Guinea pigs have ever-growing teeth that need to be consistently trimmed and filed to keep them in good shape. Failure to do so can result in a harrowing situation as overgrown teeth can hinder their ability to eat and chew. So, today we shall learn how you can keep your guinea pig’s teeth short?
Wild guinea pigs used to chew on tree branches, hay, and other natural wood that helped to keep their teeth in shape. Thus, even in captivity, we must provide lots of hay, chew toys, and safe/solid wood blocks or tree branches to keep our guinea pigs teeth in shape.
Some guinea pigs might have longer teeth even after foraging lots of hay and chewing those chew toys.
In such cases, visiting a vet for trimming their teeth would be an excellent choice.
If you are experienced, you might trim their teeth at home as well. However, for most owners getting it done professionally is recommended.
You can learn more about hay, safe wood for guinea pigs, etc from our articles below:
- Hay for guinea pigs: What type, How much & more
- Safe wood for guinea pigs. (Tree branches, woodblocks, etc)
- Why is your guinea pig biting the cage bars?
- Guinea pig having difficulties eating vegetables?
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Why do guinea pigs have long teeth?
Guinea pig’s teeth continue to grow due to the diet and living conditions of the guinea pigs.
Wild guinea pigs used to get a lot of hay, some flowers, hardwood chips, and twigs as food.
However, in captivity, we end up providing them with more treats, veggies, and soft hay, which is not enough to grind their teeth as needed.
In the wild, the roughage was enough to keep their teeth in shape. However, most guinea pigs don’t get enough chew toys and a well-balanced diet that is full of timothy hay to keep their teeth in shape.
As a result, many guinea pig owners often find their guinea pigs in pain at some point in their life. Guinea pigs need a lot of hay and chew toys, solid but safe woodblocks, and branches to keep their teeth in shape.
Thus, make sure you cut down on those extra veggies and treats and provide them with what is essential for them.
How long are guinea pig teeth supposed to be?
|Incisors||Guinea pigs have upper and lower incisors that are long, straight & white. The upper incisors usually overlap the lower one in such a way that your guinea pig can close their mouth correctly.|
|Pre-molar||Premolars are usually tucked inside your guinea pig’s mouth, and in most cases, they are not visible. As guinea pigs don’t have canine, the space of those is empty, followed by the premolars. However, if they are visible, then it means there is a problem.|
|Molars||The molars are located at the far end of the mouth, and they are not visible to us. However, they are usually smaller and allows guinea pigs to close their mouth comfortably. Guinea pigs grind their molar down while chewing just like incisors.|
Dental problems are one of the most common health issues in guinea pigs. Make sure you lookout for signs of discoloration, misalignment, sharp edges, and overgrown teeth. This can be a painful situation for guinea pigs.
Can guinea pig’s teeth get too long?
Yes, guinea pig’s teeth can become too long if we don’t provide them with adequate care.
Guinea pig’s teeth must be properly aligned, and they must be able to close their mouth properly.
Lack of proper diet balance and lack of chew toys can be one of the main culprits behind overgrown teeth in guinea pigs.
How fast do guinea pig’s teeth grow?
Guinea pigs’ teeth usually grow around 2mm every week.
Their teeth generally grow inward, and it can harm their gums and chin when overgrown.
Overgrown molars are the worst as it makes food swallowing really tough for our guinea pigs.
The only way to keep their teeth in shape is to provide them with good quality hay and wooden chew toys.
Providing the wrong mix of diet i.e., more vegetables and treat and less of hay can result in overgrown teeth in your guinea pigs.
What happens if your guinea pig’s teeth are overgrown?
There are many health problems that can accompany overgrown teeth. Some of the most common problems include:
- Your guinea pigs won’t be able to close their mouth correctly.
- The overgrown teeth can cut through the tongue and gums as they struggle to chew their food. This can lead to a lot of bleeding and bacterial infection.
- Your guinea pigs might not be able to chew their food. As a result, they can starve to death within 48 hours.
- The teeth can become brittle that increases the chances of breaking and having sharp edges on the same.
- Your guinea pigs will not be able to self groom. This will lead to poor hygiene, followed by countless other health issues.
- Guinea pigs might also have problem breathing as they are obligate nasal breathers.
One of the common problems with overgrown teeth is malocclusion. It means that the overgrown incisors might not overlap each other.
The teeth will keep growing, and they will grow misshapen. As a result, one or the other teeth might end up penetrating your guinea pig’s gums and skin.
How do you know if your guinea pig’s teeth are too long?
There are only a few visual and behavioral changes that you must look out for. These includes:
- Reluctant to eat: Guinea pigs with overgrown teeth have a tough time chewing their food. As a result, some guinea pigs might become unwilling to chew their food.
- Sharpness: Guinea pig’s teeth, including their incisors, should be long but blunt. If they look sharp, then it means it’s time to give them a trim.
- Discoloration: Guinea pigs have a white enamel on their teeth. If at any point you find the teeth are yellowing, then it might be a sign of overgrowth.
- Eye or Nasal Discharge: The roots of guinea pig’s teeth can grow inward. When overgrown, it can create pressure at their nasal passage and lead to eye or nasal discharge.
Please note that regular inspection of your guinea pig’s teeth is essential to keep track of their dental health. An early review can prevent a lot of major health issues in the long run.
How do I keep my guinea pig’s teeth healthy?
Providing a lot of hay, and a limited amount of vegetables and treats in their diet is one of the best ways to ensure healthy teeth in your guinea pigs.
Along with that, provide your guinea pigs with a bunch of stuff to chew on to ensure their teeth gets in shape naturally. Consider the following:
- Throw in some wood blocks or tree branches. Apple, pine, willow, etc. are some of the best choices.
- Plastic baby toys are an excellent choice as your guinea pigs can chew those for hours. ( Use toys designed for teething babies)
- Soft cotton or fleece towels or face cloths.
- Fill a wicker basket with hay and place it in their playpen or cage.
- Provide some Firm and sturdy rubber balls.
- Chew toys designed for small pets like guinea pigs.
Please make sure you avoid cheap and inferior quality toys. Also, avoid cats and dogs chew toys as they tend to be made up of flimsy plastic and are too large for our guinea pigs as well.
Cardboard is another excellent addition. However, be cautious as your guinea pigs might ingest a lot of the shredded pieces leading to intestinal blockage.
I usually like to have 2-3 different sets of toys, and I rotate them every time I deep clean their cage.
This ensures they are never bored with it, and they will also have different types of toys and surfaces to chew on.
Also, check out:
How do you check a guinea pig’s teeth?
Checking your guinea pig’s teeth can be difficult that you can imagine. Yes, you may check their front incisors and ensure the same is in perfect shape.
However, checking their premolars and molars might need a trip to a veterinarian.
There are hardly any ways to check their molars without keeping them under anesthetics.
Your vet will most likely use some sort of anesthetics to check their molars.
You must look out for other signs to overgrown teeth and visit a vet if you are unsure.
Having a look at their incisors can also give you a good insight. The incisors must be around 1/2-3/4th of an inch long, with the upper teeth overlapping the lower one.
If you find them longer or notice that your guinea pig has a hard time keeping their mouth closed, then it is a sign of overgrown teeth.
How to keep guinea pig teeth short?
Guinea pigs need to replicate their wild counterparts to ensure they have healthy teeth.
This means they need to be continually chewing hay and rough natural wood to keep their teeth in shape.
Providing your guinea pig’s with lots of timothy hay is important to keep your guinea pig’s teeth in the right shape.
If your guinea pig has dental problems, then it is recommended to serve them with first cut timothy hay.
This hay is high in fiber but slightly lower in other nutrients. However, they are excellent for keeping your guinea pig’s teeth in shape.
You must also make sure you don’t provide them with alfalfa hay as those are higher in calcium and can lead to other health issues like urinary tract infection and bladder/kidney stones.
Providing your guinea pigs with chew toys is also an excellent way to grind those long teeth and keep your guinea pig’s entertained as well.
However, sometimes even after dong everything correctly, your guinea pigs might end up with longer teeth.
In such a scenario, the only way left is to trim down the teeth manually. You can go either way:
- Get the teeth trimmed from a professional vet. They will use some equipment to grind their teeth into the right shape.
- Or you can manually trim the teeth at home. Please be cautious and only attempt it if you need to trim the front incisors and have no professional help available at the moment.
Please note: Trimming a guinea pig’s teeth is a risky procedure, and you must always allow trained medical personnel to do the same. However, in case of an emergency or unavailability, you can attempt the same but with much caution.
You can learn more about the complete diet for your guinea pigs from our book. Feel free to check it on Amazon.
How to trim guinea pig teeth at home?
Trimming your guinea pigs incisors is possible, but it might not be as easy as it might look.
You should only attempt this if you have steady hands, and you are confident about it.
Guinea pigs don’t enjoy when someone touches their mouth or nose area, and thus they might get a little aggressive.
So, be prepared for that. You might need someone to hold your guinea pig just in case you are attempting it for the first time.
So, before you begin here are a few tools you might need to get this process done:
Please make sure you attempt the process only when you are well equipped. So, here we go:
- Pet and calm your guinea pig after placing them on a stable surface like a table or countertop.
- Wrap your guinea pigs with a towel to ensure they remain calm and still.
- Open your guinea pig’s mouth. Ensure your hand, as well as their tongue, is out of the way.
- Take any of the tooth clippers which you may find suitable for the job(mentioned above) and clip a small amount of tooth from the upper incisor. Make sure you do it little by little. Don’t cut it too far or you may hurt your guinea pigs. Also, trim one incisor at a time
- Once done, move to lower incisors and repeat the process.
If your guinea pigs have an overgrown molar or they don’t allow you to trim their incisors, then it is recommended to visit a vet and get it done professionally.
Please don’t attempt to trim their molars. You can hurt their gums or tongue badly.
How much does it cost to get a guinea pig’s teeth trimmed?
The cost to get a guinea pig’s teeth trimmed might depend upon your vet, but expect to pay anywhere between 80$-150$ on an average.
The cost may vary depending upon the area or state you live in and the availability of the service.
If your guinea pigs teeth need regular trimming, then you might negotiate with the clinic to settle for a lower pay per visit.
You can get your guinea pig’s teeth trimmed on an outpatient basis, under anesthetic.
Ensure that you understand fully what this means. Your guinea pigs may not be allowed to eat for a few hours before the treatment.
Why do guinea pig’s teeth fall out?
There is a lot of reasons that can lead to falling out of your guinea pig’s teeth. Some of the most common ones are:
- A lack of vitamin c, Calcium, and other essential nutrients in their diet can weaken the teeth, and as a result, it will fall out.
- A physical injury can displace the teeth that can eventually fall out.
- Pulling or chewing on cage wires can lead to broken teeth.
- Genetic problems are rare but in some cases, guinea pigs might be born with a brittle set of teeth that comes out easily.
- Regular playing and chewing can also lead to natural fall out of teeth.
There can be a lot of other reasons like the removal of teeth by your veterinarian due to some medical complications and more.
However, the important thing for you to check is if there are any sharp edges left behind, then you might need to trim the same before it ends up hurting your guinea pigs.
Can guinea pig teeth grow back?
Guinea pigs might lose their teeth at any time in their life. They might end up losing teeth while eating, playing, or due to some physical injury.
In any case, their teeth will grow back naturally as long as the root is not damaged permanently.
Your guinea pigs might not show any sign of discomfort or any ill effect it they lose one of their teeth.
However, you must look out for broken teeth as sometimes a rough broken tooth might have sharp edges that can injure their tongue or gums.
If any of the broken teeth grow back crooked, then the same must be treated by a professional veterinarian to avoid any complication in the future.
Also, remember that every tooth grows at a different rate show you might need to trim longer teeth to keep it in shape.