Guinea pigs do not like to take baths. They keep themselves well groomed and avoid water as much as possible. However, there are times when your guinea pig needs to be bathed. To reduce their stress levels, use warm water and provide them with plenty of treats.
We know bathing our guinea pigs is essential to their health, but do they like taking baths? In this article, we will discuss whether or not guinea pigs enjoy taking baths, the situations that require bathing, and what you can do to make bath time less stressful for your guinea.
Guinea Pigs Can Become Stressed In Water
Guinea pigs do not enjoy baths and become stressed. This is the main reason guinea pigs are bathed only a few times a year. Between bathings, guinea pigs routinely clean themselves.
When You Need to Give Your Guinea Pig a Bath
Bathing is typically only necessary a few times a year for routine hygiene. Because of more demanding upkeep, long-haired guinea pigs may require more baths than their short-haired companions. Most owners of long-haired guinea pigs bathe them once a month.
If Your Guinea Pig Has Soiled Fur
If your guinea pig has soiled fur, that would warrant a bath to prevent parasitic or viral infections. It may reduce the amount of stress your guinea pig feels if you’re able to spot clean their fur with a washcloth.
When Not to Bathe Your Guinea Pig
Guinea pigs don’t do well with temperature changes. Bathing your guinea pig when they have a cold or respiratory infection can further weaken their immune system (because of the drastic temperature change and the stress they endure in the process). Colds and respiratory infections are very serious in guinea pigs and can quickly turn into pneumonia.
Also, avoid bathing your guinea pig if they are pregnant or under six months old unless instructed otherwise by your veterinarian.
Watch For Signs of Distress During Bath Time
If your guinea does any of the following, it may be a sign they’re distressed. Take extra steps to help soothe your guinea pig to reduce the level of stress they may be feeling.
- Refusing a treat when they normally would take one
- Hissing and/or chattering
- Baring their teeth
- Frustration or irritability
- Resisting being held when they usually enjoy being held
- Staying still. If your guinea pig stands completely still, this is a response to stress
- Tossing their head
Building Trust with Your Guinea Pig
When you first get your guinea pig, it’s important to build trust with them. Building trust with your guinea pig is the number one way to reduce the stress surrounding bath time. If your guinea pig trusts you, they will be more likely to cooperate because they are comfortable with you.
Build trust with your guinea pig by spending time with them, talking to them, giving them treats, and implementing playtime. It may take some time, but it’s worth it.
How to Bathe Your Guinea Pig to Avoid Stress
As mentioned previously, most guinea pigs dislike taking a bath. It’s your job as the owner to make bath time as stress-free as possible for them. Here are a few steps you can take to keep your guinea pig calm during bath time.
- Use an approved shampoo for guinea pigs. Most can be found in pet stores.
- Blow Dryer
- Plastic Container
Place a hand towel at the bottom of the plastic container. This will help ensure the guinea pig maintains traction.
Fill it up with two inches of lukewarm warm water (or where the water just reaches your guinea pig’s chest). Avoid high water levels so that your guinea pig does not inhale water.
Try giving your guinea pig a treat before putting him in the water to make the experience more pleasant and reduce stress. A few cuddles might help as well!
Place your guinea pig in the water, with their back legs going in first. Be patient during this step. Allow your guinea pig time to acclimate to the water. Treats and talking to them in a soothing tone can bring them comfort. Gently wet their fur and avoid any water on their face and ears.
Use only a few drops of shampoo. Massage it into your guinea pig’s fur. Hold your guinea pig when you do this.
Set your guinea pig back in the container and gently rinse the shampoo off of them with warm water.
Use a towel to dry your guinea pig. Pat them until they’re dry. Wrap the towel around them to keep them warm and to avoid chills, which can induce stress.
Many individuals like to use a hairdryer. If you decide to do this, keep it on a low setting. This can speed up the drying process. Only do this if your guinea pig is comfortable with it and doesn’t show signs of distress.
Brush your guinea pig and trim their nails if you’re comfortable doing so. This is the best time to perform a mini-exam on your guinea pig, checking for lumps or injuries. Reward your guinea pig with a treat.
Making Bath Time Easier On The Guinea Pig
- Reduce the number of baths they get by utilizing grooming wipes designed for guinea pigs.
- Make sure the water is lukewarm by testing the water on your hand or wrist before putting your guinea pig in the container.
- Ensure you keep a good comforting grasp on your guinea pig to prevent injuries if they try to wriggle free.
- Use your hand to shield your guinea pig’s face when rinsing.
- Offer multiple pets and treats throughout the process.
- Never leave your guinea pig unattended in the water.
Guinea Pigs Dog Not Like Baths
So, do guinea pigs like baths? Not exactly. Baths can be stressful for them. Use treats and soothing talk to make the process go easier for your furry friend.
Ensure that the water temperature is lukewarm to avoid hot water or cold water. To reduce stress, you also want to avoid bathing your guinea pig if they have a cold, are under six months old, or are pregnant.
Take steps to avoid bathing if possible by spot cleaning your guinea pig. Maintaining cage hygiene can also reduce the number of baths that may be necessary for your guinea pig.