You probably love to pet and snuggle your guinea pig. But while you’re stroking its soft little hairs you might wonder how often, if at all, you should give those locks a cleaning.
Keep Bathing to a Minimum
Overall, it’s best not bathe your guinea pig more than once a month, and most short-haired breeds only require it once or twice a year. Like cats, guinea pigs are excellent self-cleaners and it’s rare for them to need bathing. Baths can even pose a risk if done improperly, making your cavy susceptible to colds and dry skin. Guinea pigs also find bath time stressful! Keep bathing to a minimum, and instead, make sure your guinea pig’s habitat is as clean as possible.
When to Bathe Your Guinea Pig
So if baths aren’t usually unnecessary, how can you tell when your piggie does need one?
A gentle bath is okay if your pig has gotten particularly stinky or its hair is greasy and soiled. Long-haired guinea pigs are especially prone to getting dirt and waste stuck in their locks and might need bathing. However, if your piggie is mainly dirty in just one spot, like on its bum, wiping it clean with a towel might suffice.
The other reason to bathe your guinea pig is if they have a parasitic or fungal infection. In this instance, a bath should only come at the recommendation of your exotic vet, who will give you detailed instructions for bathing.
When Not to Bathe Your Guinea Pig
There are certain times when you should refrain from bathing entirely. Pregnant guinea pigs and those under six months old should never get a bath. Baths are also a big no-no if your guinea pig has a cold or respiratory infection.
Tips for Bathing Your Guinea Pig
For those rare occasions your guinea pig needs a wash, you can get the job done using a shallow bowl or pan, a few towels, and special guinea pig shampoo. Before starting, spend time holding your guinea pig, as this will help calm them. Always bathe your pigs in a warm room and use warm, shallow water. When bathing, be sure to keep your guinea pig’s nose and mouth out of the water.
Concerned about your guinea pig’s hygiene? Hire one of our pet sitters to help you keep their cages fresh and clean, which will reduce any need for extra baths. Call today!
Candace Elise Hoes is a pet sitter and blogger at Katie’s Kitty. She is a graduate of the MFA Writing Program at California College of the Arts.