Just like many other pets, guinea pigs require grooming as well. Many piggy parents ask me during YouTube Live, how much grooming care do guinea pigs need? Despite their name, guinea pigs are actually quite clean animals. There are just a few solid things to remember about guinea pig care you should know!
Guinea Pig Bathing
In general, guinea pigs need little to no baths at all. Unless they absolutely have to (skin conditions, lice, etc.) and are otherwise recommended by a veterinarian, they should not be bathed at all.
Long haired guinea pigs may be bathed more often due to their hair maintenance, but other than that guinea pigs get extremely stressed when they are around water. Sometimes guinea pig owners will bathe their guinea pigs once a year to say the least. If you need to bathe your guinea pig you can learn more and follow a step by step process by reading our blog How to Bathe a Guinea Pig.
Besides, guinea pigs are excellent at self-grooming. Tofu and Dumpling are constantly keeping themselves clean by constantly washing their face with the white liquid they produce in their eyes. In our recent vlog, you can see numerous times where Tofu is licking her fur or rubbing her face. You may think guinea pigs just self groom to solely clean, but there are other reasons as well.
Guinea pigs self-grooming is a natural behavior of theirs. Guinea pigs will also self groom others to show affection, and often to other guinea pigs they are well bonded with. Guinea pigs will self-groom to express dominance as well, as the submissive piggy will be the groomer of the more dominant piggy. Another reason is because it is a natural prey instinct for guinea pigs to clean to mask their scent away from predators. Last but not least, guinea pigs will groom themselves to keep cool as most piggy parents know, guinea pigs do not have sweat glands.
Guinea Pig Nail Care
Guinea pigs need to maintain their nails at least every two weeks. If their nails are not properly trimmed they can scratch or hurt themselves. I have a few vlogs where I have cut Dumpling and Tofu’s nails, and it always makes it easier when they are eating while I trim them. Even worse, if a guinea pig’s nails are too long, they can curl and impair their walking. Always be sure to use proper nail clippers (baby nail clippers or small animal clippers). If you need guidance on how to properly care or cut nails you can read our blog Step by Step Guide on How to Cut Your Guinea Pig's Nails or You Can Cut Your Guinea Pig's Nails Too!
Guinea Pig Dental Care
If you have guinea pigs already, you already know that guinea pigs teeth are constantly growing. It is essential that you provide something for them to chew on, like GuineaDad Hay or a GuineaDad Crunchy Condo. I tell a lot of piggy parents to always provide an unlimited supply of guinea pig hay so that they can constantly chew on their hay, which is great for their teeth and digestive system. Guinea pigs that do not have enough to chew on will often develop pain or infections from overgrown teeth. This is a tip you can’t overlook as a piggy parent. That’s why usually in most vlogs, Tofu and Dumpling are always chewing on their Crunchy Condos or digging into their GuineaDad Hay
Guinea Pig Hair Care
Usually short haired guinea pigs, like Dumpling or Tofu don’t require much hair maintenance. However, brushing their hair every once in a while could not hurt. This is a great opportunity for you to examine their skin for mites or lice. Tofu has longer hair than Dumpling, so sometimes I will quickly look over her hair while she is eating. It doesn’t take much time, and being extra observant as a piggy parent couldn’t hurt. If you have long haired guinea pigs, you may want to brush their hair by using narrow toothed combs, or combs designed for guinea pigs at best.