Whilst it isn’t an everyday task, bathing guinea pigs is an essential skill that every guinea pig owner should process. Above all, guinea pigs are relatively clean creatures. However, due to a variety of factors, their fur can begin to smell.
Find Out More:
- Should You Wash A Guinea Pig?
- How Often Should I Wash My Guinea Pig?
- What Can I Use To Wash My Guinea Pig?
- How To Bath A Guinea Pig
- Bathing Your Guinea Pigs Step By Step
- After Bathing Guinea Pigs Care Routines
- Sweet Smelling Guinea Pigs
Should You Wash A Guinea Pig?
Guinea pigs are similar to cats in the respect that they are both excellent self cleaners. As soon as they spot grime or dirt appear on their fur, they make every attempt to clean it off. If you have multiple guinea pigs, you may notice them helping each other with those hard to reach areas too. It’s a natural instinct to keep themselves free and clear of debris.
Despite their self-cleaning efforts, occasion bathing guinea pigs is required. If a guinea pig has mites or is extremely smelly then they will require bathing. This is why the skill of bathing guinea pigs is essential.
How Often Should I Wash My Guinea Pig?
Guinea pigs can find the whole bathing experience very stressful, along with some owners. With that in mind, only bathe your guinea pig when they are especially dirty, in need of mites treatment (contact your vet first) or if they are very hot.
Guinea pigs only really require a bath between 2 – 4 times a year if at all. Skinny Pigs (guinea pigs without hair) should not be bathed unless directed by a vet. This is due to their skin being extremely sensitive.
Don’t be tempted to bathe your guinea pig regularly such as once a month. Bathing actually strips guinea pigs of the natural oils in their skin that keeps it healthy. Excessive washing removes this oil and cab create dry, cracked or irritated skin.
What Can I Use To Wash My Guinea Pig?
It can be tempted to use incorrect shampoos such as that intended for humans or even dish soap! Please don’t use anything that isn’t specially created for guinea pigs as you will be causing them harm. If you do not have the correct shampoo, simply delay your piggies bath until you have the correct one.
Here is a list of items that you will require:
- Plenty of time to both settle, wash and fully dry your guinea pigs. If you have multiple guinea pigs that requires bathing you will require much more time!
- Specially formulating guinea pig shampoo
- Guinea pig brushes and combs
- A sink or big bowl
- Several towels
- Bath thermometer (optional)
- Hair dryer with a cool setting for drying
How To Bath A Guinea Pig
Always ensure you have plenty of time before bathing guinea pigs. Its often takes much longer than you think! If you have multiple guinea pigs that are particularly territorial then it’s often to bathe them all at once. Guinea pigs use scent to recognize their cage mates and if one piggies scent changes then fights can erupt.
Make sure that your guinea pig is calm and content before bathing. An adjudicated guinea pig should not be forced to go along with it. Take plenty of breaks if your guinea pig is ensured and give plenty of cuddles and treats.
Bathing Your Guinea Pigs Step By Step
Fill a bowl or sink with lukewarm water. Allow the water to fill to just below your guinea pigs legs. Your guinea pig should never be forced to swim or drown in the bath! Test the temperature of the water using your elbow or a bath thermometer.
Put a washcloth or towel into the bottom of the filled sink or bowl. This provides somewhere for your guinea pigs feet to grip when they enter the water.
Give your piggie to be bathed a stroke and a fuss. Then carefully lower them into water. Keep hold of them and allow them to get used to the feeling of being wet. Don’t rush or let go of your piggie.
Once your guinea pig is comfortable, slowly pour some water using the cup over their body. Never wash a guinea pigs face, head, eyes and ears.
Get your guinea pigs body wet and then start to add shampoo. Carefully lather it into their fur.
Wash the shampoo off ensuring it is completely removed. If the water is very soiled then refill repeat steps 1- 5 again. Your guinea pig will need to be wrapped in a towel and kept secure whilst these steps are repeated. Always enlist an extra set of hands if you have a very dirty piggie!
Now your guinea pig should be wet, free of shampoo and still have a dry head and ears. Carefully lift your guinea pig out of the water and wrap it in a dry towel. Your guinea pigs body temperature will start to drop as soon as they are out of the water so it is essential that they are completely dry before being returned to their cage.
Reward your guinea pig with some cuddles and a few treats. Set your hairdryer to its coolest or lowest setting and dry from a distance.
Return your clean and completely dry piggie to a nice clean cage. If their cage needs cleaning and you have had your hands busy bathing them, put them into a playpen. Now you can clean the cage ready for their arrival. Reward your piggie with some more treats!
After Bathing Guinea Pigs Care Routines
Many guinea pig owners take the opportunity to perform some grooming functions after their piggies bath. This can include grooming and fur trimming. It is often easier to give your piggie a fur cut when the fur is wet as it makes it easier to work out knots.
Likewise cutting particularly strong guinea pig nails is easier after they have had a bath.
Always take the lead from your guinea pig as not all guinea pigs are happy to have anything extra added after a stressful bath. Work with your guinea pigs comfort level and watch out for signs that they are getting stressed or irritated.
Sweet Smelling Guinea Pigs
Remember to always work with your guinea pig. They should never be forced into a bath even if they are really dirty. A stressed guinea pig can be fatal. If your guinea pig really needs a wash but is unable to be bathed then simply sponge clean it and give plenty of treats!