How Often Do I Need to Bathe a Guinea Pig?
Opinions on how often you should bathe a guinea pig differ among experts. Some people believe that guinea pigs do not need bathing at all, and others think that it is important to bathe them at least once every three to four months. Guinea pigs are naturally clean animals that are capable of grooming themselves, but they still might occasionally become dirty. If their cages are not kept clean, it is much more likely that they will get dirty enough to warrant a bath. It might be best to follow the advice of your veterinarian regarding how often to bathe a guinea pig if it is something about which you are especially curious.
You should keep in mind that bathing a guinea pig too often could actually irritate and dry out its skin. For this reason, bathing probably should be kept to a minimum if you decide to do it at all. When you bathe a guinea pig, you might consider using a non-parasitic shampoo on its fur, because parasites occasionally are a problem with these animals. Parasitic shampoo generally is advisable to use even if you are unsure whether your guinea pig has parasites, because they are not always easy to spot. Even though many people advise not bathing these animals at all, most agree that bathing is important if it is clear that a guinea pig is overrun with parasites.
Even if you decide not to bathe a guinea pig, you still can spot clean it with a damp, soapy cloth when it seems necessary. Although guinea pigs tend to be naturally clean, they might occasionally end up with feces or other debris from their cages on their fur. Be sure to use a mild soap on your cloth if you decide to spot clean your pet, because harsher soaps can be extremely irritating to its skin.
Keeping your guinea pig's cage clean at all times will greatly minimize the need for a bath. The bedding should be changed out every day if possible, and the entire cage probably will need a thorough cleaning at least once per week. You can use any type of cleaning solution to get the cage clean. Some people use regular soap, and others dilute small amounts of chlorine bleach with water to effectively kill off bacteria. Regardless of what you use to scrub out the cage, be sure that you let it air out thoroughly before putting your guinea pig back inside.
The idea of bathing a guinea pig just seemed ludicrous to me. Do people bathe their rabbits or rats, I wonder? I never heard of bathing a rabbit, for sure.
I've had guinea pigs and never considered them needing a bath. They're very prone to upper respiratory infections, so I'd be careful about that, anyway. They really are very clean little animals, so unless they get into something in the house, they don't need bathing.
I'd say brushing is the best way to keep them clean. Use a very soft-bristled brush, thought -- their skin is fragile. You want something like a baby hairbrush. Every piggy I've had really enjoyed being brushed.
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