How Do I Give My Guinea Pig A Bath?
Very carefully 🛁
When it comes to their personal hygiene and cleanliness, you may be wondering how to bathe a guinea pig, or if it’s even necessary.
We spoke to Jackie Marvel, a veterinary nurse with DodoVet, for more information on your guinea pig’s grooming skills and how often he’ll need a bath.
How to bathe a guinea pig
There are a few things to keep in mind before you bathe your guinea pig. First of all, it doesn’t need to happen a lot!
Guinea pigs will groom on their own, so they don’t require baths like other pets. Also, they’re extremely sensitive to changes in temperature, which can happen if they’re wet.
“Guinea pigs are great with personal hygiene, so a bath is not a part of routine care,” Marvel told The Dodo. “Plus, they do not love being in water.”
However, if needed, your guinea pig can be given a bath two to four times a year, according to Marvel, and the following tips are recommended:
- When picking a shampoo for your guinea pig, make sure it’s specific to him — shampoo for dogs or cats and dish soap aren’t safe for guinea pigs.
- You don’t need a lot of shampoo — only use a few drops.
- Fill a small plastic container up with an inch or two of warm water. Bring it to the floor instead of lifting your guinea pig up to a sink to help him feel more safe and comfortable.
- Add a washcloth to the bottom of the container so he doesn’t slide around.
- Use a warm, damp cloth as a prewash — wash his face and any residue that needs to be removed.
- Move slowly, and don’t just dump water on his back and body.
- After thoroughly washing, use a hand towel to soak up all the water. If your guinea pig will tolerate it, you can use a low, cool setting on a hair dryer to make sure he’s fully dried.
- Use your hand as a shield from the hair dryer to monitor the heat, avoiding his face and ears.
- If he’s anxious at all, stop using the hair dryer and wrap him in a warm towel until he’s dry. (If guinea pigs are damp after their baths, they can easily get upper respiratory infections, which can lead to pneumonia.)
- After the bath, give him lots of treats as a reward to try and make it a positive experience!
What to know about your guinea pig’s skin
Guinea pigs normally have very clean skin. However, if they have dry, flaky skin or greasy fur, they may be suffering from skin mites or a fungal skin infection. In that case, giving your guinea pig a bath could actually make it worse.
“If you notice any of these conditions, it’s recommended that you talk to your vet, as a visit to the office may be needed to make sure they’re healthy,” Marvel said.
Ways to keep your guinea pig clean (other than a bath)
If your guinea pig has a mess on his hind quarters, you can use an unscented baby wipe to clean the area, and make sure he’s dry after.
“Also, make sure their hay and environment is clean,” Marvel said. “Guinea pigs love to roll in their hay, even if it is stinky. So more frequent hay changing can help with their overall hygiene.”
Here’s to lots of fun times with your guinea pig, and a bath (when it’s absolutely necessary) — he’s doing the work for you when he grooms himself!
Want access to a vet 24/7? With DodoVet, you can connect via video chat, phone or text with an empathetic veterinary expert who can help you be the best pet parent you can be. Say goodbye to Dr. Google and have all your pet parent questions answered anytime, anywhere. Learn more here.