A lot of guinea pigs suffer from skin problems which are often triggered by things in their environments. However, a lot of these on-going skin complaints that are commonly seen in these lovely little creatures can be avoided. You can do this by finding the root cause of the problem before addressing it so your pet recovers from a skin irritation that if left untreated could prove fatal.
One of the most important things is to check out any guinea pig products you regularly use and this includes bedding, food, toys or anything else your pet comes into contact with in their environments. You have to read all the instructions very carefully before you place anything in the cage or use to clean it out. If you're not sure about a product, you can always send an email to the manufacturer asking for more advice and this is particularly true if you need more help on using a product to get rid of a lice problem.
A common mistake that many guinea pig owners make is to not complete the recommended course of shampoos when treating their pets for lice. A typical treatment would require a minimum of two shampoo treatments in order to get rid of the lice, their eggs and any nits if there are any. If you don't follow the instructions to the letter, the chances are the lice will come back again causing a skin irritation to flare up again.
Another problem is that some guinea pigs develop skin conditions due to the fact the are kept too clean. It is never a good idea to "over" shampoo your pet even when they already suffer from some sort of skin complaint. The rule of thumb is to shampoo your pet just once a week using the right product. It is also a common mistake to use too many different products too quickly unless of course, they contain natural ingredients only.
Very often less is more when it comes to treating a guinea pig with a skin condition. If you have any doubts about a product, you should talk to the vet before using them on your pet. A vet would be able to advise on which combinations work well together and which do not.
You need to make sure that a shampooed guinea pig gets put back in a clean cage otherwise it defeats the object of having given your pet a bath and then applying the right products to soothe their skin condition. Ideally, a cage needs to be thoroughly cleaned out and then disinfected with "guinea pig" friendly products at least twice a week to avoid prolonging any skin conditions your pet may be suffering from.
The thing to bear in mind is that any warm, damp and dirty bedding creates the ideal environment for all types of bacteria, fungi and other nasty things to thrive in and flourish which then means your pet is at risk of developing a skin condition.
One of the main contributing factors seen in guinea pigs suffering from skin conditions is the type of bedding used in their cages. Wood shavings and/or sawdust which are not cleaned out regularly enough is often the root cause of many skin ailments and this is one of the things you need to check as soon as you spot a skin condition flaring up. You should take out and replace any damp or dirty bedding every day and at least twice a day if your pet has a skin condition.
Naturally, if you have more than one piggy in the environment, the damper and dirtier it will get. So more cleaning may be necessary to make sure none of your pets are sitting on damp and unhygienic bedding which could trigger a skin issue.
The type of bedding you use has to be one that is suitable for guinea pigs – wood shavings and sawdust are NOT recommended for use with these lovely little creatures because although they will soak up the urine, they also absorb a lot of the natural oils that guinea pigs have in their skin. They need these oils to keep their coats and skin in good condition so if they are lost it could result in your pet developing all sorts of skin conditions. The other thing about sawdust and wood shavings is the dust factor which can prove fatal to piggies if they develop a respiratory problem.
The best bedding for guinea pigs is specifically made for them – you should not even use any straw that is designed for use with rabbits because it is typically cut too long so piggies end up injuring their eyes. Meadow hay is good to use with newspaper placed underneath so it soaks up any moisture and urine.
For sickly guinea pigs, many people like to use Vet Bed, It is very easy to keep clean because you can wash it regularly which helps keep your pet's environment hygienic. The other great thing about Vet Bed is that it wicks away moisture, including urine so your pet stays nice and dry especially if you place a thickish layer of newspaper under it and change this on a regular basis.
It cannot be stressed enough how important it is to clean out cages regularly and this means disinfecting them with a guinea pig friendly product. Cage cleaning has to be done at least twice a week and this is especially important if a pet is suffering from a skin condition. When the weather is hot or cold, you need to keep a close eye on your pet's environment making sure any damp bedding is removed as soon as possible because this is when bacteria and fungi tend to flourish and cause problems in hotter weather. When it's cold, the damp patches tend to freeze causing another problem altogether.
It is really crucial to use the right type of disinfectants which have to be guinea pig friendly. You can buy the products online but you have to be sure the company sells well known brands and never be tempted to buy anything because it is cheap – the chances are the product is not as guinea pig friendly as it should be and therefore dangerous to your pet!
Handling your guinea pig on a daily basis is not only a fun thing to do which helps you form a nice strong bond with them, but it also allows you to keep a close eye on the condition of their coats and skin. If you notice any unusual scratching or dry/flaky skin around their ears, nose or mouth as well as fur coming out in clumps, there is a problem which needs to be sorted out sooner rather than later. You have to bear in mind that if left untreated, a skin condition will get worse and may prove fatal to your pet!