When buying new guinea pigs, you need to know that they're healthy specimens. There are various clues to look for.
There are certain things to look for when checking if a guinea pig is healthy
- Check the guinea pig's movements
Does the guinea pig move around freely and smoothly? Watch out for guinea pigs that move jerkily, hop, or limp.
- Check the conditions the guinea pig is being kept in
Is the GP being kept in a healthy and clean environment? Is there plenty of hay, food, water, and space?
- Check the guinea pigs' droppings.
Are they firm looking? That's good. Any discolored or watery droppings may indicate poor health.
- Pick up the guinea pig and examine it
You’ll need to be gentle when you examine your guinea pig. Or, if you're not confidant in handling it, get the shop keeper, shelter staff, or breeder to do it for you. Don’t be concerned if the guinea pig tries to run away from you, as this is entirely natural if an animal has never seen you before. Slide one hand under the GP's belly and support its hindquarters by cupping it with your other hand. Hold it gently but firmly to your chest with one hand, still supporting its backside with the other. Have a good look at the animal. Are its eyes bright and shiny? Is it’s coat glossy and full? Are its feet in good condition? If so, then your guinea pig is likely to be in good health.
Pick up your prospective pet and give it a quick health check
Before taking the guinea pig home, make sure you're certain which gender it is. Sometimes an inexpert store keeper or unscrupulous supplier will give you the 'wrong' type. Make sure that the person offering you the animal knows a male from a female, and ask them to show you. A female guinea pig will have nipples along her stomach.