Guinea pigs are large rodents that don't have tails but their fur can come in a variety of textures and colors. Teddy guinea pigs are a specific breed of guinea pigs that have coarse, short fur that doesn't require much brushing or trimming. They are low-maintenance, quiet pets that take up little space so they make great pets for both children and adults. Like any pet, teddy guinea pigs have specific housing, diet, and care requirements that are necessary to help them live a long and healthy life.
Common Name(s): Teddy Guinea Pig, Teddybear Guinea Pig, Teddy Cavy, Teddybear Cavy
Scientific Name: Cavia porcellus
Adult Size: 10 inches, 2-3 lbs
Life Expectancy: 5-7 years
Teddy Guinea Pig Behavior and Temperament
Guinea pigs are docile furry pets and are not aggressive, but they can be quite skittish at first. Once they get used to people, they enjoy being pet and scratched and even purr when they are happy and relaxed. Other vocalizations can include squealing, wheeking, rumbling, chutting, whining, chattering, chirping, and more. Teddy guinea pigs have a language all their own and do best when they have a friend to talk to and spend their time with. This means that teddy guinea pigs should be housed with another guinea pig, but if you have two male guinea pigs that are not neutered, fighting can occur. Two females or a male and a spayed female are instead the best types of pairs.
Teddy guinea pigs spend their days playing, eating, and sleeping. They enjoy chewing on toys, being pet, running around, and munching on hay and green vegetables. They don't require an incredibly large space to play but social interaction, especially if you want them to be tame, is important.
Since teddy guinea pigs should be housed with at least one other guinea pig, look for a cage that is at least 30 inches by 50 inches. It should have a solid base and wire bars that are spaced small enough that the pigs can't get their heads stuck between them. A wire floor is not ideal for teddy guinea pigs since their small legs and feet can easily fall through, get stuck, or get broken. Wooden cages will quickly get chewed so metal cages will last the longest but most cages designed for guinea pigs will have thick, plastic bases. The cage is meant to keep your guinea pig safe and secure when you are not able to monitor it, but your pig should still be allowed plenty of play time outside of its enclosure.
Cages should be fully cleaned weekly and spot cleaned as needed. Bedding should be a recycled paper material as pine and cedar wood shavings can be irritating to a teddy guinea pig's respiratory tract. Wood shavings can also cut their feet and are not as comfortable as the variety of paper beddings that are available. The cage should be kept away from drafts and direct sunlight. This will help maintain a consistent temperature, help avoid overheating your teddy guinea pig, and prevent it from developing a cold.
Food and Water
Teddy guinea pigs are herbivores so they should be fed plants. Alfalfa hay can be fed to young teddy guinea pigs less than six months of age, but otherwise, about 70% of your guinea pig's diet should be timothy hay. About 20% of your guinea pig's diet can consist of vitamin C-fortified pellets and the remaining portion of the diet can be made of dark leafy greens alongside a few treats. Fresh water should also always be supplied in both a water bottle and ceramic dish to encourage ample fluid intake.
Common Health Problems
Teddy guinea pigs are prone to a few health problems. These can include the following:
- Upper Respiratory Infections - A drastic change in temperature or being housed on wood shavings can result in respiratory issues and infections.
- Lice - Thankfully, lice are species-specific so you can't catch them from your guinea pig but guinea pigs can easily pass them to each other. Lice can come into your guinea pig's cage in its bedding, food, a new guinea pig added to the home, or on your hands or clothes if you pet a guinea pig elsewhere with lice.
- Dental Issues - Teddy guinea pig teeth grow continuously so regular chewing is necessary to keep them short otherwise overgrown teeth can cause serious issues.
- Eye Issues - Irritation from bedding or other items in the cage, as well as other things, can cause eye infections, ulcers, and other issues.
- Bladder Stones - Guinea pigs can develop bladder stones that can make it difficult to urinate and may need to be surgically removed.
- Reproductive Organ and Mammary Problems - Teddy guinea pigs can develop mammary cancer, pyometra, uterine cancer, and even testicular problems.
- Bumblefoot - Also known as pododermatitis, bumblefoot is a foot infection commonly caused by a dirty cage floor.
- Scurvy - If your teddy guinea pig doesn't receive enough vitamin C, it can develop a condition called scurvy.
Purchasing Your Teddy Guinea Pig
Teddy guinea pigs are not as commonly seen as some other types of guinea pigs but they are still readily available at many pet stores as well as from breeders. Sometimes they may even be available at rescue organizations. Expect to pay between $15 and $40 for a teddy guinea pig. Choose one that has clear eyes with no discharge, a full coat, a clean rear end and feet, and that is active and running around.
Best Grooming Practices
Teddy guinea pigs need to be brushed on occasion but hair trimming isn't necessary. Their hair should be plush and a little coarse when well groomed. Nail trims (and potentially teeth trims) may be necessary depending on what type of surfaces your guinea pig exercises on and whether or not they get enough items to chew. Additionally, the occasional bath is necessary, especially if your guinea pig is a messy eater or has diarrhea.
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