First aid for guinea pigs

Small animals such as our guinea pigs are not easy patients. Even vets can find it difficult to make a diagnosis. Therefore in an emergency, guinea pig owners can only do one thing: Visit their veterinary surgery. However what would happen if the animal happened to become ill on a Sunday or if the vet is not available at short notice? The veterinary team at Maxi Zoo has put some first-aid measures together for these situations.

Small bleeding wounds

If a guinea pig has been injured, small wounds can be treated with “Rivanol”, “Betaisodona” or an antiseptic ointment at first. These products will disinfect the area. Always use the recommended amount for a child. Ointments and mild disinfectants for wounds are available in all chemists. You should still visit a vet as the earliest opportunity. If the guinea pig bleeds after the claws have been cut because a blood vessel has been injured by accident, it is sufficient to press a cotton pad (also available in the chemist) onto the paw for a few minutes. A visit to the veterinary surgery is usually not necessary.


Never expose a guinea pig to direct sun and extremely hot temperatures; at least not without the animals being able to find shade or without their house as a shelter and without having enough to drink. However accidents can always happen. The animal will lie down and breathe very quickly if it has heatstroke or is overheated. The whole body will move in rhythm with the breathing. The legs are often stretched out behind the animal when lying down. You should quickly put your animal in a cool room and place a damp cloth over the cage or over the animal itself. Promptly visit your vet or at least give him a call!

 Flatulence and diarrhoea

Guinea pigs have a very sensitive and complex digestive system which can easily be disturbed. You can recognise flatulence in that the animal sits around “puffed-up” in a ball and writhes a little when excreting “doing his business”. You can find assistance in “Sab Simplex” drops or “Lefax” (fluid – not in tablet form!). With a little disposable syringe you can easily measure out 1 to 2 ml and squirt it into the guinea pig’s mouth. Your vet will be happy to show you how to do this. A sick animal should only be given hay and water at first. Visit your vet on the following day if there is no sign of improvement as strong flatulence can result in the death of the animal!

The “droppings” of the guinea pig are soft or misshaped if the animal is suffering from diarrhoea. The animal often has a dirty rear. The hay and water diet is also required for cases of diarrhoea. Visit your vet on the 2nd day of illness at the latest. Our tip: “Bird Bene Bac” is a paste which vets prescribe for digestive problems. It won’t do any harm to keep some available at home.

 Refusal of food

This is an extremely serious symptom because the guinea pig’s digestive system is not allowed to stop. Please visit a vet immediately! If you have already had experience in feeding, a short-term solution is to provide your animal with “Critical Care” (from the vet) or a similar product squirted directly into the mouth.

If you decide on a guinea pig as a pet, it is best to select a vet right from the beginning who has experience in treating small animals. Always keep the surgery’s emergency number at hand. Most veterinary surgeries offer this service.

Call into your local store today to discuss your small animals personal needs with our Maxi Zoo Pet Experts