Keeping our pets clean and healthy is our topmost priority. People often think that bathing our pets is essential to keep them clean. But how true is it? Do guinea pigs need baths? Or they can do well without it.
Guinea pigs do not require any routined bathing as they groom themselves naturally. Also, bathing them strips the natural oil from their body, which they need to maintain healthy fur & skin. However, if your guinea pigs fur gets stained and smelly, then you might need to give them a small bath.
In most cases, your guinea pigs can go without a bath for a few months.
However, it also depends upon a variety of factors like how well you maintain the cage, whether you have a short-haired guinea pig or a long haired one & what type of bedding materials you use. Let us learn more about it in detail.
How often do you have to bathe a guinea pig?
Guinea pigs don’t require frequent bathing until and unless they are filthy, or your vet has recommended it for any medical reasons.
Generally, A bath once a month or two months would be more than enough. If you have long-haired guinea pigs, you might need to bath them more often as the dirt & urine strains get stuck in their long coat.
I usually give my guinea pigs a bum bath every month to keep their bum clean and maybe a complete wash in two months or whenever needed.
Regular brushing can keep their fur clean and thus reduce the frequency of bathing.
Boars do need frequent grease gland cleaning as grease buildup can get smelly in no time. Make sure you clean it thoroughly.
We have a complete article on the guinea pig grease gland and cleaning it, which you can refer to.
If you want to bath your guinea pigs just because they are smelly, then think again. The smell might be due to some other reasons. Learn more about why is your guinea pigs smelling from our in-depth article.
When to bathe your guinea pig?
If your guinea pig is suffering from skin diseases, mites, etc. then your vet might recommend bathing them more frequently with a medicated shampoo.
Else, stick with the principle that Bum bath once a month and complete bath in few months whenever they get filthy and smelly.
Never make bathing a routine for your guinea pigs. Guinea pigs can get stressed and ill if you bath them often.
Also, avoid washing them if they are sick until your vet tells you to do so. Bathing an ill guinea pig can further cause other health issues like a cold or, even worse, a respiratory infection.
So, make sure you do as needed, and even if you need to bath them, be prepared with everything required and learn how to give them one before going ahead.
Can guinea pigs bathe in cold water?
No, guinea pigs cannot bath in cold water as it can lower their body temperature instantly.
However, they don’t enjoy a hot steam bath as well as it can dry and irritate their skin. You need to prepare lukewarm water for your guinea pigs warm so that they don’t get too cold, or their skin gets rough and irritated.
Some people think that just because it’s hot outside, a cold bath will be refreshing for their guinea pig. But that’s far from reality.
Guinea pigs cannot regulate their body temperature as efficiently as other animals do.
Thus, having a cool summer bath is a bad idea for your guinea pig. Always make sure the water temperature is comfortable for your guinea pigs.
What you will need to bath your guinea pigs
Bathing a guinea pig is relatively simple, and you don’t need a ton of stuff for that. However, it would be best if you had some essential preparation done to get started. A few supplies that you would require are:
- Lukewarm water
- A plastic container
- Guinea pig safe shampoo
- A set of towel &
- A hairdryer
So, now that you know everything you need, you can get everything in a place to get started.
I personally use a plastic container that I place in my sink so that my guinea pigs have a hard surface to stand comfortably.
Another important thing is to get a guinea pig safe shampoo. Many people get away with whatever they have, but it is recommended to get a specific one for them as it is soft on their skin and don’t rip off all the natural oil off.
You will also need a set of towels to dry your guinea pigs as guinea pigs can catch a cold quickly. So, never left them wet after a bath.
A pet-safe hairdryer is just the extra mile to dry out our guinea pigs completely. Once you have everything in place, you can go ahead and bath your guinea pigs.
How to bathe a guinea pig?
Once you have everything set up and ready, you can go ahead and bath your guinea pig. Bathing your guinea pig is relatively simple; you just have to keep a few things in mind while bathing your guinea pig. Let us see how to do it n the right way.
- Place a container wide enough to fit your guinea pig in the sink first.
- Check the water temperature; once it is lukewarm, you can go ahead and fill the container up to 2½ inches of water.
- Now very gently put your guinea pig in the water and make sure their head remains above the water. Nevel let the water go above their heads as it can be fatal for their health.
- Soak the guinea pig body and apply some shampoo in their body. Lather up the body and clean their grease gland and the bum area properly.
- Now wash with clean water properly, if needed reapply some shampoo in their bum area or wherever needed and wash again
- Make sure you wash off all the shampoo properly. Also, keep the shampoo away from their eyes and nose.
- After washing them properly, wrap them in a towel for a few minutes and soak the excess water off the fur. Please make sure there are no drafts that can make them cool.
- Once they feel a little dry, place the towel in the flat surface, hold your guinea pig above it, and blow off the hairdryer.
- Make sure the dryer is not too hot that can burn their skin. Once you have dried them properly, you can move them back to their cage and offer them a treat to cheer up their mood.
Always make sure you keep their heads above water, prevent shampoo from entering their eyes & nose.
Also, avoid bathing them for long and dry them quickly once done. I also try to play relaxing music to calm down my guinea pigs during a bath.
You can learn more about it from our article: What type of music do guinea pigs like?
My guinea pig is shivering after a bath?
Sometimes a bath can leave your guinea pigs shivering as they get cold. It would be wise to move them into a warm area away from drafts so that they don’t catch a severe or other disease.
Never move them to direct sunlight as it can be bad for their health. You can learn more about Shivering in guinea pigs from our in-depth article.
Can I use my dog’s shampoo to bathe my guinea pigs?
Yes, you can use any pet-safe shampoo, including a dog’s shampoo to bath your guinea pigs.
However, make sure the shampoo doesn’t contain any scent or artificial fragrance that can cause respiratory issues in your guinea pigs.
If possible, get a guinea pig shampoo only as it is mild and doesn’t take away all the natural oil from their body.
Can a guinea pig die from a bath?
Yes, if you are not careful, then your guinea pigs might die from a bath. There can be two significant reasons that can lead to such accidents.
- The water level was above their head, and thus it entered their lungs via nose and ears, causing severe health issues like pneumonia.
- The guinea pig was sick before bath, and bathing them caused the symptoms to intensify, and the disease got worse.
Thus, it is best to avoid bath until possible, and even when you have to give them one, make sure you do it the right way.
Do guinea pigs need sand baths?
No, guinea pigs don’t need a sand bath, as some other animals do. Sand can be harmful to your guinea pigs as it can cause allergy & irritation in your guinea pig’s eyes and skin.