Although Guinea pigs may be low-maintenance by comparison to other animals, they still require to be properly looked after and groomed, and this starts with providing them a comfortable guinea pig enclosure to sleep in and the best paper bedding for guinea pigs.
Apart from that, they should be well-fed and entertained to prevent boredom. Not to mention you’ll also have to look after their personal hygiene to prevent infections and future health problems. Here are some simple hygiene rules you should follow to make sure your pet lives a long and happy life.
Do Guinea pigs need bathing?
Although they are self-groomers like other rodents and cats, Guinea pigs may still require a proper bath once in a while. However, when it comes to exactly how often your pet should be washed, there aren’t any strict rules.
Most Guinea pigs prefer washing and grooming themselves, but this doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy a warm and relaxing bath given by their owners once a month if they mainly live indoors. If your pet has access to a backyard or a garden and enjoys spending time in nature, perhaps you should consider bathing it every two-three weeks since its fur will become dirty faster.
In order to make the experience pleasant for both you and the rodent, here are some techniques you may want to apply.
Calm your pet before the bath
It took you a while to gain your pet’s trust and love, so why risk losing them with inappropriate moves? Most Guinea pigs get anxious and nervous if you just pick them up and put them in a container full of water. Therefore, you should try and calm your pet first and help it get into a good and relaxing mood.
Gently grab it in your arms and cover it in a warm blankie to transport it to the destination. Talk to your pet in a calm and soothing voice, and stroke its fur using soft moves. You can also try giving it a small treat such as a cucumber slice or some lettuce to distract it and make it more cooperative.
If you own more than one pet, it is always best to wash them one at a time. This will prevent them from hurting each other and will also help you focus more on their individual needs during the bath.
Try using a damp cloth first
Sometimes, the fur of your pet can be easily cleaned by using a damp cloth dipped in warm water. Place your pet on a secure surface where it cannot escape, run or jump to hurt itself and use the cloth to get rid of the dirt and impurities in its fur. Repeat the process using gentle moves, without pressing too hard on your pig’s fur and making it feel uncomfortable.
If the fur looks clean enough, you can skip the bathing process and proceed to the drying part.
Prepare the water
If you decided that the pet does require a bath, it would be best to start preparing the water and the container. We suggest picking a large bowl made of transparent glass or plastic so you can also observe the pig’s reactions to the entire process.
Then, pour about two inches of water into the container. Keep in mind that using hot water can cause irritations and dryness, while cold water will only lower down their body temperatures, which should also be avoided.
Therefore, try sticking to warm water, and check its temperature by placing your hand in the container for a couple of seconds. If it’s warm enough for you, it will be good for your pet as well.
You will also want to avoid your pet from slipping inside the container, so you should consider putting a small cloth on the bottom.
Getting it used to the water
Just like babies, Guinea pigs will require constant reassuring that they’re not alone and someone will come and rescue them the minute they feel uncomfortable. So, after you tested the water temperature, slowly put your Guinea pig in the container.
Allow it to adjust to the water temperature for a couple of minutes while placing your hand underneath your pet or near it. You should never leave your pet unattended while it is in the water container.
If you notice the rodent becomes anxious or stressed, try to offer it another treat to calm it down. This will also stimulate a positive association with bathing time in the future.
Use special washing products
Simple water may not be enough to clean your pet completely, so don’t forget to look for some appropriate washing supplies for Guinea pigs. Purchase a special shampoo that doesn’t contain any chemicals or ingredients that might irritate their skin, eyes or fur.
Once the pet is inside the container, take some water into your hands and pour it on its body until it’s completely wet, avoiding the ears and the eyes area.
Gently massage a few drops of Guinea pig shampoo onto its fur, without touching the sensitive parts of its body. Massaging will help your pet relax more and enjoy the bathing experience. Repeat the process if it’s necessary, and don’t forget to thoroughly rinse your pet’s body with water after you’re done.
Once the bath is over, gently pick up the rodent in your palms and place it on a clean and dry towel. Use the towel to wrap up your pet in order to absorb as much moisture as possible and keep your pet warm.
Don’t panic if you notice your pet starts shivering. This is a natural process that will stop after the animal is completely dry. Also, don’t be afraid to use another towel to remove any excess water remained if the first one becomes too damp.