Like many other rodents, guinea pigs' teeth grow continually throughout their lives. While both their front and back teeth can become overgrown at the same time, it's more common for it to happen to their front teeth. Their front teeth should meet evenly in the middle, and you should check regularly to ensure they do so. When their teeth become overgrown, they're likely to stop eating and drinking, so it's important to give your guinea pig what he needs to keep his teeth worn down.
If your guinea pig eats the right kind of food, he may naturally keep dental problems at bay. He needs the right nutrition in crunchy packages instead of soft food. Ensure that he eats plenty of fresh hay and hay cubes, as this kind of roughage is good for his teeth, helping keep them evenly worn. Compressed pellet foods, specially designed for guinea pigs, could also help keep his teeth worn down. However, a good diet won't guarantee that his teeth won't become overgrown, so be sure to inspect them regularly.
Having something besides food to gnaw on will help your guinea pig to keep his teeth worn down. Wood is an ideal gnawing substance, as it's hard and natural. Tree branches are the best choice, as long as they haven't been treated with pesticides or other chemicals. Choose a hardwood such as as apple, hickory, maple or oak.
Giving mineral blocks or salt licks is another effective way to keep your guinea pig's teeth short and neat. He should gnaw on these kinds of blocks, which will help grind his teeth down. What's more, they contain beneficial vitamins and minerals. Make sure you choose a type that's suitable for use by guinea pigs, and ask your vet for advice about how often to provide the mineral blocks.
Trimming or Filing
Even if you feed your guinea pig the right food and give him things to gnaw on, there's still a chance his teeth could become overgrown. Look out for signs of this happening, such as ceasing eating and drinking. If this occurs, take him to see a veterinarian right away. Your vet will be able to trim or file down your pet's teeth to a comfortable length, and he should get his appetite back right away.
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