Getting a guinea pig is a great thing to do if you are looking for a pet for your household.
So when looking for a healthy guinea pig, here are 10 considerations that you need to think about before making your choice.
1. Check its feet.
Make sure that they look to be healthy and pink. If there is any sign of inflammation then this can be a sign of bacterial disease.
Make sure the guinea pig’s claws are of a good length and not excessively long.
There are also guinea pigs that develop flaps of tough skin that protrude from their front feet; these are called spurs. However they can be removed with a nail clipper.
2. Check their teeth.
Open the guinea pigs mouth very carefully, and gently whilst supporting its whole body prise the mouth open with your finger. Check that the two incisor teeth and the molars of the upper jaw touch those on the lower jaw.
If this doesn’t happen this will be a problem for them in later life.
3. Check for crustiness around the mouth
If you see any crusty deposits around these areas then this is not good.
4. Check its eyes
They should be slightly moist and bright. If they have watery, crusty, cloudy, ulcerated, receding or protruding this is should cause concern.
5. Check its shape
Make sure that the guinea pig is nicely rounded. If it is thin and limp then that is a bad sign that it has been underfed.
6. Check its responsiveness to your handling
Carefully and gently lift the guinea pig holding its body in one hand and supporting its backside in the other and let the spine lean into your hand.
Check how it responds to you picking it up. Don’t be put off if the guinea pig is shy.
7. Check its hair
Make sure it is bright, does not have scurfy skin beneath and shows no signs of hair loss.
If you see any bald patches then this is a sign of an infestation of mites or even an infection.
8. Check its droppings
They should be thin, solid and rounded much like a small bean like the image below.
If you see any looseness in the droppings then this indicates a health problem.
9. Check its activity
Make sure it sits up normally without any hunching in its back and runs around actively.
Make sure that it is not moving around in circles and has its head pointing up as this can be a sign of blindness.
10. Check how they interact with others
If the guinea pig stays clear of others, it will most likely be calm and peaceful where as a Guinea pig that is in the crowd and runs around a lot will most likely be active and like playing.
This can have an impact when getting a guinea pig, especially if you are either buying few cavies.