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How to Groom a Guinea Pig
Care of Guinea Pigs
Guinea pigs are higher maintenance than your average rodent pet. They require a certain level of grooming in order for them to be healthy and happy. Not all of the required actions are pleasant, but once you get to know your guinea pig friend, the extra effort is worth it.
Of course don't let this scare you away from having a guinea pig as a pet! Once you get into the routine and if you make it a shared family activity, the messy clean up won't take up too much of your time.
Guinea Pig Hair
It is good to comb your guinea pig several times per week, every day if you have a long-haired pet. Use a soft bristled baby brush to take out tangles, dirt and loose hair. This is also a good time to examine your g.p. for skin problems such as fungus and mange mites. If you find something then take him to the veterinarian as soon as you possibly can. Long haired guinea pigs may benefit from a little trim to help keep them clean, especially around the back end. Another reason is to keep him cooler in hot weather. Use scissors that have rounded tips because guinea pigs are known for jumping when least expected.
Have You Ever Had a Guinea Pig as a Pet?
Clean Grease Glands
This sounds horrible and is honestly not a fun job, but necessary to keep your guinea pig clean. The grease gland is located where you would imagine – on the back end of the animal, above the other things (you know what I’m talking about). Use extra virgin cold pressed coconut oil to clean that thing. You can also use Dawn dish detergent, like they do on the wild animals that get stuck in oil spills.
Be confident and hold the guinea pig firmly.
Clip Guinea Pig Nails
Like humans, guinea pig nails grow continuously throughout their lives, and so it is necessary to cut them the same as you would your own. You cannot skip this part of their grooming because they can develop nasty problems if you do. The nails will eventually start to curl under and they will not be able to walk properly, the nails may rip and even cut into their feet and cause infection. The key to this job is to hold the guinea pig properly, and it gets easier as you bond with your pet and they learn to trust you.
Give your guinea pig nails a trim once per month. Don’t cut them down too much, you only need to take off the sharp tips. If you take off too much you can potentially cut into the quick and cause your little friend to bleed. This isn’t life threatening, so don’t panic if you do accidentally do this. Just have a styptic powder handy; just dip his little paw in it and your guinea pig will be fine. It is better to risk this small injury than to let his nails grow too long – and have to make a trip to the vet!
Guinea Pig Fun Time
Entertain Your Guinea Pig
Although this really has nothing to do with grooming and the physical well being of your guinea pig, play time is equally important as any of the other things you may do for your pet. These particular rodents are very curious and intelligent animals and so I recommend that you find ways of keeping their minds as healthy as their bodies.
There are many toys available for purchase on the market for guinea pigs or you can make your own. For example you can cut one or two cavy sized holes in a shoe box for your pet to explore, like a small fort. In my house my husband would like to build Lego walls and use old books and such to build a small maze for our guinea pigs, Poncho Yeah Checkers to enjoy. Of course we would have to supervise them while they are out of the cage for safety reasons, as should you.
Guinea Pig Grooming Supplies
Guinea Pig Bath
This is not something that I personally recommend simply because it seems so unnecessary. So long as you are combing their fur and cleaning the cage daily, a guinea pig will not get dirty and they do groom themselves anyway. If you feel you must wash your pet, then use a very gentle soap to wash them. There are shampoos available specifically made for use on g.p.'s or you can use baby shampoo.
Fill a small tub with lukewarm water and place your guinea pig in the water. Use a very small amount of liquid soap for this job. Lather the soap up in your hands first rather than pouring it directly onto your pets fur because a high concentration can be hard to rinse out properly and possibly cause skin dryness and irritation. Rinse him off very thoroughly and dry him off completely before you return him to his cage.