If you’re a new guinea pig owner, you may wonder how to bathe guinea pigs
This article will discuss a step-by-step guide to the bathing process and what you should and shouldn’t use on your guinea pig.
Guinea pigs are really clean animals. They are similar to cats in the sense that they are constantly cleaning themselves.
Let’s start with the basics.
Can I bathe my guinea pig?
Yes, a guinea pig can have a bath but let’s go on further before jumping into bath time. As guinea pigs are sensitive creatures, bath time needs to be done systematically to ensure a safe and happy experience for you and them.
How often should I bathe my guinea pig?
Guinea pigs only need to be washed on an as-needed basis (a couple of times a year) but never more than once a month.
Guinea pigs have natural oils in their fur that can be stripped away if they have too many regular baths.
Excessive bathing will do more harm than good. If your guinea pig needs more frequent bathing, like more than once a month, you should look into keeping their cage cleaner.
A clean cage will make it easier for them to stay clean since they are overall clean creatures who don’t like being dirty.
Some skin conditions will make you have to bathe your guinea pig more often than typical with anti-fungal shampoo or other medications needed topically.
This would be something your vet would recommend for things like fungal infestations, mange mites (parasite infection), or other medical issues.
Speak to a vet if you have any of these concerns.
How do I keep my guinea pig clean between baths?
- Fully clean the cage at least once a week or more frequently if needed
- Replace their bedding daily
- Clean the poop out daily
- Use guinea pig-safe wet wipes as needed
How to bathe guinea pigs-
Bathing guinea pig is best to tackle with two adults if you can. If not, just be prepared with everything beforehand to make it go as smoothly as possible.
What do I need for my guinea pig bath?
Take a few minutes to get the following items ready.
- Towels- at least two clean towels.
- Guinea pig safe shampoo.
- Hair dryer *not necessary but can be helpful.
- Washing basin or larger Tupperware container, preferably two of these, one that the guinea pig will be in and one that you can have the clean water in so you aren’t scaring your guinea pig with the sound of running water turning on and off.
- Plastic cup- for pouring the water on your guinea pig.
- Smaller rag- to line the bottom of the washing basin or container, so they don’t slide around due to guinea pig’s nails.
- Treats- to keep your guinea pig happy.
Wear something you don’t mind getting wet like you would bathing any animal.
The first time bathing your guinea pig might be a little stressful for both of you.
Try to come at it with a positive attitude and talk to them in a soothing voice like you usually would to help keep your furry friend calm.
- Gather all your things noted above.
- Fill your containers with water-
Go to your tub and place both containers on the bottom of the tub. Line one of them with a small wash rag and fill it with the right temperature of water (77-80 degrees F); getting the temperature right is a critical step to making the bath a successful one. Use a thermometer if you need to, or check the water with your wrist and not your fingers. Fill the basin with about 2 inches of water. You can fill the other one to the top.
- Get your guinea pig from its cage.
It’s also best to have their cage cleaned before removing them, so they are going into a freshly cleaned cage.
This is a good time if there are obviously dirty areas to take a damp washcloth and gently rub any stubborn spots out; think of this as a pre-treatment cleaning.
This is not likely unless your animal has poop stuck in their fur or something spilled on them. Give them some extra love and stay calm before the next step.
4. Bathing your guinea pig
Take your guinea pig and slowly place him into the bath with his back feet going in first. Be careful that your guinea pig’s face always stays out of the water.
Let them adapt to the water for a minute or two.
If their grease gland requires washing, then start there.
Take a small amount of shampoo and work it to lather in your hands, then rub it into where the grease gland is.
The grease gland is located on its back end, like where a bunny would have a tail.
If the grease is stubborn, you can try cleaning it with coconut oil. When you’re done cleaning the grease gland, lift your piggie out of the water for just enough time to rinse the grease part with fresh water.
This is where it’s helpful to have someone else pour the water.
That way, the original bathwater doesn’t become too tainted. Place him back into the tub of water quickly, so he stays warm.
Now you can move on to washing the rest of him.
Take a couple of drops of shampoo, lather up your hands, and rinse your guinea pigs, body, except for their head and ears.
Take your clean water and small plastic cup and pour water over your guinea pig to remove the shampoo.
Do this until the shampoo is all out.
If their face or ears are dirty, you can take a damp cloth or small pet-friendly pet wipes to clean that area.
The ears and face should never be submerged in water.
Guinea pigs are susceptible to respiratory infection, and you need to be cautious of that while getting their baths.
5. How do you dry your guinea pig?
Now that he’s all clean let’s dry him.
Get a dry towel and lay it out, place your wet guinea pig in the towel, pat him dry, do not rub him.
When that towel is wet, grab your second towel.
You don’t want your guinea pig to get too cold during this process.
Some people like to use a blow dryer on their guinea pigs, especially if they are long-haired guinea pigs, but that will depend on your personal cavie and what they can handle.
The noise alone might be too much for them, especially after a bath.
If using, make sure to use on the lowest setting with low heat(the coolest temperature it goes, but not cold), moving around constantly, so the heat doesn’t concentrate in one area.
Short-haired guinea pig fur tends to dry pretty quickly.
6. Returning him to his cage.
Make sure he’s totally dry and give him some snuggles as they just went through a whole bath and want some extra loving. Then return them to their clean cage and give them a little treat to tell them a job well done (optional, of course).
What if I can’t give my guinea pig a bath?
If your guinea pig is elderly, then it’s best to give them more of a sponge bath.
You can do this with pet-safe cleaning wipes or with a warm damp rag.
This is also a great option if it’s been too soon to give them a bath, but they have soiled in their fur.
What water temperature should the water be when bathing a guinea pig?
The water temperature should be between 77-80 degrees Fahrenheit (lukewarm water).
You never want to use cold water or hot water when washing your guinea pig.
The water temperature is very important because guinea pigs can become sick with pneumonia if they catch a chill.
Let’s talk about dos and don’t of guinea pig shampoo options.
Can I use human shampoos to wash my guinea pig?
No, human shampoos have too many harsh chemicals that can irritate your guinea pig’s skin and should not be used.
Can I use baby shampoo for guinea pigs?
Baby shampoo is a more sensitive product, but it’s not made for guinea pigs and shouldn’t be used.
Can I use dish soap for guinea pig shampoo?
No, it also has many chemicals that aren’t good for cavies skin and can lead to skin problems.
What is a safe shampoo for my guinea pig?
It’s best to get a small animal shampoo that’s made specifically for guinea pigs from your local pet store or a trusted online retailer. This is because guinea pigs have really sensitive skin, and the wrong shampoo can cause them to get dry skin and become itchy and uncomfortable if you throw off their natural skin balances.
Can I bathe both my guinea pigs at the same times?
No, it’s best that you only do one at a time. It’s safer for your piggies and easier for you.
If you give one a bath, you need to bathe the other because when they get a bath, their natural scent wears off for a short period of time, and it can cause your guinea pigs to fight.
Keep them on the same schedule to help avoid that.
We hope this has answered your question on how to bathe guinea pigs.
To recap the important notes-
- Guinea pigs only need a bath a couple of times a year
- You can use pet wipes between baths
- Make sure you have the proper water temperature when bathing your guinea pigs
- Only use the proper shampoo when bathing your guinea pigs
Want to learn more about guinea pigs? Check out these other articles!
- Can guinea pigs eat dates?
- What’s the best fleece for guinea pigs?
- What sounds do sick guinea pigs make?
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