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Chatty small pets

Guinea pigs are fascinating, intelligent and friendly, if handled with care. They communicate by making various sounds that have different meanings

Chatty small pets

My guinea pig is chewing on the plastic bars of the cage. How do I make it stop?

There could be several reasons why your guinea pig is chewing on his/her cage. One of the more concerning reasons is that he/she is have some dental problem like an overgrown teeth, this can be easily diagnosed and fixed by a vet. Other reasons are that he/she is bored or nervous or just wants your attention. To stop him/her from chewing on plastic, you could observe your guinea's chewing habits for a couple of days. Notice if there is a particular time or incident when he/she starts chewing on the plastic. Has there been a change in the environment? Does it happen if there is a commotion or loud noise nearby? Or does he/she start chewing when left alone for some time? If this is the case then the chewing can by psychological.

You can introduce some non-toxic chew sticks or nibble toys for your guinea pig to chew on. If your guinea is feeling lonely or needs more attention, try to spend more time playing with him/her. If your guinea pig is bored then try changing things up in his/her cage by putting in new toys or some new hay or putting in a new hideout. Or let him out during the day and only put him in at night. Guinea pigs are not meant to be caged animals.

My guinea pig seems to be shivering. Is something wrong?

Generally, guinea pigs shiver because of fear. If there are any animals in the vicinity of your guinea pig or if he/she is in a new environment then he/she could be experiencing fear. Try to placate you guinea pig by making it comfortable, spending time with him/her and ensuring that no animals in the vicinity are scaring your pig.

Another cause of shivering is if your pet is cold. Guinea pigs can't handle cold well. Even if it feels warm to you, it might not be warm enough for your guinea pig. Ensure that there is no wind or drafts near your guinea pig's cage and that it is sufficiently warm and cosy. Guinea pigs are prone to pneumonia and respiratory infections, so if you notice any abnormal amount of shivering with other symptoms, immediately get your guinea pig checked out.

My guinea pig's teeth fell out. Should I be concerned?

If it has happened for the first time it is not a major cause of concern. Guinea pigs have 'open-rooted' teeth which keep growing throughout their life because of wear and tear of the teeth enamel from the round plant-based diet. However, if the teeth are discoloured or your guinea pig is having difficulty consuming food then you might have to hand feed him/her. Falling of teeth could indicate a lack of Vitamin C in your pet. But if the growing teeth seemed to be misaligned or causing gum sores or breaking the skin consult your vet.

(Views expressed and informationprovided are personal. Send your questions to manekaanimallove@gmail.com)

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