How often do guinea pigs need baths? Well, guinea pigs are self-grooming animals so they do not need to be bathed very often, they should be bathed no more than once a month at most. You should only bathe your guinea pig when necessary.
Knowing how often to bathe your guinea pigs will prevent you from giving your pet excessive baths, which could expose them to skin infections and other diseases.
Bathing your piggies frequently should only be done if your pet is in need of an anti-parasite bath, or if you were directed by your vet to do so.
How Often Do Guinea Pigs Need Baths?
Guinea pigs do not need to be bathed frequently unless they are filthy, or it is recommended by your vet for any medical reasons.
Generally, a bath once a month or two is usually all you need with a guinea pig. However, if you have long-haired guinea pigs, you may need to bathe them more often compared to shorter hair breeds as the dirt & urine stains tend to get stuck in their long coat.
You can give your guinea pigs a bum bath every month and a complete wash every two months or whenever needed.
You would also need to regularly brush their fur to keep it clean and this also helps to reduce the need for frequent bathing.
If your guinea pig happens to get smelly before the recommended bathing time frame, and you feel like giving it a bath, you should, first of all, ensure that the smell isn’t being caused by other factors. There are a couple of factors that cause a guinea pig to smell.
Read Also: How Often To Clean Guinea Pig Cage
When It Is Important To Give Your Guinea Pig A Bath?
There are going to be times when it would be necessary to give your guinea pig a bath. Even though guinea pigs are known to groom themselves, sometimes that isn’t enough and they would need you to give them a thorough cleaning.
That said, below are a few times and situations that will necessitate you giving your piggies a bath:
1. Show Guinea Pigs
If you are breeding show guinea pigs, you would need to give them scheduled baths. Long-haired show guinea pigs need to be bathed and groomed at least once a month but shorter-hair breeds can be bathed once every two months.
When bathing your guinea pig, you have to take proper precautions. Ensure that the water you make use of is at an appropriate temperature, and avoid using any harsh chemicals on your guinea pig. You should ensure that the products you use are safe and approved by your vet.
Bath time should also be accompanied by grooming. You will need to trim and groom your guinea pig’s hair and also look after other body parts like nails, teeth, feet, eyes, and ears. A show guinea pig should not be exposed to any form of carelessness or neglect.
2. Skin infections
Although it isn’t recommended to bathe your guinea pig when they are sick, a bath might be needed in case of an infection or other such conditions. This is because washing a guinea pig helps to keep it sterile which eliminates the infection and also prevents it from spreading.
However, you need to be cautious when doing this. You need to ensure that the health condition of your guinea pig is improving by inspecting it at least once a week.
And in the presence of an unnecessary discharge from the pig’s eyes, ears, or other body parts or Redness or soreness in any area you should immediately schedule an appointment with a vet.
You should also do so if your guinea pig because unusually irritable, lethargic, or shows any other signs that may concern you.
3. Presence of Fleas and Ticks
Because of their long hair, guinea pigs are also susceptible to fleas and ticks. So, when you notice an infestation, you will need to give your guinea pig a bath.
You will need to make use of a special flea and tick shampoo, that is usually used for small animals.
Depending on the level of infestation, just one bath may not be enough. You may need to give your guinea pig multiple baths over the course of a few weeks till you have totally eliminated the infestation.
However, giving your guinea pig, multiple baths will have an adverse effect on your guinea pig’s skin. So, in these cases, you should try to prevent an infestation in the first place.
But if an infestation occurs inevitably, you will need to carry out follow-up checkups frequently to ensure your guinea pig is treated completely.
4. Guinea Pig’s breed
How frequently you need to bathe your guinea pig also depends on its breed. Long hair guinea pigs are much more likely to become soiled and stained with dirt and waste compared to short hair breeds. This means that long hair guinea pigs require frequent baths than short hair varieties.
However, you need to focus more on grooming than actually bathing them. In fact, it is recommended not to bathe your long hair guinea pig more than three to four times a year unless it is was recommended by the vet.
Other Times You May Need to Bath Your Guinea Pigs
Aside from all the major times, you will need to give a guinea pig a bath, there are still other times when you may need to bathe a guinea pig.
For example, if you live in a region with a hot, humid climate, you ensure to bathe your guinea pig at least once in two months.
Also, if your guinea pigs happen to play a lot outdoors and this can cause them to accumulate lots of dirt and dust on their fur coats, so you may need to give them a little rinsing.
If your guinea gets too smelly, you can also give it a bath. But you should ensure that the smell is coming from the guinea pig and not external sources like its cage.
Essentially you should make use of your better judgment because You know your guinea pig as well as its lifestyle best, so only you can make the right decision after properly educating yourself.
How To Bath A Guinea Pig
The process of bathing a guinea pig is quite simple and doesn’t need a lot of stuff. However, it is recommended that you properly prepare for it. You will need a couple of supplies, which are;
- Lukewarm water
- A plastic container
- Guinea pig safe shampoo
- A set of towel
- A hairdryer
Once you have all the required items you can go ahead and give your piggy a bath. You can place a plastic container that I place in my sink so that my guinea pigs have a hard surface to stand comfortably.
You also need to ensure that the shampoo you are making use of is safe for a guinea pig because although you may get away with using any you have at hand; it usually has a long-lasting effect on your guinea pig.
You need to get a guinea pig specific shampoo that is soft on their skin and doesn’t rip off their natural oil.
- After setting everything in place, you can go ahead and give your guinea pig a bath. You need to keep a few things in mind while bathing your guinea pig.
- Start by Placing a container that is wide enough to fit your guinea pig in the sink.
- Ensure to check the water temperature making sure it is lukewarm, then you can go ahead and fill the container with water up to 2½ inches high.
- Then place your guinea pig gently in the water and ensure that their head remains above the water. You should never allow the water to get above their heads as it could be fatal for them.
- Next, Soak the guinea pig body in the water and apply some shampoo to their body. Use your fingers to gently Lather up the body and clean their grease gland and the bum area thoroughly.
- Using some clean water, wash their body and reapply some shampoo in their bum area or wherever it is needed and wash again
- Once they have been washed through and through, ensure that the shampoo is rinsed off completely. When applying shampoo to your guinea pig, you need to keep it away from their eyes and nose.
- Once you are done washing them, wrap them up in a towel for a couple of minutes so that the excess water is soaked off the fur. During this period, you should ensure that there are no drafts as that can catch a cold.
Once your guinea pig’s fur starts to feel a little dry, you can place a towel on a flat surface, then hold your guinea pig above it, and use a hairdryer at its lowest setting to completely dry your guinea pig.
Once your guinea pig is properly dried, you can take them back to their cage and offer them a treat to put them in a good mood.
Tips For Bathing Your Guinea Pig
When bathing your guinea pig, there are certain tips you should keep in mind so that the bathing process can go on smoothly and your guinea pig is safe:
Ensure you only use a special shampoo that is specified for small animals only. Shampoo meant for cats and dogs should not be used on your guinea pigs.
Due to their small body size and fragility, you should avoid using harsh chemicals on a guinea pig’s fur and body. These harsh chemicals can cause skin irritation or serious dermatological conditions in guinea pigs.
You should ensure to use only lukewarm water when bathing your guinea pigs so that they do not get shocked by the difference in temperature.
When washing your guinea pig, you should desist from spraying them with water, instead use two washing bowls for their bath time. One in which you use to apply shampoo to the guinea pig and use the other to wash it off.
Never allow the level of water in the bowl to get above the chin of your guinea pig, instead, the water level should be below its belly. Your guinea pig should be able to stand in the water comfortably.
After all, you do not really need a lot of water when washing your guinea pig as they usually have a small body mass.
You should also place a piece of cloth or bath mat near the washing bowl to prevent your guinea pig from slipping and hurting itself.
If you happen to have more than one guinea pig, do not try to bathe them all at once. Make sure to wash and dry each one completely before reaching for the second one. And make sure your guinea pig is completely dry before letting it run free.
After bathing your guinea pigs, you should place them indoors where it is warm and dry.
When using a hairdryer to dry your guinea pig. Make sure it is on the lowest setting and isn’t emitting high heat which can be hurtful and damaging to your pet.
Before using a product on your guinea pig ensure to consult your vet so they can tell you if it is safe. They can advise you better regarding products that can irritate your pet.
Before giving your guinea pig a bath, carry out a thorough inspection of their body for any issues. If there is the presence of an unusual discharge, a swelling, a mass, redness, soreness, or inflammation, do not give it a bath.
You should also check for lethargy, breathing issues, and any other health conditions first before giving your guinea pig a bath.
Hopefully, you now know how often you need to bathe your guinea pigs. As I mentioned earlier, you want to bathe them only when it’s necessary to avoid exposing them to cold and skin diseases.