A well-groomed guinea pig is a healthy and happy guinea pig. Grooming a guinea pig includes trimming their nails, brushing them, cleaning their grease glands, getting rid of matted hair, and clipping some hair if needed.
But brushing your guinea pig’s hair and getting rid of the mat can be tricky, especially if your guinea pigs have long hairs. So what would you do?
Lightly brush the mat out first. For untangling tougher mats, move the fingers across the fur without tugging the hairs. You may need to clip the tip of the hair before using a brush to get the mats out completely. Be careful while clipping the fur as some mats are close to the skin, and you may end up hurting your guinea pigs.
If your guinea pigs fur are heavily matted and you don’t have much experience of clipping their hair, you may need to take them to a professional groomer or a vet.
Getting someone professional to do the job for the first time while you learn the process by observing them carefully can be worth it.
As many newbies often end up hurting their guinea pigs when they try to untangle the mats in their guinea pigs.
Does brushing help in getting rid of matted hairs in guinea pigs?
Brushing your guinea pigs regularly is one of the best methods to prevent matted hairs in them.
Most long-haired guinea pigs need brushing on a daily basis or on alternate days to avoid matting in the first place.
Regular brushing not only helps in preventing matted hairs but also removes the loose hair and clears any debris in the coat.
You may need to brush your guinea pigs daily during the shedding season as they tend to lose their hair quickly.
What causes mats in guinea pigs?
To effectively prevent matted hairs in your guinea pigs, you first need to understand what causes matted fur in guinea pigs in the first place.
Yes, Irregular brushing is one of the major culprits, but apart from that, few more things can lead to matted hairs in guinea pigs.
- Improper living environment including soiled bedding and cage.
- Any drastic change in your guinea pigs diet
- Health issues like diarrhea, etc.
- Lack of fiber and Vitamin A in the diet.
- Extra-long hair around the grease glands.
- Using poor quality shampoo for bathing your guinea pigs.
Where do mats occur in guinea pigs?
Long-haired guinea pigs can have matted hair at any part of the body.
However, some areas are more susceptible to get matted hair if not taken care of on time. These areas include:
- Around the grease gland or end of the tailbone
- Under the mouth, around the chin area
- On the belly side
- Alongside the back legs
How do you get rid of matted hair on guinea pigs?
If your guinea pigs have only a small mat of hair, then you can untangle the same by running your fingers softly or clipping the tips and running a soft bristle brush in your guinea pig’s fur.
However, severely matted hair in guinea pigs might need to be taken cared for by a professional groomer or vet.
If you have some experience in handling your guinea pigs and grooming them, then you might give it a try as well.
Here are a few steps you might need to follow:
Comb out the hair
If you are ready to deal with the matted fur on your own you must first begin by combing your guinea pig’s fur.
Start by running your fingers across your guinea pig’s body. It shall help in untangling some hairs and make things easier for you.
Do make sure not to tug your guinea pig’s hair as it can hurt your guinea pigs, and they might show aggression in some cases.
If there is some tough mat, you need to hold the mat within your fingers and then brush the ends off.
Make sure you comb gently and remove any loose hair from their fur.
If you have neglected the grooming of your guinea pigs for a while, then they might have a matted hair around their legs.
The matted hairs around the hind legs are hotspots for urine strains as well. You can use scissors to trim the hairs safely.
However, make sure you leave some hairs as it helps in protecting the soft skin of their legs.
Most guinea pigs find it uncomfortable when you are trying to brush their belly areas and back of their body.
Try to ask someone to hold your guinea pigs and try to comb the mat gently.
Be careful and gentle while you get to their back as they don’t enjoy being touched there.
Clip the matted fur
Sometimes your guinea pigs might have a rough mat that is hard to comb out. Under such circumstances, you might need to trim their matted fur with scissors.
Matted fur around the tip of the hairs can be easy to handle and trim. However, sometimes your guinea pigs might have severe mats that are close to the skin.
In such scenarios there are mostly two options with you:
- Trim the top of the hair and gently try to comb the mat out.
- Use a mat rake to separate the hairs from the skin and trim the hairs carefully.
However, some people can find using the tool a little tough on their own. You might need to get someone to hold your guinea pigs well while you do the job.
A small bath
Guinea pigs might have a thick mat of hairs around their grease glands and around their bum area.
Now, if your guinea pigs have a thick matt or hard hair clumps around their bum, you might need to give them a bum bath first.
Begin by placing your guinea pigs in a sink and running lukewarm water. You might need to use some natural shampoo to clean the hair clumps and loosen the mat a little bit.
Let it lather up and sit for a minute or two and then rinse the shampoo properly.
Now you can use a dry towel to dry your guinea pig’s hair and use a comb to try and remove the mats gently.
If you want to learn more about how to give your guinea pig a proper bath, read our article.
Reward your guinea pigs
Once you are done with the grooming process, you must give a treat as a reward to your guinea pigs.
It is a way of positive reinforcement where your guinea pigs learn that they will get a treat if they behave correctly.
Also, offering some of their favorite veggies while grooming your guinea pigs might keep them calm and steady, making the process of grooming easy. You should definitely give it a try as well.
How often should you brush your guinea pig to avoid mats?
To keep your guinea pigs coat healthy and matt free, you need to brush them on consecutive days, at least.
Also, if your guinea pigs are shedding, then you might need to clean them daily to get rid of excess loose hair that can result in matting.
If you want to keep your guinea pigs well maintained and easy to groom, try to clip their hairs regularly.
Trim it to the size of an inch or two to make the grooming process simple.
It would also help if you also looked out for hay and litter, getting stuck in their fur that can lead to matted hairs in guinea pigs.
How to prevent matted hairs in guinea pigs?
I can understand it can be really tough to get rid of matted hair of your guinea pigs.
So, here are some quick tips to keep in mind that can help you prevent matted hair in the first place:
- Brush your guinea pigs regularly.
- Clean out any debris or hay stuck on their fur.
- Make sure you use good quality bedding. Avoid paper bedding or wood shaving that can get stuck in their fur. I personally love Guineadad fleece liners, especially if you have long-haired guinea pigs.
- Keep the bum area of your guinea pigs clean and give them a bum bath whenever needed.
- Avoid frequent changes in diet that can result in diarrhea. The soft poop can make their hair matted in no time.
- Keep the fur of your guinea pigs clipped. Regular clipping and maintaining 1-2 inch size fur usually help with the grooming process.
- Maintain a clean living environment as a poor living condition can have a severe impact on the fur of your guinea pigs.