Under our care, Guinea Pigs need a helping hand to ensure they remain well-groomed and in good health. With a life expectancy of five to eight years, it is likely that your piggies encounter illness or injury along the way but you can be prepared with the right tools. We’ve put together a list of 8 essential items we keep at home in our Guinea Pig Health Care Kit.
Grooming brush & scissors
If you have a long-haired breed of Guinea Pig then you will likely need to brush them daily, while short-haired Guinea Pigs may only need to be brushed once a week. If you find it difficult to brush and maintain the long fur then simply trim to a length where it is not being dragged across the ground using grooming scissors.
Unlike normal household scissors, grooming scissors are blunted at the tips to prevent an injury to your piggy.
Specialist nail trimmers
Normal scissors are clunky and unsuitable for manicuring precious little piggy nails. Guinea Pig nail trimmers have rubber-coated handles that add grip. They also have uniquely shaped blades which allow you better control around the nail. Nail trimmers are usually less than £5 to buy and well worth it.
You should look to trim your Guinea Pig's nails at least once a month but keep an eye on them with regular health checks and trim as necessary. If you need reminders of when you last trimmed nails or carried out a health check, you can use a planner. Guinea Pig nails curl as they grow long and it may cause discomfort if neglected. If it is your first time attempting a nail trim you may wish to have a professional groomer demonstrate or have a helper on hand to keep your piggy still.
A hand towel is useful for sitting your piggy on or wrapping them in during their health check. We also like to keep a small flannel (face cloth) in our Piggy Health Care Kit for their grease gland cleaning or wiping up general messiness.
Pet safe shampoo
We do not recommend regular baths for Guinea Pigs as they are known to be clean creatures capable of washing themselves. They use the white substance they excrete from their eyes to clean, almost like a soap.
From time to time, a bath may be necessary if your Guinea Pig has lice, or has urine or faeces in their fur, so it's handy to keep some Guinea Pig safe shampoo in your Piggy Health Care Kit.
Extra virgin coconut oil
Guinea Pigs have a grease gland at the end of their spine near their bottom, where a tail might be if they had one. It’s a small patch that secretes a thick, oily substance. Both male and female Guinea Pigs have them. The gland smells unique to the piggy and its purpose is to mark their territory. They can become thick with oil and grease, you can clean the gland by rubbing Extra Virgin Coconut oil onto it and then wiping it away with your flannel.
A weighing scale
A Guinea Pig's weight and noticeable changes in their weight can be a great indication of their health. It’s a good idea to weigh your piggy regularly, perhaps once a wheek and keep a record of their weight. You can use standard kitchen scales with a comfortable bowl for them to sit in.
Syringe for medicine
In the event that your Guinea Pig suffers illness or injury, small animal syringes are important if you need to feed your piggy measured amounts of medicine, supplements or critical care feed.
A heating pad is handy for a sick or elderly Piggy who struggles to maintain their body temperature. Do not use heat pads that have wires, water or batteries. We recommend buying a heating pad specifically for pets which is usually microwavable, chew proof and safe.