It is no secret that guinea pigs are pretty easy to maintain and care for. However, they still need to be groomed at times by their owners. Amongst the popular ways of taking care of guinea pigs is regular brushing of the fur and trimming of nails.
Bathing is another popular way of caring for pets, so it’s being discussed with guinea pigs. Unlike rabbits that might get shocked from being bathed, guinea pigs are tough and can withstand the occasional bathe if the need arises. Hence, you need to know exactly how to bathe a guinea pig when your piggy needs it.
Should You Bathe Your Guinea Pig?
There is no straightforward answer to this question as it so much depends on lots of factors. Generally, guinea pigs are known to be neat animals. They work a lot on self-grooming and have a pretty neutral smell. Generally, when you groom your guinea pig well and its self-grooming, you mightn’t need to bathe it.
However, some conditions might warrant giving your piggy a bathe. Sometimes, guinea pigs get smelly due to infection and disease. When this happens, you should consult a veterinarian who might recommend bathing after treatment.
Other cases where your guinea pig might require bathing is if the cage is left unkempt. Similarly, longhaired guinea pigs need to be bathed when urine and feces get stuck in their fur. Hence, whether to bathe your little buddy or not, it so much depends on how well you take care of it.
How Frequently Should I Bathe My Piggy?
As earlier stated, a healthy guinea pig usually doesn’t need bathing. Some guinea pig owners have never bathed their guinea pigs for several years. It’s not for a lack of care but because they don’t have a cause for it.
Bathing a guinea pig frequently and unnecessarily is bad for its overall wellbeing. This can lead to dryness in their coat and remove some of the oily substances that keep it refreshed. Consequently, it gets infected which might prove fatal. Moreover, there are other ways to groom a guinea pig that’ll keep it neat and healthy aside bathing.
For a healthy shorthaired guinea pig, you shouldn’t bathe it more than a couple of times in a year. However, a longhaired piggy in extreme cases shouldn’t be bathed more than four times in a year (three months interval). All in all, it depends on you and your piggy’s needs, but never should you bathe a guinea pig unnecessarily.
Items Needed to Bathe a Guinea Pig
It is bad practice to think of picking up items at the time you need them when bathing your guinea pig. The following materials should be within your reach the moment you decide to give your piggy a bathe.
- Bowl/Sink/Plastic Container: This is where you’ll bathe your guinea pig. The bowl or sink should be spacious enough for you to get your two hands into it and support your piggy if there’s a need for it.
- A cup or Jug: Pouring of lukewarm water will be easier and more accurate with the use of a cup or jug. It also makes the process faster than using your hand.
- A pair of Towels: Leaving your piggy wet for long after bathing might give it chills. It can also cause serious skin disease and infection. Hence, it’s important to dry them well and completely after bathe.
- Soft brush: This is very important for longhaired guinea pigs. It is easier to brush their fur after a bath as it will be softer and easy to untangle.
- Slip-preventive mat: Guinea pigs are known to be squeaky. Hence, you will need a mat at the bottom of the bowl to prevent it from slipping and give it balance.
- Shampoo for Guinea Pig: This is one of the most important items needed to bathe a guinea pig. It can be the deal-breaker. It would be best if you used a shampoo specially made for small animals or guinea pigs. You can also use fragrance-free baby shampoo. Using the wrong shampoo can dry a guinea pig’s skin and sometimes irritates. Also, guinea pigs are very sensitive to smell. Hence, an unscented shampoo is the safest to use.
- Hairdryer: This is optional as the drying can be done with a towel. But it helps in ensuring that the fur is completely dry. The heat level should be kept as low as possible low and must be 20 to 30 cm away from your piggy.
Make sure you hold the dryer against your hand at all times to feel the temperature. If it’s unbearable for you, it will be too much for your piggy.
Tips To Hold Onto Before A Bathing Your Piggy
- Your piggy must feel safe throughout the process. It starts with you being calm and gentle with it.
- Never in any circumstance submerge your guinea pig in water.
- Try putting its legs into the water first before the body. This will give it a first feeling of the temperature of the water.
Steps Required to Bathe Your Guinea Pig Effortlessly
Bathing a guinea pig is about the easiest thing to do. Below are the steps required to go about the process without fuss
Step 1: Fill the bowl with lukewarm water of about 2 to 3 cm above ground level.
Step 2: Place your guinea pig gently into the water and use the cup to pour the water all over his/her body. Ensure water does not get to their eyes or ears directly.
Step 3: Rub a small amount of shampoo all over its fur.
Step 4: Rinse your piggy until there are no traces of shampoo on it anymore.
Step 5: Clean the face with a cloth or towel that has been soaked in warm water. Ensure the towel is not too damp.
Getting Your Guinea Pig Dried After Bathing
Immediately you’re through with bathing your piggy, you should wrap him in a towel. Try rubbing him gently and get most of the moisture out with the first towel.
When the first towel gets visibly wet, use the second towel to complete the job. To ensure your piggy is completely dry, you can use a hairdryer. The hairdryer should be set at a low temperature and kept about 30 cm away from it. Also, try not to use a noisy hairdryer as it might scare your buddy.
Tips on Keeping your Piggy Clean
A clean and healthy guinea pig rarely needs a bath. It also seldom gets infected and is mostly happy and lively. The following tips are vital in keeping your piggy clean at all times.
- Replace its bedding often; it is good practice to do this every morning.
- In case of infection, wash the cage with a solution of water and bleach. Otherwise, ensure you clean his cage weekly.
- Ensure your piggy’s cage and play path are free from feces and dirt at all times.
- Clean your piggy’s bottom area with a towel soaked in warm water once in a while.
- For longhaired guinea pigs, you should brush their hair every day to avoid matting.
As you’ve seen, nothing prevents you from keeping your guinea pig healthy all the time. If you’re undecided on whether and how frequently to bathe your guinea pig at the start of this guide, now you have the needed information. So go ahead and keep your piggy healthy and safe from infections and abscesses.
Do you’ve experience bathing a guinea pig? Let me know in the comment right now!