Short, dense hair that stands out from the body due to its wiry nature give the teddy bear guinea pig his soft, fuzzy appearance. The teddy bear guinea pig costs a little more than the average guinea pig and is somewhat smaller. The teddy bear's life span ranges from 4 to 5 years and can extend up to 7 years under ideal conditions. Larger guinea pig breeds have been known to live more than 8 years, sometimes with the oldest 11 years old.
Food for Health
Commercial guinea pig pellets contain basic nutrition that your teddy will need. Fresh fruits and green vegetables will promote longevity by providing extra vitamin C as well as enzymes essential for ideal health. Fresh timothy or grass hay provides essential fiber as well as silicates that help wear down teeth to prevent them from becoming so long your teddy can't eat.
Guinea pigs are known for soiling in their water dishes and chewing the ends of water bottle tubes, causing the fixtures to leak and soak bedding. Choose a ceramic bowl that is small in diameter and about the height of your teddy's back to prevent him from relieving himself in the bowl -- you won't be able to prevent his backwashing food into it. Provide fresh water at least once a day, and wash and disinfect his water bowl once daily to prevent bacteria from developing.
Sickness and Injury
Scurvy is common in guinea pigs who are not fed a commercial diet or fresh fruits. Your guinea pig may become ill if his environment is too warm. Keep your guinea pig's cage between 75 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit, with enough ventilation to prevent high humidity -- which can cause a guinea pig to succumb to heat stress. Consult your veterinarian for a clipping should your teddy's teeth become too long, causing him to slobber. Consult the vet, too, if the guinea pig exhibits signs of respiratory disease, has diarrhea or becomes infested with lice.
A teddy confined to a cage without sufficient exercise will become overweight and lethargic, shortening his life span. You can allow your guinea pig to graze on a pesticide-free lawn inside the confines of a large portable pen, or train him to walk on a leash. Do not leave your guinea pig unattended, as neighborhood cats can scale the tallest walls when a fresh cavy meal is waddling around on the other side. Supervise children handling your teddy to prevent accidental injury to him or the children.
Indulging her passion for vacation vagary through the written word on a full-time basis since 2010, travel funster Jodi Thornton-O'Connell guides readers to the unexpected, quirky, and awe-inspiring.