How to Bathe a Guinea Pig

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Make yourself aware of the risks.,
Understand when you should bathe your guinea pig.,
Know what age is safe.,
Check with a vet.,
Purchase a suitable shampoo and/or conditioner for your guinea pig.,
Avoid dust treatments.,
Select the right bathing container.,
Wipe your guinea pig over with a damp cloth.,
Calm your guinea before bathing them.,
Gather your supplies.,
Bring your guinea pig over to the bathing area.,
Fill the washing container with warm water.,
Gently place your guinea pig in the washing container.,
Rinse your guinea pig with warm water.,
Shampoo your guinea pig.,
Rinse your guinea pig.,
Place your guinea pig on a clean towel.,
Wipe your guinea pigs face region.,
Brush your guinea pig’s fur.,
Use a hair dryer to fully dry your guinea pig.,
Clean the cage frequently.,
Spot clean daily.,
Avoid contact with dirt.,
Change the type of bedding.,
Enhance the bedding.,
Brush your guinea pig’s fur.

Guinea pigs are not marine animals and do not enjoy swimming contrary to belief. They can easily become extremely stressed when put in a situation that involves water. The most concerning risk would be the chance of your guinea pig inhaling water into their lungs. If this does happen, your guinea pig will need medical care as soon as possible, which can put your guinea pig at the risk of death.

With the risk of danger and stress also comes the misuse of shampoos and/or conditioner which can cause irritated and dry skin. This issue is highly common among guinea pig carers.;
, Many guinea pig owners jump straight to thinking their guinea pig needs a bath due to natural odours, including the scent of urine. This is not true and your guinea pig doesn’t need a bath due to certain smells that are natural for them. Most of the time it is the bedding that requires changing. Some types of bedding, such as newspaper, aren’t absorbent enough and therefore do not do well in eliminating such odours.

The only time a guinea pig requires a bath is if they have been signed off by a professional exotic vet, have a sticky or resistant substance in their fur, or for medical reasons.

, Baby guinea pigs should never be bathed unless you need to for a medical reason confirmed by an exotic vet. Exposing baby guinea pigs to cold elements can be critical to their care. The same rule applies to pregnant sows which will get way too stressed out from the confronting situation., If you’re ever unsure about a situation, then a vet check will determine whether it is necessary for your guinea pig to be bathed. Find a reliable, exotic vet with good standing to help guide you in your situation. If your guinea pig has a sticky substance stuck to their fur then it is recommended to see a vet as sometimes a bath isn’t required or the best option to solve your problem.

A quick sign off shouldn’t be costly, however, call up to check pricing first if you’re concerned about cost.

, Do not use any human or dog shampoos on your guinea pigs. Guinea pigs have different skin types to other animals and humans, using the wrong shampoo can negatively impact them and cause dry skin irritation. Visit a vet clinic and ask an exotic vet for a prescription of critters care shampoo/conditioner. Most vet clinics have available guinea pig shampoo that you can buy or you can try a pet shop., A few companies advertise dust treatments to keep guinea pigs clean. Guinea pigs are not like hamsters and do not naturally take dust baths, therefore it isn’t effective for them to use dust as a grooming method. Dust is actually quite harmful to guinea pigs and can cause respiratory problems, so avoid them at all costs., There are several options for where you can bathe your guinea pig including in the sink, in the tub, or in a bin. Whatever you choose to use, make sure the sides are tall enough that your guinea pig will not be able to jump out, If your guinea pig does not require a full-soak bath, then consider using a damp cloth to wash them instead. It can be a lot friendlier and safer for your guinea pig instead of using a tub with water, especially if they only have a few dirt patches on their rump. This can help reduce the need to give them a full bath.

If your guinea pig is jumpy then encourage them to stay calm with a vegetable treat such as a lettuce leaf or cucumber slice. Remember; guinea pigs love food!

, Guinea pigs generally do not like water and may become anxious or afraid if unceremoniously dropped in a tub. Be gentle with your guinea pig, stroking and talking to him or her to the bathing area.

Only wash one guinea pig at a time as when they are frustrated they may hurt/aggravate each other. While this may make the process longer, it is a much safer way to go through the bathing process and you will be able to pay attention to a singular guinea pig better than two at a time.

, You will need a suitable guinea pig shampoo and/or conditioner recommended by your vet (preferably a critter care brand), a shallow basin or wash tub, a dry towel, guinea pig brush and an optional hair dryer.

If you don’t have a shallow tub, you can easily bathe your guinea pig in a normal bath or sink as long as it is safe and comfortable for your guinea pigs. If you’re using a sink then make sure your guinea pig cannot run off the edge of the counter to injure themselves.

, Remember to gently stroke and soothe your guinea pig as you bring them over. You could also bring your guinea pig over in a small box, but make sure you do not bring them back to their cage in the same box unless you wash it out first–it will get as dirty as your guinea pig when you bring them over to the bath., You should only fill your container to about one inch of warm water that should come up to your guinea pigs feet. Any higher and they have the risk of inhaling the water into their lungs.

The water shouldn’t be hot as their skin are sensitive but it also shouldn’t be cold otherwise you run the risk of your guinea pig catching a cold! Warm water is safest for your guinea pig.

, Allow your guinea pig time to get adjusted to this new, wet environment. Never leave your guinea pig unattended inside the bath as complications may occur.

Keep your guinea pig calm and give them a treat or two to let them know they are in a safe environment.

, Rinse your guinea pigs body until their fur is wet. Avoid water contact to the face and ears, especially the nose and mouth. Try using your hands to rinse your guinea pigs fur which can be a calmer option to pouring a cup of water over them.

You can cup your hand behind your guinea pigs face to avoid getting water on their ears and face region
If your guinea pigs face is extremely dirty, use a damp washcloth to wipe off the dirt but avoid the eyes, nose, ears and mouth. Never pour water straight over their face as they can become very stressed and inhale the water.

, Pour a small amount of guinea pig formulated shampoo into your hands and gently wash it into your guinea pigs fur. Remember not to be too rough as their skin is sensitive. Again, avoid the face and ears region. Carefully wash the rump and body, including the belly., Pour warm water over your guinea pig or hold them under a gentle stream of warm water. Ensure that all the suds are gone and the soap has been fully washed off of your guinea pig’s fur. Dry shampoo can cause skin irritation., Wrap them up so that the towel absorbs most of the moisture and keeps your guinea pig staying warm. Do not be alarmed if your guinea pig starts shivering – this is natural and they should stop after they have been fully dried.

Replace your towel when/if it dampens.

, You should gently wipe your guinea pigs eyes, ears and nose only if required and they are particularly dirty. Use a damp cloth to get rid of gunky bits collected on the face. If you haven’t done this before, ask your vet to show you how to properly clean your guinea pig’s ears, nose and eyes.

Be gentle and take precautions. Do not cause friction or roughness. You should be blotching at the face, not rubbing. Be extra careful with the eyes ensuring you don’t poke them.

, This is especially important if you have a long-haired guinea pig. You want to make sure to get all the tangles out of their fur to prevent matted fur from developing, which is much harder to untangle and may need to be cut off., Although hair dryers are effective, they don’t have to be used to dry your guinea pig, especially if it causes them to freak out or become stressed. To use your hair dryer on your guinea pig, put it on the lowest heat setting and the lowest speed. Continue to brush your guinea pig while using the hair dryer.

Do not rely on a heating pad to keep your guinea pig warm or dry. Guinea pigs have sensitive feet along with their skin. Heat pads have the chance of damaging the feet.

, You should at least clean your cage once a week. Some guinea pig owners like to spot clean daily and do a full clean every 2-3 days due to the amount of mess guinea pigs make. Clean the bedding, fleece, water/food dishes and any soiled patches., Spot cleaning is where you clean up little patches of dirt throughout the cage such as soiled patches, dropping and spills. Spot cleaning can be extremely effective in keeping the cage clean and can help save money on bedding and hay., If your guinea pig’s hutch is set on dirt, consider moving to either grass or pavement, especially during colder months. Dirt can turn into mud and thus create a difficult situation for your guinea pig to stay clean, even when the dry is dry., Newspaper and hay aren’t absorbent enough to be used as a type of bedding. They do not absorb the urine and are difficult in eliminating odours. Fleece, wood shavings and/or careFresh are common bedding types to use that help keep the cage clean and fresh., Puppy pads or newspaper should be lined underneath your bedding for extra absorbency and to catch any leaks., Long-haired breeds such as Shelties must have their fur brushed daily to prevent matted fur from developing. Short-haired breeds don’t require brushing, however, it is effective in reducing hair shedding onto the fleece.

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