Giving a guinea pig a bath

Guinea pigs are naturally very clean animals, especially if you keep their hutch or cage nice and fresh. Occasionally, though, they will need a bath. You might notice them starting get a bit smelly and dirty - in which case it's time for a wash! If not, just do it every 2-4 months. Here is our guide on how to bath a guinea pig.

Why should I give my guinea pig a wash?

Firstly to keep them and their fur clean and healthy. By shampooing your guinea pig you can also help to prevent skin and parasite problems. A clean and problem free coat is essential to your guinea pig's health.

Remember!

You must not use human soaps or shampoo on your guinea pig! You should use specific guinea pig shampoo or shampoo designed for small pets. Here is a quick list of the equipment you might need to wash a guinea pig:

  • A tub or bowl
  • A brush
  • A flannel
  • Some guinea pig shampoo
  • A small jug or container

How to bathe your guinea pig

Firstly start by filling your bowl or tub with luke warm water. Make sure it isn't too hot or too cold. Your guinea pig's bathwater should be slightly cooler than the water we humans like to wash in. Don't fill it too deep - about 2 inches will do.

Remember to leave a towel or two close by ready to dry your guinea pig.

TIP! Place a small towel or flannel at the base of the tub under the water to provide a bit of grip and safety if your guinea pig panics and starts scrambling.

Some people prefer to place the bowl of water on the floor just in case their guinea pigs makes a jumping escape. If your guinea pig is a bit nervous, spend some time petting them before bath time to let them relax.

Bath time!

Gently place your guinea pig into the bowl of water, holding them firmly but gently. You might need to leave them for a few moments to adjust and calm down.

When all is calm, tip a bit of water slowly over your guinea pig using your jug or container. Try to do this on your guinea pig's back and not their head. You should avoid getting water in their ears, nose and eyes. Give your guinea pig some sooth chatter to reassure them.

Shampoo your guinea pig

At this stage it's best to follow the instructions on your guinea pig shampoo bottle. Generally it's just a case of pouring a little shampoo onto your piggy's back and massaging it into their fur gently, again remembering to avoid their eyes and ears. Don't forget their belly!

Now you can rinse your guinea pig using your jug or container. Again, just pour water gently over their back a few times until the shampoo has been washed out. If necessary, shampoo and rinse once more.

Time to dry...

Carefully lift your wet guinea pig from their bath tub and place onto a dry towel. Wrap them up gently and towel dry for a while. Their fur can hold a lot of water so you might find you need to use a second towel.

Some guinea pig owners will then use a hairdryer to dry their guinea pig. If you do this, it must be a very low setting which isn't at all hot to your own skin. Keep the hairdryer away from the water to avoid serious risk or injury to you both.

If their face, nose or ears are dirty, you could use a cotton bud or ball of cotton wool to remove any grime.

it's important that you double check that your guinea pig is completely dry after their bath. It's also very important they don't get cold and catch a chill after your wash them.

Once your guinea pig is washed and dried it's a good idea to give their fur a brush. Read our guide to grooming your guinea pig to find out more.

Don't wash your guinea pig too often otherwise their skin may become dry. Be careful when bathing your guinea pig and be sure to talk to them throughout if they are nervous. After you wash your guinea pig, make sure they are completely dry before you return them to their home.