There are around 13 different breeds of Cavy (guinea pig). Some are long haired, some are short, and one of the first to think about with Cavy care, is the need for bathing. The long haired breeds of Cavy are going to need more attention in this area, than the short haired breeds. For a shampoo you can use a specially formulated kitten shampoo, readily available from quality pet stores, and of course your vet. Use this type of shampoo to avoid any possibility of drying out their skin. When you have bathed your Cavy, make sure he or she is thoroughly dried before returning to the 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.