Guinea pigs are small, delicate animals, and therefore, it is understandable to be concerned about giving them baths. An untimely bath can spell bad news for larger animals like cats and dogs so naturally, you have to be quite careful with tiny critters like guinea pigs.
So, should you bathe your guinea pig? And how often? To be very frank, you should not be presented with the need to bathe your guinea pig for the entirety of its life except for on special occasions or for medical reasons. For the most part, guinea pigs are naturals at grooming themselves.
In this article, we will be discussing different reasons why you should or should not bathe your little guinea pig. Hopefully, you will have a clearer mind at the end of it.
What We Need To Know About Guinea Pigs?
One thing everyone needs to know about guinea pigs is that they are naturally very clean creatures. If you have more than one guinea pig in your house, you will probably see them groom each other quite often. This is one of the reasons why it is said that you should keep more than one guinea pig as a pet.
Not only do they keep each other company and play with each other, but they also spend a large part of their day grooming each other.
They enjoy being groomed by their owners as well, which is why there is so much emphasis on brushing their coats and petting them gently.
In fact, guinea pigs like to remain at their physical best at any given time. You will notice that if you keep your guinea pigs in a dirty environment for a long time, they will begin to get uncomfortable there.
Of course, we do not recommend that you do that at all!
Guinea pigs prefer to be groomed rather than bathed. So keep that in mind whenever you consider the hygienic status of your guinea pigs.
Why And When Should You Not Bathe Your Guinea Pig?
Generally speaking, guinea pigs are very efficient at keeping themselves clean and well-groomed..
Keeping this in mind, you don’t really need to give your guinea pig a bath at all. Sometimes you can even leave them to groom themselves for their entire lifetime.
Keep in mind that guinea pigs are small, delicate creatures and are therefore get easily mishandle. If you give them a bath during cold or otherwise compromising weather, they can get sick. Also, do not bathe your guinea pig if it primarily remains outdoors. This is also especially true if you live in an area that is cold most of the year.
Similarly, if you bathe your guinea pig when it seems sick or lethargic, this could also take a toll on its health. This is especially true if the guinea pig has a respiratory issue.
In fact, even a simple cold or flu could prove to be fatal if you bathe the guinea pig at this time. So, try to make sure you check the little one’s breathing and activity level before taking this step.
Other than that, make sure you inspect your guinea pig for any skin conditions as well. If it seems like there is redness, a rash, a swelling, or any such area of concern on the guinea pig, do not bathe it.
The water and the chemicals in the soap can worsen its condition, and that could spell major trouble.
Making a wrong move in for the sake of extra cleanliness could cost them their health or even their life.
If you must bathe your guinea pig, make sure you do not do it more than once a month. In fact, giving them a bath once every three to four months is more than enough in this regard.
Of course, if you are unsure about the move you are going to make, it is best to consult your vet.
Keep in mind that baths generally stress out guinea pigs. If you unnecessarily decide to wash the little critter too often, it can take a toll on its physical and mental health.
Instead of a bath:
You can try focusing on other ways to care for your guinea pig, like grooming.
For example, both long and short hair cavies need to be brushed, long hair more than short hair.
Even though guinea pigs can brush themselves and they do a pretty spectacular job with it, you can chip in as well since they actually enjoy the brushing process.
Go ahead and brush your guinea pig’s coat at least once a week. Keep a soft brush at hand for this purpose. It is also a great way to bond with the little animal.
When is it Necessary to Bathe Your Guinea Pig?
Keep in mind that there are times when it is necessary to bathe the little guinea pig.
At these times its own self-care methods are more or less futile, and you have to step in with some thorough cleaning.
Tips For A Successful Bath Time For Your Guinea Pigs
Even so, you must keep certain tips in your mind when you are planning to bathe your guinea pigs so that they stay out of harm’s way:
What can I use for bathing my guinea pig?
You don’t need a lot of things to bathe your guinea pig. Keep a shampoo for small animals at hand, along with two washing bowls, a small makeshift bath mat, and a soft towel to dry them off.
Make sure that the soap you use to wash your guinea pig is unscented. Guinea pigs have a very potent sense of smell, and they might be sensitive to the fragrances in soaps. Do not use too many products on the guinea pig since the chemicals they contain may have an adverse effect on their skin.
How often do you have to bathe a guinea pig?
Guinea pigs are generally stressed out when you bathe them. So if your little ones are a long hair breed and get dirty very easily, you will want to bathe them once a month at most. In most cases, even that is too much.
Short hair cavies need to be washed even less often. On an average, though, you should only bathe your guinea pigs about twice a year.
In many cases, you don’t even have to bathe them even once in their lifetime since guinea pigs are generally clean creatures. Just make sure you keep them in clean spaces, so the surrounding areas do not make them dirty.
Can you bathe a guinea pig with soap?
If your guinea pig is very dirty, you will want to use some kind of shampoo on it. Just make sure that you use a shampoo made especially for small animals since they are gentler.
Shampoos made for large animals can irritate the skin of your guinea pig and give them skin diseases. Also, try to make sure that the soap you use is unscented so that the guinea pigs do not react adversely to the fragrance.
It is a good idea to consult your vet before you use any kind of chemicals on your guinea pig.
Are guinea pigs clean?
Guinea pigs are generally clean creatures. They enjoy grooming each other and do it quite often.
Because guinea pigs are so clean on their own, it is not recommended that you put extra stress on their bodies by bathing them often.
To ensure that your guinea pigs remain clean, you need to make sure that the place they live in is clean as well. So, clean out their cages as often as you can and do not let them play around in dirt and dust too often.
Do guinea pigs like to swim?
Guinea pigs do not like to swim. However, if you decide to put one in a bathtub, you would see that it does swim or dog paddle in the water. This response is more of a survival instinct that prevents them from drowning rather than be something they actively enjoy.
In fact, research has shown that swimming puts a lot of stress on a guinea pig’s body and hey can become depressed and stressed out afterward as well. So, make sure that you do not let your guinea pig swim, especially if there is no reason for it.