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Thing That Will Determine How Long Your Guinea Pigs Lives.

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When many people hear the word guinea Pig, the picture that comes to their mind are the real pigs. But did you know that the Guinea Pig also called the cavy is not even in the pig’s family? Surprisingly they are not also from the guineas family too. Guinea pigs are just small rodents the weighing around 1000-1200 grammes and only 8-12 inches in size when mature. Most guinea pigs live between 4-8 years with the highest age ever recorded been 15 years, However as in the case with most living things especially animals good health will always determine the life expectancy. If they are taken good care of they may live quiet a long time. For instance feeding them with timothy hay is very recommendable as apart from feeding on the grass they also make nests or play with it. Plant matter is also useful as it contains some vitamins that may not be present in the hay. However, too much of it may lead to diarrhoea so it should be well balanced. The guinea pigs also love fruits such as apples and melons, blueberries and grapes which are an excellent source of vitamin c. Sometimes the love we have for this creatures may result to us ending up killing them ourselves. Sometimes we may be so bonded to this cute creature to an extent we forget that they are animals not human like us and start feeding them on foods that we like. If you are used to this, then you may be killing your guinea pig. Here are some of the foods that should be avoided: chocolates, corns, iceberg lettuce, meat, biscuits, chips and daily products. This food may pose some serious health complications later so just get rid of them.Good medical care also determines how long the guinea pigs will live. With their life expectancy not being very long, then you can imagine how worse it can get if proper care is not provided. Guinea pigs are known to have common conditions such as malocclusion or slobbers whereby the teeth grow too long with time making it impossible for them to feed. Taking into consideration that these animals are rodents and use their front teeth to chew, then you can imagine the risk the disorder poses to the life of the guinea pig. you may have veterinarian have the teeth physically aligned as this is the only way the guinea pig will survive.Other killer conditions that one should immediately attend to include, any respiratory problem, signs of tumours, swellings filled with pus (abscesses), urinary problem and skin problems which may indicate the presence of parasites.
Apart from the diet and medication, the guinea deserves a proper shelter away from too much heat which may increase chances of stroke. The cages should also be clean and dry to make the guinea pigs comfortable.The life span of these creatures mostly depends on us thus should do whatever it takes to keep them alive as long as we can by proper care regarding nutrition, health, and shelter.

Shaved Guinea Pigs

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Guinea pigs are among the most popular small animals to keep as household pets, with many people adopting them because they require less space and time dedication than larger pets like dogs or cats. Recently, the number of shaved guinea pigs has been increasing. Shaved guinea pigs, not to be confused with hairless guinea pigs, are a topic of debate in the small pet community. With shaved guinea pigs becoming more common, there are several things owners should consider before making a drastic change to their guinea pig’s appearance.

 

Temperature and Comfort

Many owners point out that shaving guinea pigs living in hot areas can protect them from heatstroke or over-heating. Experts warn that while shaved guinea pigs may stay cooler in the heat, they are more likely to get sunburnt or suffer skin irritation in extreme temperatures because their fur is not there to protect them. Owners also point out that guinea pig fur can be trimmed, and not necessarily shaved entirely, to offer relief from hot temperatures.In the winter, shaved guinea pigs may have a harder time staying warm so owners of shaved guinea pigs should take extra steps to make sure their pets are comfortable, perhaps using extra bedding or regulating room temperatures when guinea pigs are inside.

 

Hygeine and Grooming

Owners in favor of shaved guinea pigs report that shaving the hair near the bottom of a guinea pig can protect it from developing urinary tract infections while shaving foot hair can prevent the animal from getting debris tangled in his fur. These owners report that not having fur on the feet to catch debris and potential bacteria can make the guinea pig a cleaner pet to own overall. Shaved guinea pigs are typically much easier to groom and maintain, with knotted fur being a thing of the past! It should be noted, however, that the fur of a shaved guinea pig will grow back slowly over time so maintenance will be needed.

 

Guinea Pig Shows and Appearance

Some guinea pig owners that compete in professional shows point out that shaved guinea pigs don’t meet the breed’s standards. They caution that one should carefully consider making changes to their pet’s appearance before reviewing competition and show rules. Shaved guinea pig owners suggest thinking carefully before changing the appearance of their pet in such a dramatic way; people considering shaving their guinea pig should research the final product first. Shaved guinea pigs have been described as looking like baby hippos and, while this may be appealing to some people, many owners may not be happy with this new look for their pet.

 

Allergies and Guinea Pig Reactions

Many people have reported shaving their guinea pigs in an attempt to alleviate allergy symptoms that they, or a family member, are experiencing. Experts and experienced guinea pig owners caution those considering shaving for this purpose. Guinea pig allergies are caused by the natural oils and particles on the skin of the guinea pig, not just the fur. As with cat allergies, having a hairless pet will not necessarily eliminate allergy issues. Many shaved guinea pig owners also urge people considering shaving their guinea pig to consider what the change will do to the pet. Many guinea pigs experience a period of anxiety or confusion after being shaved as they become accustomed to their new look.

 

How do pet owners shave their guinea pigs?

If a pet owner has decided to shave a guinea pig, experts suggest making sure that owner and pet safety remain the primary focus during the process. If possible and if the owner is willing, many shaved guinea pig owners suggest having a professional groomer or vet shave the guinea pig. If a guinea pig is going to be shaved at home, experienced owners suggest making sure to hold the guinea pig firmly in a towel and using pivot motor clippers as these are much quieter than other types of clippers and will be less likely to startle the guinea pig. Shaved guinea pig owners suggest that the guinea pig be brushed before being shaved to remove any fur knots and bathed after being shaved to remove excess hair clippings. Experienced guinea pig groomers also suggest not shaving the hair at the back of the ears because this will likely not grow back.

 

Guinea pig owners point out that shaving a guinea pig for owner preference is different than shaving a guinea pig for medical reasons. There are instances when a vet will suggest shaving a guinea pig, such as in the case of skin infections. Owners are encouraged to always discuss any questions or concerns they have with a vet or animal care professional.

 

Important Facts You Need To Know About The Himalayan Guinea Pig

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Before buying or adopting a pet, there are many factors that one needs to put under consideration. Some of these factors include: the type food which is eaten by the pet, how much care is required by the pet, or how its living space should look like. Having a Himalayan guinea pig can be engaging and fun; however, there are certain things about these creatures that you need to know about before adopting them. The paragraphs below include some of the important facts about the Himalayan guinea pigs.

Often called the Siamese cats of guinea pigs, the Himalayan guinea pig is one of the 10 breeds of guinea pigs in the world. Even though its name suggests otherwise, this breed of guinea pigs isn’t from the Himalayan region of Asia. It is instead from South America. It simply shares some physical similarities with the Siamese cat which is originally from Thailand.

What Makes The Himalayan Unique?

The major factor that distinguishes the Himalayan guinea pigs from the other guinea pig breeds is the fact that they are albino. This breed develops pigment on just its ears, nose, as well as feet. All Himalayan guinea pigs are born pure white with characteristic red eyes. The pigment starts developing as they age, usually in their first few months.

Taking Care Of The Himalayan Guinea Pigs

Since these creatures don’t like a lot of light, create a cage or little place for your pet in a hidden spot inside your house. This spot should be as shady and cozy as it can get. Light and hot environments causes the color on their point to start fading. The climate largely affects their color and for this reason, you need to take good care of them so as to prevent it (their color) from changing. Pay close attention to the points as they can be used to indicate whether the pet is suffering from an illness or it’s frightened by someone or something.

The cage for the Himalayan guinea pig should have a lot of space. You shouldn’t place ramps or shelves in the cage as these can easily trap their feet. You may put a small box in the cage for sleeping or hiding in. The large space will enable your pet to play and do enough exercise.

Feeding the Himalayan

The Himalayans can be fed on any food which is fed to any of the other breeds of guinea pigs. Pellets are a great source of proteins and Vitamin C. Besides being tasty to all guinea pigs, vegetables are full of nutrients that are needed by the guinea pigs. They (the Himalayans) can feed on parsley, carrots, clover, dandelion greens, romaine lettuce, spinach, and/or tomatoes. The Himalayans need timothy grass at all ages. In addition to maintaining their digestive system in good shape, timothy grass helps to prevent their teeth from over-growing. Avoid feeding them with a mixture of nuts, dried fruits and seeds as they can choke on them easily. You should change their water on a daily basis and it (the water) shouldn’t contain any minerals, especially calcium.

Conclusion

Despite being small, the Himalayan is a lovable creature. Whether you are a first-time guinea pig owner, or just want to buy it for your child, this breed of guinea pigs makes a great pet. They will make great pets and you can easily enjoy their presence. They have a friendly personality and if you take care of them very well, they will love spending time with you as their human companion.

Baldwin Guinea Pig

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A Baldwin guinea pig is a popular and unique breed of guinea pigs with a distinct character. Some people find their unique appearance unappealing whereas others cannot resist breeding them as pets. The Baldwin is characterized by numerous wrinkles on the skin mostly on the head. Baldwins tend to be more active than the haired cavy, which helps them to generate heat to keep them warm.

In addition, Baldwin guinea pigs have a rubbery texture on their skin and tend to be hairless. Surprisingly, the Baldwins are born with all their hair. However, the hair starts to fall off just a few days after birth and within a few months they are left completely hairless.

Initially, Baldwin guinea pigs were developed for use in laboratories for medical and pharmaceutical experiments dealing with the skin, as they were much easier to work with compared to hairy guinea pigs. Hamster and rats which are mostly used for medical experiments also have the hairless mutation.

Nevertheless, the hairless guinea pigs started to emerge in the market as pets in the early 1990’s. However, breeding Baldwin guinea pigs as pets is considered controversial as they require special care and are prone to many illnesses. The following are some important facts to know about Baldwins so as to take the best care for them;

Living Space

Baldwin guinea pigs do not cope with really cold temperatures and direct sunlight; hence, they should always be kept indoors. However, they can go outside briefly during warm weather and be kept under a shade. This is because they don’t have a protective layer needed for protection, hence cannot cope with direct sunlight.

In addition, you should protect them from any sort of drafts by taking care of the windows in the room you keep them in. Just like with all other guinea pigs, Baldwins require a good amount of space to run about. Therefore, prepare enough space for them to live in or get a spacious cage that can be adjusted under varying circumstances.

Bedding

When it comes to bedding for the Baldwin guinea pigs, avoid anything that can irritate their skin such as thick hay, sawdust or harsh shavings. Instead, use carefresh and soft sorbet which are better options.

It is also important to change their beddings often as they have a reputation of eating and drinking more often than other guinea pig breeds. This means that they will pee and poop more than the haired guinea pig.

Diet

Green hay, fresh water, vegetables and fruit vitamin C pellets make up a good diet for the Baldwin guinea pigs. However, they will certainly need to be fed more and given more water than other guinea pig breeds due to their high metabolism. Their high metabolism means that they can eat almost twice as much as the normal guinea pig.

Special needs

Unlike other breeds of guinea pigs, hairless guinea pigs such as the Baldwins require bathing. Since they are usually hairless, their skin may become grimy and dirty if they are not bathed. It is recommended that you bathe the Baldwins at least every two weeks. While bathing them, use plain shampoos as they do not like shampoos with fragrance. Additionally, there is no need of using moisturizers or oils on the skin as they usually produce their own.

What do guinea pig sounds mean

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What do guinea pig sounds mean? Unlike rabbits, guinea pigs are not quiet animals. Guinea pigs make a lot of noise – especially in groups – and are in constant communication with each other and with their owners. As a guinea pig owner, you may be interested in the meaning of some of these sounds.

Loud Squeaking

Loud, piercing squeaking (often referred to as “wheeking”) is generally a cry for food. Your pigs are informing you that they are hungry and asking (actually insisting) that you feed them – NOW. This sound is most often heard around your pigs’ regular feeding time and often starts when your pigs first see you or when they hear the sound of plastic bags “crinkling” or any other clue that sounds like you might be preparing food for them.

Purring

Just like a cat, purring is a soft low-level rumbling sound that generally indicates contentment and comfort. Your pig will often purr when being petted. Listen to the purring for feedback as you scratch your piggy behind the ears or between the eyes. She will tell you when you hit the “sweet spots”.

Rumbling

Rumbling sounds similar to purring but is a deeper, stronger, more intense sound. While purring represents relaxation and contentment, rumbling is more associated with excitement – sexual excitement. You most often hear this sound from male pigs when they are around females who are in season. The rumbling sound is often part of a mating dance commonly called the “rumble-strut” in which the male struts and parades around the female – all the while emitting the rumble sound.

Chattering, Burbling, Muttering

This is a hard sound to describe, but a common one to hear if you own guinea pigs. This is the sound of guinea pig activity. It is kind of like the background din of chatter and conversation you may hear in an office or workplace. You will hear it when your pigs are engaged, active and content. You might hear it when you let your pigs out of their cage to exercise. After they relax and get used to their environment, they often start their low-level muttering as they wander and explore. It often sounds as if they are just muttering to themselves as they focus on different activities.

Teeth Chattering

When your guinea pig is chattering their teeth, it is not a good sound. It is the sound of an angry, frightened or otherwise upset pig. This is the sound of a pig who is annoyed and grumpy. Teeth chattering is a warning. He is saying, “Stay away! Leave me alone!” Two males may chatter at each other as they try to establish dominance over each other. Or your cavy may chatter at you as you try to pick them up – or “annoy” them in other ways.

Guinea pigs are not a silent pet. In fact, their rich, varied and frequent communication is one of the properties that makes them so endearing. The longer you own your pets, the more attuned you will become to the nature and meaning of their auditory messages.

The Rex guinea pig

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General details of the Rex guinea pig

Among the family of the guinea pigs, one of the primary breeds of that family is the Rex guinea pig.  Of the cute animals, it is also one of the largest breeds. Its’ cuddy and affable nature character makes it more pronounced and notable. This pig is a short haired pet because its hair is no longer than one centimeter. Also, its hair is dense and straight because it has a wooly texture which makes it not to be flat. Most importantly, the growing size in length of this pet is between 20-40.5 cm. In the process of their production, many breeds were combined and for this reason, these pigs can be found in numerous colors and with different types of hair. Many people find it ideal to buy the Rex guinea pig as a pet because it is cheap to maintain for it has short hair that requires minimal maintenance. However, many people get confused for they sometimes consider the Rex guinea pigs as teddy guinea pigs because both of them are short haired. The difference between the two is that, compared to the rex guinea pigs, the teddy guinea pig has a hair that is softer and smoother. They have long ears that are dropped around the head and large eyes. Also, compared to other breeds, their nails tend to grow thicker and faster.

The Rex guinea pig can grow up to 6 years depending on what type of care they get and the environment in which they live. For the female Rex, between 20 weeks and one year of age is determined as the best breeding period. Also, according to scientific study, their gestation period is between 65-72 days and they can produce three litters.

Origins of the Rex guinea pig

It is believed that the Rex guinea pig originated from South America between 1200AD and 1532AD a time when the indigenous people of South America were conducting selective breeding of pigs for food.

Diet of the Rex guinea pig

There is no particular diet for the Rex guinea pigs, however, a food mix with nutritional values and specifics that any little pet needs are recommended for the guinea pigs as food. This ranges from proteins to fibers. It is good to note that, foods that are fresh for example vegetables and fruits can be given to the Rex guinea pigs but only as treats. However if you give these pigs large quantities of vegetables and fruits, they can diarrhea or get sick and have liver problems.

Because of their little bodies, the guinea pigs cannot produce vitamin c, yet their bodies require it. For this reason, lack of vitamin c in the Rex guinea pigs’ bodies can be supplemented with the help of vegetables and fruits when it is necessary. To avoid the health problems that might be caused due to the use of vegetables and fruits that are not good for them, below is a list of fresh food that is optionally healthy for them:

  • Fruits: apple, melon, banana, blueberries, strawberries and cantaloupe.
  • Vegetables: parsley, tomato, Chinese cabbage, carrots, broccoli, clover, corn skills, and dandelion.

Also in their diet, water is very crucial and paramount. This water needs to be clean, fresh and should be changed daily. This is because naturally, one would not want his or her little friend to get sick just because of contaminated water. Moreover, ensure that the water is accessed easily in the cage. However, bear in mind that during the winter season, if the pigs, get enough water from the fresh vegetable and fruits, they may not drink water at all but  again they may drink a lot of water during the hot days.

Rex Guinea Pig Personality

Intelligence: The Rex guinea pig can get used to ones’ voice, and it will always show different response degrees. It can also be possible to train this particular pig to carry out some of its natural activities when the owner uses treats as rewards to teach it.

Sustainability for children: usually, the Rex guinea pig does not embrace handling and stroking instead they need some quality time spent on their coats. This gives the Rex guinea pig the best personality for being an excellent pet for children.

Temperament and character: Naturally, the Rex guinea pig is sociable. This is because it can live in pairs or groups. Before they become on their own, they should be socialized at a younger age. As illustrated in the diagram below.

rex

Sleeping habits: Night hours are the best moments for the wild cavies for they are more active at this times

The Features of Rex Guinea pig

Physical description (general): The Rex guinea pig has a short face and a broad head. It has eyes that are perky and quite big; it has petal-shaped ears that droop. These pigs have a coat that is distinctively curly with relatively long bodies

Size: Although wild Rex guinea pigs can measure up to a meter in length, the Rex guinea pig measures between 20-40.5 cm

Other descriptions:

  • Has fuzzy, short hair.
  • Throughout its body, the hair stands on.
  • No rosettes.
  • The Rex guinea pig sometimes resembles the Teddy Pig.
  • The Rex guinea pig came in all different colors, sizes, and shapes. Among them, brown, red and black seem to be their most common colors.

Caring for Rex Guinea pig

Where the Rex guinea pig should live (cage and bedding)

A perfect place for the Rex guinea pig is a medium cage that is kept inside. However, the cage should give room for the pig to exercise daily to preserve a hale and hearty life.  Preferably plastic base cages are the best for them. However, one can use wood shavings for the floor as long as they get retained within. To be ideal for the pet, one should ensure weekly cleaning of the cage and regular removal of any old food. Because they need daily physical exercise, a tube or a box can be placed in the cages to enable them to play and exercise. The exercising compartment should be different from the sleeping compartment. Also note that, in the wild, the Rex guinea pigs tend to be more active at night.

For the floor of the cage, wood shavings should be used with some fodder or grass on top. Irritations of the eyes can be caused by fine sawdust if used. Also, their eyes can be injured by straws; therefore it is advisable not to use them. If there is a need to wash the housing during cleaning, then use a cleaner that is only meant for cleaning the houses of these small animals. For feeding and watering the Rex guinea pig, one is required to use an earthenware food bowl and a drinking bottle.

Facts about Rex Guinea pig

  1. The Rex guinea pig is a main classified breed of the guinea family pigs.
  2. Their length is between 20-40.5 cm
  3. They are not on their own. This means that they are of the non-self-variety of guinea pigs. For this reason, they are divided into three subdivisions which include: marked, long-haired and coated.
  4. They have wooly hair that is dense which substantially stands up on and they have drooping ears over their large heads.
  5. Their fur has no rosettes.
  6. Their coat hair is not more than ½ of an inch. Which is also the size of their whole coat
  7. Their coat does not go flat because it stands in an upright manner and it curls due to the shortness of their guard hairs.
  8. The Rex guinea Pigs contain a recessive gene in them which causes the curling and the coarseness of their smooth hair.
  9. There exists a long-haired Rex Guinea Pig variety whose hair appears to be wavy.
  10. The Rex guinea Pigs are ideal for children to look after because, they love to be stroked and handled. This is an indication of a good temperament and gentleness in them.
  11. The Rex exists in different colors because it has been cross-bred with pigs of other hair types.
  12. The Rex came in many colors such as brown, agouti or white.
  13. The Rex does not require much maintenance expenses. Therefore, for this reason, they qualify to be great starter pigs.
  14. Usually the Rex is confused with the Teddy pigs. What differentiates them is that the rex has a harsher coat than the Teddy whose skin is much softer. The whiskers of the Rex are curly while the Teddys’ are straight. Most importantly, they are genetically different since, if you breed them together you will come up with a different breed which might be an American short haired guinea pig most probably.

 

Conclusion

For those who have not gotten a chance to adapt the Rex guinea pig before, it is highly recommended that you own one, this is because it has been proven beyond any reasonable doubt that they are lovely creatures that are easy to look after. Moreover, they always enjoy ones’ presence. Also, the Rex guinea pigs are perfect companions for children because the bond between them and children is usually adamant. Children will always enjoy the social presence of the Rex guinea pigs hence making it a habit of playing with them.

The American Guinea Pig

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The American guinea pig, known as the “English” cavy is the most common. It has short, smooth hair, medium length bodies and Roman noses (curved and wide). They have different color combinations and colors. The American Satin guinea pig is much like the American guinea pig, but with smoother coats with a more glassy satin sheen.

American-Guinea-Pig

Origins of the American guinea pig.

The guinea pig has not always been a friendly pet as most people now know them for. When it was first tamed, it was as early as 5000BC by the tribes in the Andean region (South America) but for food! These little creatures were not only used for food, they were also suspected to have been used as gods to be worshipped, and for some rituals in the past. Some archaeological evidence in Ecuador and Peru shows the guinea pig being shown alongside some other animals that were being worshipped at the time. In other cases, the guinea pig was used by folk doctors in some rituals to determine diagnosis for a disease, and how the disease could be treated best. Some of the diseases that were diagnosed using the guinea pigs were jaundice, rheumatism, typhus and arthritis. The guinea pig was mostly used for this procedure. Some tribes, especially in the Andean highlands still breed guinea pigs and use them as a source of food. The guinea pig was first brought into Europe where it was considered an exotic pet. Even Queen Elizabeth was said to have owned guinea pigs.

Diet of the American guinea pig

The diet of a guinea pig is quite interesting. The guinea pig shares some of its diet characteristics with a few animals, human beings included. The guinea pigs have large molars that grow throughout their lives, this enables it to have a diet that consists of grass, which is the guinea pig’s natural diet. It is interesting how guinea pigs substitute their diet by coprography (Eating of their own feces) just like rabbits. They do not however eat all their feces as you may have thought, they produce some special soft pellets that recycle vitamin B, bacteria and fiber. They thrive best on fresh cut hay and can eat large amounts of alfalfa.

It is however advised by some veterinary organizations and pet owners that alfalfa is best as a grass hay. This is because when in legume form, it may bring harm to the guinea pig, in the form of obesity or bladder stones, because of the excessive calcium in them. Scientists however state that alfalfa is a great protein, fiber and amino acid source. Alfalfa is also good for pregnant and young guinea pigs. Guinea pigs, like humans, cannot synthesize their own vitamin C, so to avoid scurvy, which can be fatal, they should be fed with raw fruits and vegetables. It is important to provide the right diet for a guinea pig from a tender age as they can be very choosy eaters. It is also good to give them constant food supply, because they are always gnawing, to avoid their teeth becoming too large. If not fed well, or food is not available, they start chewing on their own hair. Not all plants can be fed to guinea pigs are some can be poisonous, especially if they grow from root or bulb.

American guinea pig Personality

Many say that the personality of a pig generally relies on how you take care of the guinea pig, and which type of environment it is exposed to. There are a few claims that different breeds of guinea pigs give off different kinds of personalities, but all that is subject to debate. For example, it is said that the Abyssinian guinea pig is usually the most eccentric and the most mischievous. Their personalities are reported by most pet owners as “spunkier” than other guinea pigs. English crested pigs have a higher chance of being calm, quiet and shy. There are rumors that the American (smooth haired) guinea pig is shy, laid back but can bite when in an uncomfortable fix. Teddy guinea pigs can be shy, and are usually very affectionate and not vocal. It is all subject to debate though, because each guinea pig can carry its own personality.

The Features of the American guinea pig

The guinea pig is a very interesting creature. A long time ago, during the time the guinea pig was taken to England, they have been bred with each other and the American Cavy Breeders Association only recognizes thirteen breeds of guinea pigs. The Abyssinian has eight to ten rosettes and around its nose you can spot a moustache of raised far. The color combinations of the Abyssinian vary. Another breed is the Abyssinian Satin which is much like the Abyssinian guinea pig, only their fur has sheen to it, thus the name ‘satin’.

A Coronet is longhaired with a Roman nose and a rosette on top of its head. The hair running from the rosette to the back end is noticeably long

Peruvian guinea pigs have dense, soft and long sweeps of hair which grows forward over the head and down the back. When you look at it from above, it somehow looks circular because of the hair. Peruvian Satin guinea pigs are much like the Peruvians, but with sheen and a feel that is satin like.

Silkes have long hair, and the hair on the head sweeps back into a mane. Their hair looks tear shaped from above and they have soft and shiny hair. Silkie Satin guinea pigs are similar to Silkies, only they have more sheen and feel like satin.

Teddy guinea pigs have short, dense coats that tend to have things caught in them. Both their hair and whiskers are kinked and they are similarly sized to the American guinea pigs. They have Roman noses and resilient coats. Teddy Satin guinea pigs look like Teddy guinea pigs, but their furs are satin looking. By now I think you get the flow.

A Texel guinea pig has soft thick hair in curls and ringlets. Their bodies are short and compact, and their heads are described as broad but well-rounded.

White Crested guinea pigs have a white rosette and a smooth coat. They come in a lot of colors and they are very distinct. The colors do not include when white is present everywhere else in the coat.

Caring For an American guinea pig

Guinea pigs are relatively easy to take care of. When shown love and affection, these wonderful creatures, show it right back. It is important to make sure the guinea pigs are not lonely so it is important to pair them up with other guinea pigs. In fact, some law in Switzerland states that it is a crime to own just one guinea pig because of their likelihood to get lonely without partners. They should be kept away from other animals so as to avoid any conflicts, especially with the cat, and should have ample space to play and run around so that they remain active. The temperatures for the places guinea pigs thrive are neither hot nor cold.

Owners of guinea pigs should make sure the diet of guinea pigs is rich in vitamin C and that they have plenty to eat. Their cages should be tidied every day even if guinea pigs take relatively good care of themselves. A guinea pig should always look its best so it is always important to see that the guinea pig gets a good grooming as often as it requires. They require brushing of their fur to look good. The short haired kind may not need much brushing, even once weekly is okay, but the long haired kind of guinea pigs may require grooming every day. Guinea pigs need the best care so it is not advised to get them for children without adult supervision as they may not get the care they deserve.

Facts about the American guinea pig

There are many different facts about guinea pigs, but there are a few interesting ones that may surprise you.

  • Guinea pigs are also known as ‘cavy’. A male guinea pig is known as a boar while a female one is known as a sow
  • Every guinea pig has five different types of hair on their coat.
  • When only three hours old, a guinea pig can run.
  • They have four toes on the forefoot and three toes on the hind foot
  • Guinea pigs do not have tails
  • They are not actual pigs, they are rodents.
  • They did not originate from guinea, they originated from the Andes.
  • The oldest guinea pig recorded in the Guinness book of world records lived 15 years, most live between 7 and 9 years
  • If guinea pig nails are not cut, they may grow into the foot.
  • They have a whooping total of 258 bones in the body.
  • They cannot see what they are eating because of their eye position.
  • When running, they can turn without pausing.
  • They memorize their tracks so that they are able to escape any predators they may have.
  • They have eyes at the sides of their heads so they are able to see behind too, but can’t see straight in front of their noses.
  • Guinea pigs don’t sweat, so when left in the sun for too long, they are prone to heat stroke.
  • Guinea pigs are born with all their fur, and claws.

There are so many interesting facts about guinea pigs and they are creatures that you cannot get bored with. When you really take the time to study them, so many fascinating things come up, some that will only be unique to the guinea pig you own. They are wonderful company and very clean pets.

How to Buy a Guinea Pig (or Two!)

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Hopefully you’ve done all your research on caring for guinea pigs, you’ve bought or built an adequately sized cage, and now you’re ready to buy a guinea pig. This is fun!

Where Do I Buy a Guinea Pig?

Almost all pet stores sell guinea pigs because they are such popular pets with both children and grown-ups. Or you can look on Craig’s list or a similar classified ad site to find private parties who have bred their guinea pigs and are now ready to sell the pups. Yes, that’s what baby guinea pigs are called – pups!

One, Two, Three, Four…?

The first, and very important question that you have to ask your self is this: do I buy just one guinea pig, or do I buy a pair? A lot of people may think that buying and raising two guinea pigs is twice the work or twice the cost of raising one guinea pig. While this may be partly true it may actually be less trouble than you think.

Don’t go into a guinea pig raising project if you think you will eventually dread the task of caring for, feeding, and cleaning up after your pet. Go into it because you and your kids love animals, and you love taking care of animals. That being said, of course a single guinea pig might be a little easier to care for and is probably enough to keep you entertained and satisfied, you should put some serious thought into purchasing two guinea pigs or more. I’ll explain why…

You see, guinea pigs extremely social creatures, in the wild they are actually “herd animals”, they live in large communities and they love the company of other guinea pigs. The truth of the matter is that they can get lonely if left by themselves, and their health will suffer actually if left alone.

Guinea pigs need social inter-activity, and if you buy just one guinea pig he is going to get lonely very quickly and require more of your attention more often. Sometimes they actually cry out for attention. But if your guinea pig has a playmate to keep busy and interact with you won’t have to spend quite as much time with them.

Boy, Girl, Boy, Girl…

What sex of guinea pig should you buy? If you’re going to get just one guinea pig then it doesn’t matter too much which sex you choose to buy. Generally the male guinea pig is more active and has more energy that they need to burn off which requires more exercise. The female guinea pig is less active and more docile, and may be better for young children that might want to hold or handle the guinea pig often (guinea pigs love to be held and petted!).

Go on, Get Two!

Have you decided to buy two guinea pigs? Good, you’ll be glad you did. Now another question: Do I buy two males, two females, or one of each? That question can be answered in part by whether or not you intend to breed guinea pig pups. If you want to breed and sell guinea pigs then the answer is pretty obvious – one of each!

A male and a female sharing the same cage will always get along best. In this scenario the male guinea pig will accept the dominate role and consider the female as his, and the female will acknowledge the males dominant role. They will get along quite well. But if left to do what comes naturally you will soon have a cage full of guinea pigs! If you don’t want a cage full of guinea pig pups you can have the male neutered or the female spayed, just as you would a dog or a cat. Neutering the male is the less invasive surgery.

If you buy two male guinea pigs make sure that they are from the same cage and the same litter. This will lessen the likelihood of the males fighting one another for dominance. They will fight, however, if the cage is too small and they don’t have enough cage space to establish their own territories. But if you give them plenty of room they will probably be happy and get along.

If you buy two female guinea pigs they will usually get along very well together. Considering the female’s docile nature, only very rarely will female guinea pigs get into a violent fight with one another although they may squabble sometimes over the food and water.

If you have two male guinea pigs, it is never a good idea to add a female guinea pig to the cage. This will always result in a fight between the males for the female, in other words a fight for dominance. If left in the same cage, the loser of this fight will eventually starve to death because the winner, who has established dominance, will not allow the loser to share the food and water any longer. It would be best to remove the loser and put him in another cage.

Summary

In summary, if you want to raise really happy and healthy guinea pigs then you should buy a pair of them. They will be much better off with a companion and will be less prone to illness brought on by loneliness, and will live a long and contented life.

Guinea Pig Grooming Tips

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Guinea pigs are wonderful pets for the whole family to enjoy and care for, and despite common misconceptions they are actually pretty low maintenance as far as pets go. But like with any pet they do require some day to day care and so it is important to learn the basics of grooming your guinea pig.

Let’s start with taking care of your guinea pig’s nails. You will need to keep an eye on your pet’s nails because if they get too long they will be painful to the guinea pig. Guinea pigs will maintain their nails themselves, to a certain extent, if you put items with rough surfaces inside their cage. They will scratch at these items for the specific purpose of keeping their nails short. The best kind of things to keep in their cages for this purpose is a brick (without holes), and rough rocks and stones. Check their nails frequently and if they need trimming here are some pointers.

Your Guinea Pigs Nails

The proper tool to trim your guinea pigs nails will be small finger nail scissors or clippers. Before you start trimming it is important to be aware that guinea pig’s nails have blood vessels running into them, like other animals, and this is called the “quick”. Do not cut into the quick or it will hurt your guinea pig and their nails will bleed.

If the guinea pigs nails are clear it will be easy to see the quick – it is the pink area that extends from the toe bone into the nail. Clip the nails just above the quick, again, making sure not to cut into the quick. Some guinea pigs have black nails and the quick is impossible to see. In this case it is a good idea to just trim a very little bit of the nail each time, but you will have to trim their nails more often.

If you do end up cutting the quick you will need to stop the bleeding right away and you can do so with a dab of iodine, or a product call ‘Quick Stop’ that is sold in pet stores.

Cutting your guinea pig’s nails with some assistance from another person makes the job a lot easier. If you have a helper then one of you will hold the guinea pig steady while the other one does the trimming. Wrapping the guinea pig in a soft towel with it’s feet stick out is the best method to use. You can try this same technique if you are doing the job alone.

Your Guinea Pig’s Teeth

As a member of the rodent family, your guinea pig has two large teeth in front called incisors. Believe it or not these incisors continue to grow throughout the life of your guinea pig! If the guinea pig doesn’t keep them worn down by constantly gnawing on rough surfaces the teeth will grow so long that the guinea pig can no longer eat, and then you will need to take him to a vet to have the teeth ground down or cut.

Again, your guinea pig can do a pretty good job of keeping their incisors in check if they have hard foods or other hard items to gnaw on. Hard guinea pig food pellets are a good start, but you can also give them pieces of wood, cardboard toilet paper rolls, or hay bricks to gnaw on to keep their teeth short.

Give their teeth an occasional inspection just top make sure there are no chipped, cracked, or broken teeth. Take your guinea pig to your vet if your pet has any broken teeth to have them fixed. They have to have teeth to eat!

Brushing Your Guinea Pig

Your guinea pig will need occasional brushing to keep their coats clean, shiny, and healthy. A daily brushing is best if you have a long-haired guinea pig. If left long without brushing a long-haired guinea pig’s hair will begin to mat, and will be hard to keep clean. A short-haired guinea pig only needs to be brushed a few times a week.

You should use a soft bristled brush, like a baby’s brush, to brush your guinea pigs. If you are gentle then your guinea pigs will actually enjoy this regular routine!

Brushing your guinea pig is usually all that is necessary to keep your pet’s fur clean, so bathing your guinea pig is not necessary unless they have gotten into something that can’t be brushed out. Guinea pigs a are not fond of baths and will offer lots of resistance when you try to pour water on them or dunk them in a sink full of water.

If you must bathe your guinea pig then be sure to use a very gentle shampoo, like a baby shampoo.

Your Guinea Pig Needs You

Caring for you guinea pigs is really pretty easy. Keep in mind that your guinea pig is very, very dependent upon you to help it maintain it’s health. Establishing a schedule or a routine for taking care of your guinea pig will ensure that it gets the proper attention it needs, and will result in a happier and healthier guinea pig that can be your furry little companion for many years!

Guinea Pig Health Guide

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As with any pet you should keep an eye out for whether or not your guinea pig is feeling well. If their appearance or behavior changes it may be due to an illness. Remember, your guinea pig is very, very dependent on you for their well being. They can’t drive themselves to the vet!

Unfortunately guinea pigs tend to be slightly more prone to illness then other pets.  This Guinea Pig Health Guide lists the symptoms of some common illnesses that you can look for:

Excessive Scratching

Excessive scratching can indicate that your guinea pig is suffering from a parasite or a fungal infection, neither of which your pet wants to suffer with for long.

To check for parasites you need to carefully comb through their hair and look at their skin. Look for small brown spots – these are lice. Lice can be killed by giving your guinea pig a bath with a specially medicated shampoo that you should get from your veterinarian. Don’t use a medicated shampoo that is used on people of other types of pets. also, if your guinea pigs has lice then the cage may be infested and you should give the cage a good, thorough cleaning and disinfecting.

Loss of Hair

You may notice that your guinea pig is losing hair on some parts of it’s body. In some cases this is normal, as when the guinea pig is cut or scratched. The hair will fall out until the affected skin is completely healed. There are other causes of hair loss that should be looked into further

Guinea pigs can lose hair if they are infested with mites. Significant hair loss is often caused by ringworm, and sometime by ovarian cysts. In these cases a visit to the vet is an appropriate course of action.

Watery Eyes

Your guinea pig may have watery eyes. This may be caused by allergies, or maybe he just has an irritant in his eye like dirt or dust. Irritants can be washed out of their eyes – contact your vet for the proper method to do this. Sometimes watery eyes are caused by something more serious like cysts on the eyelid that irritate the eyes.  These can be very painful to your guinea pig and should be removed by an experienced veterinarian.

Sneezing and a Discharge from the Nose

If your guinea pig is sneezing this could be a sign that your pet is allergic to something in his habitat or in his food. Try changing the materials that you use to line his cage, or that you have provided for his bedding. Also consider a change in his diet (not too drastic because guinea pigs are creatures of habit and don’t like change). But don’t do both of these things at the same time or you won’t be able to tell what is causing the problem.

Of greater concern is if your guinea pig is experiencing any kind of discharge from his nose or if he is persistently rubbing his eyes. If this is the case then a trip to the vet may be necessary to determine the problem.

Labored Breathing, Wheezing or Coughing

Pet guinea pigs are very susceptible to respiratory problems. If you hear your guinea pig coughing you should take it seriously, particularly if it accompanied by wheezing or labored breathing. These are symptoms of a lung or respiratory infection. If you notice these symptoms you should take your pet to the veterinarian as soon as possible. If a respiratory infection is not treated right away it could lead to pneumonia which can be fatal to your guinea pig.

Change in Color of Urine

Guinea pig’s urine is naturally a little milky in  color and appearance. If you notice that your pet’s urine changes to something either completely clear of very white, or the urine appears to have a thicker consistency, it is an indication that his diet is too high in calcium. If this is the case then cut back on food or treats that are high in calcium. If you notice that the urine has a reddish or pinkish color it is because there is blood in the urine and may be an indicator of bladder stones. This is a serious illness and you need to get your pet in to see the vet right away.

Soft Stool or Diarrhea

Your guinea pig may develop diarrhea if his digestive balance is out of whack. This is typically caused by your guinea pig having too many wet foods, like vegetables, in his diet. This malady can be fixed by reducing the amount of veggies you are feeding him, and increasing the amount of hay in his diet, which promotes a healthy digestive balance. If the diarrhea persists then you need to get your pet the the veterinarian right away because your guinea pig can quickly become dehydrated and die.

Stiff Joints

Guinea pigs need to have their diets supplemented with vitamin C, either in the form of vitamin supplements, or by feeding them a diet high in vitamin C. If your guinea pigs appears to have trouble moving or walking it could be because he is suffering from stiff joints which is a symptom of scurvy, and is caused by a severe lack of vitamin C. This needs to be treated without delay so get him him to se your vet right away.

Be sure to read my article on Guinea Pig Food which discusses the guinea pig’s need for additional vitamin C in their diet.

An Unusual or Abnormal Tilting of the Head

Sometimes your guinea pig will appear to have difficulty walking and will be tilting his head to one side. This is usually caused by an infection of the middle ear. An infection of this type is painful to your pet and can cause damage to your guinea pig’s hearing. This infection needs to be treated quickly so don’t delay in getting your little friend to the vet.

Guinea Pig Seizures

You may witness your guinea pig having a seizure. There are typically two types of seizures that you might see happen. In one type of seizure your guinea pig will have his head straight up in the air with no tilt to it. The cause of this type of seizure is tiny mites which have burrowed under your pet’s skin and has affected his nervous system. This can be treated relatively easily by your vet.

If the seizure results in your guinea pig’s body going rigid, or his body curls in an unnatural way with his head tilting to one side, the cause can be for a variety of reasons. The problem should be diagnosed by your vet after performing blood tests.

Summary

Guinea pigs are fragile creatures that are completely dependent upon you for their care and health. If your guinea pig appears to be ill then refer to this Guinea Pig Health Guide and seek the appropriate veterinary care for your pet.