It is important to give guinea pigs a general health check at least once a week, this can be done by gently picking the guinea pig and checking it’s weight, teeth, ears, eyes, feet, vent (bottom) and skin. Monitor the weight using kitchen scales and make sure the guinea pig has not rapidly dropped or increased its weight, as this may be a sign of sickness or pregnancy. The teeth should not be overgrown and the top set should be roughly 5mm long with the bottom set being roughly 10mm long. The ears should be clean and free from gunk and not too dry. Eyes should be clear and free from crustiness. The feet and vents should both be clean and free from gunk, nails should not be overgrown, if they are, a quick trim will be needed. The skin can be checked by running a finger against the general lie of the coat; the skin should be free from dandruff, scales and soars. If your cavy does seem to show signs of mites or lice than they will need to be dipped in Fido's Free Itch concentrate (Purchased from most good pet stores) or treated with Ivomectin, Advocate or Revolution etc.
Guinea pigs, like humans and monkeys, are unable to make their own Vitamin C. This means they can suffer from scurvy and other nutritional deficiencies. Lots of vitamin rich fresh fruit and vegetables, along with fresh water and good quality hay, grass and a hard grain mix food is all that is required to keep your guinea pigs happy and healthy. Unprocessed bran mixed with warm water for breakfast is a great treat also. Apples, banana (skin included), carrots, celery, broccoli, silver beet, cabbage, corn on the cob, zucchini, parsnip, pumpkin, parsley and sweet potato are all safe to feed.
*At the base of this page is a list of safe Fruits, Vegetables, herbs and weeds/grasses which are safe for cavies, listed in order of vitamin C per 100g of food. The best foods are at the top of the list with the highest Vitamin C content. (Values taken from the U.S department of Agriculture Database)
Clean, fresh water is essential to your guinea pig's health. When you're setting up your guinea pig's watering hole, keep in mind that a water bottle is better than a dish.
Water bottles offer several advantages:
-They can't be easily spilled or clogged with bedding material, food, or other particles.
-Guinea pigs prefer clean, dry bedding, and even though they may mastermind the mess created by overturned water bowls, they won't appreciate the result.
-You probably won't either, since sodden bedding means additional cage cleaning.
Water bottles are available in different sizes and styles, here’s what you should aim for:
Size: 600-1000ml water bottle
Material: Glass is preferable, but plastic works well, too, and is more commonly sold in pet supply stores.
Features: Angled stainless steel sipper tube with a ball bearing in the spout.
Cage placement: The water bottle should hang off the side of the cage at a height that's easily accessible for your guinea pig.
Care and maintenance: Change your guinea pig's water every day, and wash the water bottle thoroughly during the weekly cage cleaning. A bottle brush can help remove any stubborn particles. When re-hanging the water bottle, check to make sure the sipper tube isn't clogged by gently tapping the ball bearing.