Guinea pigs are famous for their attention-drawing techniques when anticipating a favorable treatment. They can be quite noisy or nibble and bite their owners to pass on information; this, if assumed, stresses the pet. Despite their fun personality, they have short lives that may make you give them all your attention while they are alive. So how often should I bathe them? Is once a week’s bath ok?
Bathing Guinea pigs once a week is inadvisable; neither can you clean them more than once a month. Besides their self-cleaning nature, guinea pigs dislike baths. Therefore, having them regularly cleaned can stress them and cause them to catch colds and have dry skin.
Guinea pigs are very happy and emotional pets to keep. However, a slight mistake in mishandling them can give them a heart attack. So make sure you read on for more expertise on handling them.
How Do I Know If My Guinea Pig Needs a Bath?
One important thing about handling guinea pigs is that you have to read their alerts from time to time. These alerts vary between the need for emotional touch, hunger, to urinate, to defecate, and any other sign your guinea pig might invent for himself.
Whenever you are not around, your pets handle most of their issues. Nonetheless, once you are in their vicinity, you must be attentive to any signals they may be sending your way. Otherwise, they will do everything they can to attract your attention, including making some noises, but not loud enough to disturb neighbors.
It is common for Guinea pigs to bite their keepers, but not for pain. Instead, it is to draw your attention when they need to use the bathroom. In addition, they can always bite you when they need to urinate.
So it is up to you, their owner to tell the difference between the two signs since the creatures prefer relieving themselves in one area where there seems to be some privacy. But ignoring their urinating signal means they will relieve themselves on you.
Can I Bathe My Guinea Pig Once a Week?
If you fail to understand the animal’s signs correctly, you can cause emotional stress to the animal, and considering their short lifespan, you would not want anything to occur to them before their time has come.
Moreover, their hairy bodies may appeal to your cuddling instincts more often, so you might get concerned about how often you will have to clean them.
However, despite being in the rodent family, guinea pigs seem to borrow some of their self-cleaning traits from a cat, so the pet may rarely need baths. According to Alison Callaghan, in Squeaks and Nibbles, you should restrain from bathing guinea pigs more than once a month. The author further states that the short hair breeds, require to use the bathroom once or twice only in a year.
This is because bathing them can pose skin risks to their bodies, making them susceptible to colds and occasional dry skins. In addition to the fact that most of them dislike baths, frequent bathing them can also be very stressful to them, making them afraid thus affecting their general moods. However, you can put the same effort into cleaning their cage more often at least making sure their habitat maintains standard clean levels.
However, even when it is the right time to bathe the pets, you may want to bathe them based on the following
- When they have overly dirty and greasy bodies
- When preparing them for an exhibit at a guinea pigs show
- After you have noticed a parasite or fungal infection on the surface of their skins
How Do You Bathe Guinea Pigs?
Being highly emotional animals, guinea pigs require reassuring handling before being bathed. Since most of them dislike water on their bodies, this will be helpful in communication to help them readjust to whatever is coming next.
Therefore, to bath a guinea pig:
- Gently place him into the bath, for not more than two minutes.
- Clean the base of their spine first, as they contain grease glands. Clean the grease with coconut oil, hand washing liquid, and Swarfega-a hand cleaner for mechanics. Make sure none of these compounds get to their face.
- Using your fingers, apply the agent and build a lather to loosen the grease at the same time removing it tenderly.
- Hold him firmly, in the first bowl to bathe him. He might try to jump out of the bowl.
- Using a plastic or jug, pour water over his body gently, wetting him thoroughly but avoiding his face.
- Apply a recommended amount of shampoo (from the instructions) on his back, massage his hair, and skin with tenderness. Leave the shampoo on for about three minutes.
- In a new bowl, rinse him with lukewarm water.
How to Dry a Guinea Pig
- You should have a large towel ready-rolled for wrapping him while maintaining your hold on him, for extra warmth.
- As soon as a damp towel is replaced, gently massage him with a dry one until he is completely dry
- You may also want to use a hairdryer, but you should check on the pet’s reaction first. If you observe any signs of distress, stop the drying and maintain the use of a dry towel. Nevertheless, make sure the hairdryer is at the coolest temperature and is set to the lowest speed
- If there are any long hairs on the pet, brush them to disentangle them.
- If he is still a little damp, you could place him back into his cage. But if he lives outside, be sure he is completely dry before returning him to his enclosure
When bathing the guinea pigs, you have to note that:
- Guinea pigs with less than 3 months when they have a skin condition.
- If the guinea pig is infested with lice and mice, consult a medical professional on how to bathe them
- To avoid stresses that might result in a heart attack, clean older guinea pigs gently.
- Guinea pigs change their scent after bathing. So when a bathed one returns to a cage with an unbathed one, they may fight.