There are around thirteen distinct breeds of cavies (guinea pig). When it comes to cavy care, the necessity of bathing is one of the first things to keep in mind. Some cavies have long hair, while others have short hair. The cavy breeds with longer hair will require more care and attention in this particular area than the cavy breeds with shorter hair will. You should clean your kitten using a shampoo designed specifically for cats, which can be purchased at any reputable pet store or, of course, from your veterinarian. If you want to protect their skin from becoming dry, you should use this particular kind of shampoo. After giving your Cavy a bath, check to see that it has been completely dried off before putting it back in its hutch.
Cavy care also requires regular clipping of the toenails. Like their teeth, the toenails are always growing so you need to keep an eye on the length and trim when necessary. Do NOT clip the nail too short, and the best results can be achieved by using a standard nail clipping tool, making sure not to cut into the “quick” (the living part of the nail). If you do happen to cut into this region, you can stop the bleeding using a “styptic pencil”.
Combing your guinea pig is another task that you will need to undertake. An ideal comb to use for this is a standard metal greyhound comb, which penetrates easily to the base of most fur coats. Daily combing always helps to remove any loose hair, which lessens shedding.
In regard to medical and or specialist care as your Cavy grows, seek out a vet who specializes in exotic animals. This way you ensure that any cavy care you need, that is outside your own level of experience, is being handled by someone with the right knowledge about your pet. The vet can check for parasites, show you the best way to do things like nail trimming and grooming, and it is a great place to ask any questions you may have. If you are paying for a wellness check, utilize the time and expense productively by asking the vet anything you need or want to know about providing great cavy care.
There are some things that you should always be on the lookout for. If your cavy shows any signs of any of these, you should see your vet as soon as possible. Labored breathing, refusal to eat or drink, lethargy, wheezing and sneezing, crusty eyes, rough coat, hunched posture, blood in urine, limping, excessive hair loss, and/or scratching, and any other abnormal behavior that may be a concern to you. Acting quickly can be the difference between your cavy being diagnosed and cured, and the alternative, and nobody wants to think about the alternative!
Make sure that when and if your cavy does require veterinary assistance for any bacterial type of infections, that the vet does not prescribe or use Penicillin based medication. If you are not sure about a particular drug or medicine, ask questions, and expect an explanation BEFORE allowing it to be given to your pet.