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Can You Bathe A Guinea Pig?

If you are new guinea pig owners or are thinking about getting one, you’re probably wondering what kind of maintenance schedule you’re getting yourself into. In this article, we will answer the question, can you bathe a guinea pig.

Can you bathe a guinea pig?

The short answer is yes, you sure can.

However, guinea pigs have sensitive skin, and bath time should only happen a couple of times a year and not more than once a month.

There are a few exceptions to that rule that we will discuss further down.

Guinea pigs happen to be very clean animals.

They clean themselves by licking, similar to how a cat stays clean; therefore, regular baths are not necessary, only the very occasional bath.

Guinea pigs have natural oils on their fur coat that help keep their skin healthy.

Too frequent baths can cause health problems to your guinea pig.

They can get skin rashes and are more prone to getting respiratory infections which can lead to pneumonia due to the temperature changes from taking a bath.

bathing a guinea pig

What’s the best way to help my guinea pig stay clean?

As we said above, guinea pigs are clean creatures by nature. The majority of the time, they get dirty is, usually due to the cage not being cleaned enough.

A clean cage for a guinea pig is essential; they do not like a dirty cage.

A guineas pig’s cage shouldn’t smell stinky; if it does, then you’re past due on cleaning.

These little guys spend a lot of time in their cage, and they prefer when it’s clean, just like most humans do.

Here are some tips on how to keep your guinea pig’s cage clean.

  • Do a thorough cleaning of the cage at least once a week and more if it’s needed.
  • Remove all the bedding and use a guinea pig pet-safe cleaner. Do not use anything that contains phenolics typically seen in Pinesol or Lysol, as these are toxic to your pet. Wipe it down and let it dry before adding it back into your small pets’ habitat.
  • Remove any old hay piles with fresh hay piles or use a feeder.
  • Clean poop daily
  • Replace fleece bedding daily (especially if they pee on it)

Not only is it essential for their health to keep a clean cage. It’s also important to keep them nice and clean and avoid an unnecessary guinea pig bath time.

There are times when guinea pigs need more frequent bathing. This is usually when they come down with a skin condition.

Like a parasite infection or fungal infection, these typically are treated with a special guinea pig shampoo that is medicated to heal these conditions.

Depending on where you live, a veterinarian or exotic veterinarian will guide you on how to manage these conditions if they become present in your guinea pig.

The bathing process for a guinea pig can be pretty stressful for your furry friends.

What kind of shampoo do you use on a guinea pig?

A guinea pig’s fur has special properties that help it stay clean, and because of that and its sensitive skin, you need to be careful what you’re using to wash their fur.

It would be best to buy special small animal shampoo, specifically one that mentions its guinea pig-safe shampoo.

You shouldn’t ever use human shampoo, baby shampoo, or dish soap as it’s too irritating to their skin.

This article is primarily written for short-haired guinea pigs; they have less grooming maintenance than long-haired pigs.

fluffy clean guinea pig
Photo credit- Canva

Do long-haired guinea pigs need baths more often?

They likely will need baths more often than their short-haired friends. But the same rules apply about not too frequently and to make sure you’re careful when bathing them.

Long fur guinea pigs need their hair brushed out every day so they don’t get knots; this is also an excellent time to spot clean them as needed.

How do you spot clean your guinea pigs?

Instead of doing a full bath, it’s a good idea to see if you can get away with a spot cleaning.

  • Take a warm damp cloth and wipe your guinea pig clean.
  • Another option is to take pet wipes similar to baby wipes but made specifically for pets and their sensitive skin.
  • Doing a grease gland cleaning. We will explain that further below.

Can I clean the grease gland without bathing my guinea pig?

Yes, you can do a spot cleaning to clean the grease gland.

What is the grease gland on a guinea pig?

All guinea pigs have grease glands; their primary purpose is to mark their territory, although they also use it to attract their mate.

Where is the grease gland on a guinea pig?

The grease gland is at the bottom of their spine, where a tail would go if they have one(on their rear end). It’s a small patch that’s filled with a greasy substance.

This greasy substance needs to be cleaned out anywhere from once a week to once a month, depending on how active your particular guinea pigs grease gland is. Males tend to have more active glands than female guinea pigs.

How do you clean out the grease gland of a guinea pig?

This process is also known as a butt bath.

1. Take a dab of coconut oil and smear it on your guinea pig’s grease gland.

2. Let it sit for 3-5 minutes.

3. Then, scrub that area lightly with your fingers or a warm washcloth.

4. Take a warm wet washcloth, put a little bit of shampoo (guinea pig safe), and scrub that area lightly. You can place them on a dry towel folded up and then pour some lukewarm clean water to rinse the soap until the water runs clear from all the soap.

5. Dry your guinea pig’s bottom with a clean towel, dabbing dry instead of rubbing, ensuring that he is dry and warm before heading back to his cage.

It sounds a bit daunting at first, but it will be like second nature once you get the hang of it.

If you’re looking for how to bathe your guinea pig, we have a step by step guide on the whole process.

In that article, it goes over important things to know when you’re bathing a guinea pig-like;

  • Safe temperature
  • Washing more than one guinea pigs
  • How to keep them clean between baths
  • The tools you need for bathing your guinea pig
  • and more

We hope this thoroughly answered your questions on can you bathe a guinea pig to recap;

  • Yes, you can bathe a guinea pig, but it should be only a few times a year as needed.
  • Guinea pigs are very clean animals and clean themselves daily
  • Keeping a guinea pig’s cage clean will help them stay clean and not need a bath so frequently
  • Only use guinea pig approved shampoo due to their sensitive skin
  • It’s okay to give them spot cleaning to keep them clean.

Want to learn more about guinea pigs? Check out one of these articles-

For information on sources check out our reference page.