Dental Care for Guinea Pigs
Author: Amanda Date Posted:1 August 2016
Good Teeth are essential to a healthy Guinea Pig. A nutritious, fibrous diet with the essential nutrients will help keep their teeth strong and healthy.
Guinea Pigs have teeth that grow continuously. Teeth in a healthy Guinea Pig are worn down naturally by the chewing and ingestion of rough plant materials.
Guinea Pigs have amazing teeth!
Guinea pigs have 20 teeth:
A pair of upper and lower incisors used for plucking and cutting up food.
No canines (instead, a gap called the diastema)
A pair of upper and lower premolars
Three pairs of upper and lower molars
They wear against each other in a very particular pattern. This maintains the length of the tooth and the cutting edges of the teeth in top condition.
A poor diet and hereditary disease can lead to their front teeth (incisors) and molars (check teeth) becoming overgrown.
Signs of Dental Disease
- Changes in their eating habits
- Dropping food
- Difficulty chewing
- Difficulty swallowing
- Weight loss
- Teeth elongation
- Tear duct or eye problems resulting from the teeth growing into the lower jaw
- Spurs and hooks - with teeth pushing on the gums cheeks
- Teeth growing together impeding swallowing
- Bone Pain
- Malocclusion & change in jaw formation
How does Dental disease occur?
- Insufficient fibre/abrasiveness in food - less chewing means less wear on the teeth, resulting in the overgrowth of teeth and teeth alignment
- Vitamin C deficiency - a diet lacking in Vitamin C can lead to the lossening of the teeth within the sockets
- Genetics - some Guinea pigs are bonewith a face or jaw malformation
- Metabolic Bone disease - Guinea pigs who do not have access to adequate sunlight or have a diet low in calcium and Vitamin D , leading to bone softening.
What can I do to keep my Guinea Pig's teeth healthy?
- A constant supply of Fresh Grass and/or grass hay. Grass hays include meadow, pasture, ryegrass, oaten, wheaten, timothy and paddock hays: Kaytee Timothy Hay, Oxbow Timothy Hay, Vetafarm Fresh Cut Lucerne
- Vegetables & Herbs: Suitable vegetables include; broccoli, cabbage, celery, endive, carrot tops, Brussels sprouts, spinach leaves, Asian greens and dark leafed lettuce varieties. Suitable herbs include; parsley, dandelion, coriander, basil, dill and mint.
- A diet rich in Vitamin C - leafy greens are rich in Vitamin C. Daily requirements of vitamin C range from 20-50 mg per kg of body weight. In order to prevent vitamin C deficiency and subsequent scurvy. Feed your Adult Guinea Pig Food, a pelleted diet such as Vetafarm Cavy Origins containing stabilised vitamin C. Supplementation with Vetafarm Vita C may be needed.
- Chew toys
A wide variety of safe chew toys are available for guinea pigs. Not only do they help with dental care, they alleviate cage boredom and provide your cavy with exercise!
An annual check up is recommended with a veterinarian to ensure your Guinea Pig is healthy. This will also allow any problems or abnormalities to be detected as soon as possible.