Whenever we see that our guinea pigs are scratching certain parts of their body repeatedly or you have fleas infestation around your home or other pets, you might also wonder if your guinea pigs have got fleas on them as well. And How to treat guinea pigs for fleas?
Guinea pigs are not the primary host for fleas; however, they can get one if you have fleas around your home or in other pets like dogs and cats. Using a flea comb and isolating your guinea pigs can do the trick and get rid of fleas from your guinea pigs.
Guinea pigs don’t host fleas that well, which means that fleas cannot multiply or complete their full life cycle when they are on your guinea pigs.
However, there is still a potential danger as it can infest other pets or even you if you are around your guinea pigs.
As guinea pigs are delicate pets, they can’t tolerate the usual treatment which you give to your other pets, including your cats and dogs.
Thus, you need to make sure you treat the fleas right without harming your guinea pigs.
However, it would be best if you still got rid of the same before it can multiply and take over your home.
So, to learn more about its severity, let’s dive into some details.
Are fleas dangerous for guinea pigs?
Studies and doctors confirm that although guinea pigs can’t host the fleas primarily, still those pesky little pests can be fatal for our guinea pigs.
Fleas are going to take a bite on any warm-blooded animals, including our guinea pigs.
Although guinea pigs don’t require routine treatment of fleas like some other pets, you might still need to treat the fleas if your guinea pigs have one in their fur.
Another study also claims that one of the significant possible problems is if your guinea pigs end up ingesting the eggs or larvae of the fleas, then the worms can grow into a tapeworm that can be fatal for our guinea pigs.
Sometimes guinea pigs also end up ingesting fleas while grooming their fur; you might think that it is not something significant.
However, some fleas carry diseases like myxomatosis, which is a deadly disease for any pet. Thus, make sure you eradicate the fleas entirely from your home itself.
What are fleas?
Fleas are tiny parasites that suck on the blood of warm-blooded creatures.
Guinea pigs usually don’t get any specific type of fleas, but the common cat fleas and dog fleas can get onto your guinea pigs and cause trouble to them.
Fleas usually don’t host on guinea pigs for a longer period.
They look for suitable hosts nearby, including you, dogs, cats, birds, etc. and will lose no opportunity to jump onto them.
Most fleas are either brown/black in color, ranging up to 2mm in length.
A female flea can lay up to 50 eggs in a single day(500 in total), and thus, it doesn’t take long before they infest your entire home.
They can lay an egg on your pets, your rugs, carpets, or any other soft furnishing in your home.
Usually, other pets in your home, including dogs, cats, and birds, are the perfect hosts for them to lay an egg and multiply.
Their lifecycle is simple and straightforward, and it can last anywhere between two weeks and three months depending upon the environment and host:
Egg – Pupa – Lava – Adult Flea
Although many people believe that guinea pigs are not the perfect hosts for fleas to lay an egg and multiply, However, according to RSPCA, there is a possibility of fleas infestation in our guinea pigs as well.
What causes guinea pig fleas?
Guinea pigs usually catch fleas from other pets, visitors, or from their surrounding environment. If you have some other pets like dogs and cats in your home, then their fleas might get transferred to your guinea pigs.
Sometimes the fleas from your dogs and cats might get into your clothes, and when you go near your guinea pigs, they might jump onto them as well.
Apart from that, if any visitor is carrying fleas in their clothing, the same can infest your guinea pigs. In rare scenarios, guinea pigs can also get fleas from your yard if you live them outside for some lap time.
In theory, the possibilities are endless; thus, you must be extra cautious if you had some fleas problems in the past or there is a flea outbreak in your other pets as well.
Pregnant and baby guinea pigs are at higher risk of infestation due to their increased blood flow. Make sure you look out for any possible signs and treat the fleas accordingly.
Do guinea pigs attract fleas?
No, guinea pigs don’t attract fleas directly; however, their surroundings can.
Studies claim that Warm, moist, and dark living environment is what fleas need to flourish and the same needs match perfectly with what we have in most guinea pigs cage.
The ideal temperature for guinea pigs is around 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit, which is perfect for fleas as well.
Guinea pigs don’t enjoy a well lit or sunny area, and same do fleas.
Also, most guinea pigs have wet and humid environments in their bedding due to their pee and poop, which makes the situation even better for the fleas to develop and flourish.
So, even if your guinea pigs don’t host fleas, the living environment of their cage makes a perfect place for fleas to thrive.
Can guinea pigs catch fleas from cats?
Yes, guinea pigs can catch fleas from cats. If your cats roam around in your house or they go near your guinea pigs, then the fleas might jump on to your guinea pigs.
There is also a possibility that the fleas get on to you from the cats and then jump back to your guinea pigs as you reach out to them.
Can my guinea pig get fleas from my dog?
Yes, guinea pigs can get fleas from your dogs as well. Fleas can jump on to your guinea pigs as your dogs play around in the same area.
There is also a possibility that the fleas get on to you from the dogs and then jump back to your guinea pigs when you approach them for daily maintenance.
Can guinea pigs get fleas from hay?
Yes, guinea pigs can get fleas from hay. Fleas will need a host to thrive, but they can lay dormant for a long interval until they find a suitable host to get on.
So, if you usually buy hay in bulk like hay bales or from farmer supply, there is a high chance that it might have some fleas as well.
Although the packaging and processing hay by many companies doesn’t make it fleas proof; however, it drastically reduces the probability.
Thus, it would be best if you made sure you serve fresh and good quality hay to your guinea pigs.
If the hay is not stored correctly, it can get moist, which can attract some fleas as well. Thus make sure you keep it safe.
Can guinea pigs get fleas from grass?
Yes, guinea pigs can get fleas from the grass as well. If you let your guinea pigs out in your yard or you have a run in your yard for your guinea pigs, then chances are your guinea pigs can get fleas from there.
Although fleas don’t enjoy direct sunlight, we always place our guinea pigs enclosure or run around the shady area to prevent direct sunlight from reaching our guinea pigs.
These areas are an excellent location for fleas as well; thus, there is a chance that your guinea pigs can get fleas from the grass in your yard as well.
Signs your guinea pig has fleas
Fleas move around pretty quickly; thus, it can be difficult to spot one on your guinea pigs fur.
However, flea dirt is one of the earliest signs to detect fleas infestation in our guinea pigs.
Flea dirt looks like a brown/black speck in the fur. You can use a flea comb and run it gently over your guinea pig’s hair to find out the flea dirt.
You can then use a white paper towel(wet) and put what comes out over it.
Now, if the dirt turns red, then it is definitely flea dirt, and you should act quickly to remove it altogether.
The larvae of fleas feed onto this dirt; thus, it is vital to respond soon.
Apart from that, there are a few symptoms or changes in behavior that can also signal fleas infestation. These signs include:
- Patch in hair or hair loss
- Lethargy and unwilling to move
- Rashes in the skin, etc.
How to get rid of guinea pig fleas?
Treating fleas in guinea pigs can be quite different than what we do with our cats and dog.
While the basics of treatment remain the same, we try to avoid the use of chemicals and Flea Treatment, which we usually use with cats and dogs.
Guinea pigs are gentle creatures, and they do need extra care when it comes to a problem like this one.
So, what should you do to treat the guinea pig fleas problem? Well, here are 7 easy steps you can follow:
Use a flea comb
The first and the most basic method to get rid of guinea pig fleas begin with combing them using a flea comb.
Simply take a container filled with water, and then start brushing your guinea pig’s fur in small sections. Do make sure you reach every corner and comb them thoroughly.
You should inspect the comb for fleas, their eggs, or flea dirt. Drown any captured fleas in the water and repeat the process.
You might need to comb your guinea pigs twice a day for one week to make sure you eradicate fleas completely.
If your guinea pigs had only fleas but no eggs or larvae or flea dirt, then continuously comb them for a few days, and you shall be good to go.
However, if you find traces of other things as well, you might need to take further steps.
Isolate your guinea pigs from other pets
Isolating your guinea pigs from other pets is probably one of the significant steps you must look out for.
Fleas can get onto your guinea pigs from other pets like dogs and cats.
Thus, isolating your guinea pigs will help you get rid of fleas from them without the risk of getting it back from those other pets.
Treat other pets for fleas
Once you get your guinea pigs away from your other pets, its time to get rid of fleas from them.
If you have cats/dogs in your home, then there is a high probability that the fleece has come from them only.
Thus, giving them a proper fleas treatment and keeping them away from your guinea pigs could help you deal with it reliably.
Eradicate fleas from your home
Fleas can be tough to get rid of once they have infested your home.
Fleas can lie dormant in your home furnishing, including sofas, beds, floor mats, and rugs for months before they get a suitable host to begin their life cycle again.
Thus, if you leave behind even a single flea in your house, they can bounce back massively in the future.
However, there are specific steps that you can take to make sure you prevent them from coming back.
- Vacuum your home including the lounges, rugs, and carpet regularly. Do make sure you empty the vacuum cleaner outside and trash the dirt in a sealed bag.
- Steam clean your carpets every three months.
- Frequent laundry of your pets bedding(dogs/cats) can help control fleas
- Change or wash your guinea pigs bedding every week. Switch to quality bedding that keeps cage dry and clean.
- Get a pest control service if you cannot handle the mess.
Give them a bath
Giving your guinea pigs a quick bath can also help get rid of flea’s eggs and dirt from their fur.
You can use good quality guinea pig shampoo to get rid of the fleas from their hair.
Please note that you should avoid the bath if you haven’t done it before, or your guinea pigs have any other medical condition ongoing.
You can consult a vet if you are unsure of what you need to do.
Apply a guinea pig safe fleas treatment
Fleas treatment is beneficial, but that is what we use as a last resort for treating fleas in guinea pigs.
As not all fleas treatment medications available in the market are safe for our guinea pigs, you must look out for the ingredient before using one.
I did some research on my own and found that a medication named Imidacloprid(also sold as Advantage in the US) can be effectively used to treat problems like fleas, mites, and lice in guinea pigs.
There are other medications available out there as well. However, you must always check out the product with your vet before using it on your guinea pigs.
Prevent fleas from returning
A battle with fleas is an ongoing battle, especially when you have pets at home.
Thus, you must be on top of it all the time. Once you get fleas under control, you can follow a few steps to make sure they remain in check:
- Brush your guinea pig’s coat with a flea comb once a week.
- Change your guinea pig’s bedding frequently and make sure their cage remains clean.
- Monitor your guinea pig’s health and look out for any signs of fleas infestation. Visit a vet if you are unsure.
- Stay on top of laundry and steam cleaning your soft furnishing around your home.
Routine treatment of fleas in not necessary in guinea pigs. However in some cases, if fleas keep coming back, you might want to prevent it in the first place. Visit a vet if you need further assistance in understanding the cause of the same.
Can guinea pig fleas bite humans?
Yes, fleas can bite humans. If your guinea pigs or other pets in your home have fleas, then there is a high chance that you might also have some on to you.
Although fleas prefer pets and soft furnishing for laying their eggs so, in that way, you might be safe.
However, some humans can get allergy if some insects, including fleas, bite them; thus, you must keep the same in mind.
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