, he must be very active for a guinea-pig then as 'jumping into the air' is pretty active for them. I don't think he will do this as he gets older because they do become quite chunky and heavy and I doubt they would manage this so easily.

      Re-climbing up into your shirt sleeve, this is very normal. All mine used to do this and we used to laugh that they looked like a big bicep muscle at the top of our arms. Sadly all my jumpers ended up stretched out of shape as a result lol.

      You will need to email me using the link before attempting to send the photo as the Hubpages system will not give you the option to send me a photo using the contact icon. Once I get your email I can email you back and you then have my actual email address to send the photo to. The only reason I need to do it this way is so I can avoid publishing my actual email address here.

      In time Lenny will probably let you lift him out of his hutch, but right now it is probably a bit of a game to him to make you work for it :)

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      Gapeachy 5 years ago

      I Definitley agree lol. He is spoiled already. I will send you a quick note and then I can upload some pictures tomorrow for you to look at. He is a very active little guy and just squeaks when he's out. It's nice to hear him talk a little. I say a little now and soon enough he will be yelling at me. He really seems to enjoy the climbing in my cloths and the nibbling as well. :)

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      Cindy Lawson 5 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      LOL, I am looking forward to seeing the pictures. He sounds like a really cute little fellow :)

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      Daniel 4 years ago

      Hello I was wondering if you might be able to help me out with a question I have. First of all let me say that I have eight piggies with a room size multilevel cage. Six sows and two boars. All very happy. My question is about my boars. Their ears stick straight up. Is this normal? All of my sows have the fold over or drippy appearance. All eight are approaching one year or have just hit that mark.

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      Cindy Lawson 4 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Interesting question Daniel. Firstly I would warn you about the risks of having more than one boar with any number of sows as there is a high risk of fighting between the boars, especially when the females come into season. Also you risk a lot of unwanted babies as if each sow averages 3 babies every 68-72 days then that is potentially 18 new babies every two and a half months, all of which need good homes and that you cannot keep yourself or you risk inbreeding occurring in the kind of set up you have. Right now you might not have a problem, but under a year old is still quite young so a problem could soon become apparent unless you get one or both of your boars castrated.

      With regards to the ears sticking up on the boars, this is normal in many young cavies, and they will most likely begin to droop as your males grow older. In the event they don't it could be something they have inherited genetically from their parents and they may well stay like that.

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      Daniel 4 years ago

      Thank you for the info. On the boars there should be no risk of them breeding. My girlfriend and I worried about this as well seen as all eight have the same father (two mothers). We got them fixed a few months back and kept them separate before that. We didn't want to get them fixed but we felt we had no choice if we where going to keep them.

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      Cindy Lawson 4 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Excellent Daniel, you are clearly responsible owners and I admire that. Sounds like your only worry now is the 'sticky up ears' in which case my earlier comment should alleviate your concerns :)

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      Jacob 4 years ago

      Hi, im planning on getting two female guinea pigs in a few days but i was wondering if i have enough room for three. The cage my dad and i made is about 10 square feet and im not sure if thats enough room for three guinea pigs.

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      Cindy Lawson 4 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Hi Jacob, 10 square feet is plenty of space for three guinea-pigs so you have no worries on that score, (and at 10 square feet I think they are very lucky to have found such responsible caring owners).

      Good Luck, and if you have any further questions feel free to come back to me.

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      Jacob 4 years ago

      Thanks, but my mom said i can only get two. :(

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      Jacob 4 years ago

      I plan on getting a teddy and an american, do they get along well?

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      Cindy Lawson 4 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Hi Jacob, the breeds won't matter, they will either get along or not regardless based on their personalities, but generally you won't have a problem with two females (sows) or two males (boars), although if you choose males (boars) you will need to be sure they cannot smell any females nearby or they will fight.

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      Jacob 4 years ago

      I got my guinea pigs today! They are both american females and I named them Cinnamon and Spice. Cinnamon is white and light brown and Spice is a Tortoiseshell and White.

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      Cindy Lawson 4 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Congratulations Jacob, and I love your choice of names, so cute. If you have anything you need to ask or are ever concerned about, feel free to come back and leave me a comment and I will answer it as soon as I can. I am sure you are going to love your new pets :)

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      Jacob 4 years ago

      My guinea pigs dont seem to be drinking anything, but I have a water bottle and a water dish for them. How do I make them drink?

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      Cindy Lawson 4 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Hi Jacob, please don't worry about this, you have only had them 24 hours and they need time to settle in. A water bottle is better than a bowl because Guinea-pigs don't have much in the way of a neck, therefore it is harder for them to use a bowl. A bowl also tends to end up full of bedding etc. For now just make sure they have fresh water in their bottle, and plenty of fresh veggies such as carrots, cabbage, apple etc which will naturally contain plenty of water (clean freshly cut grass is also good, but make sure it is not from an area where dogs etc could have urinated, or from a verge where heavy traffic could have polluted the grass with fumes). Give them some privacy too, and this will allow them to relax and take a drink without feeling they are the centre of attention and constantly being watched.

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      Jacob 4 years ago

      HELP, Cinnamon was fine this morning but now she is really lethargic. She allowed me to touch her and I picked her up and she barely resisted.

      do you know what could be wrong with her?

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      Jacob 4 years ago

      Shes eaten broccoli, green bell peppers and carrots over the past few days.

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      Jacob 4 years ago

      Besides being lethargic she also seems to by trying to push something out or something. Is she really sick?

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      Cindy Lawson 4 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      I know this is unlikely, but is there any chance she was pregnant when you got her? They have a gestation of 68-72 days, so if you have had her less time than that, and depending on if she was a baby or an adult, she could be pregnant and struggling to deliver the babies. Also I wonder if she could be constipated, as in spite of the vegetables you have been feeding her she still needs roughage e.g. hay in her diet. Were all the veggies washed properly too, just in case they had been sprayed with crop spray in the fields?

      A vet might be your best bet based on your description of her symptoms, as guinea-pigs can go downhill very fast if left untreated.

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      Jacob 4 years ago

      Shes had a constant supply of hay since I got her and all the guinea pigs at the petsmart I got her from were females. Her veggies have also all been washed.

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      Jacob 4 years ago

      its too late she just died

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      Cindy Lawson 4 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Hmm, if you got her from a pet store there are two things that would worry me. One is that although she might have been in a pen that said the guinea-pigs were 'all females' mistakes do get made and young guinea-pigs can be quite tricky to tell the sex of. However, if she was literally a baby then she probably wasn't sexually mature yet anyway so you may well be okay (unless a mistake has been made with the sex of 'Spice' of course). The other problem with pet stores is you often end up with sickly pets because they house a lot together, and if one isn't in the best of health illnesses can quickly spread. Far better to adopt from rescue centres or breeders who are considered reputable.

      If she is 'straining' and she is potentially constipated, then you might try giving her a few drops of liquid paraffin using an eye dropper. Your vet or rescue centre should be able to give you some of this (do not try using paraffin fuel from your home though). Honestly I would suggest getting her to a vet, because when I have had guinea-pigs go lethargic in the past they tend to go very fast, and don't seem to try very hard to survive. As a small creature the bill should not be too high in my experience.

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      Cindy Lawson 4 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Oh dear, I am so sorry to hear this. I am afraid your post crossed with my last one. You might want to get your other guinea-pig (Spice) checked by a vet in case it was anything contagious that she might have picked up.

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      Cindy Lawson 4 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      You might want to take Cinnamon's body to the vets in a separate box too, as the vet might be able to check out why she was 'straining' and confirm if it was only constipation, or something else that could be a danger to Spice.

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      Cindy Lawson 4 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Just another thought Jacob,. You must be very sad right now and not sure how to cope with the loss of Cinnamon. I wrote an article last year on How to Get Over the Loss of a Much Loved Pet. This might help a little at this very tough time. The link to the article is:

      https://hubpages.com/animals/How-do-you-get-over-t...

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      nan 8 months ago

      I was wondering is it easy to take care of a guinea pig do you have any tips

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      PipPipHooray 6 months ago

      This article was very helpful.I have convinced my parents to let me get some piggies and I don't know where to get them.I feel so bad for the guinea pigs at pet smart I want to get them there. Should I get my piggies from a shelter or pet smart.

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