The idea of putting clothes on a guinea pig seems like something that would look oh-so-cute, but it could also be oh-so-dangerous as well.
We know you may want to put a hat or a sweater on your piggy, but we recommend thinking twice and reading up on the risks before attempting doing any of that. There are some risks to consider can pose for you piggy, and we think it's good to read and learn before you decide anything!
What might be OK?
Things like capes that can be draped over their back for a little while should be okay, or even hats that are just simply placed on their heads without any strings. These kinds of accessories can be harmless, and are the ideal thing to dress your piggy in if you're trying to take some photos.
Outside of these exceptions, there are some risks!
Some risks to consider
Obviously, guinea pigs are not used to wearing clothing, which in general would just pose a discomfort for them. The fibers that the clothing is made of can be an irritant, and you won’t always know what the fiber content of all the clothes and costumes contain.
If they get itchy, it will cause them to want to scratch themselves, which can cause self-inflicted injuries such as sores and wounds. These injuries can get infected and cause illness if not treated properly.
Putting your piggy in clothing can increase their stress levels and that can impact their overall health negatively. Excess stress makes them susceptible to getting sick because it weakens their immune system. The tighter the clothing piece that is in them, the more stress it could cause. It also makes it hard for them to groom themselves, which is a way that they reduce their own stress and self-soothe.
However, putting an item on for a few seconds isn't going to harm them too negatively, we just suggest being careful!
Your guinea pig being strangled by the clothing you attempt to put on them is a very real possibility. This risk is especially high if the clothing or accessory includes something that goes around their necks or chins.
Some items of clothing or accessories, such as hats, have little strings to tie under an animal’s chin or around their neck. This puts your guinea pig at risk for getting strangled and causing serious injury, and in the very worst case, even death.
In general, there really isn’t a good reason to put clothing on your guinea pig for long periods of time! Most of the time the reasoning behind putting clothing on your piggy is just because their human wants to take cute photos of them in costumes, but they’re already cute on their own! If you'd like to put them in an outfit for a minute or two to take photos, they should be fine, but prolonged wear of clothing isn't a great idea.
If you want to put clothes on your guinea pig because you’re worried about keeping your guinea pigs warm, you should keep them indoors and keep the environment they’re living in warm! This will eliminate that worry and the need for clothes altogether.