How to Bathe a Guinea Pig

How to Bathe a Guinea Pig to Make it Look Cute and Clean Again

Got yourself a tiny, fuzzy guinea pig? Great! Find out all about how to bathe a guinea pig from the following article to know the proper way to clean and groom your little ball of fur without hurting it.
The difference between friends and pets is that friends we allow into our company, pets we allow into our solitude.
~ Robert Brault

...and if that pet happens to be a pair of fuzzy, frolicking cavies, solitude becomes nothing more than an incomprehensible word in some foreign vocabulary. Man! The ruckus they create when they are let out to run amok all over the place! I don't know about you but among all rodents that are commonly kept as pets, I feel guinea pigs are the noisiest and the most vocally inclined. I mean, just look at the variety of noises they make on different occasions - the wheeks of excitement when you offer them any nibble-worthy delight, the purrs of enjoyment when you relent to a petting session (you being the petter, of course!) on returning home after a long day at work, the squeals and chirps of displeasure or discomfort when it's hungry or scared! Isn't it super fun to have these cute, hyperactive and extremely social rodents around you? However, like with all pets, guinea pigs need to be kept clean and groomed on a regular basis to keep them healthy, odor free and prevent infestation of their fur by mites and lice. If you've just got yourself a pair of cavies (well, it's always better to get guinea pigs in pairs as they become depressed and dull when kept in solitude) and have no idea, whatsoever, about how to bathe a guinea pig, help's here! Just keep reading and pay attention to what the next segment has to say.

How to Bathe Guinea Pigs

One of the best things about guinea pigs is that they are quite favorably disposed towards cleanliness and you will see evidence of this in the amount of time they invest in self and social grooming. However, being the conscientious pet owner that you are, you must make sure you get them out for a cleaning and grooming session every once in a while and clean their cage on a regular basis to prevent your precious fuzzies from contacting infections and infectious diseases such as diarrhea and respiratory tract infection. Bathing your guinea pigs once every 3-4 month suffices as washing their coat too frequently can lead to excessive skin dryness. The following points lay down a step-by-step procedure of how to bathe a guinea pig without hurting or scaring it.
  • Before we even start with the details of how to bathe your pet cavies, let's see what all we will need in order to get the task done. The things you'll need would necessarily include a small tub (plastic, porcelain, metal...take your pick as long as it's roomy enough to accommodate one punching, kicking, leaping fur ball at a time!), a pair of towels, a hair dryer, lukewarm water and pet shampoo.
  • Spread one towel at the base of the tub so that your guinea pig doesn't slip and hurt itself even if it panics in water. Thereafter, fill the tub with cozy, lukewarm water. Make sure it is neither hot nor cold as the former will cause burns to your pet's coat while the latter will cause it to fall sick.
  • It is best to keep the water filled tub on the floor so that your guinea pig doesn't hurt itself even if it slips out of your gentle grasp as it cannot fall when the bathing tub is kept at floor level.
  • Get one guinea pig out of the cage and spend some time petting and talking to it in soothing tones as you carry it to the bathing area. This will help relax both of you before you two embark upon experiencing the guinea-pig-bathing phenomenon for the first time. Allow your cavy to sniff the edges of the tub while you gently, but firmly, hold it in your hands as this will help it get familiar with the tub and the bathing water before it is lowered into it.
  • Now, while still lightly petting and speaking to it in soft tones, lower the guinea pig in the water very slowly, getting its hind limbs wet first and then gradually lowering it till its midsection is under water. All this while, keep talking to it and be gentle with your hands. Remember, this may not be as smooth as it sounds and you might have to run after your cavy quite a bit before you can get even its feet wet. So, have lots of patience and time on your hands when planning to bathe your guinea pigs.
  • Once you've managed to lower your guinea pig in the water (keep the head above water surface and drip water and shampoo over its head to clean that area), gently run your fingers along its coat to get rid of dust and loose fur. Pour a little shampoo (a few drops would suffice) on the guinea pig's back and gently lather with your fingers while holding your pet with one hand all this time.
  • Run your shampoo covered fingers along all the hidden nooks and recesses of your pet rodent's body such as the belly, folds of limbs, under the tail, etc. Don't take too much time doing this as long exposure to such moisture can lead your cavy to catch a nasty cold.
  • Wash away the shampoo thoroughly with warm water, making sure no residue remains anywhere on the coat as the chemical deposits can lead to skin problems later. Wrap up your little, wet ball of fur in the dry towel and gently wipe away the water droplets
  • Turn on the hair dryer and set the temperature at the lowest heat setting. Keep the dryer nozzle at least two feet away and point towards your guinea pig. Direct the blast of air at different areas of your pet's anatomy to dry out the coat thoroughly.
  • Take your spic and span guinea pig back to its cage (assuming you cleaned the cage before cleaning your pets!), take the other one out and repeat the entire routine mentioned above with it.
So, that's how you give your pet cavies a bath every 3-4 months! Remember, guinea pigs are physically extremely delicate compared to us humans, and any hurry or impatience on your part can cause them bodily injury by way of your hands crushing or your nails scratching them. Throughout the entire routine, make sure that you handle your tiny pets very gently, keep talking to them in a calm and relaxing tone and, last but definitely not the least, have oodles of patience. That being said, you'll soon discover that these bathing sessions are as fun as they are messy! Happy splashing!
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