Knowing the small things you need to do to care for your guinea pig and help keep them healthy will help to prevent larger health issues in the future. It's also important to know what's normal and what warning signs you should look for if your guinea pig is becoming unwell.
Weighing your guinea pigs weekly is an important part of guinea pig ownership. Not only can you monitor the weight gain of your piggies as they grow, having a record of their weight over a long period of time will allow you to quickly note if they are losing weight and may have an underlying health issue.
To weigh your piggy, simply buy a set of electronic kitchen scales (a set with a bowl already attached is the easiest). Carefully sit your piggy inside the bowl and record their weight weekly in a book or computer file you can easily find.
Here are some average weights for piggies at different ages. Remember, due to their history, some piggies may be bigger or smaller than these and this is a guide only.
3 weeks approx. 250gm
8 weeks approx. 400gm
12 weeks approx. 500-550gm
5 months approx. 700-750gm
Fully grown adult. 900gm (female) 1100gm (male)
Nail clipping is an essential part of guinea pig ownership and keeping your piggies healthy. If left untrimmed, the front and back nails of a guinea pig will continue to grow, causing pain and often limiting a piggy's ability to move. We see this often in guinea pigs rescued and surrendered, so ensuring you are prepared to trim nails is important.
Clipping the nails can be tricky and using small animal trimmers you must ensure you do not hit the vein in a piggy's nail. We recommend having one person to hold the guinea pig and another do the trimming, or alternately you can visit us and have your piggy's nails trimmed.
Ensuring that your piggies are mite and worm treated is another important part of maintaining your guinea pigs health. There are three options available to the public in regards to the prevention and treatment of mites and worms.
The one most commonly used by shelters is a product called Ivermectin. This is a vet only product and not able to be sold to the public, however it's able to be dispensed. This is an oral method with only a small dose being needed every three months for prevention. We have this option available at our Piggy Parlour.
Another option is the use of Puppy and Kitten Revolution. Simply use one drop behind one ear of your guinea pig once a month. This option is more expensive but is also readily available as Revolution is available at pet stores and over the counter at vets.
The final option is to have your piggy treated via a vet consultation. Vets have a wide range of different treatment and prevention options, however these do require a vet consult with each treatment.