Guest Post: Guinea Pigs with Special Needs

Some guinea pigs are born with special needs. Unfortunately, these guinea pigs are often overlooked for adoption. A guinea pig could be born blind, not able to walk properly, or even deaf. These guinea pigs are just as cuddly and cute as guinea pigs born “normal.”

Did you adopt a guinea pig that’s blind? First of all, good for you! You’re awesome for taking on a guinea pig that could use a little extra help!

To make it easier for your blind guinea pig, and if you can afford it, house your fur baby with a seeing guinea pig. A cage mate not only keeps your guinea pig from being lonely, it’ll help your blind guinea pig adapt and not be so scared. Blind guinea pigs can follow a scent and hear the other guinea pig in the cage. This help with the blind guinea pig with its surroundings, with a guide to follow.

If possible, keep things in the cage in the same place. This will reduce stress and promote happiness. Some say that moving things around helps your blind guinea pig learn to adapt to change. Do your own reading and decide if you want to move things around or not.

If you’re going to have a blind guinea pig, you must spend a lot of time with it compared to a seeing guinea pig. You must dedicate time and patience! Talk softly to your blind guinea pig as to not startle it. When it gets acclimated to your voice, it’ll be responsive and happy. Try to talk to your guinea pig as much as possible and when you are changing its water or feeding it, tell it what you’re doing, so it can pick up the signals.

Like a blind guinea pig, deaf guinea pigs require patience and extra care. One thing that I should have mentioned earlier in this article is that a guinea pigs nose will work more precisely if either blind, or deaf, or both. When one sense is lost, the other senses that are left, become more acute to the surroundings. This will aid your guinea pig in survival.

The sound is also not only heard but felt. Sound waves travel and bounce all around us, constantly, and a guinea pig may pick up on the vibrations made by sound waves. Guinea pigs are very aware of their surroundings, and no “special need” is going to change that.

Think of safe and secure ways to give your guinea pig good vibrations. Perhaps, you can tap (not pound or hit) on the cage. If you’re close enough to your deaf guinea pig, use your voice in a normal tone to see if it picks up your vibrations. If you have a hearing guinea pig in the cage with your deaf guinea pig, the hearing guinea pig will make noise (as all guinea pigs do, even deaf ones), and your deaf guinea pig will pick up vibrations from your hearing guinea pig.

Your deaf guinea pig has an advantage in that it can still see, which can help in communication. These little cuties are quite smart and can pick up on sign language as well. If you teach your guinea pig certain motions for food, water, etc., it’ll pick up on them.

I do urge you to use caution when thinking of adopting a guinea pig with special needs. These guinea pigs need a little bit of extra care, patience, and love. Think about if you were blind or deaf, would you want to be treated with hostility because of something you can’t control? Having a blind or deaf guinea pig may take extra time for care, but you’ll have a bond with an animal that’s ever so rewarding.

Remember, when thinking of adopting any pet, do your research, make sure you can afford it, and that a pet is a commitment!

Written by Nikki Harbeston, Creative Stuff, for LAA Pet Talk. She resides in South Carolina with her husband and dog. Her blog features Diary of a Chubby Piggie and Into the Journey of Dog. Copyright August 2013-March 2014.

If you are a pet owner with writing skills, Lincoln Animal Ambassadors would love to hear from you! We’re especially looking for content about birds, exotic animals, and horses. Content may take the form of an advice column or how-to articles. You may even simply wish to act as an expert consultant. If you are interested, please post in the comments and we’ll be in touch.

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