Can You Bathe a Guinea Pig?

That is a good question.  If you can bathe a guinea pig, how often should you do it and when should you do it. 

 Read on to find out the answers to these questions.

Can You Bathe a Guinea Pig?

Yes, you can bathe a guinea pig but it should be on a rare occasion if you groom them regularly.  Guinea pigs do not like baths and some dislike it more than others.  This means that it might be hard to keep them still while you wash them

Why Should You Bathe Your Guinea Pig?

You should bathe your guinea pig if they become smelly and dirty to help prevent them from getting skin irritations and infections.  It is also done to prevent flystrike.  This can happen due to the smell of the cage or the smell and dampness of their coat.  Either one attracts flies.  The flies will lay their eggs on the guinea pig, usually on their bottom or in their housing.  In time, they hatch into maggots, which start to eat at the flesh of your guinea pig.  They start to bury themselves deeper into the guinea pig, releasing deadly toxins.

This can lead to toxic shock and death if it is not treated by a veterinarian immediately.  The guinea pigs condition can deteriorate quickly.  In the hot months, the eggs of the fly can hatch within hours.  It is a very painful and dangerous condition.

How Often do You Bathe a Guinea Pig

For a long-haired guinea pig, you should bathe them about every three months but you should check them regularly to see if they need to be bathed sooner.  The short hair guinea pig does not get as dirty as the long-haired ones so they will not need it as often.

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How do You Bathe a Guinea Pig

If your guinea pig is nervous about getting a bath, you need to be very calm and gentle.  This is especially true if you have one that is not used to being handled.  When you are ready to bathe your guinea pig, you should have the following:

  • A baby bath or large washing bowl that is only used for your guinea pig and nothing else.
  • Two towels for drying.  They should be big enough to wrap your guinea pig up in, soft, and absorbent.
  • An extra towel should be handy if you accidentally spill some water.  You can put it under the tub you are using for a bath to catch the spills.
  • Shampoo that is made especially for guinea pigs as it is mild and designed for their skin.

Sometimes they can be wiggly and will try to escape.  If you use a baby bath or bowl that is on the floor, it will reduce the risk of them escaping and falling from a high place to the floor or you accidentally drop them.

When putting water in the tub to wash them, make sure that it is lukewarm and that you have the drying towels and shampoo nearby where you can easily grab them.  You should also have a large jug or picture filled with lukewarm water to rinse your guinea pig.

Take your guinea pig and gently lower them into the bath, holding them with one hand under their stomach to prevent them from going underwater.   Use your other hand to put water over their back and bottom but not over their head or face.  Squeeze a little shampoo on their back and gently massage it in.  Make sure that you get under their stomach and under their bottom, which is where they will need the most cleaning.

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Use the water from the tub to put handfuls over their body and underneath to get rid of as much soap as possible.  Then you can use the jug or container of water to rinse them the rest of the way off.  Once all the soap is out, take them out with one hand under their belly and the other under their bottom.  Wrap them up and sit down with your guinea pig on your lap so you can dry them off.

How to Dry Your Guinea Pig After a Bath

Gently rub your guinea pig dry but not vigorously as they do not like it.  Use a gentle massaging motion.  Some say you can use a hairdryer on your guinea pig but the noise may scare them and they could accidentally get burnt.  If they live outside in a cage, make sure that they are completely dry so they will not get a chill.

After drying your guinea pig with one towel, use the other one to dry them some more or you can use it to keep them warm while they dry naturally.  To help a guinea pig dry off completely, there should be an indoor pen so they can run around.

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Side Effects of Bathing Too Much 

When you bathe a guinea pig too much or too often, it can dry out their skin.  It will also strip their coat of essential oils that keep their skin in good condition and can cause their skin to itch.  For some guinea pigs, bathing them is an upsetting experience and they just do not like it.

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Conclusion

  • In some guinea pigs, especially the males the grease gland may become a little smelly so it should be cleaned regularly.  It does not require a bath to do this.
  • To keep bathing to a minimum, regularly groom your guinea pig.  This will remove a lot of dirt from their fur.
  • Keep their housing clean will help to keep their coats clean.  It will keep the long-haired guinea pigs from dragging their fur in wet bedding, dirt, or debris.
  • Check their ears inside weekly and clean the skin by wiping them with a warm moist cotton wool pad.
  • Guinea pigs love to wash and should not require bathing that often as long as their cage is kept clean.
  • You should not bathe your guinea pig more than once a month.
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