How to Bathe a Guinea Pig

By: HowStuffWorks.com Contributors  | 

Guinea pig in bath tub
These cuties really don't require baths too frequently. Alexandra Jursova/Moment/Getty Images

Most guinea pigs don't like water. Trying to bathe them may frighten them, and their reaction may lead to an injury [source: SimplePetCare].

Fortunately, you shouldn't need to bathe your guinea pig more than once every few months unless it gets really dirty or has a medical necessity.

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For day-to-day hygiene, you can use one of these alternatives instead of bathing your guinea pig:

  • Apply guinea pig or rabbit dusting powder to your pet's fur and then brush it with a stiff brush.
  • Spot clean its fur with warm, soapy water and a washcloth [source: SimplePetCare].

When you do need to bathe your guinea pig, you'll need:

  • A washcloth
  • Shampoo for guinea pigs, kittens (not cats) or rabbits
  • Towels
  • A blow dryer with a gentle or low setting
  • A brush

To bathe your guinea pig:

  1. Place a washcloth at the bottom of the sink or bucket you're using so your guinea pig won't slip and slide.
  2. Gently pour warm water on the guinea pig's back, or use slow-flowing, warm water from the faucet.
  3. Thoroughly wet all of your pet except for its face, which it can wash itself.
  4. Work a little bit of shampoo into your guinea pig's fur, following the instructions on the bottle.
  5. Rinse your guinea pig well and make sure you've gotten all the shampoo out of its fur.
  6. Wrap your pet in a towel. If the water soaks through the towel, change to a dry one. Shivering is normal, but keep towel drying your guinea pig until it stops shivering. While towel drying your guinea pig, brush its fur periodically to prevent tangles.
  7. Finish drying your guinea pig with the blow dryer on the coolest temperature and lowest speed, continuing to brush its fur [source: Petco].

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Originally Published: Jun 30, 2011

Guinea Pig FAQ

What shampoo is good for guinea pigs?
A non-irritating, natural small animal shampoo that deodorizes is recommended for bathing your guinea pig. Just be sure to choose a shampoo that is suitable for guinea pigs.
Are you supposed to bathe guinea pigs?
Guinea pigs are incredibly clean animals that groom themselves regularly. They also don't like water, so if you try to bathe them, they may get frightened. Luckily, they don't need to be bathed more than once every few months unless they get very dirty or have a medical condition that requires them to be bathed.
What is the best way to bathe a guinea pig?
First, place a washcloth at the bottom of the sink so that your pet won't slip. Now, thoroughly wet your guinea pig with warm water except for its face. Work a little shampoo into its fur and then rinse it well. Lastly, wrap your pet in a towel and finish by drying it with a blow dryer on the lowest speed setting.
Can I bathe my guinea pig with just water?
Yes, it is okay to bathe them with just warm water. In fact, soaps and some shampoos may strip healthy oils from their skin and hair.
Can I bathe my guinea pig once a week?
It is recommended not to bathe your guinea pig more than once every few months. For weekly hygiene, you can apply dusting powder to your pet's fur and then brush them, or you can spot clean the fur with warm, soapy water and a washcloth.

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