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Blog

The HayPigs!® blog. All the latest news from HayPigs!® along with lots of fun and informative information about guinea pigs.

Filtering by Tag: Grooming

Do Guinea Pigs Cry?

Helen Cridland

HayPigs_Nutmeg_Guinea_Pig_028.jpg

DO GUINEA PIGS CRY?

 Well, it depends on what your definition of ‘cry’ is! If we are talking about crying in a vocal sense (to ‘cry’ out), then absolutely, they are noisy little fluffsters! But I guess vocalisation is a whole other blog post! So we will look instead at crying in terms of ‘emotional’ and ‘physical’ crying:

Crying Emotionally

If we were to put on a good old tear-jerker, would our furry piggy friends shed an emotional tear as they cuddle up on the sofa for film night with their pig-slaves?! We would have to say ‘no’, we haven’t seen our guinea pigs crying like us humans might be doing by the end of ‘The Bucket List’. (Yes, we re-watched it the other night. Yes, we cried lots…!)

We certainly see them showing emotion in other ways however (they aren’t just fluffy potatoes, they absolutely show emotion among their companions). If you’ve ever been in the sad situation of a bereavement, you’ll know that guinea pigs appear to have a period of morning when one of their companions passes. This is clear evidence of how highly evolved they are social and emotional.   

Crying Physically

So, although we wouldn’t consider guinea pigs to cry ‘emotional tears’, like all mammals their eyes do produce physical tears. This is to keep their eye moist and clean. And if you can excuse the pun, it’s certainly a good idea to keep YOUR EYE on your guinea pigs’ eyes as they are a good indicator of their general health. Healthy eyes, just as with humans, should look moist, bright and clear. Here are some things to keep a ‘look out’ for:

If your piggie has a constantly watery eye, it could be that something has got stuck in there and the fluid is being produced to try and wash it out. This can sort itself out, but sometimes a stubborn small piece of hay, for example, might not budge. If there is something stuck in there that is visible, it could need you (if you have a VERY steady hand) or a vet to remove the offending object with some tweezers.

A cloudy look to a usually bright and clear eye could also be a result of damage from a hay-poke, injury as a result of fighting or also a sign of infection. Cloudy eyes are not normal and so advice should be sought. A vet may well prescribe drops or ointment as appropriate.

If one or both eyes have a sticky, crusty substance around them, this could be a sign of a URI (upper respiratory infection) or other infection that will need treating by a vet. Other symptoms of a URI could be a snotty nose, lethargy, not eating … all of which are not good news at all for these small critters, so best get them checked out by a professional.

If you ever see a milky-white substance being secreted from the corner of your piggies’ eyes, then this is perfectly normal and is actually a super clever way that guinea pigs groom themselves! This substance cleans their eyes and they also rub it onto their paws to then clean their faces. Guinea pigs are very clean animals and like to keep themselves looking beautiful/handsome at all times. So, if you hang around long enough, you might catch sight of this substance in their eyes and get to observe the cuteness overload that is their grooming ritual!


SUMMARY

So, in summary, beauty is not just in the eye of the beholder, beauty is actually right inside your guinea pigs’ eyes, waiting for them to have a good wash! Stay clear, shine bright, stay happy!


Do guinea pigs smell?

Helen Cridland

HayPigs_Neptune_Guinea_Pig_041b.jpg

DO GUINEA PIGS SMELL?

We aren’t questioning the effectiveness of those guinea pig noses here, because we all know they can sniff out a sprig of parsley at fifty paces! But a common question, especially from those who are first thinking about getting guinea pigs as pets, is “do guinea pigs smell”? Now we think it’s fair to say that guinea pigs are generally very clean animals (we’re not biased, honest!) and as long as they are cleaned out regularly, then no, they don’t smell!

Guinea pigs groom themselves and there’s nothing cuter than watching them have a ‘wash’ with their paws! They actually secrete a white substance from the corner of their eyes and use this to clean their face, as well becoming masters of contortion using their mouth to groom the rest of their body.

If anything is going to cause any smell to develop, it will most likely be the urine and not the animal itself. So, keep bedding fresh, spot clean dirty areas regularly and do a full clean out at least once a week.

People also wonder about the need to give your ‘pampered’ piggies a wash or a bath. There are occasionally times when a guinea pig has got a little grubby and may need freshening up, but it’s not something that needs to be done regularly, if at all with some pigs.  But a couple of things to bear in mind: Long haired piggies are likely to need more grooming care than short haired ones, as their fur will have more contact with the floor of their enclosure. Boars (and occasionally sows) can also need a little more attention if their grease gland (found just above where their tail would be, if they had one) is overactive. This can be a challenge to keep clean but we find breaking down the grease with Swarfega first, before rinsing and then a quick shampoo to follow, is a good way to deal with their behinds!

If you do find your guinea pig needs a bath, then make sure to use an appropriate shampoo for small animals, avoid getting water on their head and in their ears, always rinse well and make sure they are nicely dry before they go back into their enclosure, so they do not catch a chill.


SUMMARY

So, if you keep their cages clean and just assist them with the occasional extra wash if needs be, then you shouldn’t be catching a whiff of any unpleasant odours. You can just enjoy the smell of fresh hay and vegetables, although you can bet the piggies will be loving that kind of smell even more than you!