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It can be humorous to see your guinea pig scooting his butt across the ground. While it may be nothing more than a simple itch, continuous scooting could be the sign of anal impaction or mites. If you own a male guinea pig, he may also be marking his territory. Understanding the reasons why your guinea pig exhibits this behavior can help ensure you know when to worry and when to remain calm. In some cases, veterinary care will be needed to solve the scooting problem.
A common problem with older guinea pigs is anal impaction. Guinea pigs have soft and hard pellets and sometimes the hard pellets get caught in the folds of the anus because the guinea pig's muscles weaken as he ages and he isn't able to push the feces out. Anal impaction is something that your vet can show you how to treat the first time.
Sometimes your guinea pig may just have a dirty backside. Due to the longer fur of guinea pigs, feces can get trapped in the fur. Your guinea pig will scoot his butt across the cage to try and dislodge the feces. If you notice your guinea pig scooting, pick him up and inspect his backside. If you see feces, take a tissue and remove it.
Another common problem that causes butt scooting is an itch. Just like a dog's butt itches, your guinea pig's butt can itch as well. Scooting his butt across the floor of his cage can help relieve the itch. If you only see your pet scooting his butt occasionally, chances are it's just as itch. If the itching and scooting continues, the itch could be result of parasites.
Fleas, Mites or Worms
Guinea pigs can get fleas, mites and worms. If you've just brought your guinea pig home from the pet store, check him carefully for fleas, little black bugs (mites) and worms coming out of his anus. If you've introduced a new guinea pig, he may have passed the parasites to your older guinea pig and both will need veterinary care.
Male guinea pigs will mark their territory. The scent glands are located close to the anus and they scoot on their butt to help spread the scent around the cage. Regardless, always check your guinea pig for health problems if he is continuously scooting his butt on the ground.
- Meerschweinchen Baby image by Bernd Deinert from Fotolia.com