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If you are wondering whether you should give your guinea pigs a bath or not, the answer is yes – but not too often. The rule of thumb is to give your pets a regular bath once a month. If you bathe them more often could do more harm than good because your pets will end up with dry skin and you could strip their coats of all the natural oils found in them. However, bathing a guinea pig once a month is not that practical for everyone to do, so if you aim to give your pets a bath at least twice year, then you won't go far wrong. There are other times you might have to give them a bath and this includes when you find any of the following conditions:
If your pet guinea pig is suffering from any sort of respiratory illness or if they are under the weather for any reason whatsoever and they live outdoors even in the winter, then it is never a good idea to give them a bath. You run too many risks of making their condition worse and guinea pigs are much more susceptible to catching things when they are wet or damp.
It is not enough to just wet a guinea pig and then rub a little shampoo on to their backs. The problem is that these adorable little creatures know how to wriggle and when wet, they are pretty slippery little characters to keep hold of. You have to wait for the weather to warm up before you think about bathing your pet, unless they live indoors where it is nice and warm that is. Once you have decided it is time to give your pet a bath, make sure you get everything set up before you actually start.
You need very little in the way of equipment to set up a bath for your guinea pigs. All you really need are 2 washing bowls, some guinea pig shampoo and a few towels to dry them off with. It is much safer to bath one guinea pig at a time if you have several pets. To stop your pet from slipping in the bowl, it's a good idea to put a flannel or small bath mat in the base of it.
You need one washing up bowl to bath your pet in and the other to rinse them off in. Place the bowl in a bath and fill it up with 2 to 2½ inches of water, the rule of thumb is to have the water just reach a guinea pigs' belly when they are standing up in the bowl. The water should never be any higher than their chins, remember your pet needs to be able to stand quite comfortably in the water. Make sure the water temperature is just right which is the same temperature as a baby's bathwater. Dip your elbow into the water to make sure it is not too hot or too cold. When it comes to the type of shampoo, this depends on several factors as shown below:
It is best to use a shampoo that has been specifically formulated for use on guinea pigs. You can buy these from pet shops or pet supermarkets. Any anti-parasitic or anti-fungal shampoos are usually prescription only which means your vet will prescribe them for you, although there are some types you can buy over the counter. As previously mentioned, guinea pigs can wriggle a lot at the best of times and when they are wet they can be difficult to keep hold of. This is why it is better to put the washing bowl in the bathtub and not in a sink which is that much higher off the ground should they wriggle out of your hands. Make sure you thoroughly wet your pet and then apply the shampoo. Rub the shampoo well into their coats being very careful to avoid getting any in their eyes. To rinse off your pet, place them in the second washing bowl and make sure you rinse out all the shampoo. You may have to change the water a few times making sure the water is not too hot or too cold when you change it. Once you are happy all the shampoo is out of their coats, you need to towel dry your pet before using a hair-dryer on them. Next, you can gently use the hair-dryer being ultra careful not to place it too close to their fur because you might burn them. Hair-dryers are especially good to use on long-haired guinea pigs because towel drying alone sometimes leaves them too wet. You have to make sure your pet is completely dry especially if they live outdoors. If you leave them damp, they will catch cold very quickly so you need to avoid this at all costs. It is best to wait until your pet is completely dry before putting them back outside so if you have an indoor cage, leave them inside for a while to be absolutely certain.
Guinea pigs have grease glands at the base of their spines just about where their tails would be if they had them that is. It is best to clean out grease glands before you give your pet a bath. If you leave them too dirty, you run the risk of an infection taking hold which must be avoided at all costs. Normal shampoos are not that effective at cleaning out grease glands but many people use a grapeseed oil to soak the wax loose and then comb out the fur around the gland gently with a flea comb. To remove any excess oil, use a soft dry clothe and rub gently. Other people use Swarfega to remove the grease that builds up in the glands and it works very well. You need to gently massage the grease glands so it breaks up before you attempt to remove it. Once this happens, you can then peel it off without hurting your pet. Once cleaned out, rinse their bottoms in water before giving your pet their baths.
You have to wait for the right weather before giving your guinea pig a bath especially if they live in an outdoor hutch. Once you have bathed them, you need to make sure they are thoroughly dry before putting them back in their hutches. Guinea pigs, if let wet or damp will catch cold very quickly so use a hair-dryer to make sure they are 100% dry after their baths and always make sure it's a nice sunny day when you do bath them.
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