Here are some helpful tips on caring for your guinea pig.
BRUSHING YOUR CAVY: I would recommend brushing your guinea pig at least once a week. Daily brushing with a brush will help to remove some of the loose hair and also help to lessen shedding.
BATHING: Guinea pigs seldom "need" baths and some are never bathed. But if they do require one, a shampoo formulated especially for small animals will help to avoid drying out their skin. Use a shallow bowl of warm water, (a bathroom sink works great) rinse, and dry thoroughly to avoid chills before returning them to their home. Avoid getting water in their ears.
CLEANING THE GREASE GLAND: The grease gland in a guinea pig is located just above where a tail would be (if guinea pigs had a tail). Some sows and some boars have active grease glands that can be a challenge to clean. Dawn dish soap helps to remove the grease.
CLEANING EARS: A weekly examination of the ears and a cleaning every other week is recommended. Use a product like Oticlens or use a drop of mineral oil in each ear, let sit for 5 minutes, clean the outer ear carefully with a soft cloth wrapped around your finger.
CLIPPING TOENAILS: Monthly clippings, begun at a young age, will help to accustom your guinea pig to this necessary activity. A finger nail or toenail clipper (for humans) works well, or also a small cat nail trimmer. Pay close attention to the location of the "quick" as to avoid cutting into the living part of the nail, causing it to bleed. If the nail is accidentally cut too short, cornstarch will help stop bleeding. Removing the tip of the nail is all that is necessary, as long as you trim their nails on a monthly basis.
CAGE CLEANING: Let your nose be your guide. One week should be the maximum between complete bedding changes. How often you need to clean will depends on the type of bedding material used, the age of your guinea pigs, the size of your cage, and how many guinea pigs you have in the cage.
Many guinea pig owners prefer to spot clean on a daily basis. While others prefer to do a complete bedding change every four days. If you are using towels or fleece as bedding, this should be changed daily.
Making a habit of cleaning your cage regularly will keep your guinea pigs healthier. More frequent cleaning prevents urine from breaking down into ammonia, which can harm your guinea pigs' respiratory system.
How do I get the crusty parts off the bottom of the cage? Normal, healthy guinea pigs will pass calcium compounds and other minerals in their urine. This residue can be difficult to remove.
To clean cages, remove bedding materials, and clean with soapy water and rinse. Pour a tablespoon or two of vinegar on the calcium deposits and allow it to sit for several minutes. This mild acid dissolves the calcium and mineral deposits through a chemical reaction. Repeat if necessary with more vinegar until the deposits are gone. You can scrub lightly with an old toothbrush to aid in the removal.
A general cleaning of the cage with a dilute bleach solution every month will help to keep bacteria in check.