You may have seen many of those cute pictures of baby guinea pigs with their teeth showing. And you may also be planning to get a baby guinea pig soon. This might have made you wonder, “Are baby guinea pigs born with teeth?”
Yes. Baby guinea pigs are normally born with teeth. They have a good set of teeth along their cheeks and in the front which always grow. These teeth sometimes fall out and grow back again.
Having known this, you might also have other common questions about baby guinea pigs. For example, you might wonder how many teeth do baby guinea pigs have.
Let’s find out…
How Many Teeth Do Baby Guinea Pigs Have?
Baby guinea pigs have 2 teeth on their upper side and two lower incisors that are very sharp. They are herbivores, so they only eat plants and vegetables like kale, chickpeas, and sweet potatoes. Salt can cause kidney problems, and spices are too hot for guinea pig guts.
How Do I Know if My Guinea Pig Has Overgrown Teeth?
The symptoms of tooth overgrowth vary depending on the severity of the condition. It may be so mild that only a slight elongation and misalignment of the incisors are noticeable; however, in more extreme cases, symptoms include:
- Malocclusion (misalignment) or abnormal protrusion of front teeth
- Excessive tooth grinding (bruxism)
- Weight loss due to inability to eat properly
- Ingestion of wood shavings or other materials found within cage environment (e.g., bedding, food)
- Difficulty swallowing
- Drooling/foaming at the mouth
- Pawing at the mouth.
Tooth overgrowth is a common problem in guinea pigs. It results from either malocclusion or injury to the mouth, preventing proper alignment of teeth and forcing them to continue growing abnormally.
Malocclusion happens when there is unequal growth between the top and bottom jaw. This results in misalignment of the front incisors (front teeth).
In addition, this causes overcrowding of the mouth and may ultimately lead to starvation as food cannot be properly eaten.
On occasion, an upper tooth may hang out through the palate causing trauma against lower front teeth (incisors). Malocclusion can also cause damage by forcing the tongue up against the surface on which it lies, leading to ulceration.
How Can I Shorten My Baby Guinea Pig’s Teeth?
As with any animal, it’s important to take your guinea pig to the veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment. A vet will be able to tell you if there actually is a problem, and provide the right suggestion.
In some cases, teeth can be shortened by simply filling them while the guinea pig is under anesthesia. In other cases, they might need to go through a surgical procedure.
Note: Make sure that you know exactly what happened so that you can avoid getting it again.
For example, if they were born with extra teeth then they could just be allowed to grow out and eventually fall out naturally.
Can Guinea Pigs Get Cavities?
Yes, cavities in guinea pigs are possible. According to a study dental cavities are one of the most common diseases in pet guinea pigs.
Cavities have been documented throughout veterinary history. In fact, this problem has become more evident over the past few decades because of better nutritional management and increased veterinary dental awareness.
Here are two signs to see if your guinea pigs have cavities:
- Bad breath (halitosis)
- Loose or broken teeth
Cavities in guinea pigs are caused by bacterial infection. Also, guinea pigs don’t brush their own teeth as humans do so the bacteria are left to reside on the surface while they accumulate and grow.
Preventing cavities in guinea pigs becomes easier once you understand what causes them. Diet is one big factor as feeding your guinea pig too much carbohydrates can contribute to tooth decay or formation.
Here’s what you should feed your guinea pig instead:
- Unlimited grass hay, not alfalfa hay
- 70% vegetables, 20% protein, and 10% carbohydrate (fruit) plus a multivitamin every once in a while
- Fresh veggies that are low in sugar like spinach and kale.
Why Is My Baby Guinea Pig Grinding Teeth?
Reason # 1: Dental Issue
Tooth grinding in baby guinea pigs may be a sign of an underlying dental issue.
Here are some examples:
- Oral abscess
- Odontoclastic resorptive lesions (ORN)
- Periodontal disease
- Epulis, or another type of neoplasia.
Any guinea pig with constant grinding of the teeth should have a thorough examination by a veterinarian to rule out these conditions before assuming it is normal and nothing needs to be done.
Supplementing Vitamin C intake might improve overall health for those animals with existing problems that are caused by stress or pain.
It may also be a sign of nausea, anorexia, or other signs of illness such as respiratory disease.
Females and larger males are more likely to grind their teeth than smaller animals. This is most common in neutered male guinea pigs.
Reason # 2: Your Guinea Pigs May Be Stress
Some behaviorists suggest that it could be stress-related when there is no dental component present. Stress can cause hormonal changes which affect appetite and digestion.
It is possible that the release of serotonin (a hormone) due to stress plays a part in tooth grinding behavior. Guinea pigs need environmental enrichment, especially for those living indoors, to reduce boredom and stress.
Some studies suggest that tooth grinding in guinea pigs may be a sign of agitation or intimidation. This is based on the observation of a high percentage of animals grinding their teeth when they are restrained for grooming, or anesthetized, or undergoing examination by a veterinarian (which would naturally induce stress).
What Happens if a Baby Guinea Pig Loses a Tooth?
If the guinea pig loses one of its teeth it will not need treatment, but it is important for owners of baby guinea pigs to regularly check that all the teeth are present and healthy so that they do not injure themselves or cause any infections in their mouths.
Losing a tooth is seemingly painless, and wouldn’t require much more attention than ensuring there aren’t any other problems with your pet’s mouth which might require veterinary attention.
A baby guinea pig may lose its tooth as early as 3-4 weeks old. Guinea pigs will often have a ‘milk line’ (where the first incisors are) before they actually emerge. This line can be used to estimate how long ago the guinea pig lost their milk teeth
If your piggy loses one tooth, they will usually lose another tooth on the opposite side of their mouth soon after. They might become clumsy during this time as they adapt to only having one incisor and can’t eat properly with just one ‘cheek’!
It is advised to keep an eye on guinea pigs’ teeth if you have more than one, as overcrowding and insufficient dietary fiber can lead to tooth decay.
If they lose too many teeth, then a guinea pig might need special treatment.
How to Feed a Guinea Pig With No Teeth
First and foremost, when your guinea pig is unable to eat on its own it is very important you get them to the veterinarian for an examination. It could be that they have a toothache which if not attended to will cause additional health issues as well. A toothache may also be an indicator of other health risks.
Here are some guidelines in the event you are caring for a guinea pig with no teeth who are having trouble eating:
Step 1: Blend the food to make it smaller for the baby guinea pig
Blend their usual meal into baby food or apple sauce, either at room temperature or warmed slightly. You can help in the blending process by using a hand blender, coffee grinder (do not use the one used for coffee), or a food processor.
If you use a blender or coffee grinder, make sure it is thoroughly clean and dried before using it again for your guinea pig’s food.
Step 2: Add some water on the food and some baby cereal to form a thick paste
Some baby guinea pigs like their meal mixed with some water as well to form a thin paste. Adding some baby cereal (like rice cereal) can also help in thickening the mixture so it becomes more like pudding in thickness.
Step 3: Feeding the baby guinea pig
Add a spoonful of this mix once every hour until your cavy starts eating on its own or showing improvement in appetite/appetite — do not feed them too much different food at any one time while trying to get them to eat as they could become sick by over-stuffing their stomach.
Your guinea pig may not eat the first few times you offer this meal to them, but don’t give up. Keep trying to get them to eat as much as possible and watch for any signs your guinea pig is unhappy with the change in food or feels sick.
Step 4: Try offering it a mixture of different types of food
If your guinea pig tolerates blended foods well and enjoys them, you can try offering a few different types of baby food mixed together into one meal. This way they are getting more nutrition than if you were just feeding them a single type of baby food or fruit puree at a time.
Remember that every case of an ill guinea pig is different — some pigs do better with a bland diet of blended veggies as their main food, while others do better on a normal diet with added baby food/applesauce. You’ll need to experiment to see what works best for your individual guinea pig.
Step 5: Add some supplements to the baby guinea pig’s food
If your guinea pig is not taking in much nutrition at all from the blended foods, consider adding some type of supplement (i.e., guinea pig vitamin powder or liquid drops).
Step 6: Keep Giving Your Baby Guinea Pig Hay and Water
Make sure you continue to offer hay and water to your guinea pig even if they aren’t eating much as these are both important aspects that provide nutrition.
If you have an extremely difficult case of a guinea pig with no teeth and no interest in any food, consult your veterinarian. Your vet may recommend syringe feeding formula or soft foods blended into a baby food mix by a professional animal care center or veterinary technician.
Guinea pigs with very few incisors cannot eat their usual pelleted diet anymore but that doesn’t mean they don’t deserve to live out the rest of their days happy and healthy!
Baby guinea pigs are born with teeth. These little rodents have a good set of teeth along their cheeks and in the front which always grow. Sometimes these teeth fall out and then grow back again, but they’re always there from birth. If you’ve been wondering to yourself if baby guinea pigs come into this world without any teeth at all, we can confirm that’s not true.