Teddy Guinea Pig (2021 Comprehensive Care Guide)

If you’ve ever wanted a real life teddy bear, then the Teddy guinea pig is the closest you can get to achieving one!

With their fluffy fur and cute Roman nose, the Teddy guinea pig is a charming little pet for both children and adults.

If you want to know more about them then read on…

I’ve owned a lot of different guinea pig breeds over the years, from the Peruvian guinea all the way to the Skinny guinea pig, so I’ll be sharing my tips, tricks and information on keeping the Teddy guinea pig in this ultimate care guide!

Without any further ado…

Appearance and Characteristics

Coat

The Teddy guinea pig breed has a short and wiry coat, though their fur is still very soft to touch.

They get their name due to their teddy bear appearance.

Teddy guinea pigs can have satin coats, which are sleeker and shinier than normal coats.

NOTE

The Teddy guinea pig is frequently confused with the American guinea pig as they both have a similar nose structure, but the Teddy has a much thicker coat.

Colors

Swiss Teddy Guinea Pig
Swiss Teddy Guinea Pig

This breed comes in a wide range of colors and shades – they can have solid colors, tricolors, roans, and more.

The most common colors Teddy guinea pigs come in include white, chestnut, brown, gold, and grey.

Body

The Teddy guinea pig has a similar body shape to the American guinea pig. Both breeds reach a similar size and length, though Teddy guinea pigs have much denser and fluffier fur.

Skin

Compared to other breeds of guinea pigs, the Teddy cavy is prone to skin problems, particularly dry skin and skin parasites like ringworm.

This breed should not be bathed very often (3 times a year tops!) to prevent coat irritation.

Size

Teddy guinea pigs are slightly smaller in weight than other breeds, reaching around 1.5lbs to 3lbs.

The maximum length they normally reach is 12 inches.

Distinct Features of the Teddy Guinea Pig

Guinea Pig Face
Guinea Pig Face

Nose

The Teddy guinea pig breed has a Roman nose which is wide and curves slightly upwards, giving them a bear-like quality.

Dense Coat

Unlike the Peruvian guinea pig and other long-haired guinea pigs breeds, the Teddy bear guinea pig has short fur.

Their coat is fluffy and looks quite rough, but is actually very soft to touch.

Teddy guinea pigs can also have a satin coat, which is much glossier than the standard coat.

Personally, I love the satin Teddy guinea pig coat – it looks so silky and velvety!

Are Teddy Guinea Pigs Friendly?

The Teddy guinea pig is friendly, provided you put in the time to gain their trust.

As guinea pigs are prey animals, they can be a bit wary of their owners when first brought home.

Make sure you spend a lot of time with your Teddy bear guinea pig and give them the best care to help them see you as a friend, not a threat.

My Cavies

When I first got my guinea pigs, Jake and Finn, they were extremely shy and nervous around me.

But, over the course of the month with lots of praise and encouragement, they began to trust me and realized I wasn’t so scary after all!

Now, my guinea pigs always love to be the center of the attention and excitedly run up to me whenever I walk past their cage.

Are Boy or Girl Teddy Guinea Pigs Nicer?

A Pair of Teddy Guinea Pigs
A Pair of Teddy Guinea Pigs

As a rule, male guinea pigs are typically a little more confident and friendlier than females.

Female guinea pigs can be shy and timid, which makes them a little harder to train and bond with.

That said, a lot of it boils down to your guinea pig’s personality.

Different Personalities

All guinea piggies are different – some will be sociable and outgoing, while others will be wary and reserved.

I’ve had female guinea pigs that have been very affectionate and loving, and male guinea pigs that have been pretty antisocial.

If you want to increase your chances of getting a friendly guinea pig, then a male is your best bet.

Do Teddy Guinea Pigs Bite?

Guinea pigs don’t normally bite but will bite if they feel threatened or unhappy. Even if your pet is scared, piggies much prefer to flee than lash out.

Teddy guinea pigs can nip as a way to communicate with you. This is typically a very gentle bite that doesn’t hurt or break the skin.

If your guinea pig softly nips you, they might be telling you that they don’t want to be held/touched, something hurts, or they need to go to the bathroom.

It could even be because they mistook your fingers for food.

Indicators

Lifting a Guinea Pig
Lifting a Guinea Pig

You can usually get a good grasp of how your piggy is feeling by the way they act when you hold them – if they start to squirm or fidget, that’s a good indicator that they want to be left alone or need the toilet.

This wrigglinness can be accompanied with a soft nip, which will gradually become harder if you don’t get the information / message the first time.

Soft Bites

When my guinea pigs have had enough of being handled, they will give me a gentle nibble as a way to tell me “I’ve had enough cuddles for now!”.

Guinea pigs can also bite hard and break the skin.

While instances like this are rare, they can still happen if your pet is frightened, stressed, or in pain.

The only time I’ve had a painful bite from one of my guinea pigs was when I accidentally touched a tender area on my piggy’s body.

It was actually a good thing as it brought my attention to a minor cut on my cavy’s body, allowing me to treat it!

NOTE

So, if your Teddy guinea pig is biting or nipping you, don’t automatically assume they’re being mean! It’s most likely due to one of the reasons above.

Do Teddy Guinea Pigs Make Good Pets for Children?

Teddy guinea pigs can make excellent pets for children due to their friendly and docile temperament.

Do Teddy Guinea Pigs Get Attached to Humans?

Teddy guinea pigs can become attached to their owners, especially if you put in the time and effort to tame them.

Any guinea pig breed can be loving and affectionate little pets!

Since I got my two guinea pigs, they’ve become a huge part of my family – I love spending time with them, and vice versa.

Lifespan – How Long Do Teddy Guinea Pigs Live?

Guinea Pig on a Blue Surface
Guinea Pig on a Blue Surface

Teddy guinea pigs have an average life expectancy of 4 to 8 years.

However, their lifespan is largely influenced by genetics, diet, and environment.

To help make sure your Teddy guinea pig lives as long as possible, provide them with the best care.

Give them a large cage, a well-balanced diet, and generally ensure they are a happy little piggy.

Maintenance

Do Teddy Guinea Pigs Smell?

A Teddy guinea pig doesn’t normally smell, but a dirty cage or illness can certainly create a pungent odor.

If your Teddy guinea pig is a bit stinky, check them over for signs of a skin infection or other health issues.

Guinea pigs with diarrhea or dirty grease glands can be smelly.

If your Teddy guinea pig has dirty grease glands, it will look like they have dark earwax on their rump.

NOTE

Male Teddy guinea pigs typically have more active grease glands than females.

You can care for your cavy’s grease glands by giving their bottom a quick bath with some guinea pig shampoo or a bit of coconut oil.

Size

Despite being a small animal, guinea pigs need a relatively large cage.

The minimum cage size for a single guinea pig is 7.5 square feet, and 7.5 square feet to 10.5 square for two pets.

Obviously, if you have multiple guinea pigs, you’ll need an even bigger cage to ensure all your pets have enough room.

NOTE

If you keep your Teddy guinea pig in a tiny cage, then they will become very stressed and could develop behavioral issues like biting or fighting with cagemates.

Best Cage Beddings for Guinea Pig Teddy

Guinea Pig on a Pillow
Guinea Pig on a Pillow

Bedding is a necessity in any guinea pig cage to help absorb urine/waste, spilled water, and reduce odor.

It also provides your pets with a cozy and comfortable place to sleep.

There are a few different types of beddings you can use for your guinea pig cage, including paper-based bedding, aspen wood shavings, and even fleece blankets.

Fleece Blankets

Fleece blankets are a popular choice for many guinea pig owners as they’re comfortable and inexpensive.

When it’s time to clean your guinea pig’s cage, simply throw the blankets in the washing machine to clean.

Unsuitable Cage Beddings for Pig Teddy Guinea

There are some cage beddings that are unsuitable for guinea pigs, even ones that are targeted for small animals.

Types

These include pine/cedar wood shavings, kitty litter, corn cob cage bedding, and straw.

Cedar and pine wood shavings contain aromatic oils that can cause respiratory distress and skin irritation in guinea pigs, so avoid them at all costs.

Beddings To Avoid

Teddy Guinea Pig on Top of Hay Bedding
Teddy Guinea Pig on Top of Hay Bedding

Kitty litter often contains ingredients like sodium bentonite clay that can be toxic and cause intestinal blockages to your pet if ingested.

Corn cob bedding is also dangerous to guinea pigs if consumed as it can cause blockages.

It also has a tendency to get moldy when wet.

Lastly, straw is unsuitable for all guinea pig breeds as it has sharp and rough edges that could irritate your pet’s eyes or nose.

Types of Cages

Commercial Cage

A pet store cage or hutch can be a good choice for a Teddy guinea pig, but you need to make sure the one you buy comes under the minimum cage size requirements (7.5 square feet for one cavy!).

Most commercial cages are too small for one guinea pig, let alone two! If you want to house your Teddy guinea pig in a large commercial cage, be prepared to spend a hefty amount of money.

A cheaper option to give your Teddy guinea pig a lot of cage space is to make your own (more on that below!).

Coroplast and Cube Grid Cage

A cage made from storage cube grids and Coroplast (corrugated plastic) is a great option for your Teddy guinea pig.

Not only is this type of cage cheap to make, but it also allows you to make sure your pet has plenty of space as you’ll be in control of how big you craft it!

I use a C&C cage for my two guinea pigs, which they absolutely love. I used to keep them in a commercial, but since switching to a C&C one, they’ve been much happier.

Here’s a quick video on how to build one…

How to Make a Good C&C Cage

Homemade/Custom Cage

C&C cages aren’t too hard to make, so even if your DIY isn’t your forte, you’ll be able to get one up and running in no time.

All you need is corrugated plastic (found online or at sign making stores) and cube grids (also found online or at big box stores), as well as some standard connectors and cable ties to attach all the parts together.

If you can’t get your hands on Coroplast or cube grids, as long as the materials are safe for guinea pigs, you can craft a cage out of almost anything!

NOTE

I’ve known Teddy guinea owners who have made their own hutches out of wood and mesh, so if you’ve got a knack for DIY, then why not give it a try?

Activity and Exercise for Pig Guinea

To keep your Teddy bear guinea pig breed in good shape, you need to provide them with ways to exercise outside of their cage.

You can do this by putting them in a run, an enclosed play area, or even a safe room/hallway to burn off some steam.

Give your Teddy guinea pig things to do and play like activity toys, tunnels, chews, or even an obstacle course.

Frequency

You should provide your pig Teddy guinea with around 3 to 4 hours of free range time every day.

My cavies love having free range time – it can be hard to get them back in their cage once it’s over!

Frequency

Teddy guinea pigs need a quick brush every week to keep their coat shiny and glossy. Simply use a soft brush to go over your guinea pig’s dense coat.

Only brush your pet’s dense fur in the direction it lays.

If your pet has some loose fur, you can dampen your hand slightly so the hair sticks to the palm of your hand.

NOTE

Some guinea pigs tolerate or like being brushed, while others absolutely hate it. My two love being brushed – they’d sit there being pampered all day if they could.

Ear Cleaning Care

In addition to grooming, guinea pigs need to have their ears cleaned from time to time. Failing to do so can cause bacterial infections, earwax buildup, and even parasitic infections.

I like to clean my two guinea pigs’ ears every two weeks, but I examine their ears for mites and other problems every day.

To care for your guinea pig’s ears, use a cotton swab and lightly moisten it with mineral oil or a guinea pig ear cleaner.

TIP

Wipe the swab over the outer surface of each ear, but never put the tip inside the ear!

Nail Trimming

Trimming Guinea Pig Nails
Trimming Guinea Pig Nails

Nail care is another crucial component of your Teddy guinea pig’s grooming routine.

Long nails can make it difficult for your animal to walk and move, which is why you need to give them a trim every month or so.

If your pet’s nails are beginning to curl, then that’s an indicator that they have gotten too long.

You can get nail clippers designed for cats or small animals, or even human ones for your Teddy guinea pig.

NOTE

Don’t get dog nail clippers as they’re too big for Teddy guinea pigs or any other guinea pig breed.

Bathing

What you may not find when searching for information is that Teddy guinea pigs don’t need to be bathed frequently unless they are particularly dirty or smelly.

If your pet is elderly, sick, or unable to groom themselves properly, then you may need to bathe them around once a month.

For otherwise healthy pets, only bathe them when they really need it. Most guinea pigs don’t like being bathed – the whole ordeal can be very stressful for them.

How To Bath

Teddy Guinea Pig after bath Photo by acrossthesea
Teddy Guinea Pig after bath Photo by acrossthesea
  1. To bathe your Teddy guinea pig, fill a basin or sink with around a 1/4 inch of lukewarm water. Slowly lower your cavy’s lower body into the water and slowly pour water over them using a jug or your hands.
  2. Once their dense coat is wet, lift them out of the water and squeeze a small amount of guinea pig soap onto your hands. Lather your Teddy guinea pig up and then rinse them off.
  3. Make sure you shield your guinea pig’s eyes, ears, and nose with your hands when rinsing them off.
  4. Now that your Teddy guinea pig is all clean, get a soft and lightweight towel to dry them off. You can also use a hairdryer on the lowest setting to get their dense coat dryer quicker.

How Often Should I Bathe My Teddy Guinea Pig?

You should bathe your Teddy guinea pig only when necessary, like when they’re overly dirty or smelly.

My guinea pigs only need a bath once every few months, but elderly or sick pets might need a bath around once a month.

Teddy Guinea Pig Diet – What Can Teddy Guinea Pigs Eat?

Hay

Hay is very important for Teddy bear guinea pig.

Not only does hay provides your animal with fiber to help digestion, but it also helps wear down their teeth.

Like all rodents, guinea pigs have teeth that continuously grow through their lives.

Timothy Hay

Grass hay such as Timothy hay is the best type of hay for your Teddy guinea pig.

Timothy hay is high in fiber but low in fat, calories, protein, and calcium.

Amount

You should provide your pet with an unlimited supply of grass hay every day – they need to eat a lot of it to keep their digestive system healthy.

Timothy hay or another type of grass hay should make up 80% of your pet’s diet.

Vegetables

Assorted Vegetables
Assorted Vegetables

Vegetables should be given to your Teddy guinea pig daily, especially ones that are high in vitamin C. Guinea pigs cannot make vitamin C themselves, so they need it supplemented in their diet through vegetables, fruits, and pellets.

You should provide your pet with around a cup of vegetables each day – offer them a variety of veggies to ensure their nutritional needs are being met.

Types

Leafy greens like cilantro, parsley, romaine lettuce, and kale should be the main components of your guinea pig’s daily vegetable intake.

Other vegetables like carrot and zucchini are great for your piggy but should not be fed as often (a few times a week).

My cavies also like bell peppers and broccoli, but kale is definitely the veggie they love the most!

TIP

Make sure you remove any leftover vegetables within a day so your pet doesn’t get sick from consuming spoiled food.

Fruits

Fruits are a good addition to your guinea pig’s diet, but they shouldn’t be given too often due to their high sugar content.

Giving your Teddy guinea pig too many fruits can lead to diarrhea or bladder problems, so only offer them to your animal a couple of times a week at most.

However, fruits are an excellent healthy treat for your Teddy guinea pig, particularly if you select ones that are high in vitamin C.

Types

Tomato, cucumber (yep, they’re both fruits!), kiwi, mango, papaya, blueberries, melon, apple (remove the seeds first), and strawberries are all fantastic fruits to give your pet every so often.

Orange is another good choice as it’s rich in vitamin C, but it should be fed sparingly and in small portions as it can lead to mouth sores.

I love to feed my two guinea pigs cucumber on hot days as it’s a wonderfully refreshing and hydrating snack that helps keep my cavies cool.

Pellets

Food Pellets
Food Pellets

Alongside hay and vegetables, Teddy guinea pigs need a portion of guinea pig pellets or nuggets every day.

These pellets should be high in vitamin C and low in fat to make sure your pet is getting everything they need to live happily and healthily.

The majority of adult Teddy guinea pig breeds need around ⅛ cup of pellets each day, but young piggies (under 6 months of age) and pregnant/nursing sows will require an unlimited amount of pellets.

TIP

Avoid guinea pig muesli or foods that contain seeds, Seeds are high in fat and can be a choking hazard to your animal.

When Should I Feed My Teddy Guinea Pig?

Feed your guinea pig once in the morning and once in the evening. I normally feed my guinea pigs around 9AM and then again at around 5PM.

 In fact, I always prepare my guinea pigs’ meals before I make mine!

How Often?

Teddy Guinea Pig Eating Outside a Cage
Teddy Guinea Pig Eating Outside a Cage

You should feed your Teddy guinea pigs two times a day.

Make sure you follow a consistent feeding schedule to keep your guinea pigs at a healthy weight.

Cavies will overeat if given the chance, so don’t be tempted to feed them more often than two times a day.

Overfeeding

As I mentioned above, Teddy guinea pigs and other guinea pig breeds will gorge themselves if they are given too much food.

This can lead to obesity, which increases your pet’s risk of diseases like diabetes and heart problems.

Your Teddy guinea pig’s diet should be made up of 80% hay, 15% fresh vegetables/herbs, and 5% pellets to keep them in good health.

What I Shouldn’t Feed My Teddy Guinea Pigs

There are a lot of foods that guinea pigs can’t have due to them being poisonous, toxic, or just plain not good for them.

Below are some foods that you should never give your Teddy bear guinea pig.

  • Dairy products (like yogurt, eggs, milk, and cheese) – Guinea pigs are lactose intolerant and lack the enzymes in their GI tract to digest dairy products.
  • Meat and insects – Cavies are herbivores, so meat-based foods are of no benefit in their diet. In fact, giving them insects or meat can make them severely sick.
  • Bulb foods – White potatoes, garlic, onions, and other bulb foods are poisonous to cavies.
  • Avocado – As avocados are very fatty, feeding them to your Teddy guinea pig can slow down their digestive tract. Avocado pits and skin is also poisonous.
  • Leeks, chives, shallots, and onions – These are toxic to guinea pigs and can lead to blood disorders. They’re also toxic to other animals like dogs, cats, and hamsters.
  • Rhubarb – Any part of this vegetable is poisonous to guinea pigs, even the leaves.
  • Cauliflower and cabbage – These two veggies, alongside other vegetables known for being gassy, can cause bloat in guinea pigs.

Compatible Breeds

Teddy guinea pigs can live with other guinea pig breeds, so you don’t need to house them with only Teddy cavies.

Gestation Period and Pregnancy

The Teddy guinea pig has a gestation period of between 59 and 72 days, but the average is 69 days.

Litter sizes vary from one to eight, but most guinea pigs have three pups.

Sows going through their first pregnancy tend to have smaller litters, usually one to two.

Do Guinea Pigs Eat Their Babies?

Mother Teddy Guinea Pig with Babies.jpg
Mother Teddy Guinea Pig with Babies.jpg

Guinea pigs can kill and eat their babies, but this is very uncommon.

If your Teddy guinea pig is pregnant, you need to make sure you provide her with a varied diet.

Why Cavies Eat Their Young

One of the main reasons why cavies eat their young is due to malnourishment.

Additionally, a female Teddy guinea pig may eat her pups if she has gone through too many pregnancies in a short period of time.

Male guinea pigs can also kill their young if they suspect they’re not the father.

Vitamin C Deficiency/Scurvy

If your Teddy guinea pig doesn’t get enough vitamin C in their diet, they can become deficient in the compound.

This can lead to scurvy, which affects your pet’s ability to produce collagen.

Your Teddy guinea pig needs collagen for healthy bones and tissue.

When their collagen levels are compromised, it can result in skin and joint problems, or even blood clotting issues.

Cause

Most of the time, this deficiency is caused by improper nutrition.

However, it can also occur even if your Teddy guinea pig is getting enough vitamin C in its diet. Other health issues can restrict your cavy’s ability to absorb this compound or even lessen their appetite.

Here’s a video about giving guinea pigs vitamin c.

Vitamin C For Guinea Pigs – It’s Confusing!

If your Teddy guinea pig breed has scurvy, they may develop symptoms such as:

  • Poor appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Lethargy and weakness
  • Swollen joints and poor mobility
  • Diarrhea/loose stools
  • Rough coat
  • Spots or subcutaneous bleeding under the skin surface
  • Cuts or small wounds that bleed excessively or are slow to heal
  • Internal bleeding in the muscles, brain, intestines, membranes around the skull
  • Sudden death (if left untreated)

If you notice any of the above signs in your Teddy guinea pig breed, book a vet appointment as soon as possible so you can get them checked out.

You can treat and prevent scurvy by ensuring your Teddy guinea pig gets enough vegetables and pellets that are high in vitamin C.

Vitamin C supplements are also worth looking at, but make sure you talk to your vet first.

Diarrhea

Diarrhea or loose stools in guinea pigs can be a sign of improper nutrition (low fiber or low vitamin C), dental issues, and bacterial infections.

It could also be due to feeding your Teddy guinea pig too many fruits/vegetables or suddenly switching their pellets.

The latter can be avoided by gradually combining your pet’s old pellets with their new pellets for a week (minimum).

This will help your Teddy guinea pig get used to their new food.

Other Possible Causes

Another reason why your Teddy guinea pig might have diarrhea is due to dental issues, which may make it harder for them to chew their food.

If your Teddy guinea pig has problems with their teeth, they may drool, be reluctant to eat, or have mouth sores.

One of the most serious causes for diarrhea in cavies is a bacterial infection of the gastrointestinal tract.

These can be caused by bacterias such as Salmonella, E.coli, Yersinia pseudotuberculosis, and Clostridium.

Treatment

Final Video: A guinea pig with diarrhoea passes and eats greyish watery stools. What to do?

If your Teddy guinea pig has a bacterial infection in their gut, they will require immediate veterinary attention.

These bacterial infections can be passed onto humans, so use caution when handling your pet and cleaning their habitat if you suspect they are unwell.

A Teddy guinea pig suffering from a GI bacterial infection should have their cage cleaned using 10 percent bleach solution or a household disinfectant.

NOTE

Make sure you rinse your pet’s habitat thoroughly after disinfecting to prevent skin and respiratory irritations.

Gloves are also necessary when handling a sick guinea pig to help prevent the infection from spreading to you.

Final Thoughts

WIth their teddy-like appearance and friendly temperament, a Teddy guinea pig is a lovely small pet to bring into a family.

In fact, any guinea pig breed is an enjoyable and rewarding animal to own.

I love my two guinea pigs – despite their small size, they’ve got huge personalities and life with them is never a dull moment.

I hope I helped you learn a little more about the Teddy guinea pig and how to care for this breed.

Did the Teddy guinea pig win your heart over? If so, what’s your new pet’s (or pets’!) name?

Let me know on social media, and take a look at our other guinea pig care guides if you’re itching for more on all things guinea pig!

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Michelle Dees
Michelle Dees
Founder of GuineaPigOwner. I love to keep and learn about my guinea pigs and have spent the last 10 years learning and teaching everything there is to know about guinea pig care. 🐹